Arsenal: expectation and enjoyment

February 6, 2017

Someone close to me has just been diagnosed with severe depression.

We talk at length on a regular basis and it’s always been clear to me that he sets himself up to fail. For him, being anything other than the best at anything he does, renders it all completely pointless, resulting in the inevitable doom and gloom.

Ironically he is the same bloke that I do many things with, all of which are very simple, and which have yielded some of our happiest memories. I am pleased he is now getting professional help as I can only offer my rather simplistic take on life.

Look for what makes you happy, and do it.

I share the view of Peaches regarding Arsenal’s past week. The loss to Watford at home hurt more than the loss to Chelsea away. Now the league title is out of reach, I feel a burden has been removed. Of course I’d like us to win the thing, but we now have fourteen league games remaining as well as some FAC and CL matches, so it’s time to look at where the fun is to be had, because if every game is going to make you miserable, then don’t watch and certainly don’t go.

I will be watching, I hope to go, and I will enjoy, and as anyone who knows me will understand I will only be looking for goals and excitement. Simple fellow, simple needs.

MickyDidIt89


Don’t make me laugh …………….. Match preview

February 4, 2017

sid-james2

So it’s been a difficult week for some Gooners, the team has gone from ooh aah heroes last Saturday to utter befuddlement  at the performance on Tuesday night against Watford. Less said about that the better.

On to today………….

We picked up a couple more injuries the other night, one to Ramsey and he won’t be available for the game. That leaves Coquelin as a shoe-in (last man standing) and I’d put The Ox alongside him. For all the poor football that we saw the other night I thought The Ox played with confidence.

Theo has to start – I don’t think AW will start with Welbeck although it can’t be long. Lucas is on the naughty step for some reason so I expect our Nigerian dynamo to start on the left. There were two Iwobis on show the other night; I like the one that came out for the second half better, so hopefully he’ll be the one that starts.

alex-iwobi

We haven’t won at the bridge since ……….. blaaaaah who cares, we hadn’t beaten them at the Emirates for years either and records are there to be broken. Ooops I’m beginning to feel optimistic ………….. who knows what will happen but to be challengers you have to fight as a team and if something goes wrong you have to rally and fight harder. Let it be so.

The weather is going to be vile but the game is in West London not up north so maybe it’ll be a proper battle.

This is my team

jochavs

 

If you’re scared come and join us behind the couch.

COYRRG

peachesgooner


Arsenal Have Been Found Out – Watford Player Ratings

February 1, 2017

Yes, that’s right, you know it and I know it, we’ve been found out, Bournemouth were the first to work it out and every other lesser team has followed suit with Watford jumping on the bandwagon and speeding away with all three points. I say speeding because they, like Bournemouth, realised that arriving in a huge Double Decker bus and parking it in front of the goal doesn’t really work, far better to arrive in sports cars and take the game to Arsenal at speed.

How do you say “they don’t like it up um” in Italian, whatever the translation is their manager said it before the game and it is true we don’t; our defence looked collectively like headless chickens as Watford took the game to us.

Perhaps a bit of perspective is called for: Watford’s first goal? Can you really point the finger of blame at any one player for that kind of fortunate deflection? As lucky was their second: we had four defenders in the 18 yard box and the ball bounced of Cech and kindly fell to Deany.

kaboul

Two nil down and you would have thought that we might have raised our game a bit but no we still couldn’t keep hold of the ball. Was I the only one who was thinking at this point that our attack on Saturday was better than our supposed A team that started last night?

We started much better in the second half; the team that we expected prior to the game seemed to finally turn up. Walcott replaced Giroud which helped add pace down the right flank and it didn’t take long before Theo found himself with a clear chance which unfortunately he fired straight at the keeper. This was promising but far more was happening down our left flank with Iwobi skipping past defenders and leaving them for dead. He was looking by far the most dangerous and the most likely to make something happen and true enough he was the one that got us off the mark.

1-2 and there seemed to be plenty of time to get back on terms but then of the many tactical mistakes that were made Wenger made another, he moved Iwobi away from the left wing and we went flat again.

Perez came on and came close with an excellent shot that hit the bar – very unlucky which just about sums our night up.

By a very disappointed LB

kaboul2

……. a few match feelings and player ratings from chas

Walking to the ground, the rain increased in its intensity as was forecast and we knew we were in for one of those nights where the shocking weather would certainly play some part. Arsene must have been saying prayers of thanks to the FA for the 4 game touchline line ban. I presume he was relatively snug in the directors box during the game rather than p*ss-wet through sat on the bench. But having witnessed the abject first half display his Arsenal side produced, his spirit must have been as sodden and bedraggled as Bouldie’s coat.

It still amazes me, as LB says, that we fail every time against the high energy press from supposedly lesser opponents. Collectively the team has to drop 10 yards and give the man on the ball options when in possession. Do we ever do this? No, we do not, so we end up with harum scarum, fearful passing and no support for a beleaguered back four. I realise it can’t be that simple, else it would be sorted out each time, but that is how it seems to a bear of very little brain.

Attacking-wise, we were dreadful in those first 45 minutes. For some reason Iwobi on the right doesn’t work at all and you had to feel sorry for Gabriel finding himself as our main attacking threat from right full back.

Giroud seemed to care not one iota for the team effort. You’d think he had a point to prove after our mobile second string attack looked so effective at the weekend. But no, he lost the ball each time he was challenged from behind. That’s supposed to be your strength, man.

Ramsey failed to provide an outlet for the defence under the strain of the high press, half-heartedly tried to block Kaboul’s free kick (he would have been better just letting it go straight through to Cech), lost possession in the run up to the second goal and then succumbed to a convenient ‘I’d rather be in a hot shower than out here’ injury. All in 20 minutes, well played that man.

Talking about Kaboul’s free kick and I realise that in the ground one might see events in a slightly biased way, but didn’t the ref (whoever he was) seem to give Watford any free kicks he possibly could whenever any of their forwards fell to the ground in a heap, while refusing to judge any like incidents for us by the same standards?

At half-time the stadium was stunned. We’d been truly abysmal and even if there’d been an element of fortune for both of Watford’s goals, they were still deserving of a lead.

Walcott for Giroud at half-time; what had been said in the changing room? Was there an injury or had he been hooked for his dismal display? Perhaps we’ll never find out, however the change was dramatic. It was as if the team had been on strike in the first half and the substitution had resolved the trades dispute.

Suddenly everything moved up several notches. Theo looked dangerous and Iwobi burst into life on the left flank. It only seemed a matter of time before we got one back at least. Excellent work from Sanchez on the right created a difficult chance for Iwobi and we were back in it.

We continued to create chances and then a strange substitution completely unbalanced the side again. Everything was going through Iwobi, so for the life of me, I can’t see how moving him away from the left and into the centre could be seen as a positive move. Yes, that’s hindsight, but although it was excellent to see Lucas on the pitch, why would you move your most potent attacking threat away from the area in which he was causing Watford all the problems. Completely baffled.

Lucas rattling the bar (it’s still bouncing up and down now) was the final nail in Arsenal’s coffin. Just a few inches lower and it goes in off the underside of the bar, as Danny’s did on Saturday. If that rocket had flown in, I’m sure we’d have got the winner too, as team confidence surged.

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As it was, fine margins left us with Mustafi’s unbeaten streak in tatters in the week he’d said it would be tough to keep it going all season, but that that was his aim. I’d also been reading in the Evening Standard how Arsene had been agreeing that the fans would not be appeased with yet another top four finish unless we could sustain a title challenge. Hmmmmm.

Player Ratings First Half

Everyone gets a 3 for no other reason than we created 3 off target shots in the whole of the first 45. Oh yeah, Ramsey gets 2 and Giroud 1 for turning up.

Player Ratings Second Half

For the first 25 minutes of the second period, Iwobi gets a 9, everyone else 8.

For the last 20, it all went flat again, so all dropped to a 6.

Apologies to anyone hoping for some sensible player ratings. I haven’t watched any highlights, nor do I intend to. I just needed to vent at such a dire, depressing peformance produced at a time we could least afford it.

Perspective-wise, we only lost 1 point to the chavs, dippers and spuds last night, but it does feel like more. Only 3 at the Bridge will make up for it.

 

 


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 🙂


3-5-2. What’s that all about, then?

January 18, 2017

Quite apart from the fact that it’s all the rage, we go to Chelsea in a few weeks, and we know this is how they will set up.

ground_arial_old

What is considered the best formation to counter the 3-5-2?

Do managers build a team around a formation, or a formation around the players they have?

Is the classic No10 role redundant?

After all these years, how come there isn’t a definitive formation?

What happened to the Libero, remember him?

pitch

What the hell was wrong with 2-3-5?

Ps this would be my Arsenal XI under the new pattern:

 

………..Sanchez  Welbeck

Gibbs Santi Coq Mesut Bellerin

………Holding Kos Gabriel

………………Cech

 

Written by mickydidit89


Swansea 0 Arsenal 4……..A fan’s view and player ratings.

January 15, 2017

There is never anything wrong with winning four nil and that, as you know, is exactly what we got and it sure made a pleasant change from going behind and having to claw our way back all the while with stress levels climbing to unhealthy heights before Giroud scores his customary late equaliser or winner. No, not this time Giroud got his goal early on and the valium remained untouched.

swans1

Swansea started as expected, new manager and all; he certainly watched the Bournemouth game and clearly believed that rather than park the bus his new charges best chance of getting something was to take the game to us. Well that would have been my guess anyway as they came out full of beans and full of belief but the new manager momentum soon wore off and after twenty minutes and we took control of the game.

The first goal coming from the lumbersexual as I said above but he seemed to hurt himself in the process. Half time came and went and surprisingly to me we came out after the break looking very determined indeed. So often we are guilty of going ahead and then taking the foot off the pedal allowing the opposition to get back into the game. Not this time, the sheer force of numbers as we pushed forward was impressive.

The second came from Iwobi who in an attempt to fire the ball low across the six yard line had the good fortune to hit a leg of one of the Swansea players which looped the ball up over the helpless Fabianski.

When things are going against you they really do go against you and that is what was happening to Swansea. It seemed as though we got all the breaks, not that I mind that but it would have been nice to have saved some of that luck for the forth coming Chelsea game. Iwobi yet again tried to send a low cross into the danger area only this time it hit an ex-spud and ricocheted into the net to make it three nil.

The good fortune continued when the ball bounced up kindly to the waiting Sanchez who simply steered it home to make it four nil and put the game well and truly beyond Swansea.

swans4

With such a lead it gave us a chance to give Perez another outing and Welbeck a few more precious minutes, there is an elegance to the way he glides over the ground, a thing of real beauty. I stuck my neck out a long time ago by saying that he will become the best striker in the league, I haven’t changed my mind.

Player ratings

Cech: few doubts creeping in recently to the point where some where suggesting Ospina might be given more playing time but then the helmeted one goes and puts in commanding performance like that, including a series of fine saves and you go nah, if the clock works. 8

Easter: as much as we love Hector the reality is that he is more of an attacker than a defender, the opposite, of course, is true of Gabriel and for that reason he unsurprisingly gives the defence a more solid feel; he is particularly effective being able to cover Mustafi when he goes walk about. 7

Mustafi: hay, you know the rule, when the German plays and we don’t lose, what’s not to like about that? Basks in Koscielny’s glow a lot but then Kos seems to look more effective when Skod is playing next to him so it balances up a bit. I like him. 7

Koscielny: good to have him back, makes a huge difference commanding performance, if Easter’s house is made of straw and Mustafi’s house is made of wood then Kos’s house is made of bricks. 8

Monreal: they really tried to kick the Spaniard off the park in the first half; poor man spent most of it rolling around the floor holding one part or his body in pain or another, a usual Nacho performance although not responsible for conceding a goal this week. 7

Xhaka: getting better or at least that is what it seemed to me from my tv. I always feel that with Granit you have to be at the game to really access what he brought to the table as in the position he plays in it is just as much about what you do off the ball as much as it is about what you do on the ball and his off ball movement is not shown on telly. Still, there didn’t seem too much wrong with his performance. 7

Ramsey: a perfectly acceptable performance; adds an important defensive element to the attacking part of the midfield and augments the attack in the 18 yard box extremely effectively. 8

Özil: slow start but got better as the game went on, another player that you have to see live to really access his performance. Some may remember, earlier on, especially after his goal against Ludogrets, I started wondering if he had indeed started to breathe the same rarefied air as Dennis Bergkamp? Chas put a few Bergkamp show reels up and my perspective returned. Nevertheless, I remain a massive Mesut fan and right now, we’ve got Özil, Mesut Özil, I just don’t think you understand you know the rest. 7

Iwobi: gave just that little bit more than expected, more drive, more goal threat, more chasing back, more all round really and for that reason I make him my MOTM. 9

Giroud: clearly disorientated, obviously lost all sense of time, well he must have as he scored in the first half rather than saving our bacon close to the end, still wouldn’t start in my team though. 7

swans2

Sanchez: I have no idea what he was doing after he had been subbed, I mean it’s understandable that he wants to play and being reassured that he will always be picked if fit has got to have been one of the biggest deciding factors in his choice to come to THOF; well it has to be doesn’t it, can you imagine him at a club spending large amounts of time on the bench? Happened at Barcelona; he must have gone nuts, another excellent performance with a goal to boot. 8

An LB offering.


Will Sanchez leave during this transfer window?

January 5, 2017

Maybe it’s just me but I’m worried that Sanchez is seriously considering leaving, in the last few games he has shown signs of disinterest and stands around with his hands on his hips and looks disgusted with his team mate’s decision making.

sanchez-hands-on-hips

I first noticed this during our loss to Manchester City where he seemed to disappear from the game and for the last 20 minutes he seemed to become an extra mid fielder. I thought that he must have been nursing an injury and I was worried that we would be without him in the next game against West Brom – but that proved not to be the case.

I’m getting the impression that he thinks he’s wasting his time with us and is looking to move on to greener pastures.

sanchez-looking-unhappy

Is it just me or should we be concerned?

GunnerN5