What are we going to do without Hector?

January 22, 2019

It appears that Hector Bellerin has totally knackered his knee .Minimum 6 months out and most probably 9 months.

In my opinion, an in form Hector is an integral part of our team, he provides something no-one else does … pace on the wing. Not just pace but pace allied to excellent close control and an ability to bring others into the game; for a full back, he is an assist master.

Tackling may not be his strong point but we defend better with him in the team as can be seen by our results when he is missing. Sadly, Catwalk is going to be spending his days traveling between the treatment table, the gym and stupidly expensive designer fashion shops.

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Should Mr. Emery buy/loan a replacement or use other members of the squad at right back? Let’s look at the alternatives.

1. Mr Lichtsteiner. As far as I can tell the Swiss Chap has played some role in 17 games, 9 in the PL. Whilst he as been on the pitch we have managed ONE clean sheet (PL). He has yet to perform to the level I expected from a man with his CV and reputation, I like the fellow, he is a master of the Dark Arts, something we have been lacking for many years, but can he really play week in, week out at his age? Does he have the stamina to get forward and back for 90 mins? I doubt it.

2. Mr. Maitland-Niles. Super prospect. Big bloke, strong, energetic, confident, an eye for a pass. In his few games at full back he has yet to make his mark. Let’s face it, the man is a midfielder and is being shoe-horned into a position which he is not qualified for  – yet. I know Flamini managed it a few seasons ago but he was an experienced player, AMN (Cons) is not. However, this is a huge opportunity for Ainsley (who calls their child Ainsley??), one he may well take with both hands.

3. Play a Back 3. I have only one word to say about this …. Mustafi.

4. Sign a loan player. Is there anyone out there who is good enough to immediately fit into our team. If he is, then why would a club allow him a loan loan move in January? Clyne might have worked.

My guess is that Mr. Emery’s solution will be a mixture of all of the above (perhaps not a signing). For him, and for The Arsenal the injury to Bellerin is very unfortunate.

written by BR.

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Things we learnt from the weekend

January 21, 2019

The dust has settled on matchweek 23, so what can we take from the proceedings?

……. Unai Emery took a close look at the way Chelsea play and came up with an excellent way of nullifying their threat. Was this completely by design? Answers on a postcard.

……. The loss of Hector just as he was getting back to full match fitness is a blow. We have other options at right back and between them they will have to take up the slack.

……. The Arsenal players knew the significance of the Chelsea game and you could see they were right up for it. This doesn’t explain how they could have been so unaware of the importance of the game the week before in Stratford. Every single game is worth 3 points, lads. Teams that are going somewhere always realise this week in, week out.

Stuart MacFarlane

…… The Liverpool and Man City juggernauts roll on and it looks a two way fight for top spot. I presume we’d all prefer City to win it just because we’ve got used to them buying the title, so another Champs trophy barely makes any difference. The Mickey Mousers on the other hand…..

…… The spuds spawned yet another injury time win. They’ve had no draws so far, even though they’ve probably deserved at least half a dozen. It appears Rodent-in-Chief, Dele Alli, joined Mr Kane in the sick bay with a hamstring (expect him back in 2 rather than an Arsenal 6 weeks). Their luck must run out sometime as their pool of attacking players dwindles. (Mind you, Llorente did get on the scoresheet)

…… Cardiff, our next League opponents, lost heavily at fellow strugglers Newcastle. Colin W*nker said that losing was not the end of the world. They lack quality up front – the opposite to us.

…… After Man City away, our following fixture is on February 9th at Huddersfield. Let’s hope their new manager is installed well before then so we aren’t on the receiving end of a ‘bounce effect’. Sky Sports thought they’d spotted their new chap in the crowd but it turned out his name was John not Jan.

……. The red mancs gained their 7th straight win since OGS took over. The run has to end sometime!

chas


Arsenal’s most important player this season is _______?

January 10, 2019

This question was posed on twitter by @ltarsenal and some of the replies were quite surprising, so why not have a crack at it on here while we wait for the weekend?

Runners and Riders (in no particular order)

Rob Holding

Many were surprised when Calum C went out on loan before the season started and a certain lad we bought from Bolton for a £2m was chosen to stay and develop at his home club.  His play this season has been a revelation. Cool, composed, able to bring the ball forward and with an eye for a pass, too. Some might say our defence looking decidely ropey has coincided with his absence.

Lucas Torreira

Eased in slowly frustrating Arsenal fans at the start of the season, Lucas began by making top notch contributions from the bench before getting his starting berth. Perhaps, if LBG is correct and he’s been moved further forward in Unai’s recent formations, his effectiveness has been slightly lessened when not sat right in front of the back four receiving and destroying.

Alex Lacazette

Many replies on twitter mentioned Laca. He is a fans’ favourite and certainly brings an aggressiveness and work rate which often seem responsible for lifting the whole shooting match. Less goals than Auba from perhaps more chances but he’s often won back possession from his feisty closing down (and given away a few free kicks into the bargain!).

Granit Xhaka

To some, Granit’s inclusion in this list would be the biggest shock but he does seem Unai’s first name on the teamsheet in many respects. When we are playing well, he does seem the centre of the well-oiled machine. Countless accurate passes and an ability to switch play others lack. Detractors would say ‘yes, but how many of those passes actually achieve anything’.  Then again, all teams require water carriers, ask Gilberto.

Hector Bellerin

When he’s missing from the team, you do start to realise how important he is on the right side. Still not the finest defender in the world but such a talent on the ball. Arsenal’s right flank without the Catwalk king and, to a lesser extent Micki, has been a little lacking in punch, drive and creativity.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang

Goals from nowhere, some have suggested we’d be floating just below mid-table without Auba’s 14 goals. His strike record in October/November was simply stunning, scoring from virtually all of his shots on target. A fair few of his goals have come when he’s made an entrance off the bench. Some point out his lack of fire, Laca style, but maybe that isn’t the quality he was bought for.

I’m not sure if anyone else should be regarded as a contender.

What do you think? Could you make a case for someone not listed above.

Mesut anyone?

chas


Is Lichtsteiner the solution to the Bellerin conundrum?

August 28, 2018

Following we have two respected AAers coming to very similar conclusions re: Hector and Stephan. Could this work?

First up, your Copenhagen correspondent……..

Torn apart down the right flank by a very average team. Bellerin struggling. Mustafi and GB too far apart and outpaced.

It is becoming a familiar pattern.

To be fair to Bellerin, he was playing against a very good winger in Antonio and Arnautovic’s movement can cause problems for most defences. Also, as we can see from the graphic below (thank you FGG) UE set up the team so that Bellerin spent most of the game in WHU’s half.

I find this graphic very interesting. Look at the midfield and how compact we are.  Douzi and Xhaka occupy the same area giving Hector no assistance.

I know that Emery is averse to playing a back 3 and prefers the 4-3-2-1 but unless the midfield shield Bellerin we will continue to struggle.

My question is this … If Emery wants Bellerin to play as an attacking right sided MF and almost as a right winger, then why not bring Lichtsteiner in to play at RB? Drop a MF – we do not need Mhiki, Iwobi, Ramsey, Douzi and Xhaka all occupying a narrow space and keep Hector forward, allowing him to protect the Swiss chap, I seem to recall AW doing that by bringing Eboue into midfield.

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Or do we just rely on scoring more than the opposition?

N.B. I know very little about tactics, formations and all that stuff, so the above could be total cobblers. Also, I quite enjoy shouting at the television when a simple lofted ball allows an attacker to go one on one with Cech. 😀

written by Big Raddy

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Followed swiftly by our Devonian dissector…….

I believe it was LB who once posted this:

……………LACA

AUBA…….MESUT……???

My guess was that the question marks highlighted the lack of a naturally fast right sided attacker.

Ok, the next bit, and this pains me somewhat.

I now have to give credit to a grown up gentleman who I know sits high in East Upper and spends the majority of the ninety minutes putting two Cheesy Wotsits up either nostril, one in each ear, then carefully arranging one Smokey Bacon flavoured Hula Hoop onto the tip of each finger before slowly consuming each salty snack, but here’s the rub, only someone in attendance could have made this comment:

Ants says:
August 26, 2018 at 6:28pm

In the warm up, Bellerin was being passed balls on the right hand side of the box to control and then use to find a runner in the middle. It was exactly as happened for the 1st and 3rd goals.

So there we have it. Goals win games. Bell set up two, while probably being responsible for conceding the one at the wrong end. How about leaving the fashionista up top with the good players and sticking Licht (who can defend) at the back where he belongs?

written by mickydidit89

Two Arsenal problems solved

November 11, 2016

 

“One can’t judge Wagner’s opera Lohengrin after a first hearing, and I certainly don’t intend hearing it a second time” –Rossini.

Just two problems, you may ask. Well yes, at the moment, because I’m not including the possibility that Sanchez plays against Uruguay and will therefore be fit to face Utd.

Right then, my two problems. Hector is out of action, and we have no position for Ramsey.

The solution is to go 3-5-2. Chelsea have a new continental manager with sensitive hair, and lo, he has transformed their season since going all Juve on them. For us, Monreal could snuggle up to Kos and Must at the back. Gibbs can charge up and down the left, which brings us to the right.

Some say Aaron is a Santi stand in. No he isn’t. Just not cultured enough as a footballer. Some say he is a Mesut stand in. No he isn’t. We’d be better off changing the system altogether and doing away with a No 10. You need Godlike skill to make that role work. Some say Aaron played well there for Wales. Wales?? Really?? They are a second division team who play in tournaments where the quality is so appallingly low that only third rate managers submit job applications. Any top flight club would win a Euros without breaking sweat.

Now the good news. I do have an excellent role for Aaron. Right side in the mid 5. Great engine, good crosser.

Soooo, we have our back three, our two flankers, Coq with Mesut and Santi either side and a front two of Sanchez and Theo.

 

…………Sanchez    Theo

Gibbs  Santi  Coq  Mesut    Aaron

……….Mon  Kos  Must

…………..Petr

 

It is possible you are still wondering about the relevance of the opening quotation. The answer is none whatsoever. Read it last night. Liked it.

written by MickyDidit


Arsenal’s Most Valuable

September 30, 2016

A couple of seasons ago, I penned a post making the case for Theo being our most valuable player.

It stated that I didn’t think he was our best player in any particular position, rather that he was the most irreplaceable because of the threat he posed an opposition defence, and hence the value.

This summer saw us make some great signings right the way down the spine of the team. Of course we haven’t seen too much of Lucas Perez, but that is more to do with Arsene’s juggling of the pack across the front.

Right now, Arsenal are playing the best football we have witnessed in many years, however, one thing is for certain, both injuries and fatigue will come, and then we’ll see the real strength of the squad.

We have been watching what many would consider our best starting XI, and equally, many will be nervously thinking about where it will go wrong. Therefore, I’d love to hear your thoughts on where you see our Achilles heel.

The little I saw of Holding fills me with enormous confidence, and I also have a sneaky suspicion Gabriel might come good in the same way Laurent did, meanwhile the defensive side of midfield looks to me our strongest area.

My own view on Aaron differs to some regulars on here in that I don’t see him as a specialist in any role of our current system, however, he is a superb multi-functional stand in for a number of roles. I remember how last season we played arguably our best two games with Aaron on the right.

Strangely, and here you’ll think I’m being wildly optimistic, I fear injury to Mesut less than before as I believe Iwobi would do a more than adequate job standing in for an unreplaceable.

If I had to pick one player to represent that bit of Achilles, then it would be Bellerin.

What do you think?

Written by mickydidit89


Your choice of first names on the Arsenal team sheet ….. Poll

March 18, 2016

 

We have been underperforming as a team for some time. Few if any of our players could be described as being in top form. The signs against Barcelona were encouraging and we certainly didn’t disgrace ourselves – but two of the best performers (Elneny and Iwobi) weren’t what you might consider to be first team regulars yet.

Is the problem more to do with the team than the individuals, or is it that the players aren’t taking enough individual responsibility? A player can only be his best when others around him are also on top of their game, so clearly the two are interdependent. A team that is performing well can carry a couple of players who are below par, but a single player cannot carry a whole team unless he is a truly exceptional leader – and I don’t think we have anyone of that character in the squad. The team ethic is paramount.

One mark of a good side is actually knowing what your strongest eleven is and getting the best blend of players to gel into an effective team.

So I got to wondering how many of the currently available players would be categorised as ‘first names on the team sheet’.

Not enough is my answer!

These are the outfield players I would categorise as ‘must play’ in the important game ahead against Everton – there are only 6!

Koscielny, Bellerin, Elneny, Monreal, Ozil and Welbeck

That leaves 4 positions where I can’t see a clear first choice – and apart from the one CB, they are all in midfield/attacking midfield. The emergence of Iwobi as a ‘proper Arsenal player’ is one of the highlights of the season and I’d also play him on Saturday although he features just below my ‘must play’ rating.

How many and who would be your ‘must start’ players against Everton?

You can choose up to 10 (goalkeepers are not included) in the poll below and then review the results later in the day to see whether others agree.

Rasp