Stoke Pre-Match. Lee Mason?

December 10, 2016

To say I dislike Mark Hughes would be like describing  the size of the planet Jupiter as being bigger than a dog. I don’t like the cut of his jib. You can tell much about the man by his football philosophy – this is a chap who can take the wonderful artistry of Shaqiri and turn him into yet another water carrier. Stoke are a club where the manager’s personality reflects the club itself (as does ours, of course).

Just in case you forget, ask Ramsey and Debuchy what they think about Stoke’s physical approach.

But, their recent results are good, since September Stoke’s results would have them in 4th place in the PL, above the Mighty Totts. They have won 5 of the last 7 games.

We are on  quite a good run ourselves, unbeaten in the league since the opening day blip and scoring 9 goals in our last 2 games.

This is our third game in 8 days so we can expect rotation.

My Team.

Cech

Gabriel     Mustafi    Koscielny     Monreal

Xhaka    Coquelin     Ox

Theo    Alexis     Mesut

Not easy to get the midfield correct. AW loves Coquelin and he is rested after missing the midweek victory, so I expect to see him start. Xhaka is the sort of chap we need to fight the Orcs but I fear he may retaliate – perhaps he is better coming off the bench, but what the heck, let’s see if he can show grace under fire.

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Warning. Today’s referee is Lee Mason. A man who is so stupid he cannot see the continuous rotational fouling Stoke use against AFC. This is a chap whom Alan Green (who knows a thing or two about football) calls “the worst referee in the PL”. A man who gives our players a yellow card for every 2 fouls and every 9 fouls for the opposition. I suppose it adds to the spectacle 😀

Stoke have yet to win at The Emirates. The run needs to continue.


What is wrong with Xhaka?

November 26, 2016

Just a quickie.

My guess is that if you were to ask 100 Gooners whether Xhaka would start against PSG, well over 90 would have said “Yes”. So, why didn’t Mr Wenger agree? The simple answer is that I have no idea! However, as we need a post I will make some suggestions.

  1. Against PSG Mr. Wenger wanted to give Ramsey a role further forward, not on the left or right wings and more central. However, AW does not believe Xhaka can curb his attacking instincts and required a more disciplined DM. Coquelin is the obvious choice.
  2. Xhaka is still on the naughty step. Perhaps he is lethal on the training pitch and AW was concerned that the diving (and combative) PSG midfield would have encouraged GX’s aggressive tendencies.
  3. In training the Xhaka/Ramsey axis simply doesn’t work. It looks fine on paper and many pundits have predicted they are the future for AFC, but in a recent game Elneny was chosen ahead of GX which raises some questions. One of which is where does Elneny fit in?
  4. It seems as though Mr Wenger’s first choice midfield is Cazorla and Coquelin, when Santi returns where does Xhaka fit in? Can Xhaka and Santi combine or is this too attacking?
  5. Mr Wenger was disappointed by GX’s very quiet performance against Spurs, a game of great importance in which he was anonymous and unable to  have a real influence. With both MU and PSG he wanted more experienced players (like Iwobi!)

We have yet to see the best of our second most expensive signing. I am excited to see how good he is as the portents are very good. He can shoot which it a major positive. Like Fabregas, he can control the tempo of the Arsenal attack, picking up the ball from deep and using both short and long passes to change the focus of attack.

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Mr. Wenger when questioned about Xhaka’s absence replied that he needs time to adapt to the PL. Strange that Mustafi doesn’t need the same bedding in!

If you were to ask 100 Gooners if Xhaka will start tomorrow I guess over 90 will say “Yes”. We could be wrong.

written by Big Raddy

 


A Last Hurrah.

May 15, 2016

Final PM of the season and Your Foreign Correspondent is away on manoeuvres, but being a man with a sense of duty this post is being written before WHU (hopefully) beat MU .

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Villa come to the Emirates after what must be their worst season in living memory. 3 managers , 3 wins all season, the draw with N’castle gave them their first point in 10 games. An angry fanbase, an owner who lives 5 thousand miles away and doesn’t appear to give a damn, players who are equally dispassionate, It is a shambles.

Could Villa win today?

They better not!!

I have no doubt Villa will be looking for a battling performance after all these are professional men playing for their careers. Some who are at the end of their contracts will be desperate to show they have value, others, like Lescott and Abangymethingy are already multi-millionaires and perhaps not so committed but this afternoon will not be an easy victory – we will have to play well to win.

Pressure. Can this Arsenal team respond to pressure? Well, we are on a unbeaten 9 game PL run, have shown character to come back from losing positions against MC, WHU and Spurs, so the answer should be Yes.

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The Last time we played AV on our Final game of the Season

A huge fillip is the return of our midfield, any team would struggle without such vital players. That said, as soon as a few come back a couple of England Internationals get long-term injuries!

We all know the value of 3 points today especially if The Miscreants fail up at St. James Pk. How funny would that be?  😀

The team: I would start the same chaps who got the draw at City with Ozil replacing Welbz.

Cech

Bellerin     Gabriel      Koscielny     Monreal

Ramsey      Elneny     Iwobi/Wilshere

Sanchez     Giroux     Ozil

Given how important Mr Wenger views the Euro’s I would not be surprised to see Wilshere start in place of Iwobi allowing Ramsey to play further forward.

Coquelin: Is he on the naughty step? He is fit so why isn’t he starting? He has gone from being one of the first names on the team sheet to riding the pine without any discernible reason.

I am sure Santi will get some pitch time in order for the fans to show their love. Rumours are that he is off in summer though my hope is that he continues to entertain us for a couple more seasons.

No excuses – we have to win this afternoon. The tough work was done up in Manchester now the lads have to finish their season in style.

Let it be so …

p.s. This being my final pre-match of an exciting campaign may I take this opportunity to thank all those who have read my views and contributed to the discussions.

COYRRG


Cazorla a huge miss.

April 14, 2016

Once again our season has been blighted by injuries; almost every player has been out of the side for chunks of time but whose injury has had the most influence?

I would say without doubt it is Cazorla.

We all love our little Spanish genius but it is not just his smile we have missed it is also his ability. Just watch the video below

 

When Mr Wenger started the season with Santi alongside Coquelin as our defensive shield my (and many others) reaction was bewilderment – how could this attacking midget act as DM? He answered us by playing his exuberant shimmy-shammy skills closer to his own gaol and setting up the attacking play from deeper. He was a revelation and we looked as though the title was ours for the taking.

With Santi and Cazorla in tandem we gained 23 points from 11 games, without them 36 from 22 –  a potential loss of 10 points. Our goal ratio has also plummeted.

Perhaps we were not as tight at the back, though the goals against since his injury may tell a different story.

In my opinion, the midfield of Ramsey, Cazorla and Coquelin remains our best trio (though Elneny looks the nuts). Had all three played the full season we would be Champions, wouldn’t we?

written by Big Raddy


A warm wind of change blows through Arsenal’s midfield

January 16, 2016

Will Mohamed Elneny or El Niño as Big Raddy has appropriately tagged him, breathe a warm wind of change through Arsenal’s midfield?

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He is a player of whom Arsene Wenger has high hopes.

Make no mistake, Elneny has not been brought in to warm the bench despite what some may describe as being a bit on the  ‘cheap’ side. His ability to defend and bring the ball forward together with his tenacity in the tackle and accurate distribution mean that Elneny will be serious competition to Coquelin when he returns to full fitness.

Arsene has already stated that because he has played in Europe Elneny should be ready for the EPL and we expect to see him on the bench against Stoke – or he may even start?

Is this because Flamini is running out of steam, or because time has caught up with Arteta? My guess is yes.

Arsene loves to attack, Elneny always look to pass the ball forward, he is an archetypal Wenger signing. No one had high expectations of Koscielny when he arrived, he is now arguably the best centre back in the EPL.

So expect great things from our new signing. Expect him to impress from the off and to be an ever present influence in our quest for the title.

Rasp


Coquelin’s Night.

October 20, 2015

MWG. I could stop here, couldn’t I? Having spent three days of almost constant vodka drinking it may be for the best but such a peach of a game deserves more.

Tonight’s match is everything we long for as football fans. An evening kick-off at home against probably the best team in the world. Our team is in good form, we have few injuries, the weather looks clement, the pitch is perfect, we have the chance to see Lewandowski and his pals try to repeat recent victories at The Emirates. It should be a great game.

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One major difference between our 0-2 loss last time out is our goalkeeper. TPIG/Fabianski or Cech for an important CL game – who would you pick? Though to be fair TPIG was sent off thanks to a Robben dive.

Team selection will be interesting; OG or Theo or both? BFG or Gabriel?

I would start with Theo and continue the successful policy of bringing on OG for the final 20 minutes (should we need goals). Walcott is in the best run of form of his AFC career and pace is more likely to cause BM problems than OG’s more ponderous play.

Gabriel may be more suited to playing against Muller and Lewandowski but BFG has the nous and we will need his experience (plus he can understand what the opposition players are saying to each other!)

Big night for Ozil. He was poor when we played BM last time. I wonder whether he would rather be playing for the opposition tonight? This is no throw away question, my guess is that any German player wants to play for BM just as any Spanish player would like to play for RM or Barca; this is not the case in the PL where we have no stand-out club.

If we are to win sound defence is essential. We are potent upfront and in good goal-scoring form. Total concentration and no mistakes from the back 5 please – none of that silly stuff we have seen in the previous two CL games.

Did you read that Mr Wenger is in the list of 10 managers who can win the the Ballon D’Or ? So too, is Guardiola. Guardiola’s BM contract runs out at the end of next season – as does someone elses. Co-incidence?

The Bayern team is full of big names, thankfully Robben, Goetze and Ribery are unfit but BM don’t seem to be affected by the loss of two wonderful players.

Coquelin will have fun tonight. Vidal, Xabi Alonso, Alcantara and Costa are somewhat different opponents to the chaps at Watford and Leicester! I am really looking forward to seeing how he copes with this challenge and judge just how far his game has progressed. Discipline will be important – his habit of picking up silly yellow cards could become costly. It is amazing that Coquelin has become such an important cog in the team, long may his development continue.

As regulars know I am a huge fan of Aaron Ramsey. His goal at the weekend could be the start of a return to his form in front of goal which has been so sadly lacking of late. Add a few more and he is amongst the best MF’s in the PL.

No point writing about the effect a draw/loss would have upon our CL future, we all know the situation.

On a personal note, should we lose tonight it will result in another season with no Raddy/Didit tour – for that reason alone I am desperate for a win.

I cannot say I am confident but I do give us a fighting chance. Arsenal are a bloody good side when we are on form and we are in the midst of a good spell. Play like we did against MU and we can win.

Football is all about Glory. A win tonight would be Glorious!


Arsenal AGM. Bloody furious.

October 16, 2015

What am I so damn cross about? Well pretty much everything.

Shareholders.

Who the hell do some of you think you are? Reckon you have rights or something? Seriously, Stan owns the place that he bought with his money, not yours, and he can do whatever he bloody well likes. Do you honestly think anyone up there yesterday was actually going to answer your stupid questions and reveal anything not already in the public domain? Jeepers.

Board/Management

We are not ‘effing interested in the ‘effing finances. Don’t care how bloody marvellous you have been throughout a difficult time, but most of all, don’t ever tell us that qualifying for the Champions League is  good for the purposes of repaying debt. We don’t give a shit. We’re interested in the football and what happens on the pitch.

It’s marvellous news that for 18 months we can compete, and that Alexis, Mesut and Cech prove this. Equally fabulous, that the manager has the backing of the board to compete in the market.

So don’t bloody well give the impression we have to prioritise any one competition. Of course we should never enter the bloody League Cup or whatever it’s called these days, or The Europa should we ever sink that low.

I mean, do you really think that ever once, at any point in Utd’s history under Ferguson they’d be allowed to walk onto the pitch with either their fans, or the opposition players, getting even the slightest whiff Utd weren’t that bothered?

Come on, prove me wrong. Sanchez, Theo, Mesut and Coquelin against Bayern and let’s show ‘em.

MickkyDidIt89


Arsenal show their class

October 5, 2015

First and foremost – excellent win 🙂

Second – what a scintillating first half – not only because of the goals and the chances and the fluid play but because for the first time in years (2004), I have seen a team of hungry players ready to fight from beginning to the end to get a result.

Third – Although it is hard to admit, Ramsey is proving to be our best player on the right flank despite the fact that he is even better in the centre of the pitch.

Fourth – Sanchez is back and Walcott is having a good time playing up front.

Fifth – When Coquelin and Cazorla step up their game defensively, our team just oozes confidence and flair.

Sixth – Ozil can be a real class act for us if he plays like yesterday day in day out.

Seventh – LVG got it all wrong tactially. I mean – why would he leave Schnederlin (his best DM) on the bench?

Eighth – Cech has again done us favours thanks to his saves 🙂

Ox and Giroud are good to come from the bench when we lead because they add steel and also Ox, when given space, is just outstanding.

Now – let us not get over excited and let us not talk about EPL title because we are far from being a consitantly good team…However, given the fact that City, Chelsea, Utd, Liverpool are struggling to keep form as well, this may be a good year to step up our game…

COYG!

Written by RC78


Are we asking too much of Francis Coquelin?

August 18, 2015

There is no doubt that since his recall from loan at Charlton Athletic Francis Coquelin had a great impact on the team.

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Playing as the long awaited defensive mid-fielder, he has helped stabilise the centre of our team. He is very good at breaking up opposition attacks, winning back the ball and playing simple but telling passes to our more offensively minded mid-fielders.

Having joined Arsenal in July 2008 he got a few games during that season and became a regular in the Reserves the following season 2009/10. He also played in the League and FA cups without really distinguishing himself. He then opted to go out on loan and played for Lorient, for the whole of the 2010/11 season before returning to Arsenal where he made his debut for the first team in the 8 – 2 defeat by Manchester United. At the end of the 2012/13 season he went out on loan again this time to Freiburg and then on to Charlton Athletic. At this stage it did not look as though he had much of a future at Arsenal.

Since his recall last in December 2014 he has been a revelation, playing in the most difficult position he has become an “ever present” and established himself as one of the top defensive mid-fielders in the Premiership.

Playing in the centre of the field as he does, there is a fine line between winning the ball with a clean tackle and being a fraction of a second late thereby “catching” the player and receiving a yellow card.

His position is made harder by the fact that Arsene Wenger’s choice of Santi Cazorla as his partner leaves too much for him to do. Santi is a wonderful player but is not the most defensively minded of characters and too often drifts too far forward leaving Coquelin to fight the fires behind him alone.

We have an excellent array of gifted, attacking mid-fielders, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Oxlade-Chamberlain and, when fit, Wilshere. The temptation to fit in as many as possible seems to be too great for Wenger to resist. Consequently we see too often Coquelin fighting a lone battle in mid-field and picking up yellow cards on too many occasions. Sunday’s game against Crystal Palace being a case in point, only a surprisingly lenient referee allowed him to remain on the pitch to commit a further series of fouls even after being booked.

If the present situation is allowed to continue opposing players will start to look for opportunities to go down at the merest touch and Coquelin will become a card magnet.

Last season the manager introduced a slightly more pragmatic approach to defending, the result being a fine run into third position in the league and another FA Cup triumph. Perhaps it’s now time to take a step further and sacrifice one of the attacking mid-fielders in favour of, perhaps, Mikel Arteta to play alongside Coquelin.

Written by Norfolk Gooner.


Arsenal win – Coq the enforcer

April 12, 2015

If this match report was written on a need to know basis then all you need to know is that Arsenal won which takes our win tally to eight in a row. Right that’s that, shall we get onto the more interesting part and talk more about Coquelin?

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Yay, don’t you find now when you watch him you can savour his timely interceptions more and more; he just gets better and better the more you watch and the more I watch, and I certainly was yesterday, the more I realise how much more he is starting to add to his game. Obviously not content with the accolade of becoming the best ball winner in Europe he is now beginning to improve his passing game both short and long range. In brief he is starting to spray the ball around with confidence and accuracy and that bodes well for his future because the lack of that skill was the only reason for Wenger to consider an upgrade in the summer.

OK, if I must, I will talk about the game, Arsenal beat Burnley away, is that big news? Nope, the only way this report was going to get read by more than three people and Chas’ cat was if we lost and we didn’t so here we are.

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It was a comfortable victory in the kind of way that for  most of the game I wished we had scored a second goal. At one nil there was always that nagging doubt running through my mind that all this lot need is a bit of luck and we would be in the brown stuff. But fortunately, as we know, that didn’t happen and we got more proof that the gods are all Arsenal supporters, as if we really needed that confirming.

Ramsey on the right, really? This smacks of trying to maintain a political harmony rather than being ruthless in the team selection. Yes, he scored the winning goal and that should not be scoffed at but on the wing when we have Welbeck and Walcott on the bench and we were crying out for pace down that flank.

Back to Coquelin, OK, enough already. The good guys did us proud again and I am very happy with the points and the performance. Is it just me or are there others who are starting to spend slightly longer and longer looking at the league table, I mean how many times did you look before Christmas? Once, twice – per month, tops, now I sneak a peak twice a day.

QPR won last week could they just do it again, come on you “R”s

Written by LB