Who Wants it?

April 28, 2019

Is there a single Gooner who is confident of a victory this lunchtime?

Given the circumstances would you take a point?

Do you want MU or Chavs to win this afternoon?

Do ants sleep?

It was inevitable that Rodgers would rejuvenate Leicester, they have some fine players who just needed a new leader. And sadly, players today can get rid of an unpopular manager. Claude Puel’s win % of 34% was never going to be enough for the team which performed miracles just 2 and a bit years ago.

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Brendon Wagner chose to leave a cushy job at Celtic to improve LCFC – I could have improved them, so could you. They have excellent players; Maguire, Chilwell, Ndidi Schmeichel and Tielemans  could all get into the AFC first team. Chilwell and Ndidi are both young enough to be summer transfer targets for Mr Emery.

Had we beaten either CP or Wolves, we could rest players ahead of the Valencia semi-final, instead this becomes a very important match. Does Mr. Emery dare use Elneny, Douzi etc again? A difficult decision but this is why he earns the Big Bucks.

The injury to Ramsey and the loss of form of Mhki has been costly. As is the worrying condition of Ozil. Ozil is one of our most experienced players – he has won everything, yet he appears incapable of raising his game for an away fixture. I love the chap but at present he seems to be a very expensive luxury. If our creative players do not give chances to our strikers nor assist in a defensive role, then I would prefer to see a midfield with Xhaka, Douzi, Terrier, Kolasinac and Iwobi, as a point today could be vital.

We must hope PEA has recovered from his nose job, if only to be on the bench.

Spurs loss, MU’s dreadful form, the Chavs inability to put a run together, means that despite our poor recent PL results we remain in with a chance of Top 4. It is worth fighting for, so please lads, whoever pulls on the shirt, remember that you carry the hopes of millions of Gooners. Another lackadaisical performance will not be acceptable.

COYRRG


What does April hold in store for Emery’s Arsenal?

March 31, 2019

Three Monday night games. Two home games, four aways in the Prem and a Europa quarter final against Napoli. Pretty exciting maybe?

Of the three Monday night games only one is at home, which just so happens to be tomorrow night against Newcastle. On April Fools’ night the UK parliament is going to, yet again, attempt to extract its head from its back passage.  Don’t hold out much hope for that, but at least we have a fighting chance of turning Newcastle over!

Next Sunday, March 7th, sees us at Goodison with a 2.05pm kick off. The Toffees are on the up and we’ll need to be better than the chavs were on their recent visit to the wild wastelands of the North West if we want to come away with something.

Mesut scores in a 5-2 win at Goodison in October 2017

We’re back at the Emirates on the 11th for the home tie of the Napoli QF. It’ll be interesting to see Unai’s priorities for each game in this really busy month. At present the League appears our best route to a CL place since we sit in a top 4 place (well we did before the mancs luckily sneaked past Watford yesterday). Juggling both Prem and Europa balls is going to be tricky. One game at a time, I suppose. 🙂

The subsequent EPL game is away to Watford on Monday the 15th April, which does gives us an extra day after the Napoli game to regroup if you were trying to look for the positives of Monday night footie. Watford are a bit up and down but can be a stern proposition at Vicarage Road if it gets buzzing and Deeney puts that hideous mask on again.

Three days later we head to Naples, hopefully to finish off the job we begun in London. This is Arsenal, though, so don’t expect 3-0 at home and a clean sheet away in Italy. We don’t do easy.

The distance to the pitch in Naples will help but it’ll still be a hostile atmosphere

Yet another three day break follows and on the 21st we entertain Crystal Palace at THOF for the 4pm kick off. I’m particularly excited about this one as it’s my next trip to see the boys in the flesh.

Wolves in midweek on the 24th of April will be a tall order after such an intensive series of games, but if we can’t match them under the Molineux floodlights ….. we shall see. For some reason, this fixture seems one of the trickiest of the month, so expect us to cruise it.

April is topped off on the 29th with the third Monday Night Football we’ll have to endure over the next month. Away at Leicester is never easy but it just so happens to be the venue for my favourite away trip fixture of recent years when we beat them 5-3 and the beer was just delicious.

All in all a very busy, very exciting and potentially rewarding month is in store for Unai’s Arsenal. After the arid, uninspiring desert that was the second half of March, it’s going to be a headlong, bumpy sprint riding on the back of a camel desperate to dip its head into the oasis.

Before you go, what do you think the dippers v spuds score might be this afternoon? Take a punt

chas 


Strap up tight – could be a bumpy ride – Leicester (H)

October 22, 2018

Lashing Fulham at the Cottage seems like months ago. City, the dippers and spuds all won and the chavs/manc shitfest ended with the points shared which all puts extra pressure on us to beat Leicester. Monday night games – just dreadful.

Having said that, we could be in for a treat if last season’s home fixture against the Foxes is anything to go by. Seven goals with the lead changing hands several times. Not sure my old ticker can take it!

I’ve seen rumours that Leicester under Claude Puel are no longer the long ball, hump it up to Vardy, counter-attacking side with a tight defence which shocked the Premier League. They’ve had tight games (which both ended in defeat) against the mancs and dippers so far this season, so they’re no mugs.

Harry Maguire had a decent World Cup and the campaign to get the image of him riding an inflatable unicorn on to the new plastic £50 note is going very well.

Arsenal team news

Mesut has recovered from his back spasm and Rambo is knee deep in nappies, so expect the German to start.

Since Big Sok rolled an ankle playing for Greece, we’ll continue with Mustafi/Holding at the back. Have we the pace at the back to cover Vardy if Hector plays over the halfway line as usual?  Let’s hope so.

The Beast is back fit but Nacho gets the job at left back. Petr is on the road to recovery but I can’t see him getting the keeper’s shirt back just yet, so Bernd it is.

Terrier and Granit both came back unscathed from internationals to resume their double pivot partnership.

I’d imagine Auba will be shunted out left again as the 4-4-2 at the Cottage might not work at home. Micki on the right seems a natural selection if Ramsey is indisposed.

Come on you Gunners, let’s extend this great run!

chas


Arsenal FC – Our record against the Foxes

October 21, 2018

Our first home game against Leicester City (or Leicester Fosse as they were called then) was on March 9th 1895 and ended in a 3-3 draw.  It was played at Lyttleton cricket ground in Leyton as the Manor Ground was under a 6 weeks suspension due to an incident in a fractious match against Burton Wanderers; the referee had been knocked clean out at the final whistle by an angry Woolwich Arsenal supporter.

Since 1985 we have played 62 home games and have an outstanding record of – W40, D18, L4, GF148, GA63, GD85.

Our last home loss was on September 8th 1973 (45 years ago) overall we have only lost 6.5% of our home games and have never lost to the Foxes in the EPL era.

Invincible rounds ex-spud

Notable home games against Leicester……

15th May 2004

Going behind in the first half to a Paul Dickov header, a penalty and a delicious goal from a Dennis/Patrick combination completed both the comeback and the Invincibles season.

14th February 2016

Having come on as an 83rd minute substitute, Danny Welbeck scored a 95th minute winner against the soon-to-be surprise champions. It was all the sweeter as Leicester had gone in front after Jamie Vardy had dived in ridiculous fashion to win a penalty just before half time.

11th August 2017

The season kicked off in harum-scarum fashion with a Friday night rollercoaster ride. Having been in front after 2 minutes with Laca’s debut Prem goal, Arsenal went behind on the half hour. Sneaking level just before halftime, the Gunners again went behind before two late goals from substitutes Rambo and FFS Giroud sealed a dramatic victory.

It’s hard to not predict yet another home win on Monday, but you never know.

GunnerN5


Leicester Away

May 9, 2018

This should have been a big game, an exciting step towards the title, instead it is virtually meaningless. We are finishing 6th, Leicester have avoided relegation. That’s it.  You can tell my enthusiasm by the title of the post 😀

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Worth watching? Of course it is. Likely to arouse some passion amongst all right-minded folk (i.e. Gooners) – not really. Will we see some Yute? Possibly as many of the players will be fearful of injury pre-World cup. I really feel for Koscielny.

Will we win? Our record of not winning an away fixture in 2018 does not make happy reading but Leicester have injury problems which gives hope.

Leicester: Been a poor season for them. Hard workers relying upon the finishing of Vardy and the inconsistent brilliance of Mahrez. Bit like a GG team with IW8 and Merse.

Vardy will score – he usually does. Lacazette or PEA will score for the same reason.

My Team:

Cech

Chambers    Mustafi   Monreal

Bellerin  Ramsey   Xhaka  Wilshire

Mhki

PEA   Laca

It will be very interesting to see how the team lines up when Ozil is fit. Who gets dropped? Can Mhki play a deeper role or will Mesut? And more significantly, do we need Jack?

As to the future, Koscielny’s injury and the retirement of BFG mean we will have a new Club Captain – perhaps we can have a poll on Friday (if someone has the tech skills!)

Time to break the away hoodoo.

COYRRG

 

 

 


Tally Ho. Leicester Preview.

August 11, 2017

Kicking off the PL on a Friday night, Thursday night football and a season full of Sunday p.m. games – could this be the recipe for a successful campaign?

Let’s hope so.

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I wrote yesterday that I believe we have the squad, the experience and the talent to win the title (I wasn’t joking) and believe if we can get through the very difficult opening fixtures with confidence intact, we will be top at Xmas.

And it starts tonight. Leicester were a pale shadow of the Champions last season, Mahrez was rubbish, Vardy the same, Kante walked, etc etc. They have managed to retain almost all of their highly talented squad but can they improve ? Well, they have spent 0ver 50 million of Her Majesty’s finest in the summer, bolstering the midfield and adding some Man City reject upfront.

Is it enough?

It depends upon expectations. LCFC will never win the title again, it is unlikely they will ever reach Top 4. Better than last season when Leicester so cruelly sacked The Tinkerman? Yes.

Enough of them …

We must be hyped about tonight. We have made two  (so far) excellent (so far) signings, maintained (so far) the squad, and have already won silverware. I am unhappy that we carry injuries into the start of the season with Wilshire, Ozil,  Ramsey, Mustafi, Sanchez, Coquelin, Cazorla, Gabriel and Mertesacker unlikely to start. Koscielny is suspended.This is very frustrating in a summer with no major International tournament.

My Team:

Cech

Holding   Monreal   Kolasinac

Bellerin    Elneny    Xhaka    Ox

Welbeck    Lacazette    Iwobi

Ozil may be fit enough to play as is Walcott. This is not a team Mr Wenger would choose if everyone was fit, perhaps only 4/5 would be first picks.

Are they good enough to beat Leicester? If they play as well as they did for most of the game at Wembley, then Yes.

Lacazette will be the media focus. I predict great things for the man.  He has all the attributes to succeed in a passing, fast-attacking team, but we have yet to see if he can become a target man.

Big game for Kolasinac. First impressions are very good but he will have to play alongside a very inexperienced CB partnership. Monreal will have to be at his best and most vocal.

Time for Welbz to score – he has been goal shy for some time and if he wishes to become an automatic starter Welbeck has to become an efficient finisher.

We need a good start to the season.

Let it be So

COYRRG


Friday Night Football at the Emirates

August 9, 2017

For the first time in the Premier League history the season will kick off on Friday August 11th when Arsenal will host Leicester City at the Emirates with the game starting at 19:45.

We played our first game against Leicester 125 years ago on January 7th 1895 – back then the teams were known as Leicester Fosse and Woolwich Arsenal, we lost the game 3-1. Overall we have played 124 league games against each other with Arsenal having an overall record of – W58, D38, L28, GF247, GA169.

Woolwich Arsenal 1895 – courtesy Arsenal.com

We have not lost a league game against them for 23 years when Leicester beat us 2-1 at their ground on November 23rd 1994.

Our starting line up then was:

Goalkeeper David Seaman

Defender/Right back Lee Dixon

Defender Steve Bould

Centre back Martin Keown

Centre back Andy Linighan

Left back Nigel Winterburn

Midfielder Jimmy Carter

Midfielder Stefan Schwarz

Midfielder Ian Selley

Forward Paul Dickov

Forward Ian Wright

Ian Wright scored from a penalty in the 19th minute while Leicester’s goals came from Andy Linighan 16′ (og) and David Lowe 28′.

Here is our league record against Leicester for the past 40 seasons.

After our performance against Chelsea in the Community Shield I’m feeling very confident that we will win our opening game to set us on the right track for the season ahead.

Written by GunnerN5

(Ed – other notable Friday night Arsenal fixtures….)

Friday May 26th 1989

Friday April 16th 2004

 


Poetic Justice does exist – Leicester Player Ratings

April 27, 2017

My old man used to bang on about justice to me when I was a kid. By the time I’d reached my teens, I had categorically realised that it is an abstract notion which does not, in reality, exist in any tangible form.

How beautiful it is when rare moments in this cruel and random world actually make it appear that poetic justice, karma, poor behaviour getting its comeuppance etc do have some outward manifestation, however imaginary.

Leicester have certainly returned to their shape and structure of last season. Ten men behind the ball as often as possible, hoof the ball up to Steptoe to chase whenever the opportunity to swing a size 11 boot presents itself. Don’t get me wrong, they did have a few sniffs at goal, largely from Arsenal-inspired breakdowns of possession, referee-inspired dubious free kicks anywhere in our half and even from some revolting, Delap-like trebuchet missiles. However their negative anti-football in the second half, purely designed to win them a point, got them exactly what was deserved – sweet Fanny Adams.

The first half was pretty tedious it has to be said. The personnel changes to our new system took some bedding in. We attempted to give Crisp Advertisers FC some golden opportunities with dodgy back flicks, poor GK clearances and other examples of sloppy play.

Our two best chances I can remember came from a Gabs’ near post header which nearly fell to our new striker, Nacho and the outstanding moment of the half when Sanchez crashed the ball against the bar with Schmeichel floundering just before the break.

The second half was a procession towards the North Bank goal. The Leicester defence dropped deeper, their half-time talk was obviously about wasting even more time and killing any entertainment the fairly sparse crowd had bothered to turn up in the hope of seeing. Unwittingly they were just the stooges in their own downfall, building the platform for an epic final 10 minutes.

The strangest challenge of the whole game was when the Leicester defender with the incandescent bonce decided he’d use Giroud as a climbing frame. How on earth Mike Jones didn’t see that as a red card only Mike Riley knows.

The goal, when it finally came, was beautiful in its grotesque manifestation. My brother had spent large parts of the second half repeating the mantra, ‘we must clear Huth’ every time we had a free-kick, corner or cross. For Nacho to smash it wide of the goal but not wide of Huth’s massive gut and the ball to cannon into the back of the net, became such a glorious vindication of my old man’s belief in the idea that people should get what’s owed them.

Those who left early not only missed the beautiful post goal celebrations but also a Mike Jones Brian Rix-inspired farce of epic proportions. (When I commented after the game about it being like a Brian Rix farce at the end, Ant wondered why I was on about Graham Rix).

Previously Ulloa had left the pitch when substituted as if he had bound feet, each step moving him forward six inches at the most. Now the Leicester defender with the shiny head, Bennylooanus or something, was subbed and he sprinted off. Every person left in the ground with a red and white heart, howled with derision. So funny.

Then the farce reached new heights when Sanchez stood in front of Fooks readying to launch another long throw into the box. Mike Jones did not ask Sanchez to retreat but encouraged Fooks to get on with the throw. Eventually Fooks’ petulance got the better of him and he simply threw the ball directly at the Chilean. It was clearly intended to cause a few lost teeth and so we were astonished when the ref failed to send off the Leicester player but instead booked Alexis for deciding he needed to closely inspect the fine partly-artificial weave of the Emirates turf. The melee involved most of the players on the pitch including both keepers.

Yeah sure, we believe you

Leicester’s final chance also seemed scripted for Mack Sennett’s keystone cops, bodies flying everywhere followed by Schmeichel and several players in blue chasing the hapless referee.

The 4 minutes injury time morphed into 6 or 7 with all the mayhem, but justified victory was finally and beautifully achieved when the ref thought he’d better blow before someone grabbed his shorts and yanked them to his ankles.

Ratings

Cech – Poor kicking, magnificent save from Mahrez ……7

Gabriel – Silky skills on the ball and a fearsome warrior in defence ……7

Koscielny – Cool, calm, composed Captain. Seemed to recover from a knock in the 2nd half – we need him on Sunday ……8

Monreal – Looked fine as part of a back three and his half-volley against Huth’s belly a thing of rare beauty….8

Gibbs – Gibbo looked a little short of match practice understandably. Covered well for Nacho …..7

Bellerin – Cornrows gone, back to man bun. Wing back could suit him down to the ground. Crossing/delivery into the box needs to improve ….7

Coquelin – Fighting every step of the way. You just cannot fault his commitment …….8

Xhaka – The new formation suits him as he has more cover behind, so can look forward instead. Lovely to watch in possession…..8

Ozil – Struggled to break down a resolutely tedious defence but never let that stop him trying…..7

Walcott – Really weak, struggled to get out of Hector’s way for most of the game. If he doesn’t score, he’s pretty redundant …..5

 Sanchez – Gave away possession, smacked the bar with a beauty and then rivalled Rivaldo for a Bafta  …..7

chas


Two ‘L’ and Back

August 20, 2016

Could we lose twice in a week to teams beginning with L? Has it ever happened before?

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Going away to a team who are the current Champions is always going to be difficult – I know they are “only” Leicester and we smashed them twice last season. Let’s be honest – we are under pressure. A potential loss would see us in a Spurs position after just two games.

But we won’t lose, will we?

I was delighted that both Ranieri and LCFC won the title, it lifted the spirits as one of the nice guys and a humble team consistency overcame the odds. It was brilliant and no shame to finish second by a mere 10 points.

This season will  be different or will it. The same media morons who predicted the Foxes would collapse under the pressure of leading from the front are predicting them finishing mid-table. Why? It is the same team bar one MF who has been replaced. They are a bloody good side.

We both lost last w/e and both need to kickstart the season, Leicester will view this game as winnable. Our defensive frailties against Vardy and Mahrez (does anyone think we really tried to sign Mahrez? Really?) could once again cost us dear.

I rarely make a prediction because I invariably put a bok on the team – so I won’t today but I am hopeful. Why? Because Arsenal have fantastic players. The injury to Ramsey gives space for the little Spanish genius and as we are away Xhaka is likely to start. They make an excellent midfield. As you know, I am not a Coquelin fan and hope Elneny gets the DM role alongside Xhaka. That is one powerful midfield, full of attacking possibilities.

We scored three last weekend and the attack appeared potent. Theo’s goal will do his confidence wonders – he took it brilliantly as did the Ox.

And what of the elephant in the room, the centre of defence? Well …. they just have to do better. If players want to have a career at one of the top clubs in the world they HAVE to step up. No excuses. We need young players to develop into future stars, they get few opportunities and therefore must make the most of them. Chambers must improve and the experienced players around him HAVE to help. Monreal was rubbish for 20 minutes last w/e, so was Coquelin; they cost us the game. No point looking at an inexperienced 21 y.o to blame.

And what of Cech.? I like him but others have major concerns. I felt he should have saved at least one of Liverpool’s goals.

Sanchez is SO important. In the absence of the Pass Master Ozil, his quality is paramount to our success. He looked hungry last week but understandably  faded. If he hits 30 minutes of form this afternoon, we can win.


Kroenke and Wenger Out.

March 4, 2016

I have just read that Guardian article that basically says that Swansea exploited the frustration of the crowd and of course there is a picture of the little home made banner that read Kroenke and Wenger out.

wenger out

I don’t believe that the frustration of the crowd played any part of our loss whatsoever and one little banner does not represent the majority at all.

For me it was not frustration that Swansea exploited it was expectation. It is expected that Arsenal should win the league and has been that way for some time, this is the burden that Arsenal have been having trouble with which has lead to them, for example, rushing simple passes, leading to loss of possession which of course levels the playing field against lesser lights such as Swansea. By contrast an unburdened Arsenal starting eleven would always find their man with such passes and nine times out of ten go on to win the game.

Tottenham and Leicester have been able to avoid the burden of expectation for longer than they should have been allowed but look what happened the first time that it really became apparent that Tottenham could go top and push on to win the league, I never thought that I would find a Donald Trump comment apt but here we are — Chokers. (Just in case the use of the name Tottenham attract some of the knuckle draggers I will say it for you — Pots and Kettles)

To a similar extent the same thing happened to Leicester against West Brom. Claudio Ranieri has been doing a fine job of taking the pressure of winning the title off of them but it was creeping in as they started to find that doing the things they have been doing effortlessly all season started to get just a bit more difficult in their mid week clash. Man City have been suffering from the burden of exploitation for even longer than we have and by the looks of their thumping from Liverpool they still are doing so.

bergenUnfortunately, I do not share Rocky’s confidence as to the out come of Saturday’s North London Derby as I feel that Tottenham will be able to play without pressure again where as we will be playing with the equivalent expectation of a 50 kilo army bergen on our backs.

It goes without saying that I hope I am wrong.

COYRRG

Written by LB