One Swallow does not a Season make

August 13, 2018

Well, the game has ended and too bad we lost. I am sad that we lost but I don’t share the sentiment of many that we are doomed and condemned to another inglorious season.

I am certain there’s no way we would have a repetition of the immediate past season. It was our worst under Arsene. Yes we struggled to cope with the frenetic pace of City, tell me how many teams in the league wouldn’t? The only ones that look capable have spent tons of money to play catch and still don’t look close enough. Some are already certain Emery could never beat Pep but how far from reality they are. City played some of the best football the premiership ever witnessed on their way to the title last season while we had our worst. So, it’s natural they were the sleeker side on the day while we struggled in transition?

Does this mean our season is doomed!? NO! Our laboured defending and flailing in attack showed that we are work in progress. We will be a different proposition within a month no doubt. Any fan that thought we were simply going to overrun City must have been living in the fantasy world. It will take a few weeks but surely the players will catch up with the hardwork Emery has been trying to impact on them.

Its not easy watching ones team lose but there were many positives in the game to a discerning eye. And the result could have been different had Ozil and Xhaka come up with their A game. All through Ozil exhibited the lethargic form he exhibited in Russia while Mkhitarayan just ran around aimlessly when he did tried to contribute. We’ve played one of our hardest game of the season and lost so there’s now time to restrategise.

We should not forget that even the high flying Pep ended his first season empty handed but look where he is now. Who says Emery if he can’t achieve same level come close to him?

If all else fails to cheer you up this morning, take a look at mickydidit’s view of the game. See. not so bad after all! (ed)

Ratings (ed)

Cech – made a couple of decent stops and had one howler which could have been of epic proportions ….. 6

Bellerin – a little flaky but had a rasping drive which unfortunately went straight down the keeper’s throat ….. 6

Mustafi – chasing his tail at times trying to keep pace with City’s movement, but didn’t disgrace himself ….. 6

Sokratis – the look on his face after his foul on Aguero for the booking, was classic ….. 6

Maitland-Niles (Lichtsteiner) – Ainsley’s coming into contact with the lardy Walker was always going to end in tears. Lichtsteiner stepped in on the left and added a real sense of urgency and purpose – I like him already ….. 6 (7)

Xhaka – Still looked to be searching for full fitness, so the game bypassed him somewhat ….. 5

Guendouzi – once he got over his early ‘what the hell am I doing playing at this level’ nerves he was fine and didn’t look out of place at all. Could have done more to stop Sterling for the first, maybe ….. 7

Ramsey – I still haven’t got much of an idea as to where Aaron was playing yesterday ….. 5

Ozil ….. a fairly anonymous performance by his own high standards ….. 6

Mkhitaryan – looked a little slow of foot and thought against City’s rattatttat style. Not his best performance in red and white ….. 5

Aubameyang – Not really given much to chew on the whole game ….. 6

Subs

Lacazette – if Alexandre had scored that golden chance on 55 minutes with the score at 0-1, I’m sure it would have been game on. Wasn’t to be though ….. 7

Mickydidit’s view of an azure blue sea …. 10

Written by Akinzo

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Opening Day

August 12, 2018

Last season’s champions versus this season’s. The PL couldn’t have a better opening.

Man City were magnificent in winning the title, possibly the best team since the Invincibles. They showed in the thrashing of Chelsea in the Community  Shield that they remain highly impressive, BUT we will beat them.

Why? Because We Are The Arsenal.

Who will be lucky enough to pull on the red and white this afternoon? TBH I have little idea.

GK? Cech or Leno? Cech for me, but we do not know who is to be our regular gloveman, nor do we know the quality of Leno. I will go for the experience of Cech in this important game.

Bellerin/Lichsteiner?  Hector struggled against Sane last season but who didn’t? The Swiss fellow is a fine defender and will hopefully inspire Hector to achieve his undoubted ability.

CB’s? GIven the startling decision to ship Chambers, one must assume Emery has confidence in our new signings. Mustafi was a liability and made some very strange decisions which cost us points, I don’t trust hm but the management does. No point signing the Big Greek unless we play him.

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LB? Beast crocked, Nacho half-fit, Either we play a Back 3 with Holding or M-N gets the shirt. Hardly what we want in such a tough challenge. We all love M-N, he has huge potential and has played this position in the past. Let’s hope

Midfield? We cannot go gung-ho at City, we need to maintain some defensive discipline in front of what is a shaky Back 4, hence my choice of Terrier, Ramsey and Xhaka. I expect Xhaka to become the on-field leader of the team, he has the talent and appears to be maturing as a man and a player. If Ramsey is not fit then we can trust Elneny to be tidy and responsible. Torriera could be the player we have been waiting for, much rests upon his diminutive shoulders.

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Upfront? Ozil and PEA, but who else? Some fine players are going to have to ride the pine as our new manager experiments. Today I would play Mhiki, he is just too good to leave out. But this team lacks width and neither Mesut nor Mhiki have the pace to trouble City’s excellent FB’s. We will have to rely upon skill, cohesion, cute-passing and rapier like finishing and if that isn’t working, we have Iwobi, Welbeck and, above all Lacazette on the bench.

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin   Mustafi   Sokratis   M-N

Ramsey   Torreira   Xhaka

Ozil   Mhiki

PEA

And what of City? Guardiola has improved an already excellent team, another PL win is expected (even with Klopp’s spending) with the CL the club’s main priority. However, we have a new manager who is well versed in Pep’s tactics, a man who will want to show from the outset that his team have the beans to compete.

Excited? You bet, it couldn’t be a better opening game.

On an AA note, does anyone have a theme for this season’s PM’s? It makes it more fun to write when I have a non-football focus.


Season Predictions.

August 11, 2018

We know our squad, we know the strength of the opposition squads, where do you think we will finish come season’s end?

I am excited (as always) by the prospect of a winning season for The Arsenal and IMO we have almost all the assets to do well; a mixture of youth and experience, a new manager with an outstanding past record, new coaches and backroom staff and, above all, some variety in attack.

Much has been made of the defence and with good cause, we certainly looked shaky in the friendlies, particularly at centre back. Given the PL inexperience of the Greek chap and Mustafi’s inexplicable lapses it was a huge gamble to loan Chambers but perhaps Holding has impressed in training, or we had our sights set on a solid CB and the transfer did not come to fruition. Whatever, it is cause for concern. And what of the full backs? We look strong on the right with the Swiss bloke being a fine addition (if he remains fit) but on the left?? Nacho is losing pace, The Beast is not a proper defender nor is M-N. Much will be expected of The Terrier (we need a Jack Russell as opposed to a Westie).

Our attack lacks a winger and I hope UA will not try to make PEA into a TH14 – he is a very effective central striker. How UA makes space for Ozil, and Mhiki will be interesting, as will how Iwobi develops. Unlike many, I believe Iwobi has all the talent to become a top player.

And what of the other teams?

Man City are a superb team and odds-on to repeat their PL victory. Mahrez is a good addition. I cannot see anything but them being crowned Champions again and doing much better in the CL.

Man Utd. I have never hidden my dislike of Merino and he has created a team in his image.  Their arrogance can be seen in the antics throughout the club with Pogba being the worst culprit. Shame because they have some fine players. I wish them ill and will laugh as their managers moans about lack of investment.

Liverpool. Where do they get €200m+ to spend in one summer? Why can’t we get someone in who is prepared to do the same? Klopp has to deliver this season. 4th is not good enough, though a losing CL final appearance is testament to the improvement under his management. Can Salah have another wonderful season or is he another Clive Allen? Can the Scouse finally win a title? Not in my opinion.

Spurs. Got better and better in 2017/18 but ultimately they got Spursy and won sweet FA. No signings but no departures. New ground on it’s way hence tightened purse strings.  Last won the title in 1961 and despite the last 8 years having a 1 in them, they continue to flatter to deceive.

Chelsea. Expensive but worse GK. Kovacic and Jorginho will take time to settle. Can they get back to Top 4 under a new manager? They need a proper finisher and it is a major surprise they continue with Morata, OG (WC winner) and some other bloke.

Everton. The Nearly Men. Spent big money, have a decent squad plus Theo. Have High Hopes

So, how will the table look at the end of the season?

My Prediction is:

  1. Man City
  2.  Liverpool
  3.  Arsenal
  4.  Chelsea
  5.  Man Utd
  6. . Everton

What do you think?

written by Big Raddy


Does Money Buy you the Premiership Title?

March 17, 2018

This was a reply to a GoonerB question which needed a wider audience

Everyone saw the recent Watford game in which we won 3-0. Was anyone really surprised? No. Why? Because Arsenal have a better team. Why do Arsenal have a better team? Because Arsenal have more money to buy better players. This is not rocket science. So I think it is fair to say that if Arsenal played Watford 100 times, Arsenal would win 95 of them.

It then naturally follows that if there were a league of just those two teams that Arsenal would win most of the time. However as the odds suggest Arsenal could have an off day as we did when Watford dumped us out of the FA cup. This is the equivalent of Leicester winning the league, they are the exception that proves the rule that the clubs with greater spending power are more likely to win the league.

Things should be clear now using the Arsenal – Watford example, where it gets complicated is when loyalty gets in the way because that can be the only excuse for not seeing that exactly the same applies to Arsenal and Man City. If they they played us for 100 consecutive games they are more likely than not to win 95 of them for the same reasons I give above.

Winning is quite simply all about money, it is not a case of Stan Kroenke loosening the purse strings; he is not competing against another rich man he is competing against an oil rich country. It cannot be won and should not be expected to be won.

So what does this mean? It means that yes we can still win the league but the odds are against us. What I want is a manager who understands this and accepts the challenge in order to increase the small chance of winning the league to the maximum that it can be. And who do I think is best placed to achieve this? Arsene Wenger and that is why I remain loyal.

That obviously needs explanation but I don’t want to turn this into a book.

Taken from a comment written by LB


Snow White and the Seven Tiny Midfielders

March 1, 2018

Succinct PM :

Up against it against a better organised and balanced side.

Arsene, play your best balanced and strongest 11 not just put your 11 best individual (or most favourite) players out there.

Play a proper HM to protect the back 4 not an attackingy type CM in this position…..and not 2 of them to make up for this as it wastes a valuable player elsewhere in the line up.

Get some width in the team and / or instruct certain players to give us that width at the right times. Tell them when this is most important.

Get more support to the striker so he is not isolated with 2 CD’s on him.

 

Go win game.

Cheers, simples.

GoonerB

 


A Sinking Ship? Player Ratings

February 26, 2018

Are we a sinking ship or just a side in transition which is completely out of form?

Yesterday’s trouncing hurt. I don’t agree that there was  lack of effort or fight, in my opinion (and I know it is not some of yours) it was a lack of quality. We simply got outplayed and out-thought. Both the players and the management.

Not one AA’er thought we would win, some may have hoped but none honestly believed we would leave with the Cup. What we all hoped for was that Arsenal would compete and for much of the first half we did, in fact had PEA not missed a sitter (or was it a superb tackle) we could have been even at 45 mins. What happened next was a shock. What changed? We just couldn’t get the ball, our passes when we had the ball were wayward, our attackers had no chances. Ozil and PEA were passengers. Was it AFC who got worse or City who put on a masterclass of movement and possession football?

Whatever it was, we were embarrassing for 30 minutes, especially after the second goal. We rallied towards the end but created only a single opportunity (PEA for Iwobi)

Player Ratings:

Ospina. Second time in 4 days he was beaten by a cross shot.  5

Chambers. Battled hard  5

Mustafi  Terrible for the first goal. A flaky defender who needs to find consistency  3

Koscielny. Had a decent game. My MotM   6

Bellerin.  Managed to keep Sane relatively quiet but could not get forward   5

Ramsey. Clearly unfit.  4

Wilshere. Plenty of drive and action, not enough creativity.   5

Xhaka. Poor performance. Worked hard but simply not good enough   3

Monreal/Kolasinac. Thank goodness Sterling was injured.    4

Ozil. Anonymous. 3

PEA. Tried hard but got no service. Missed our only real chance.  4

Wenger. Looks lost and must be sitting at home dazed. We got tonked and it seems as though his final season (hopefully) will be his worst.   4 (one extra for looking so smart at kick-off)

Looking at the above, I am surprised that I gave the defence higher marks, but it was not their fault there was a tidal wave of City attacks., for the most part they defended well, though Mustafi’s weakness for the first was very poor.

Still … onwards and upwards. Let’s beat them on Thursday.

wriiten by BR

 

 


Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners

February 25, 2018

4th Wembley Final in 5 years. It is a home game and we must approach it as a though we own the ground.

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My first attendance at a League Cup Final was as a youngster and I am still scarred by the event. Don Rogers scoring in the mud as lowly Swindon beat my heroes in a David and Goliath victory. The year before I watched the highlights of Dirty Leeds in black and white – I should point out that this was 7 years after Spurs last won the League 🙂

Today: Our away form is so disastrous that if Mr Wenger sets up his team to be conservative we are bolloxed; quite frankly this Arsenal defence is not good enough to halt the City attack. So, the answer is to be on the front foot from kick-off.

Sadly, we have a history of starting games slowly, feeling our way into the match, assessing the opposition and then trying to step up a gear. I expect the same today.

We have a plethora of attacking talent, if they fire as a unit, we could be kushtie. Ozil and PEA will cause any team problems … IF.

And what of Manchester City? From top down the Northern Oilers have created a powerful organisation. The inevitable, financially driven, ascendancy took time but today MC are clearly a cut above the opposition on a season long basis, same as PSG and BM (and the Chavs , until the Russian lost interest). But on a one-off game they can be beaten, Wigan did it.

Evidence of the financial doping? Mr Weger has spent£349m in his 21 years as AC manager. Guardiola has spent £371m in his 21 months at MCFC. This sums up all we need to know about why AFC are not competeing for the title.

How can we win? A couple of sending-offs would help –  preferably Sterling and Stones. A lucky goal or two from Hector and Nacho. A few thrilling saves from Ospina and defensive meltdown by the City defence. It is possible..

My Team:

Ospina

Koscielny    Mustafi   Monreal

Bellerin  Ramsey   Xhaka   Elneny

Wilshire   Ozil

PEA

The above team has little potency and it will require a goal or two from midfield.

The Number 5.

We have lost more League/EFL/Rumbelows Finals than any other team, 5

We have only scored 5 goals on the way to the final.

There will be 5 goals in the final, let’s hope they are in our favour.

COYRRG