The Trouble with 3 at the Back

December 11, 2018

The trouble with playing three at the back is that you use up your store of centre backs all too quickly. They either get injured or get extra bookings leading to suspensions.

Let’s face it, they’re not really cut out to cover large amounts of the pitch. All  that extra running will be bound to take its toll eventually.

Perhaps we ought to go to the other extreme and just play one centre back who plays higher up the pitch between the right and left halfs ……. let’s call him a centre half.

How about the full backs as the rear most defenders and the centre half just drops into the back line occasionally. This will leave us exposed on the counter, so the only solution is not letting the opposition have the ball at all. It will also stop the full backs getting forward down the flanks, so perhaps we would need dedicated wing men, perhaps even a left and right winger.

Two attacking midfielders will be essential to keep the pressure on the other team – inside right and inside left? So, starting to look like this ……..

Who could play in this line up?

………………..                               Leno

…………                        Bellerin                   Monreal

…….                    Torreira           Koscielny          Xhaka

Mkhitaryan    Ramsey   Aubameyang      Ozil         Iwobi

There you go, sorted for Southampton. Full out attack for the first half hour. Build a lead and bring Lacazette on for the second half to give Kos a rest in the second half.

Could work, don’t you think?

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Arsenal Huddersfield – Player Ratings

December 9, 2018

Was it going to be another difficult day exacerbated by yet another appalling ref?

Unfortunately, yes.

First half

So many fouls it was difficult to keep track. Laca missed a simple one by slipping just before shooting.  The half finished with us on 4 bookings and the dirty Udders on 3. That sums up how poor the ref was.

Second half

More of the same except the good guys sneaked a goal via a glorious overhead kick courtesy of our Uruguayan genius.

Summary

Justice done. A team of journeyman turn up running their arses off hoping for a point. Thank Dennis they got diddley squat in return for contributing absolutely nothing to a game of football.

Awful game but three points – on we go.

Ratings

Leno – nowt to do … 6

Bellerin – hmmmmm … 6

Mustafi – got injured, no idea if that’s good or bad … 6

Sokratis – looked like he could produce a good doner… 6

Lichtsteiner – hmmmmmm … 6

Kolasinac – yep … 6

Torreira – thank heaven for small mercies from Uruguay … 8

Xhaka – tried hard … 6

Guendouzi – hair looked good, surely he was tugged over by the ghost of Fellaini? …6

Aubameyang – perhaps should have done better diverting a near post effort wide with his left peg, though it did come quickly at him … 6

Lacazette – unlucky to have a goal disallowed by a trigger happy linesman, slipped on an earlier chance … 6

Subs

Mkhitaryan – brought on too soon … 6

Iwobi – brought on too soon … 6

Monreal – thank heaven he’s still alive … 6

What we’d all like to do


Arsenal FC – our home record against the Terriers

December 7, 2018

Here are our all time home results starting with Division 2.

Our first home game against Huddersfield was in Division 2 on February 14th 1914 we lost 0-1

Our history with Huddersfield would be incomplete with mention of Herbert Chapman, he was manager of Huddersfield from 1921 to 1925 and won the FA Cup in 1921/22 and the First Division Championship in 1923/24 and 1924/25.

In the 1925 close season, Chapman had already set about improving his squad for Huddersfield to seek a third successive title (something which had never been achieved before). At the same time, Arsenal was looking to replace Leslie Knighton, who had been sacked. Arsenal chairman Sir Henry Norris placed an advertisement in the Athletic News:

“Arsenal Football Club is open to receive applications for the position of TEAM MANAGER. He must be experienced and possess the highest qualifications for the post, both as to ability and personal character. Gentlemen whose sole ability to build up a good side depends on the payment of heavy and exorbitant transfer fees need not apply”

Although Arsenal had been fighting relegation in both the two previous seasons, and despite the chairman’s restriction on spending, Chapman nevertheless moved to Arsenal soon afterwards, attracted both by the London club’s larger crowds and a salary of £2,000, double what he earned at Huddersfield Town. At Arsenal, Chapman immediately made an impact by signing 34-year-old Charlie Buchan, an England international and Sunderland’s all-time record goalscorer, whom he made Arsenal captain.

During his time at Arsenal he won the FA Cup in 1929/30 (our first trophy) and the First Division Championship in 1930/31 and 1932/33, he passed away of pneumonia on January 6th 1934.

 

GunnerN5


Man Utd Pre-Match. Confident? Don’t look at the Stats.

December 5, 2018

A two part post today. Big R’s pre-match followed by GN5’s statistics for the game

Pt 1:

IMO next to our trophy-less neighbours the biggest game of the season is the Red Devils especially now they are managed by The Miserable One.

As you will read below, we have a poor record at OT but Mr Emery is a new brush, could he bring us our first victory since 2006? If so, how?

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Would you choose the Back 3 which has been so successful  or revert to a Back 4? Will Ozil return? Should Wobbly start or Lacazette? Ramsey or Mhiki?

LB made a fine case that Emery is using the Back 3 to accommodate Kolasinac whose defensive discipline is uncertain. It appears to work as this frees the Wardrobe to play with more invention thus he had his best game on Sunday.  If Mesut is still suffering from “back spasms” then I see us lining up with the same team but rewarding Ramsey for his impressive 45 mins..

My Team:

Bent

Mustafi      Sokratis    Holding

Catwalk   Terrier   Xhaka    Wardrobe

Ramsey    Wobbly

Auba

As we know, Mr Emery is likely to make changes should it not be working.

Enough of that … time for some vitriol. Anyone who has read my comments over the years knows how I detest  Moaninho. Since his first press conference in London, his cowardly eye-gouging, the destruction of Inter Milan, his playing style, his conceit and arrogance. And now the beleaguered act. To read the farcical statement that Everton have spent more money than MU said it all, He is the Donald Trump of the PL.

As to the MU team … expect a rough game. Lukaku is a battering ram who creates the space for the lightning fast raids by Rashford and Martial. In midfield they are aggressive but have flair.

And then there is Fellaini.

We need a strong referee. Dean was appalling on Sunday, tonight we have Andre Marriner and we can only hope for better.

Arsenal must be on a high after 3 wins in a week. It should be an exciting but cagey, tense game.

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Pt 2:

Perhaps our least impressive away record is against Man U, the last game we won at Old Trafford was September 17, 2006 and we have only won a total of three games in the Premier League era. This particular game is special as it’s the 100th away game.

Here is our overall away record.

Our away record by game – in the Premier League.

Memorable victories at the Old Cowshed

14th March 1998 – Man U 0 Arsenal 1

A fair few points behind in the League but with games in hand, this game was pivotal in Arsene’s first League title. Marc Overmars scored in the 79th minute after Arsenal had dominated throughout. Bergkamp, Anelka, Parlour and Petit were imperious and Alex Manninger made a crucial stop when a linesman failed to flag an offside Andy Cole in the first half.

Photo by Rui Vieira/PA.

8th May 2002 – Man U 0 Arsenal 1

With Henry injured and Dennis on the bench, Paddy V, Edu and Parlour bossed the midfield allowing Wiltord and Kanu to score whenever they wanted. They chose the 55th minute (with Freddie’s help) and Arsenal went on to clinch the Double at the home of their nearest rivals (The FA Cup had already been won a few days earlier with goals from the Romford Pele and Freddie).

This is a new era with a new Manager and a renewed level of energy which may introduce a new flavour to our results at Salford.

We are unbeaten in the last 19 games in all competitions – will we make it 20?

GunnerN5


Mesut Leaving? – you’re having a Turkish!

December 4, 2018

Ozil to leave the home of football?

What a load of hysterical nonsense, the man gets left out for two games and he is on his way to Inter, why Inter I don’t know but as the saying goes: never let a lie get in the way of a good story.
Why, oh why, would we let the most gifted player we have at the club leave, it make no sense and it is not going to happen.

Here is another way of looking at things and why they happened but first I want to show that there is a bit of substance to what I have to say. Look below and see that I predicted Emery’s team selection on Sunday.

LB says: December 2, 2018 at 12:41 pm

Great rallying cry BR.
I am sort of expecting Emery to do something very unusual and play the same team that started last week.

COYRRG

Chas says: December 2, 2018 at 1:08 pm

Leno
Bellerin
Mustafi
Holding
Sokratis
Kolasinac
Xhaka
Torreira
Iwobi
Aubameyang
Mkhitaryan

Chas says: December 2, 2018 at 1:12 pm
Good punt, LB.

This post is not about me singing my praises for finally predicting the correct team but why Ozil was left out. The reason is simple, as simple as it was logical why Emery had to play the team he did.
The Basque’s hands were tied by the inability of Kolasinac to defend. Come on we all saw what a mess we got ourselves in against Wolves with the Wardrobe as left back – a scary nightmare that we almost lost.
Further many of us saw how Spuds destroyed Chelsea, funny to think about that now, but they were impressive and would have murdered Kolasinac if left to defend that flank on his own.

All agree up to now? Good, so Emery had to go with a back three and two wing-backs; correct call because Bellerin and Kolasinac were impressive going forward. With that extra berth being taken, as was the case with Bournemouth, there simply isn’t space in the team for Ozil. Does that mean that we no longer need Mesut? Hell no, it means we need a better left wing back so we can revert to playing with four at the back which makes space for Ozil.

Getty Images

Is Ozil unhappy, of course not, there is no shadow of doubt that the ludicrously busy Christmas schedule has been explained to him and the need to keep as many players fit as possible and while that was happening it would have been explained that he had a back problem and should rest and spend time with his family ready for when needed which certainly will coincide with the return of Monreal, if not before, and with that people like me will have the chance, once again, to witness a genius at work.

Written by LB


December starts well! – Unai pops his NLD cherry – Arsenal v spuds Player Ratings

December 3, 2018

Everything you want to happen in an NLD does happen – Christmas has come early.

Hark the Herald Arsenal Sing, Glory to our new born King.

Ratings

Leno – several decent saves from Son and Kane to counterbalance his near post calamity for the spuds equaliser… 8

Bellerin – quality throughout – his one small misdemeanour we can forgive – Hector knows what an NLD is all about … 8

Sokratis – Solid, indefatigable, rock-like, showed some pace tracking Kane … 8

Mustafi – demonstrated that he has got something to contribute – warrior-like for a derby which is exactly what’s required … 8

Holding – felt sorry for him – all that bollix about him lunging in for the pen, he was trying to block a potential shot, not making any kind of tackle – it was a dive pure and simple – Mike Dean hang your head in shame – Rob looked good in possession … 8

Kolasinac – stood like a fat sack of potatoes for the spud first goal, playing 3 players onside, but his cut backs were a feature of his play in the Bundesliga and playing in a back five relieves pressure on his defensive shortcomings … 8

Torreira – what a magnificent purchase – sets the tone of Arsenal’s performance with his energy, enthusiasm and will to win. Brings ‘La Garra Charrua’ to Islington. A glorious first goal, too … 9

Xhaka – Granit plays as if the captaincy really means something to him – love his left foot – crossfield balls opened up the spuds in the first half … 8

Mkhitaryan – gave it his all in the first half – sometimes appears a luxury player – perhaps not the blood and guts player for a derby but full of rich quality … 7

Iwobi – looked dangerous – but rightly sacrificed for the second period … 7

Aubameyang – that second goal was so pivotal to the outcome of the match – Lloris didn’t have time to move – a real peach – two goals, great celebrations, back to smiling his tits off … 9

Subs

Ramsey – Aaron is really contributing even with his contract disputes – two assists made a big difference to the game’s outcome … 8

Lacazette – the way he skimmed the ball in of Dier’s shin was magnificent … 8

Guendouzi – he loves Arsenal – I love Guendouzi … 8

Other ratings

Unai Emery – masterful half time subs – what a way to pop your NLD cherry … 10

Mike Dean – awful, egocentric performance – thank Dennis it didn’t cost us in the end … -2

chas


Spurs Pre-Match. Slightly biased.

December 2, 2018

Let us start here. This is an Arsenal blog,

if you expect a balanced view go elsewhere. If you expect me to be anything less than scathing towards our trophy-less neighbours from Wembley you will be disappointed. If you think I am going to write about Harry Kane being the best striker since Jimmy (not good enough for  the ’66 WC team) Greaves, think again.

Why? Because where I went to school you had a choice, you were either a Gooner or a Spud, and once you made that decision it was for LIFE. This was the beginning of my understanding of Yin and Yang, of the balance between good and evil, right and wrong. And for me and millions of others Spurs have always been wrong’uns.

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When I was blessed with Goonerdom it was a time of total THFC dominance (I know … to you younger chaps it is inconceivable!). Spurs were the best there had ever been and I can still recount the entire Spurs team of the early ’60’s. Sadly, but inevitably, a long slide into obscurity followed.

Do you know the last time Spurs won a proper trophy (not the Carabao/MilkToblerone/Disney Cup)? It was in 1991 – 27 years ago. And the one before that? In the early 80’s!!

And they think they are as big a club as the Mighty Arsenal 😀 😀

Their fans are so short of ammunition that they resort to 100+ year old history and complaints about our elevation to the top rank, from which, unlike Spurs, we have never fallen.

Enough of the past, how about today? It should be an enthralling encounter. Spurs on the back of 6 wins including two against decent opposition, us on a run of 18 unbeaten.

We go into a home game as underdogs, a rarity against the Miscreants, especially as we have lost just 2 of the last 14 (thank you GN5).

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I could spend the next few minutes writing about their players, but where is the fun (for me) in that? We know – their fans tell us often enough. Of all of their players the only ones I would want at AFC are Eriksen and maybe a CB to replace Mustafi. The others are all too ugly.

I could also write about their manager, David Wagner, who as an Argentinian is well versed in the dark arts.

As to their fans … they are the only visitors to our ground who regularly damage the stadium, one has to question why they smash a toilet or rip up a seat in the away end – it is not as if a Gooner uses them!

Of course many Spurs fans are reasonable people, and I count many amongst my friends but they have a rotten core, they have been misguided into an awful decision to follow the skinny cock. It has affected them – generations of “almost” would affect anyone.

I think it would be remiss of me not to remind them that “4th is not a trophy and nor is 2nd or 3rd”. A refrain we heard every season for almost 20 years.

So, in a big game who starts for us? Ozil is straight in, as is Terrier and Xhaka. As always we have problems at the back and I would not be surprised to see us line up with the back 3 which won at Bournemouth.

My Team:

Bent

Catwalk    Mustafi   Greek Bloke     Wardrobe

Terrier   Xhaka    Iwobi

   Mesut

Laca   PEA

Emery has a choice and it will be very interesting which direction he takes with the team; will he be pragmatic and look to control the midfield, including an extra MF/CB or will he attack?

I hope he gives it the beans.

As I am sure you know, we start slow, not leading at half-time at all this season, a strange stat. Could we please score early, pretty please?

As always this is a game between Good and Evil, sometimes twice out of 14). Given Spurs excellent form we have cause for concern but we have the tools to win. No place for feint hearts. For Harry, England & St. George etc

A tense afternoon ahead and we can win this.

Let it Be So.

COYRRG