Strolling down the Prom – Blackpool Ratings

January 6, 2019

Much of the build up to the game focused on the owner of Blackpool FC who appears to want to watch the club go under rather than cede to public opinion. Hopefully the large band of travelling Gooners were all aware that money spent in the ground was only going to benefit one person. The empty stands showed the depth of contempt there is for the man in Blackpool. Really sad.

The other big concern in the warm-up was Kos suffering with his back and having to be replaced by Jenks. Hopefully it was more of a precaution due to the ropey nature of the pitch, rather than anything long term.

First Half

An entertaining opening to the game should have seen Arsenal over the hill and far away but Blackpool did have the odd effort or two. Eddie didn’t read his script. First he tried a near post shot when going across the keeper was the obvious option. Then he was unluckier in that A.M-N’s ball across the face of goal was just at the limit of his stretch causing a miss that looked worse than it was.

Eventually we did take the lead when a Rambo free kick came off Shearing’s shoulder and flew against the post but fell nicely for Joe Willock to nod into an empty net. Jenks could have nodded for the net instead of back across goal from a delightful dink from Wobbly.

Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

That man Wobbly was again instrumental in the second goal. Controlling a nice forward pass superbly on his thigh, he laid the ball into the path of the oncoming Corporal who crossed for Eddie whose little nick at the near post fell nicely for Joe to add his second.

Eddie then missed the easiest of his chances, not fooling the keeper in a one-on-one.

Second Half

Didn’t see a lot of the second period but it sounded like I didn’t miss much. Wobbly popped up to seal the victory, tapping in after Laca had set up Rambo’s toe poke.

“We want you to stay”    Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

I was disappointed that Saka was given just a few worthless minutes at the tail end of the game whereas Laca was forced to play for a full half hour. Still what do I know, Saka for Eddie wouldn’t have made sense either.

Conclusion

Job done, no injuries hopefully if the rumour about Kos being cotton-woolled is correct. Fourth Round for us this year, unlike last, with the draw to be made after Monday night’s game at Molineux.

Good luck to the Blackpool fans in their quest to remove the offending excrescence from their club’s shoes.

Ratings

Cech – only flapped at the odd one, otherwise competent … 7

Jenks – looked lively and involved in the game throughout – great for him to get a full game playing for his beloved Arsenal … 7

Lichtsteiner – a bit iffy in places but he was expecting to be terrorising a winger not having the extra responsibility of playing centrally … 6

Papa – enjoyed his duel with Blackpool’s big lad up front … 7

Wardrobe – his defensive abilities weren’t really tested … 7

Elneny – busy and efficient – not sure if he played his way into the first team though … 7

Ramsey – a class apart and seems to be enjoying his role as senior spoke in the second string wheel … 8

Willock – two goals and looked excellent on the ball especially in the first part of the game (i.e. the bit that I saw) – extra point for the brace … 8

Maitland-Niles – (definitely need a nickname for him?) another who looked above the level of the game but then again, you’d hope he would since we all have such high hopes for him … 8

Wobbly – Enjoyed himself at the seaside – another fine performance from the Nigerian Messi … 8

Eddie – shame he couldn’t take one of his chances – his running, movement and ability on the ball were excellent though … 7

Subs

Laca – When Unai was giving him instructions about coming on, you could see he would have preferred to stay snuggly in his sleeping bag – didn’t really affect the course of the game apart from freeing Rambo for the third … 6

Medley – had a nasty bump on the hip when flipped by a challenge while he was in the air, looked composed … 6

Saka – poor lad goes all that way to touch the ball three times … 6

chas  

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Boys will be men! – Arsenal v Vorskla Player Ratings

November 30, 2018
Well, everything seemed to be stacked against the team in the beginning. Whose idea was it to organise a long trip away midweek before celebrating some serious Spud-bashing in the weekend! Really bad idea!

And then, serious brass monkey weather in the Land of Always Winter! Note, the ref needed a replacement can to paint the ground in the second half because the first one froze in his pants! 🙂

To top it all, martial law and proxy wars of the kind never seen in the civilized end of Europe on the correct side of 1945. Who would have thunk!

And then, in a shocking late move just to disrupt our preparations, UEFA decided at the last minute to move the game to the Olympic Stadium in Kiev. Surely, the sole purpose was to bring memories of another Brexit side crashing to European opposition in last season’s Champions League final!

Yes, the odds were all stacked against us.

In response, Unai Emery decides, in his enormous wisdom, to pack the team with teenagers fresh out of nursery. Bless the man and his sense of humour! In the event, we had a fantastic spectacle where the young gunners ran amok and Vorskled the shell-shocked opposition 3-0 on the night! What’s not to like?

We have struggled a bit with our academy setup in the past couple of years. But, if there was one thing we learnt last night, it was that the future is bright and shining. Yes, these young boys will be men soon enough. But will they stay and take it up the Arse? That is the long term question. In the short term, things look bright. We can look forward to another brilliant teen-show of Emery-ball against Qarabag.

Here are some quick thoughts and ratings. Please feel free to disagree.

Helmet: 6
Better with his feet than with his hands, which were probably frozen. Had to make a couple of saves, which he did, not without pretending to be nutmegged once early on. But that was just play-acting. Especially loved his bold clearance outside the box in the second half.

AMN: 6.5
Holding: 6
Jenks: 6
Licht: 6
The defence had precious little to do by way of stopping opposition attacks. It seems all aggression is diverted towards the Russians at the moment. Holding and Jenks were solid. Licht was good on the overlap. AMN was somewhat iffy in defence but linked up really well with the midfield.

Elneny: 5
Worked hard, but I thought he was the weak link on the night. Caught out of position a few times, and got himself into an offside position in the second half for what would have otherwise been Smith-Rowe’s second goal. However, decent assist for the third goal.

Rambo: 7
Almost convinced the ref and everyone else that he was attempting to dive, but in the process earned as fair a penalty as one would ever see. Wonderful stewardship of a bunch of youngsters (Cech was the captain on the night, I think, but Rambo looked very much the leader on the field). Most importantly, he got the opposition goalie on his knees for the penalty. Now, how many times have a seen a goalie defending a penalty kneeling down rather than diving! Wow!

Douzi: 6
Good solid link up play. Nothing spectacular except the hair, but valuable nevertheless.

Smith-Rowe: 8
Such games can sometimes be nervy affairs, and the first goal is always important. On the night, a wonderfully cool finish for an early first goal that set the tone for the game. To top it all, a wonderful sheepish smile after calmly finishing off a second half goal only for the goal to be disallowed very late. Just because Elneny was caught too far upfront trying to give the opposition goalie the eye!

Nketiah: 7
Tireless work throughout the game. Really gutsy, and very skillful. A fine assist to boot!

Willock: 7
What wonderful maturity, skill and finish for the third goal! A fine talent. A great pleasure to watch.

Zech Medley, Bukayo Sako and Charlie Gilmour.
What wonderful names! Never heard of them before. Medley was wonderful in defence, seems to be a real talent for the future. Sako was excellent in link up play. Both solid 6’s for me. Gilmour was not on long enough to make an impression.

Two final thoughts………..

First, a special thought for the team doctor (don’t know their name) who apparently did not travel with the team and reached late on his own. Then forgot that the game was moved to Kiev and travelled a pointless 400 miles by road to finally reach the game. What a performance!

Second. By the way, that is now 18 and counting! Look forward to some serious mauling of the blue-skinned swamp dwellers from N17 in the weekend.

A mildly satisfied,

Red Arnie