Watford, Minnows & Days of Yore.

January 31, 2017

An away draw at Sutton Utd . A win takes us into the 6th round a loss is unthinkable

Back in the Days of Yore, I went with AFC to Yeovil for an away Cup game.

In order to get tickets one had to check in the program, find out when the tickets went on sale and then arrive at Highbury at least 4 hours before the sale time. This meant bunking off school, not a problem for some but I had High Hopes (sadly unachievable 🙂 )

I recall it was a very cold queue though we got  to sing a fair bit before the turnstiles opened. I am not sure but think we queued at the Clock End, but as I seemed to be forever queuing for tickets to see the Arsenal, it could have been the North Bank. I preferred the North Bank because then I got a chance to visit the sweet shop to buy a bag of Mint Imperials.

Thousands were in the queue and less than half would have got tickets. Such was the disdain of the club for it’s fans that there was little stewarding and no-one to assess when to stop people from a vain pursuit. Even as a schoolboy I was able to understand that if there were 1000 tickets on sale, in a queue of 30000+ most would be wasting their time. But then, this was in The Days Of Yore, when folk just queued for a hobby. I remember queueing every Saturday night for the newspaper!

Different today. The molly-coddled away boys apply for tickets from the cosy comfort of their sitting rooms, only having to press a few keys on their laptops.

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It was a long journey on a freezing day down to Yeovil. Dennis Sugarman got attacked by some Yokels but not too badly. We escaped a beating by running into a hotel lobby. It was the Way it Was.

We won 3-0, thanks to a Raddy brace and went on to win the Double.

So …. Sutton away. Should be exciting.

Yeovil is (and was) much like Sutton. A banana-skin fixture. Tiny ground, crap pitch, no glory for a victory.

p.s. I am reminded that we are playing Watford at the Emirates tonight! And it is transfer Deadline Day!  Just in case you are thinking “what a silly old fool Raddy is” may I point out that Tempes Fugit and it will be your turn to live in the cosy cocoon of forgetfulness in the coming years 😀

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin    Gabriel  Koscielny   Monreal

Ramsey    Coquelin   Iwobi

Theo   Sanchez   Ozil

We need a good and an injury-free performance ahead of Chelsea

Let it be so …

written by Big Raddy


Dannyyyyyyyy………………..and player ratings.

January 29, 2017

Well that was exciting, I was excited thinking about the game all week, even more so when I saw the team selection and by the end I was down right ecstatic. An outstanding performance and a great result. Days like this are our reward for being Arsenal supporters.

danny1

Player ratings

Ospina: when some think of him they go – ooh scary but I think that he is deceptive, yes he is south American so there is always going to be a bit of drama but look closely and you will notice that what he does he does well, clean sheet, that will do nicely: 8

Bellerin: Hector (we are back on first name terms) returned to his outstanding best; he and Walcott were pretty much unplayable down the right flank, it was interesting to see just how far Walcott was coming back to cover for Hector when the Spaniard was attacking, a real sign of just how much Bellerin’s attacking has improved and just how much Walcott has been told to respect that. 8

Mustafi: our lucky charm continues to shine as brightly as ever, should be interesting to put it to the test next weekend, another solid performance. 8

Holding: what’s not to like about this 2 million pound signing, still makes me laugh when I think of Wenger laughing at the beginning of the season when he was comparing him with the 55 million pound signing of Stones. I get the feeling that Holding is going to be at the club for years to come, a perfectly respectable performance. 7

Gibbs: said it before and will say it again, we are fortunate to have such solid back up for this position, an OK game, still the occasional mistake but equally there is still the occasional flash of quality. 7

Niles: it’s just good ol Niles from the hood now, lol, the young man had a fine game, a few understandable defensive wobbles but outstanding in his distribution: 7

Oxlaide-Beckenbauer: woo, haven’t seen him play the Ramsey role before and he was impressive, far more impressive than I expected and that in a nut shell is how and why I award my MOTM, Alex was spraying the ball around like the distant image I have of the great German, and calmly dealing with fires to boot. 9

Adelaide: Diabyesque, a few noticed this yesterday, he has such a characteristically Diaby dribble and drag back, of course, as soon as we had noticed it the next thing we know is that he is on the floor clutching his leg. He didn’t shine as much as I hoped, I must admit but that is not to say that I don’t expect great things from him in the future, I do. 7

Walcott: I am not a Theo fan and his three goals have not changed my mind, to me he is on the Giroud side of the attack, poor close control, no assists but gets you goals, whereas I want more on the Ozil – Sanchez side: great close control, lots of assists and get you goals. The problem for me is that I know that Walcott remains the best option on the right so I am going to have to grin and bear it. 5

Perez: I am a huge Perez fan; he is on the Ozil-Sanchez side of things, he gets assists, scores goals and has good close control, I thought he was outstanding yesterday and would have given a 10 if it weren’t for him missing his one on one with the keeper. 9

Welbeck: I may be a Perez fan but I have a man crush on Danny, I have said it before and I will say it again he is going to be the best attacker in the EPL. A front line of Welbeck, Sanchez and Walcott is going to be something awesome. Welbeck has everything we need from a player coming in from the left or even swapping with Sanchez, this is going to get really exciting. 9

Written by LB 

and some ‘feelings’ from mickydidit89 …………………….

2nd XI’s (more or less) from Southampton and Arsenal took to the pitch on the South Coast for an important  fixture in the Worlds’ finest knock out tournament.

Quite a few Arsenal players staked their claims to never again be considered 2nd XI’ers.

Here’s one thought I had about our players who featured yesterday:

Regular 1st Teamers: Bell, Gibbs, Mustafi

Outstanding performers: The Rest.

Very, very nice situation indeed. It would be very tempting for me to dwell on the front three who were all sensational, however, it was the Maitland-Niles Oxlade-Chamberlain Reine-Adelaide midfield trio that really surprised me (although a mention in dispatches for Holding).

When I saw the team sheet I was overjoyed by the attack but certainly felt the midfield was simply too many rotations. Wow, how wrong was I. They were outstanding.

bould1

As I am someone who always blames the chap at the top when things go wrong, I don’t remember me ever bowing quite so low to Arsene as I did post match. It was an outstanding performance from the manager.

This morning I fancy Arsene has a massive headache, and it concerns team selection for the upcoming two PL games. Welbeck, Perez and Walcott have demanded selection and really, they are contesting two slots alongside Sanchez.

For me though, the biggest question mark is over The Ox. Has he done enough to start alongside Coquelin? I think so.

Happy Sunday Gooners from Admin 🙂


Arsenal have the Best Fans?

January 19, 2017

Only 13k at S’ton last night. What has happened to the Magic of the Cup?

If we draw at S’ton how many would go to the replay at the Emirates? My guess is another full house.

Our average gate through 2016 in the PL was 59,444 which is 99.4%  capacity.  Slightly lower for Cup games.

The police numbers are a little lower because there are some season ticket reprobates who do not attend all games yet the club maintain that as the ticket is sold, it is an attendance.

Sadly, some of those fans are not supporters!

Why are Arsenal so popular? What do you think?

Written (in haste) by Big Raddy

 


Coquelin’s Punishment. No trip to Hull.

March 8, 2016

Let’s be honest, the home leg was dreary. How can this evening  be an improvement?

Simple. Goals. As Didit continually harps on about, goals are what we pay for. I love a crunching tackle, even better a little outrageous skill (aka Mesut), a towering defensive header or a sprint down the wings but let’s face it, a 0-0 draw rarely excites. It is goals which get us out of our seats.

Awful Music Alert. Turn off Speakers before Watching

There have been some fine 0-0, I recall at cracker at WHL a few seasons ago. Thinking of which I saw this and giggled – hopefully you will too.

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Mr Bruce, he of the badly squashed face, you know the mush, the one that looks as though he has run full-face into a wall, Come on, you know, the chap who resembles an overweight pug dog. Well, Mr Bruce has once again stated that he will rotate his squad. He did so at The Emirates and came away with an unwanted result. With the PL a priority Bruce will not want a home game against Watford on Sunday – or will he? It must be a financial boon.

The FA Cup has to be a priority for Mr Wenger. We are doomed in the CL and the PL title remains open; the chance to make FAC history must be alluring. 3 on the spin would satisfy even Herb’s Army!

So, we will play a few reserves and chaps who need games to return to form. Giroud will start alongside Walcott. Campbell too.

I expect to see Chambers at RB which forces Mr Wenger to play his first choice, fit, CB’s – BFG and Paul Easter. Gibbs to continue at LB after a fine game on Saturday.

Team:

Ospina

Chambers   BFG   Easter   Gibbs

Elneny   Flamini   Iwobi

Campbell    Giroud    Walcott

A strong bench in case of our lads being silly.

Hull played well at the Em’s and they are not going to be easy opponents tonight – they never are. Two decent CB’s backed up by a fine GK and a battling midfield, they are hard to break down. If Hull score first it could be a long night.

BTW have you ever been to Hull? If not, keep it that way. If, like me, you have visited this outpost of civilisation you will know that the game is best watched from the comfort of your own home or a pub.

And remember, the match kicks off at 19.00. Can you recall a match ever kicking off at 19.00? Anyone know why?

Another big game for Arsenal. A home tie against Watford beckons; win that and we are into the Semi’s.

Glory and Silverware awaits

COYRRG


Bore draw : And a trip to Hull beckons

February 21, 2016

The pre match media around this round of FA Cup fixtures has focused much on the congestion caused by this pesky competition. City are rightly annoyed that they will be playing tomorrow with a Champions League trip to Kiev on Wednesday. At least we got the early kick off and at home in our tie and haven’t got to worry about flying anywhere this week.

Bruce was quoted as saying he thinks FA Cup replays should be scrapped and Arsene said he preferred to preserve the current format. If Bruce didn’t want a replay he had a strange way of showing it putting his second string out to defend in two solid banks. Even with three days to recover before Barca Arsene also made 9 changes, Arsene had no choice but to keep BFG and Koscielny in the line up. Another chance for Theo to show what he can do at centre forward, another welcome to England for Elneny and another game for Iwobi to make an impression this time from a more central role.

In the early stages we managed to create a few chances, bit of slick interplay around the box leading to a variety of shooting opportunities, unfortunately the angles were generally tight and the keeper was giving a traditional Emirates performance thwarting anything sent his way.

In truth I felt we started to run out of ideas towards the end of the half, I don’t think we were as fluid as we could have been given our starting attacking three. They have all played centre forward at various times in their career and they have also been wide men. For me they all stuck to their starting roles far too much and what interchange of position there was did not feel instinctive.

We did have some good moments again in the second half, the closest we came to scoring were Campbell’s free kick, and Welbeck’s curling drive. Unfortunately Hull’s keeper was equal to both.

Ox, Ollie and Alexis were thrown on but to no avail and Hull held out for a 0-0 draw and a replay that their manager definitely did not want.

For me Elneny stood out, I felt he was constantly available for the ball and generally used it well. We saw glimpses from Welbeck that reminded us of the talents he possesses, Iwobi continues to improve. There was not much new learned from anywhere else on the pitch in my opinion, we know these players.

So Hull are added to the schedule for a midweek and hopefully we still have plenty of available players to rotate in.

Written by GoonerInExile


Up for the Cup?

February 20, 2016

Who will be the stronger team – our reserves or Hull’s?

Let’s weigh up the evidence: Arsenal have a second team full of players who have been strained through one of the most rigorous examinations of world footballing talent. Targets identified, Arsenal spend many millions bringing players into the squad then working together to become a team. They are pampered, cosseted and trained by the very best coaches money can buy.

Hull are not in this fortunate position. Their scouting for squad players involves going to the local park and seeing if there are a few blokes who can run a bit and have a sense of direction.

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Hull are expected to make 9 changes from their last game and Arsenal about the same.  What does this say about the current status of the FA Cup?

Yesterday I had a pleasant chat with a friend on this very subject (following on from a discussion on AA with Herb). Is the FA Cup relevant? Is it important to anyone who was born post-Sky Sports?

The first thing to say is that financially it is far better to finish 4th than to win the FAC. This diminishes its value to the moneymen and accounts (to some extent) in big clubs using squad members prior to the semi-final.

Secondly, winning the FAC gains entrance into the Europa  Cup which is hardly a plus.

Then there is the unfortunate decision on the part of the FA to play semi-finals at Wembley, thus diminishing the grandeur of the Final.

Balanced against this is Glory. Silverware. Tradition. History. A Street Parade. Champagne. Celebration on a massive scale. Placards around the Emirates.

Which is more important to you?

 

Back to today:    Let’s see how many I get …

Ospina

Chambers    BFG   Koscielny    Gibbs

El Nino   Flamini   Iwobi

Campbell   Theo    Welbeck

Should be enough to win and allows the main players to rest ahead of the big midweek game.

I expect most of this afternoon’s entertainment to come from  the man who used to wear black but now wears yellow and black – the mercurial Mike Dean. This bloke is a complete plum and probably a Parking Attendant in daily life. Inefficient, egotistical, blind – many an epithet comes to mind.  Earlier this season over 100,000 people signed a petition for him not to referee AFC again, yet the FA selected him which tells all about how the FA view the paying punter’s opinions.

I could, and probably will, write a post about the deeds of Mr Dean.

Don’t forget the early K.O.

COYRRG

 


Difficult February/March – decisions to make?

February 8, 2016

These are crunch months for me, whilst we face the prospect of 4 more games in February, and at least 5 in March, Leicester have 13 games between now and end of season.

We can reduce our pile up by making some simple decisions, play youth team in Champions League, play the same team in the FA Cup, save the first choice eleven for the Premier League.

Many have mooted that this is our best chance in years to win the league, many have said how we need to make sacrifices of playing style and stars for the pursuit of the trophy, in extreme circumstances some have talked about replacing Wenger with the repugnant Mourinho (yeah I know he’s a “winner”…..but at what cost?).

Is sacrificing the FA Cup 3peat and any chance of progress in the Champions League worth a possibility of winning the league?

Gooner in Exile