Everton. A Chance to say Goodbye?

May 21, 2017

Will this be the final time Alexis and Mesut grace Islington’s most sacred turf? Hope not , but if it is let’s win this afternoon with the style and brio they have both brought to the Arsenal.

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Everton are a good team and Koeman has done well to keep them in the mix until the last month or so, they will finish in 7th at least 14 points ahead of 8th. With a much smaller budget than the Top 6 it would be fair to say, they have comfortably won League 2 of the PL. Whether they can push on is doubtful without massive investment.

Everton will be no push-overs, they are good all over the pitch and AFC will have to play well to secure the points. This being the case I do not think AW will rest his best players ahead of Wembley.

My Team:

Cech

Holding     Mustafi    Monreal

Bellerin   Ramsey   Xhaka     Gibbs

Ozil      Sanchez

Welbeck

Such a pity Ox is injured as he adds a better attacking punch than Bellerin but Hector is a wonderful replacement and gives the immature Holding fine back-up. Ramsey wasn’t as crocked as I feared, Kos is still a doubt, the rest pick themselves. Apart from upfront where despite the gulf in the goal stats I still prefer Welbeck to the FFP. Why? Movement. Versus Boro we looked so much better when Iwobi and Welbz came on as subs.

Thinking Iwobi, AW has to find a place in the first team for this young fellow, the man is just terrific and probably the man to take Sanchez’ or Ozil’s shirt when they leave.

I hate the end of the season. I need the weekly injection of football in my life. What happens in the close season? Gossip, speculation and fantasising (and in my case a long sun-filled holiday in Italy). Thankfully, unlike our noisy neighbours, we have another week to enjoy.

Will it be Weds or Thurs evenings? Quite honestly, I don’t really care. As an armchair fan I do not get the thrill of seeing Messi, Ronaldo, Cavani, Dybala etc in the flesh. If it is to be Thursdays I will have the enjoyment of seeing teams I know nothing about, safe in the knowledge that Arsenal have a good chance of winning well and seeing loads of goals.

But that is for another day, today is all about beating Everton. It can be done and I will be sending positive waves all the way to North London alongside shouting at my television in support of my team.

For the final time this season a win at THOF is possible. Can we do it? Of course.

Let it be So ….

COYRRG


Down to the Wire.

May 16, 2017

The Hammers cowardly capitulation at the hands of Liverpool has put a slight dampener on tonight’s challenge, but as Micky rightly points out, the Fat Lady has yet to sing.

I have never experienced the depression of relegation with Arsenal, neither have you. We have no idea what it must be like to feel like Sunderland fans and probably never will, for that we must be thankful. We must also be thankful that we do not live in Sunderland 🙂

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We are on a fine run of wins, starting to play with a degree of confidence and have an almost fully-fit squad. A win tonight should be possible.

My Team:

Cech

Mustafi    Koscielny    Holding

Ox   Ramsey    Xhaka    Monreal

Ozil    Sanchez

Welbeck

In my opinion, this is our strongest team when playing at home (perhaps Santi for Ramsey) . It will be fascinating to see how AW (if he stays) will fit Iwobi and the new signings into this team.

Should we win our last two games we will finish with 75 points, loads more than we finished with last season yet be lower in the table. What does this signify? Much to discuss through the summer .

Can we win and win well? Of course we can.

Let it be So

COYRRG


Winning Run to Continue?

April 26, 2017

A chance to play and beat the Champions. We managed a draw away at a time the Leicester boys were shafting Ranieri, can we do better tonight?

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Since Tinkerman left LFC have done very well and seem a rejuvenated team (shameful), we have won two on the bounce. It should be a good game. Leicester tend to rely on the pace of their attack, in particular Vardy.

Vardy and Mahrez. Both AFC targets last summer, both turned us down, both had awful seasons. Good. I was hoping for relegation but mid-table mediocrity will do.

In the excellent Ian Wright interview with Arseblog, Wrighty complained long and hard about our buying policy. On the whole I agree with him, but the non-signing of two Leicester players who just a season before had been journeymen, shows how hard it must be to land the big fish.

Will we continue with the Back 3? Your guess is as good and probably better than mine.

Will AW put out a second string team with the Spurs game in mind on  Sunday? I hope not. A win in either gives the same points.

My Team

Cech

Bellerin     Gabriel    Koscielny    Monreal

Ramsey   Coquelin    Iwobi

Walcott  Welbeck    Sanchez

Some rotation is necessary with 3 games in just over a week., and for this reason I would revert to the normal back 4. Resting Ozil may be contentious but I want to see Iwobi and Mesut can have a rest on the bench. Welbeck ahead of Giroud because pace could be important.

Of course, the above team will win, Leicester rarely leave Arsenal with points and we must hope tonight continues the trend.

A win tonight puts us back in the mix for an unlikely Top 4 finish. ….

Let it be So

COYRRG


Ramsey or Iwobi to say Goodbye to the Boleyn?

April 9, 2016

Arsenal’s final game at the Boleyn, a stadium filled with bubbles, passion and occasional violence.

Bob gave his reminiscences yesterday – here are some of mine:

  1. The first time I visited Upton Park was in the 60’s. I was astonished to find that the disgusting men’s toilets had no washing facilities. I know this was in the days of black and white but even so …
  2. 2. The Chicken Run. Terrifying place which our away boys tried to take season after season. Tried being the operative word because WHU had some of the most violent fans in the league.
  3. Racism. The Chavs are possibly worse but this is the only ground where I have seen bananas thrown at a player – in this case Kevin Campbell.
  4. Liam Brady. It hurt so much to see a hero playing well for the claret and blue.
  5. John Radford. See 4. but thankfully he didn’t play very well for them – scoring zero goals in 28 apps!
  6. Ian Wright. See 4.& 5. Though Wrighty MBE scored on his debut for WHU.

There are many other memories. I loved the bubbles pre-match, enjoyed the Hammers singing,and the passion they have for their club.

West Ham were “The Academy”, the club with 3 WC winners, a club closely attached to their locality but the future? Will they carry their proud history over to the new stadium? I doubt it but money rules and tradition is just history and as any accountant will tell you, you cannot bank tradition.

Onto today: Hugely important for both teams. WHU have (astonishingly) the chance to get into the CL! We need to keep up the pressure on the Miscreants and Leicester. Would either club be happy with a draw?

Bilic has done a remarkable job and in any other season would be a shoe-in for Manager of the Year. Think of it this way – how many of the claret and blue would you have in Arsenal’s first team? Payet perhaps, but  ahead of Ozil? Not for me. Nonetheless, Bilic has created a team which has beaten us at the Emirates and every team in the top 6.

Should Ramsey return for AFC? I guess bench at best. Iwobi is doing too well to drop and the team looks settled for the first time since Cazorla’s injury.

BFG? WHU have some big units and perhaps it would be erudite to start the German, especially as Giroud is likely to be on the bench and as such unable to help at set plays.

Thinking of set plays; when have you ever seen a better free kick than Payet’s vs Palace? We need defensive discipline and not give him the opportunity  to test our GK.

Is Cech fit? If so, he must start. Ospina has done very well but Cech is different gravy.

So, our team: I expect an unchanged side as the performances against Everton and Watford were so good.

West Ham? Will they give it the beans knowing they have a huge FA Cup game at home to MU on Weds? Of course they will – they always do against us.

Under normal circumstances I would be happy to leave East London with a draw but if we are to put pressure on Leicester and the swamp-dwellers then saying goodbye to the Boleyn with 3 points is a must. Will we get them? Why not?

 


Walcott & Welbeck?

April 2, 2016

Chickens ….. Count.

Arsenal did last time we played Watford at home and crashed out a Cup we could and should have won. We had the chance to take a Wembley revenge on WHU for the Trevor Brooking Never Scores With His Head moment which would have been satisfying, especially to those who attended 😦

Many blamed Mr Wenger for the home loss but given the last 15 minutes showed how much better we were than Watford I think the blame lies firmly at the feet of the players.

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I am not going to write about Watford, three times a season for them is excessive.

Interlull will affect the selection  – Alexis played twice and had to fly back from Venezuela where he assisted two of the 4 goals Chile scored. Some of the other chaps had midweek flights. Mr. Wenger will assess who has been affected by both the games and the travel.

I would like to see this team start:

Cech/Ospina

Bellerin    BFG     Koscielny     Monreal

Elneny    Coquelin

Ozil    Iwobi

Walcott    Welbeck

This team is selected with one aim – pace. Though I cannot see AW being so gung-ho my section should please the Purists.

Walcott should benefit from the tactical discipline of Elneny and concentrate purely on attack. Why make the man run back to defend – he cannot tackle, jockey or make a defensive header so why make him use his energy in our half?

Iwobi? He has been playing so well but is another who has travelled far, having made a sub appearance against Elneny’s Egypt midweek, nonetheless he makes my team.

To have a chance of the title Arsenal have to win all their remaining games, it can be done, we have done it before. The run starts this afternoon.

COYRRG