Arsenal to Park The Bus?

February 15, 2017

I should be excited as we go to play one of the very best teams in one of the best stadiums  in the world, I’m not. Is this CL fatigue, Arsenal fatigue, same old same old or something deeper – perhaps a winter depression? Who knows, all I know is that I’m not as passionate about tonight as I should be.

Last night didn’t help; to see the best team of my lifetime, Barca, humbled by a team we drew with twice (luckily!!) was a sign not just of the inevitable atrophy of life but also the end of another era, and I have only a few more eras left! A depressing thought.

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Let’s be honest, the vast majority of us hope only that Arsenal can fight hard and return with the second leg being competitive. If we score then that must be possible and score we can.

Bayern Munich are not unbeatable and if we had a fully functioning first 11 in good form I would expect us to win. Instead we have to be pragmatic and this is where Micky’s BM line up will come to the fore. Coquelin is not good enough or strong enough to combat BM’s midfield, he will need help, a lot of it.

We have beaten City  and BD  playing conservative tactics, rope-a-dope works sometimes (thankfully not often). Will Mr Wenger PTB? Doubtful.

My Team:

Ospina

Bellerin       Mustafi      Koscielny     Monreal

Xhaka     Elneny     Coquelin

Ozil

Welbeck     Sanchez

Of course AW will not play the above, he will start Theo ahead of Danny and almost certainly Iwobi ahead of Elneny, but we can hope.

Much has been written about Ozil, little of it good, but we all know that if there was a combined AFC/BM team only 2 or 3 of our lads would start and Ozil is one of them. He is German Player of the Year and has been  for 5 of the last 6 years. He is not a bottler, he is just a man out of form and we all know, form is temporary, class is permanent.

Arjen Robben may start tonight; what an objectionable cheating arse he is, for a man who has as much talent as any footballer on the planet, why does he have to be so objectionable? Hope he gets Xhaka’ed early..

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Thinking of which, if he starts this is a huge game for Xhaka. Get sent off tonight and his Arsenal career is deeply in doubt, we cannot play top teams with 10 men. Has he learned his lesson? Can he be as effective without a bit of spite? Vieira learned it and became a legend.

This could be Mr Wenger’s last CL campaign, he deserves a signature victory and tonight would certainly be one.

Can we win? Why not.

COYRRG


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

 


Gunners sting Hornets and Xhaka can!!!

August 28, 2016

A confident Arsenal performance was too much for Watford as Granit Xhaka put in a man of the match performance on a warm afternoon in Hertfortshire.

Much of the talk en route to the game was of incoming transfers as Arsenal have raided La Liga with the signings of Lucas Perez and World Cup Winner Shkodran Mustafi. Fans were then delighted to hear of the news that Mustafi’s compatriot Mesut Ozil was named to make his first start of the season.
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The Arsenal away fans were in full voice yet again showing their fantastic support despite the negativity around the around the club in recent weeks.

The game kicked off and Arsenal came flying out of the blocks with Alexis looking lively and the Gunners using the flanks to exploit Watford’s weaknesses. Granit Xhaka was starting to impose himself on the game and fans were purring at his range of passing. One fan commented that the boy is “different gravy.” The talk in the stands was that the fans were pleased to see Granit put his foot in and stamp his authority in midfield.

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Arsenal’s fast paced start was rewarded as Alexis was clattered and Santi Cazorla stepped up to take a penalty. He sent Gomes the wrong way and 1-0 to The Arsenal as the fans were singing Cazorla’s name.

Arsenal then controlled the game with Xhaka’s passing combined with the movement of the Arsenal attacking players causing all sorts of problems. Walcott was then denied by Gomes with a low effort assisted by the the impressive Cazorla. The noisy away support were then shouting obscenities at referee Kevin Friend and when he booked Prodl it was greeted with sarcastic applause.

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Arsenal were bamboozling their opponents  but Watford did try to get rewarded by floating in crosses for Deeney and the dangerous Ighalo. Arsenal fans at this point were seething especially at Bellerin and Monreal claiming they were not going out to stop crosses. Cech had to be alert saving from a defected effort. Arsenal then looked to  ramp up the pressure and on 40 minutes a lovely cross from Theo Walcott was met by Alexis whose effort was over the line to send the Arsenal fans in raptures.

Then on the stroke of half time Alexis turned provider and fan favourite Mesut Ozil headed home a lovely move and Arsenal supporters were jumping for joy and the deafening chant broker out- “We got Ozil! Mesut Ozil! I just don’t think you understand!” Half time and Arsenal were cruising to their first win of the season. Arsenal were brilliant but the name on everyones lips was Granit Xhaka. My friend came to me from the lower row to tell me that Granit was running the show  and at 23 years of age he was showing so much maturity.
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The second half began and Watford were trying to restore some pride. Arsenal though took their foot off the gas and Watford then scored through Pereya with a close effort. Arsenal fans were complaining about the players failing to clear their lines and that if they got another one then it would be squeaky bum time. Some fans to the right had some toilet roll which was taken from the toilets and wanted to throw in the air at the right moment with a young fan claiming “this used to happen in the seventies!”

Arsenal were then hanging on as Cech made a save from Holebas and later made a fantastic double save showing his goalkeeping prowess. Troy Deeney looked like he was still on his holidays with a fan next to me eluding to the fact that he was 55 and not as fat as Troy Deeney. He commented that “he looked like a Sunday league player!” The same fan was enjoying himself and amusing the other Arsenal supporters around him as he then mocked Isaac Success who came on for Watford stating players have funny names now and that he has not joined the right club if he wants “success!”

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Mohammed Elneny, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs then came on to shore things up but Ighalo had a chance late on when his spectacular bicycle kick was over the bar. Arsenal saw the game out and secured their first win of the season.

The away support was unbelievable yet again and as fans were leaving the stands Granit Xhaka was being praised for a masterclass performance. The passing was sublime and he made some snapping tackles which made the supporters happy and feeling we have a player who will give us the bite in midfield.

Still work to be done but a big win and we look forward to the home match against Southampton after the international break.

If anyone can, Xhaka can! Up the Arsenal!!!

Written by Sir A

 


Arsenal’s Precise Swiss Timepiece

August 4, 2016

I think it was Arsene Wenger who said that our Swiss recruit, Granit Xhaka, would “set the tempo” for Arsenal. Last night I watched a short youtube piece on his contribution in the MLS game, and I think see what Arsene was on about.

GXOver the last ten years or so, I’d say there are three players who I feel we missed out on big time, in that they were the rare type of player that would make a huge difference to OUR style of play. Top of that list is Alonso.

You can’t say that he is the best of anything, whether tackler, dribbler, passer, interceptor, leader, headerer (ok you get my drift), but he always was a superb “timepiece”. Everything he did was perfectly timed. Whether at Liverpool, Real Madrid or at Bayern, he would “set the tempo” of the whole side.

I think Granit has the same qualities. The movement into space, the pass, the tackle, everything perfectly synchronized to the needs of the team at any one precise moment. Cool and highly efficient.

As far back as Gilberto, we have lacked smooth lubricating oil at the heart of the machine.

The Chinese make cheap, shitty little timepieces that do the job but fall apart when asked the big questions. The Swiss make timeless quality pieces. I think Granit will make a massive contribution to the heartbeat of the side this season.

MickDidIt89


Fabregas: Did Wenger make a mistake?

June 20, 2016

I know we have done this to death a couple of seasons ago with the general consensus being that he is “dead to us” but ….  during the Euros, is Fabregas showing us what we have lost?

Let’s compare is work with Aaron Ramsey.  Fabregas controls the pace of the team through his positioning and passes, Ramsey doesn’t. I realise they are not the same type of player but they do play in the same position and carry the same responsibilities. Which player has more influence? Sadly, you know the answer.

Or was it Little Jack Wilshere  (see, I can spell kelsey) who was the player whom AW thought would be better than Fab? Surely not. JW is a little magician but he is simply not in the same class as Cesc.

Or Ozil, though they are very different players and operate in different areas of the pitch. Imagine the two of them orchestrating the Arsenal team – would we have fared better over the past 2 seasons?

My guess is that it was Cazorla whom Mr Wenger thought was a better choice than Fabregas, in this he is mistaken. Cazorla is  undoubtedly a wonderful player however Del Bosque,who knows both players well, chooses Cesc every time.

Spain have been the best attacking team in the Euro’s and Fabregas is an integral part of their midfield. Had we re-signed Cesc he would have combined wonderfully with Cazorla and made us a better team.

Mr Wenger made his decision and Cesc was forced to sign for a morally bankrupt club guiding them to the title in his first season

BUT ….

The Euro’s have also given us our first view of Mr Wenger’s next Arsenal playmaker, Granit Xhaka. Xhaka’s stats are impressive, very impressive. The way he controls the tempo and direction of play from a defensive position is reminiscent of the Great Man, PV4. Only Pogba in the modern game holds a candle to Vieiera but nonetheless Xhaka in combination with Santi, Ramsey, Wilshere, Elneny, Ox or Coquelin could be a winning midfield.

Cesc was the past and in my opinion should have been the present but Xhaka is the future and the future is looking bright (assuming we buy an extraordinarily expensive striker)

written by Big Raddy


Pl 6 W5 D1 L0. Our Boys in France.

June 13, 2016

First to kick off at the Euros were The FP and Koscielny. Both had fine games with OG scoring the opening goal of the tournament, a classic centre forward’s headed goal. Given the pressure under which Giroud plays in France he must have left the pitch highly satisfied. Koscielny played as he does for Arsenal, with calm efficiency.

Aaron Ramsey: I like his hair colour – it makes him  very easy to identify. Ramsey had a strange game. Started in the number 10 role playing high up the pitch yet as the game progressed moved deeper and deeper. In the second half he was in his Arsenal position which is all over the place.

It would be an exaggeration to say Ramsey dominated the game but he was influential. Next up England where he will hopefully kick lumps out of TotEngland.

Granit Xhaka: Our first view of him as an Arsenal player. I suggested his play was similar to Elneny insomuch as he can break up play but also move forward to assist the attack and predicted a season on the bench for Coquelin. LB’s wrote “To me he looks like a straight swap for Arteta: plays deep, accurate passing, will link the defence with the attack as well as Arteta at his best, expected a tad more defensively and for that I can see slightly more of a time share with Coquelin.”

We shall see.

Wilshire: England kicked off without Jack! It was clear to see how much they improved when he came on. The media are raving about the quality of the England performance – I have no idea why apart from trying to keep interest in the team and tournament. How many chances did they create for the “lethal” Harry Kane? How could Hodgson keep a poor Sterling on the pitch with Vardy on the bench?  Against a poor Russia team a draw was Spursy.

Szczesny. Clean sheet, made a couple of fine saves. Didn’t have much to do in a game totally dominated by Poland but what he had to do he did with aplomb.

Ozil: Mesut was fairly anonymous but created a last minute goal for Schweini. As always the oil in the German attack, he rarely gave up the ball and unusually played the whole game.

So…. our boys result so far.  Played 6 W5 D1 L0.

Cech, Rosicky, Bellerin all play today (if selected).