V.A.R. … Very Accurate Result … or … Vexing And Ridiculous

June 24, 2019

Are you, like me still (just) in that you think VAR will eventually be the right way forward for OUR game, because it will correct significant injustices?

Have you been watching the Women’s World Cup carefully to see what we are letting ourselves in for next season? I have, and I think we may not be ready.

First let’s put aside what most of us would agree with is the main current reason for controversy, that being the changes in the offside, handball and penalty rules. Is the Premier League ready for VAR?

Have our referees had enough training? Surely a way of making the decisions much more quickly is required. Is fifteen minutes of extra time largely through VAR decisions, acceptable for the Premier League?

Football is about momentum, next thing we know we will have Diana Ross singing on the centre spot as they make their decisions. There was a German League game last season involving Freiburg, when an incident occurred just before the halftime whistle. The players all went off with that whistle and then had to be brought back on to the pitch as the VAR decision meant the half should not have finished! And this is in Germany where they are “experienced” in using the system!!

Can the refs be miked up so the crowd can be told what is being assessed? Should the crowd see the replays? Will they revolt? Last night it was because the players saw the replay that THEY kicked off!

What about the technology? Are the cameras always level with the incident, or even on the right side? Is the action stopped on the right frame for the VAR decision makers?

I am worried. What do you think at this point before the trauma even begins?

Written by LBG



The Beast over Beauty Any Day …… Oh for another Lauren

June 22, 2019

The nos won convincingly in response to yesterday’s poll asking whether supporters would sell Aubameyang in order to fund some top quality defenders/midfielders.

Mike M’s response was more analytical, but still came to a conclusion held by many about the mentality of the team.

Here’s what he had to say …..

It’s an interesting question when you look at the stats over the last 15 years. Scoring the most goals will probably win you the title. Ditto for conceding the least.

Basically if you only score 54, you probably wont make top 4 even if you concede 31. If you concede 51, you have little or no chance of top 4 (Liverpool conceded 50 a few years back and finished 2nd but they scored 102). The answer lies somewhere in between.

I think my main point would be the overall mentality of the team and the mental fragility we very often on display. Anyone remember going 0-1 up at Anfield?? That lasted 8 mins or so and another 10 more, we were done. How does that happen? How do we miss a PK to pass up winning at Spuds? Or capitulate 3-1 at Wolves, 3-0 at Leicester etc etc.

I’m not sure it’s a question of attacker over defender. I think it’s the type of mentality we should be looking for. I’m undecided on the PEA question but I do think we desperately need a TA6 or Sol23. One of my favorite players of all time is Lauren. Gifted? Fast? Skilful? Great passing range? Probably none of those. But he’d score the penalty in a NLD in a crunch, run through a wall for his team mates and no one ever messed with him. Xhaka, not so much.

Do you agree ….. is recruiting players with the right mentality paramount if we want to return to the days when no one messed with The Arsenal?

Mike M

Would you swap a little bit of Arsene for a bit more George?

June 21, 2019

I’m going out on a limb here ….. I know I’m only a girl so what do I know but …… we actually need to stop conceding goals rather than worrying about who is going to score them. Although I have to say that Aubameyang does really excite me, I love watching him play and he has scored some great goals for us but Arsenal conceding 51 goals in a Premiership season is just ridiculous.

Aubameyang won the Golden Boot with 22 goals, which I love, even more so because that Kane bloke from down the road didn’t. But there’s a good chance that someone else …. or a few others could have stepped up to score his goals and maybe even scored more overall. And I would give up so many of our high scoring games to have conceded fewer …….. actually there weren’t that many high scoring games last season but you get my point.

This rant was as a result of the following comment from Mike M discussing the prospect of selling Aubameyang to buy better quality defenders and midfielders …

When we sold Van Persie to Manure he won them the title because that’s all they needed. Even if they bought PEA, they (like us) are a million miles away from winning anything.

I still believe we need a mentality shift, so I think we need a slightly different type of player for the next couple of years than we have always wanted. If we score 20 fewer goals next season but concede 20 fewer also, I think we’ll finish in the top 4 no problem.

“George Graham said, he wanted us to keep it tight and win 1-0 not 4-3. But still as it happened we scored a hell of a lot of goals that season” a quote from Alan Smith about the 1991 title winning side.

Probably not many people remember the Graham years with too much fondness but that was nearer the end when Ian Wright was our only goal scoring threat. But ’89 and ’91 were great teams with lots of flare, an inbuilt strength and mentality that we’re in desperate need of right now. PEA is probably not essential to that. On the flip side, I love his attitude and how he seems to enjoy the game and that’s something we also need. Its’ a tough call.

I’m not writing a book any time soon (although many of my comments are book length !!). I am just a huge Gooner that likes discussing by far the greatest team, the world has ever seen.

Those who have blogged with me for years know that I’m of the opinion that defending is a science that can be taught whereas goal scoring has a bit more luck and artistic flare attached to it. Footballers who think their only job is to score goals might find this upsetting, but if you’re up against a good defense you’ve got less chance of scoring than if you’ve got a rubbish defense to breach.

So, would you settle for a few more 1-0’s to The Arsenal, no possibility of the Golden Boot and no high scoring games next season? How do you think we can achieve this?


Sell Aubameyang for £70m …. Deal or No Deal?

June 19, 2019

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, our 2018/19 golden boot winning striker turned 30 this week. There have been rumours that Man Utd are considering making a £70m bid for him. If we accepted such a bid, we would make a nett profit of around £14m, so not a massive return on our investment on the surface. But, in these times of austerity and with a rumoured transfer budget of a paltry £40m … what could we do with that extra £70m? … or even a £100m+ if we sell Xhaka as well. Seal a leaky defence? Buy a midfield maestro to replace Ramsey? Bring in proper wide attacking players? Maybe all of the those options?

This question was posed by blogger LBG a few days ago …

So let’s heat things up!
If we get an offer of 70m for a 30 year old Aubameyang from Manure, and an offer of 35m for Xhaka, I say sell them both and use the 100m to fill the gaps we actually have.

These are some of the responses it has drawn …

From Sue …

Atletico want Xhaka (you’re having a giraffe, right?!) albeit I’d quite happily drive him to the airport & bundle Mustafi in the car too & tell them it’s a bogof deal… oh happy days 😝

This from Els …

LBG – too risky for me to sell Auba and Xhaka. We already have too much business to do and too many first teamers to replace. We need to keep as much consistency as possible now. Other than that £105m for those too would be nice. I’d want to replace with a good few academy promotions and then some free transfers. Then we give all that money to Ramsey see if he’ll come back.

RC78 posted this …

I am happy to let both El Neny and Xhaka go but I d like to keep Auba unless we have an offer exceeding 50 Mln pounds for him.

From GoonerB …

LBG in answer to your question, if we were to get £35m for Xhaka and £70m+ for Auba I would take it. I love Auba but at 30 years old those figures are tempting and those funds could secure a key but expensive option elsewhere.

Aaron’s thoughts …

Sell Auba and Xhaka for $100+ million, in a New York second. I will be encouraged if we buy some CB’s and another strong DM. We do not want any injury prone hail mary’s or 35 year old cast off’s. Bring up someone exceptional, a 20-25 year gem that actually has a body that can take the EPL punishment.

It would appear from the above that there is an acceptance amongst some of the fanbase that we may have to do a ‘Liverpool’ and sell one gem (or maybe two) to buy different gems that could plug some gaping holes in the team … or do you think otherwise?

Gabriel Martinelli … Be Excited … Be Very Excited

June 18, 2019

All the signs are that the Brazillian hot prospect Gabriel Martinelli will be announced as an Arsenal player in the next few days. He was 18 yesterday and is now eligible to sign a professional contract in the UK.

We should be excited for 2 reasons …

  1. He is a highly regarded emerging talent and was being courted by several top clubs.
  2. He points to a new way forward for Arsenal. A new more vibrant and energetic era for the club begins here.

The late season capitulation showed us that whatever it is that had seeped into the fabric of the club in recent years still persists. The only answer is to bring in new blood and to change the culture and that process is taking place this summer.

Martinelli was at Corinthians when Edu was Sporting Director and seems likely to be the first player brought in by our soon to be new Technical Director as part of further shakeups behind the scenes that have already seen Freddie Ljunberg swap jobs with Steve Bould. Francis Cagigao is highly regarded at the club and has also played a role in the transfer after having previously been a scout. He was responsible spotting players such as Lauren, Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin so we can see that his credentials are first rate.

Edu will be announced as the new Head of Recruitment when he takes up the post officially on 7th July. We are getting things right behind the scenes and this should enable us to be more effective at the sharp end with qualified and competent specialist management making the important decisions.

So why get excited about Martinelli?

A few facts:

  • He was born in Guarulhos, São Paulo
  • He signed his first professional contract on 4 November 2017 with Ituano FC
  • He was promoted to the first team for the 2019 Campeonato Paulista where he scored six goals during the competition, the club’s top goalscorer
  • He’s a predominantly right footed wide attacking player who can also play as a striker
  • He’s quick, and direct and loves to dribble.
  • He has trialled for Man Utd and Barcelona.
  • He’s rumoured to be joining for around £6m.
  • He’s seen as a replacement for Welbeck.
  • He scored 10 goals and had 6 assists in 31 games last season.

There is a new order that is emerging in the EPL. Most clubs that are being sold are being snapped up by owners who have agendas beyond football and are prepared to invest heavily in search of success. Arsenal may be in the bottom half of the league when it comes to funds available for transfers so we have to spend wisely.

Of course Martinelli is a risk, as are all young players.  Let’s hope we invest in some of the youth under our very noses already in our academy too …. the likes of Willock, Nelson, Bielik, Nketieh, Smith-Rowe and Sheaf could negate the need to look any further.

Keeping an Eye on Unai …..

June 18, 2019

It seems we Gooners have had a series of so-called ‘marmite’ figures to disagree over in recent years. There was the long standing saga of Arsène Wenger’s latter years, more recently the Mesut Özil debate, and now, after one season in charge, Unai Emery is already dividing the fan base.

Here are some views from respected bloggers in recent days…..

First Don McMahon

We’ll have a better idea at this time next season once we see what Emery does with his lineup and new players, the upcoming youth and academy talent in the coming season. I, for one, am optimistic that he’ll sort out the poor away form we displayed this season and once he’s stabilized the team, we’ll see his tactical and strategic skills as a manager.

….. and now Aaron

He develops no one, does tactics and strategy, but not a true risk taker, and if Europa is the level everyone wants here, that is what we have. Put him under the nowhere land management, dirtbag owner, and the Arsenal will be a mid-tier time until he sells, or dies. (a tad harsh …ed)

….. and this from jjgsol

I am convinced that the board took on UE because they regarded him as the cheapest option. He will need to be exceptional if he is able to improve our position. I hope that he succeeds, but feel that he won’t.

Should we at least give the man a full transfer window and another season before we judge him, or is the writing on the wall … is he condemned by his past record?

AFC : Arsenal Fans Conundrum

June 16, 2019

So, my 14 year old daughter follows Tom Holland, Zac Efron and Romeo Beckham on her Instagram. She also loves The Black Panther’s Letitia Wright and her favourite rapper is J Cole. And she tells me they are all Arsenal supporters.

So who else out there calls the great Arsenal their team? Well there is Daltry, Daisy, Dido and Diddy plus Hornby, Lydon, Jagger, Jay Z, Spike Lee and Fred (Fred Perry that is)

Then there are other football players who call themselves fans of Arsenal like Paul Pogba, Hulk, Puskas and the great Diego “hand of god” Maradona. Yes the fanbase is immense, from Brad Wiggins and Mo Farah to Fidel Castro and the late Bin Laden.

Some fans I hate like …………………

Piers Morgan @piersmorgan

Well done, Arsene Wenger. Thank goodness I stood by you when so many fickle fans were demanding your head on a plate. #Afc #TopOfTheLeague  

4:27 AM – Sep 29, 2013

And others I believe are just in it for themselves and the love of clickbait money

But it is Arsenal fan Nick Hornby that I respect greatly as he continues his love affair with Arsenal, from books to movies to ongoing articles on the great Arsenal FC………..

Nick Hornby. “For alarmingly large chunks of an average day, I am a moron.” “I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it.”

For me, his article for ESPN summed up the 1st Emery season and how the many Arsenal fans rollercoasted their way through the season right through to the final cup game –

Wenger’s teams were flat-track bullies that tended to curl up and die against better, stronger opponents, and the crowd responded appropriately, with purring appreciation or despairing silence. But in those opening months of the Emery era, Arsenal, often inspired by the warrior-like Lucas Torreira, got stuck in. We came from behind to beat Tottenham and to draw with Liverpool, and the sleepy, stupefied Emirates roared its appreciation.

If you had asked any Arsenal fan on the night of April 1, after a 2-0 home win against Newcastle that lifted us to third in the league, whether Emery’s first season had been a success, they would all have answered in the affirmative. “We’re competitive again,” we said that night. “We have a very good chance of finishing in the top four and there may be a Cup to come, too. That’s all we wanted. To be in the running in April.”

As it turned out, we wanted more than that and we’d been kidding ourselves. What we specifically didn’t want was to collapse, in a wearyingly familiar fashion, when it mattered. Emery lost 10 games this year, three fewer defeats than in the season before, but four of the 10 came in April. If just one of them — and I’m looking at you, Arsenal 2, Crystal Palace 3 — had been converted into a win, we would have finished third. If the woeful 1-1 draw at home to Brighton had finished 2-1, we’d have come fourth. Fine margins, yes, but a Champions League place was presented to Emery on a plate and his team turned up its collective nose. Manchester United and Chelsea might not be so obliging next year, although both teams look to have at least as many problems as Arsenal as things stand.

In the end, it felt like the club suffers from some kind of hereditary disease, passed on from generation to generation. We used to blame Wenger and the kinds of players he liked, the technically gifted, physically unimposing attacking midfielders who seemed to occupy every position on the pitch. Torreira, Granit Xhaka and Sokratis Papastathopoulos are of a different build and complexion entirely, but it doesn’t make any difference, apparently. The post-Invincibles Arsenal team will always flake out on you when it matters, no matter who’s playing or coaching.

There is more to this article but thats where I like to stop and ask, do you agree with the Hornsbee statement – The post-Invincibles Arsenal team will always flake out on you when it matters, no matter who’s playing or coaching.

Can this conundrum be fixed in time for next season?

Written by VP from OZ