Champions 2017/18?

August 10, 2017

How do you think we will fare this season? Will the strengthening of the squad be enough to propel us to the Title? Will it be enough to regain our Top 4 status?

Here’s what BR thinks (subject to change depending upon results 🙂 )

Let’s look at the opposition, starting with:

Chelsea: We have recently  beaten them twice in two important games and lost a meaningless friendly. We are better than them – full stop. Yes, they may be Champions but I fear for them and doubt they can repeat their mid-season run of form which propelled them to the title. They are lacking in midfield (why sell Matic??), are half the side without Hazard and are about to sell their best attacker. Morata? €60m is a huge gamble on a man who has yet to play a full season in a first team (RM made €30m profit  on him after just 26 games!!).

We will finish above them.

Man City:  Spent a fortune – over €100m on just full backs! Almost €40m on a GK who has yet to gain a full International cap. If their first 11 stay fit and Stones starts to show why he is so highly rated they will do well.

Champions? A team with De Bruyne, Sterling, Aguero, Gundogan and Sane will not be far off but somehow, they just don’t do it for me.

Man Utd. Mourinho has to deliver. Winning the Europa was good but not considering the massive investment made in the summer of ’16, Finishing just 6th could have been a sackable offence. Over €150m spent (added to the €165m last summer) makes this a hugely expensive squad. They have managed to recoup less than €10m in sales! MU should have the best squad and if they had a manager who had the slightest intention to entertain we should be happy to see such wonderful talent in the PL BUT they don’t, and MU remain a dull team to watch. The purchase of Lukaku points to a Route One season They were awful in the Supercup where Real Madrid made them look amateur.

MU should be favourites in a financially doped league.

Spurs: If any other team had achieved what Spurs have I would be delighted and rooting for them to go one step further – but it isn’t, it is Spurs and I have an innate dislike of anything Blue & White – to the point where I will not even allow a blue & white toothbrush into my bathroom. FairPlay to them, they have managed to retain the bulk of their squad (so far), sold players for massive profits and look potential Champions. But, there are two huge problems , firstly, they are playing at Wembley, and secondly, and much more importantly, they are Spurs.

Relegation awaits.

Liverpool: Dark horses. On paper they look excellent. Solid in every position. If they can keep Coutinho it will be a signal of their intent. Salah is a good signing and if Sturridge can form a partnership with Mane, they are strong in attack. Klopp remains a terrific addition to the PL . Good enough to move on and win the title? Good enough to maintain a top 4 place?

I doubt it.

Everton: Given their ambitions and expenditure they have to be considered. Koeman is doing very well and has created an excellent defence, strengthened by Pickford and Keane. Given the loss of Lukaku how will they cope in attack? Will Rooney have the legs? Where does he fit into the team? Not in midfield where Everton have Schneiderlin, Barkley, Davies and Barry. Goalscoring could be problematic.

6th

Arsenal: If Sanchez, Ozil and Ox stay plus we sign another body, then the title is ours. The development of Iwobi and Xhaka, plus the purchase of Lacazette means that both Ozil and Sanchez can leave in 2018. However,they need another season to bed in. Rumour abounds about Gabriel being sold but I doubt it, nor Chambers who has a future at AFC. Mustafi has had a bedding in season and the 3-4-3 means that we have choices, especially given the exciting arrival of Kolasinac.

Champions

written by Big Raddy

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George Best? Merinho wouldn’t have picked him

May 7, 2017

For so many years this was my favourite fixture of the year; Best and Charlton coming to Highbury, hating Sheringham, Cantona getting sent off , Van Nistleroy and Keown, TH14’s wonder goal at the Clock End, PV4’s penalty in Cardiff, Pizzagate and much much more.

Post- Merinho –it has lost it’s glamour. Completely. United are just an expensive Stoke.

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Words cannot describe how much I dislike the little Portuguese misery. To see a Man Utd team thrilled by a 0-0 draw at Maine Rd summed up the changes he has made up at OT; thank goodness the man will never come to the Emirates.

Enough of him, he gets enough press. What of his team? Packed with very, very expensive players.  Homegrowns? Rashford will get a game but only due to injuries, Lingard? Bit part player because he can be entertaining.I could go on. How can one take a wonderful prospect like Luke Shaw and destroy him? Answer …. ask Juan Mata.

Rooney? Must love his manager. England Captain and can’t get a game.  Certain to leave in summer. If he would come to AFC, I would sign him. Terrific player and one who could do a fine job for a couple of seasons.

George Best was a hero at MU, yet can you imagine Jose playing him? Look what the man did to the brilliant Eden Hazard and he works twice as hard as George. Bobby Charlton? No way – couldn’t tackle. Cantona? You’re joking.

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Proper Football

So, this afternoon we will get the usual Merinho PTB dull, dull football. Unfortunately Arsenal are not in the right shape for us to be confident of taking advantage of MU’s player rotation and injury problems.

Let’s be honest, the Spurs game was awful. Play like that for a season and we are relegation fodder. But be positive, after all Mr. Wenger must be desperate to finally beat a Jose´team. We are at home, we have few injuries and are rested after a week off. It can be done.

My Team:

Cech

Gabriel     Koscielny     Holding

Ox    Ramsey    Xhaka  Monreal

Welbeck    Sanchez   Ozil

No chance of the above but I believe this team could win. I would like to see Iwobi get some pitch time as he has been terrific this season and could use the fillip of a few minutes in another big game. Maybe Elneny instead of Ramsey, and Mustafi instead of Holding.

Please Arsenal, please Mr Wenger, please fans at the ground, do everything possible to beat MU. This United is a shadow of the great club of the past, they need to be thrashed.

Let it be so

COYRRG


Arsenal v Manu – take a deep breath

November 22, 2014

It is getting boring having to write that this is a must win game but let’s be honest a draw today is not exactly what the Doctor orders. (what does that expression come from?)

The continual repetition of “we have to beat one of Big Boys” has become as tiresome as “8 years” – or was it 9? But as with the silverware it is nonetheless true. Things have to change and today is a fine opportunity to get the monkey of our back (can I come up with any more cliches?)

What is good about the MU saga over the past two seasons is that it proves money is not all one needs to become successful. Last season they bought Fellaini, Mata, costing 65 mill. This summer it was  …. well you know and I can’t be arsed to check but the total cost of these no-marks is almost 150 million of Her Majesty’s finest. and that is without Falcao! Where are they in the table? Behind a team who is according to many of their fans having a disastrous season with a manager who has outlived his usefulness.

Both teams have a lengthy injury list. Both have important players returning to the squad. One major difference is that one of those teams is not in Europe and that could have a telling effect come season’s end.

United remain a Big Club even if they had a dreadful 2013/14 and it should be highlighted that AFC have only beaten them once in 14 attempts (back in March 2011 when AR scored). They will be as difficult opponents as ever.

IMO the key MU player is Di Maria. We got mugged at Swansea because no-one re-acted to Chambers getting skinned time and time again in the first half. It cost us the game. LVG is sure to focus on this weakness and in Di Maria he has one of the world’s best players to exploit it. Our best bet is to Flamini him.

Rooney, the Dutch bloke, Janusaj, Mata, Di Maria, Fellaini. All can hurt us but they are struggling to find a rhythm just as we are.

Arsenal:  Losing Theo before he even got going is a blow which even the return of OG does nothing to alleviate. Thankfully Ox is improving game on game.

Given the defensive frailties most pundits think this will be a high scoring game – I am not so sure. It is true both sides are top heavy but neither side has shown they can bag a hatful. Alexis is our key player – what a buy he is. Will he be 100% after travelling so far midweek? We shall find out today.

In many ways today’s game could define our season. Enjoy.

p.s. due to time restrictions this is not up to my admittedly low standards. Time restraints  😦

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy

 


Why did we loan out Jenkinson and buy Welbeck?

September 7, 2014

I am perplexed by all this loanee stuff. I understand that loaning a player helps the balance sheet and allows the loaning side to get a player off the paylist, whilst at the same time allowing the signing team to get a player without the transfer fee and risk but sometimes it is illogical.

Two things come to mind …. why have AFC not loaned Welbeck rather than buy him and why loan out Jenkinson when we are so short of bodies in defence?

Let’s look at Jenks first; we all know he is not ready to play as our first choice RB. However, he was signed to a long contract less than a year ago which indicates the Boss must have faith in him. Getting regular first team play at WHU under Fat Sam (who is a specialist at defensive play) can only assist the young man and assist his development. But why now?

We have just 6 defenders to get us through the season – or until the January transfer window – which given our players proclivity to injury is at best foolhardy. Jenkinson is a big lad and can cover for BFG (in emergencies), plus he has PL experience for when Debuchy get knacked.

You are all thinking “what about Chambers”? And you are right but what happens if one of our CB’s gets injured at the same time as Debuchy  as is inevitable goes into the red zone? Is it better to trust Gibbs will stay fit  and Monreal covers? Not in my opinion.

Perhaps there is a clause in Jenkinson’s loan deal which allows him to return to AFC  with immediate notice, I hope so.

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Which raises the question – is a loan deal contract a fixed loan? In other words if Monaco go tits up in La Ligue can they insist upon the return of Falcao? Or Negredo back to MC?

Onto Welback. Who insisted it was a sale as opposed to a loan? Did Mr Wenger get forced into the purchase by MU knowing the seriousness of our centre forward predicament with the injury to Giroud? In this case a loan with a possible purchase clause at the end of the season was the obvious course, Welbeck may well be the dog’s nuts but why take a ï¿¡16m gamble?

We will never know how these transfer deals transpire which is a shame.  Were Arsenal (or MU) forced into the purchase? Did FFP have an influence (as they have at Monaco)?

What I do know is that AFC could use Jenkinson in the squad.

written by Big Raddy

 


Simply the Best: Georgie Boy and Watson. Two Authentic Heroes. MU Pre-Match

January 22, 2012

For today’s introduction we are going back into the mists of time, when men were men and not floppy overcooked strings of spaghetti like Busquets, Nani and Pepe.

England were World Champions and Man Utd had recently won the European Cup. For the younger reader who has grown up in the Sky era, there can be no understanding of the excitement and national pride that both events stirred. Unlike today, all English football fans wanted MU to beat a brilliant Benfica team at Wembley, the scene of our only WC triumph just 2 years before. The following year (Sept ’69) when MU came to Highbury the side had already changed following the retirement of Sir Matt Busby, with younger blood joining Bobby Charlton etc.

At that time George Best was 23 years old, he had already played 300 games for MU and was the most famous footballer in the World. Moore, Charlton and Stiles may have been the faces of England’s WC victory but George was The Man. At a time when football was confined to newspaper  back pages, Best was front page headline news, top 10 songs were written about him, kids aped his clothes, copied his hair style, he was a friend of the Beatles, always had a super-model on his arm etc etc. But above all, he was a complete footballer, he was coming to Highbury and so was I.

A 60,000 crowd  in the same Highbury that was limited to under 40k a few years later. The North Bank was packed and swaying. An old man reminiscing is interminably dull so I will cut this short· Mclintock heads out a high ball to the edge of the area, Best leaps off the ground and sends a scissor kick volley flying past Bob Wilson. At first, there was stunned silence around Highbury followed by huge applause, we had witnessed a genius displaying his genius – what can be better on a football pitch? We drew 2-2 and I recall Stroller Graham scoring one for us.

George Best is the best player I have ever seen play live and I have seen Maradona, Cruyff, Van Basten, Gullit, TH, DB  (4 Dutchmen TA 🙂 ) etc etc  No-one could lift a crowd in the way he did, and he was a brilliant bloke to boot.

A young Best at what looks like Highbury (West Stand?)

Manchester United have always been a glamour club and their arrival at the Emirates guarantees tension and excitement, this fixture remains a highlight of  any season. Sadly, Ferguson’s MU are a pale shadow of the entertaining sides of their past; the cheating, spitting, vituperative Rooney being the emblem of their play. Yes, they thrashed a reserve AFC earlier in the season (a total freak result ), and today we could have problems due to our injury nightmare but the belief remains that a full strength Arsenal would beat this MU team with some ease.

However, we do NOT have a full strength team and are unlikely to see one for some time. Have we enough to win today? Certainly, if the players give their all and work as a team. There are fears about how our “FB’s” will cope with MU’s strength on the flanks;  the midfielders must concentrate and assist them.

My Team:

It would be brave to start with Oxlade-Chamberlain – his last outing at OT was hardly a success!

Famous Gooner: Today is all about courage, the ability to step forward when all you want to do is go home and play with the wife. One Gooner who has lived a life requiring a level of courage few of us can imagine is Michael Watson.

Having beaten Nigel Benn, Watson fought and lost to Chris Eubank for the WBO Middleweight title (1991, what great times for fans of British boxing), receiving a life-threatening injury which resulted in 6 brain operations and 40 days in a coma.  To go from being at the top of his profession with a healthy, immensely strong body to being  totally immobile must have been devastating. There followed a year in hospital during which time he couldn’t move, hear or speak, Watson spent the next 6 years in a wheelchair.  But Michael didn’t give up, he fought is disabilities and in 2003 even managed to complete the London Marathon (over the course of 6 days), being welcomed over the finish line by Eubanks and his neurosurgeon.

Not long out of hospital (1992) Michael was invited onto the hallowed grass at his beloved Highbury and at half-time was pushed in his wheel-chair to all sides of the ground – it was a highly emotional moment both for him and the fans who rose to greet him. I was there that day and am not ashamed to say shed a tear for an incredibly brave man and a true Gooner. In 2004, Watson was awarded an MBE for his charity work for Brain and Spinal Research.

Watson, wearing the Red & White he always wore in the Ring

Watson doesn’t find excuses when the odds are stacked against him. Can today’s Arsenal team win?  Ask Michael.

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy


Sack Wenger; Win Something – Written by redandwhiteviews

August 17, 2010

Written by redandwhiteviews

Unless you’ve been holidaying with Terry Waite’s old associates or staying with the Fritzls, you’ll know that Arsenal haven’t won anything for five years. You’ll know because every lazy football writer and commentator mentions it every five minutes.

My worry is that people believe the hype – because of his failure to bring ‘silverware’ to the Emirates in recent years, some ‘fans’ are even disappointed Wenger has signed a new deal. Time for a reality check:

No divine right to win the league

To begin with, and despite what the red scousers and the bare-chested idiots from Newcastle might tell you, no club has a divine right to win the league. It’s really hard to do and requires luck as well as momentum. The league invariably comes down to a few points (one point last year, none in ‘89), so a couple of bad games can put paid to your title hopes pretty quickly – in our case it used to be in November, but now seems to be March. So even if you’ve got the Chelsea open chequebook or the £60m-a-year the Mancs spend on players, you’re not guaranteed to win it anyway.

Shit cups are like chocolate teapots… pointless

Although Liverpool listed the Charity Shield among their ‘five cups’ and Spurs still boast of their success in the 1947 Norwich Hospital Charity Cup (click here if you don’t believe me), the Champions League is the only other trophy that really counts. But the Champions League is a cup competition. Any of the top sides can win it – which is why Porto did and we nearly did – and any side can lose it, which is why Chelsea, despite all their cash, never have. My point is that, however much you spend, there are no guarantees.

Building for the future…

To many, Wenger’s tighter than Beth Ditto’s waistband and needs to spend to win trophies. But the decision to build the Emirates has put massive constraints on Wenger. I honestly don’t think he’s got anywhere near the money people think. The board says there’s money to spend, but they would… otherwise clubs would target our players with even lower bids than they already do. That doesn’t mean the decision to build the Emirates was wrong. The 9,000 seats in the posh bit in the middle generate as much income as the whole of Highbury’s 38,000 seats used to. Once the stadium debt is paid for, we will have one of the world’s finest sporting arenas generating enough income to ensure our future for years to come. Around the same time, other clubs will hopefully be paying for the irrational management of their finances during the global financial crisis, and we will be in a position of most clubs’ envy – alive. Until then, the money is not available to take on the likes of Man U, Chelsea and, more notably, Man City in the transfer market. So the goalposts have moved.

The new goal

Our target during this period of paying for the stadium is to keep achieving Champions League football. Anything else will be a bonus. Wenger is spot on that 3rd or 4th in the league is better than winning the League Cup or the FA Cup. Anyone can get lucky and win a cup – Millwall made the final and Portsmouth won it – but a full season sets the men from the boys. The main thing, of course, is that the rewards are so much bigger. Would you really want Wenger fielding his best eleven in the Carling Cup on a Wednesday away at Wigan if there’s a six-pointer for a Champions League spot on the Saturday? Sack Wenger and you might just end up winning some shit… and missing out on the good stuff.

Show a little faith…

Wenger’s record speaks for itself but, if anyone thinks someone else could have done a better job on his watch, (including the idiots who have suggested Jumpy-up-and-down Martin O’Neill should be brought in to replace him), here are a few pointers.

For starters, what do Tottenham, Newcastle, ‘Boro, Sunderland, Villa, Everton, the Mancs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City all have in common? The answer is they all have a higher net spend than Arsenal since 2004. Where are their championships, FA Cups and Champions League finals? Newcastle, Boro and Sunderland have been relegated in that time. I don’t hear commentators banging on about their lack of silverware every two minutes.

Chelsea’s have spent £248m since 2004, recouping just £100m. Wenger’s net spend per season since 2004 has been £4m. He’s achieved Champions league football every year on that budget. Every year.

Before moving to the Emirates, we were no bigger than Leeds, Villa, Everton, Newcastle, Man City, Tottenham, West Ham, Liverpool and many others who had stadiums as big as ours and therefore the same income. Arsenal have been in the Champions League for 11 seasons running. Where have the others been? Newcastle have been to Bristol Rovers for league games. Leeds have been to Cheltenham, Hereford and Yeovil.

In summary, Arsenal made a decision some years ago that, rather than stand still with our peers, we would take a punt on building a big stadium to generate long-term higher income and the chance to compete at the very top.

What they saw in Wenger, a man who had already revolutionised British football with his views on fitness, training, diet and tactics, was a man who could not only steer us through the period in which we would have to pay for that plan, but who had the foresight to begin a youth policy which would also give the fans something enjoyable to watch and the chance of success every year without spending money – even if that success doesn’t always materialise. I’ll take security and hope over trips to Cheltenham, Hereford and Yeovil, Carling Cups and the Norwich Hospital Trophy any day. But the commentators aren’t interested in that, are they?

redandwhiteviews was previously known as heffer on this site. This article has been published on his site, but he has allowed us to reproduce it on here for our readers to enjoy.