The Run In

April 4, 2019

Can anyone explain the fixture list?

Why do Spurs have five home games remaining (4 after last night)  and we have 5 away? I know they play at Wembley which could have affected their programme but surely not to this extent.

Man Utd: 4 home, 2 away. We all know how much the FA love their pre-eminent brand, as do the big European clubs who still believe the hype about MU being a “Glamour Club” whilst knowing they are comfortably beatable.

Chelsea have 3 home and 3 away.

This gives a clear advantage to MU and Spurs.

Confirmation Bias? You bet.

Wouldn’t have happened under Herbert Chapman.

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BR


Arsenal 2 Manchester United 0 – Player Ratings

March 11, 2019

A really attacking team selection was announced at 3.30pm. Both Ramsey and Ozil playing along with twin strikers Laca and Auba. Width provided by wing backs maybe or some other genius Emery plan to extract a win from such a difficult fixture?

First Half

We started well but Lukaku had the best early chance, clumping the ball into the turf and up on to the bar.

What a banger from Xhaka! Perhaps he should take all the penalties if he can send the keeper the wrong way when he’s 35 yards out. We’d started well and Xhaka’s goal was the crowning glory; the best keeper in the Prem left floundering.

Action Images via Reuters

The red mancs perhaps had the better of the chances in the remainder of the first half, with Lukaku attempting to round our German keeper but being foiled by an oustretched glove and another nobody bouncing one off the post when Leno had it covered.

Our best chances came from driven crosses from Wardrobe, Laca just failing to sneak one in at the near post and Auba cutting back instead of launching himself at the far.

One nil at half time and for a change we defied the xG, scoring with our only shot on target and United couldn’t capitalise on their slightly better chances as these half time figures show.

Second Half

Arsenal’s second half performance was a credit to each and every one of the players and also a credit to their manager. Man U’s chances were far less dangerous after half time and when they did threaten to score, Leno was invincible in goal. The save with his foot when Lukaku was put clear by Rashford was superb.

The penalty on 69 minutes proved to be a real make or break moment in the match. Fred (not the Trinidadian one) had clumsily challenged Laca in the box and the salad dodger decided that to even out the 99 things he’d given Man U, he’d finally give us something.

There can’t have been many Gooners around the world who weren’t looking at Auba through their fingers as he sought to make amends for missing against the spuds. As it turned out, it was a penalty of supreme ease as De Gea was still going the wrong way from Xhaka’s swerver in the first half. The ball went straight down the middle and the Emirates went into raptures.

It was a shame Laca couldn’t squeeze in his cross shot just before the end – I’ve always liked three nils. I suppose just the three points will have to do. 🙂

Conclusion

With the spuds losing and chavs sneaking a point late on, the winner of this match was sure to reap the benefits in the race for the CL places. Beating the red mancs so conclusively and ending their great run was the stuff that dreams are made of.

What a great game of football it was, too! Sky picked the best game of the weekend with chances galore, drama and non-stop action.

Unai Emery’s team must have made him a very proud man.

Ratings

Leno – did everything you’d hope a top class keeper would do for the team – and when United did get round the defence he was immense … 9

Maitland-Niles – Unai had obviously been saving him up because he blew away any doubters with his best performance for a long time … 8

Sokratis – rapidly becoming one of my favourites – gives no quarter, asks for no quarter – plays football as it should be played … 8

Koscielny – a rock at the back – he consistently gets battered but always comes back for more – will be pleased he can have a rest after Thursday’s Europa rematch … 9

Monreal – dealt with everything thrown at him playing in a back three .. 8

Kolasinac – sometimes you get the impression he thinks that playing wing back absolves him of all defensive duties, but he does contribute a great amount going forward … 8

Xhaka – love his left foot – love it even more now – had one of his best performances for ages – extra point for the goal … 9

Ramsey – my MOTM – didn’t stop running for the cause the whole game – if he’d shown this kind of form and discipline before his contract wranglings, no-one in their right mind wouldn’t have re-signed him to his last big contract … 9

Ozil – probed and prodded – attempted to close down and do the dirty things asked of him … 8

Aubameyang – a point to prove and didn’t he just with that ice-cool penalty – closed down better in this game than I’ve seen him so far in his Arsenal career … 8

Lacazette – another personal favourite of mine – he knows what it entails to fight to win a game – absolutely love his commitment … 9

Subs

Iwobi –  came on and made a real nuisance of himself taking pressure off the defence … 7

Suarez – Denis came on and worked really hard for the cause while show some silky ball skills … 7

Nketiah – chased everything and ensured United couldn’t build from the back without coming under pressure … 7

Managers

Emery – Everything bang on from the manager today – team selection excellent – formation excellent – whatever he sacrificed on the upper slopes of Muswell Hill to the footballing gods so that they’d smile on us, was well worth it … 9

Solskjaer – curious how his team had defied the xG in their unbeaten run, scoring a lot more goals than expected and conceding far fewer and yet when it came to a game when they did have chances to score, they couldn’t convert –  as BR pointed out yesterday, this kind of luck has to run out eventually – unbeaten away run over, mate, haha … 5

chas   


MU Pre-Match. Myths.

March 10, 2019

Man Utd Myths

  1. That a chap, however pleasant he is, can go from being manager of a piss-poor Norwegian team to becoming the New SAF in a couple of months.  He is riding a wave of post-Merino relief. Same happened at Chelsea post- Benitez. Just think of the CL winning manager Roberto Di Matteo – where is he now?

Is OGS a good manager? Possibly but an ape could have come into a dressing room full of highly expensive players and done better than the Portuguese.

2. Injury crisis. Much is made of the loss of their forwards yet at PSG they had England’s wonder boy and the most expensive CF in the league. In defence, MU have their first choice Back 5 (almost :-D)

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Nutty on the ground, as usual

3. The PSG victory is amongst the finest in CL history. Poppycock. MU were totally outclassed throughout the game. It was a travesty of justice, I cannot remember a luckier win. What may not be a myth is that MU have been blessed with the lucky stick.

4. MU are playing fine football. More cobblers. A midfield that focusses upon  kicking it’s opponents, a very muscular and physical backline does not make for entertainment.  The new boy, Tom Mac-something is a re-incarnation of that deeply unpleasant Irishman who battled our Leader, Sir Patrick. Keane was a vision thug and so id this chap.

5. Referees. It was never a penalty in Paris. Once again a referee chose to favour MU – it wasn’t the first time and will not be the last. Throughout their history they have consistently been given dubious decisions (who can forget the Rooney dive?). The chap who gave the pen on Weds is driving home in his new Ferrari. Today we have the dreadful Jon Moss, a man who has consistently been anti-Arsenal biased. Expect Xhaka to see Red.

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What is not a myth is that United have the world’s best goalkeeper, De Gea is almost as good as Schmeichel. Fantastic player who wins MU at least 10 points a season.

This afternoon:

If confidence wins games, and it often does, we are in for a heavy defeat. We were awful midweek but could and should have won at Spurs; hopefully the Spurs performance will be uppermost in our chap’s minds.

We have a lengthening injury list added to the ban on Terreira, so the team almost picks itself. I would certainly start with Ramsey. Do you think Elneny will get a few minutes – he wasn’t even taken to Rennes!

I wrote pre-Spurs that many were hoping for 2 points from the Spurs/MU games. I wanted 6, and we should be half way there. We are not but we can make it 4. MU are not invincible, they are a bunch of expensively collected mercenaries who are on a run of scarcely credible good fortune – it cannot continue.

written by BR and not to be taken seriously (evil grin emoji)


Arsenal FC – Our home record against Man U

March 9, 2019

Manchester United Football Club, nicknamed “the Red Devils” was founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to its current stadium, Old Trafford, in 1910.

Arsenal and Manchester Untied both have an outstanding history and enjoy a great rivalry, however this boiled over in 1990 when a brawl between the two teams resulted in both clubs having points deductions in the Football League First Division. There was also a high level of enmity between Arsène Wenger (1996–2018) and Sir Alex Ferguson (1986–2013), and the two of the club’s former captains Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane.

This all came to a head during a league fixture in September 2003 that later become known as the “Battle of Old Trafford”. Arsenal players were aggrieved by Ruud van Nistelrooy’s antics – they felt he cheated trying get Patrick Vieira sent off – it resulted in an unseemly player melee. The next season, Manchester United ended Arsenal’s unbeaten run when Wayne Rooney took a dive to win a controversial penalty – after the game there was a skirmish in the tunnel which ended with Sir Alex enjoying some pizza. A total of seven red cards were shown in matches from February 1997 to February 2005.

Out of interest (mine) here are the players who have made appearances for both clubs.

Paddy Sloan

Manchester United: 1938-1939 (0 apps; 0 goals); Arsenal: 1946-48 (33 apps, 1 goal)

David Herd

Arsenal: 1954-1961 (166 apps, 99 goals); Manchester United: 1961-1968 (265 apps, 145 goals)

Ian Ure

Arsenal: 1963-1969 (202 apps, 2 goals); Manchester United: 1969-1971 (65 apps, 1 goal)

George Graham

Arsenal: 1966-1972 (308 apps, 77 goals); Manchester United: 1972-1974 (46 apps, 2 goals)

Jimmy Rimmer

Manchester United: 1965-1974 (46 apps, 0 goals)

Arsenal: 1974-1977 (apps, 146, 0 goals)

Brian Kidd

Manchester United 1967-1974 (264 apps, 70 goals)

Arsenal 1974-1976 (90 apps, 34 goals)

Frank Stapleton

Arsenal: 1971-1981 (300 apps, 108 goals)

Manchester United: 1981-1987 (288 apps, 78 goals)

Viv Anderson

Arsenal: 1984-1987 (150 apps, 15 goals)

Manchester United: 1987-1991 (64 apps, 4 goals)

Jim Leighton

Manchester United 1988-1991 (94 caps)

Arsenal 1991 (0 apps)

David Platt

Manchester United 1982-1985 (0 apps)

Arsenal 1995-1998 (108 apps, 15 goals)

Andy Cole

Arsenal: 1989-1992 (2 apps, 0 goals)

Manchester United: 1995-2001 (195 apps, 93 goals)

Mikael Silvestre

Manchester United 1999-2008 (361 apps, 10 goals)

Arsenal 2008-2010 (46 apps, 6 goals)

Robin van Persie

Arsenal: 2004-2012 (279 apps, 132 goals); Manchester United: 2012-2015 (105 apps, 58 goals)

Danny Welbeck

Manchester United: 2008-2014 (142 apps, 29 goals)

Arsenal: 2014-present (91 apps, 22 goals)

Alex Sanchez

Arsenal:  2014-2018 (122 apps, 60 goals)

Manchester United: 2018 – present (29 apps, 3 goals)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Manchester United: 2016-2018 (39 apps, 5 goals); Arsenal: 2018 – present (29 apps, 8 goals)

It hurts to write this but the fact is Manchester United are England’s most successful football team they have an extraordinary record of achievements – but I cannot bear to list them and I’m sure that you don’t want me to – so instead I will concentrate on our home games against them.

Our overall home record is very impressive and we dominated them at home prior to the introduction of the Premier League with a record of – W44, D11, L18, GF151, and GA84.

Even though it is less dominant, our winning home record has continued in the Premier League.

Patrick Vieira celebrates scoring Arsenal’s second goal in a 3-2 win 9th November 1997

Arsenal 2 Man Utd 1 in Sept 1963 at Highbury. David Herd fires at Ian Ure

Historically this Sunday’s game is our 100th home league game against Manchester United and a little known fact is that United has lost more away games against Arsenal (54) than they have to any other Football League club – long may it last!

I sense another victory.

GunnerN5


What does the rest of March hold in store for Arsenal?

March 4, 2019

The simple answer is, not a great deal considering the stage of the season. Having successfully dealt with our away game to the spuds and been a touch unlucky not to win, we seem to be really finding our stride.

Associated Press

Time to build some momentum for the final push. Oh look, there’s a chuffin international break in the last two weeks of March. Dennis save us from this madness.

Our fixtures in March continue this Thursday with the first leg of our Round of 16 Europa League tie in France, kick off 17.55pm. Rennes will have had just over a week’s rest before the tie thanks to some club-friendly scheduling by the Ligue Un authorities. Hopefully it will have had a contrary effect and left them slightly short of match sharpness, unlike our brave lads.

Lucas Torreira will be itching to play in both the away and home ties since his red against the spuds will see him sidelined in the League well into April.

Roazhon Park

Next Sunday we face Solskjaer’s mob at home in the last game of the weekend, kick off 16.30pm. The match will almost assume the status of 6 pointer. It’s essential we don’t lose, but hopefully home advantage will see us grab all six points. No silly goals conceded on the counter this season, lads, please.

Thursday week we welcome Stade Rennais FC back to The Home of Football. I’d imagine the tie will still be finely balanced with again (hopefully), home advantage allowing us to overcome them and progress to the quarters.

The following weekend to the Rennes home fixture, we were down to face Wolves at Molyneux but their participation in the FA Cup has led to this game being postponed and it is yet to be re-scheduled.

Therefore, because of the international break (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) and clashing cup comps, we only have the 3 games to play in the whole of the rest of March. So much for building momentum!

In the next 11 days we’ll know if our Europa journey will be continuing and also the task left in the final 8 Prem games to reach a CL spot.

Then in the following 17 days we’ll have an Arsenal-less break. Baffling.

chas 


Arsenal’s remaining season: what’s the point?

February 16, 2019

I’m writing this on the back of the Bate result with all the despondent reactions still ringing in my ears. Now I don’t want to sound like I’m high as a kite on false hopium, BUT, pre-season, and on the back of a new manager, most Arsenal fans were pretending to show a more mature and patient side with getting back to being a top four side as step one.

We are currently sitting in 5th, with just one point separating Utd in 4th and Chelsea just below us in 6th. Hardly a time to chuck in the towel.

Beyond the League (although this post is about the League), in the Europa most think we’ll get past Bate, and we recently beat the bookies favourite, Chelsea.

Ok, the remaining League fixtures:  much will be decided by how each of the 4th spot contenders perform against the lower sides as that’s the majority for each’s remaining games, however much will depend on encounters between us, so here they are:

ARSENAL
Totnum a
ManUtd h

CHELSEA
Totnum h
Liverpool a
Man Utd a

TOTNUM
Chelsea a
Arsenal h
Liverpool a
Man City a

MAN UTD
Liverpool h
Arsenal a
Man City h
Chelsea h

I haven’t included City or Pool because they are not in the race for 4th , although interestingly, City have only one fixture left against a top six side, while Pool have three.

I have included Totnum because they are more than capable of spectacular implosions.

Some of these could end up effectively being the classic six pointers.

Can we make it? Stranger things have happened.

mickydidit89


What does the club you most dislike say about you?

February 5, 2019

Every supporter of every club has the local derby thing, so as Gunners, let’s remove the Totnum lot from the discussion.

In most people’s sights are the team that were our closest rivals during the few periods in our history that we were the dominant club.  Therefore I’m sure back 1934 there were a few Sunderland haters 🙂

We can probably pin you down by your age. Leeds Haters: you’re 60+ aren’t you? I could go on. Through to Pool, then on to the United lot, but you get my drift.

More recently, we have the oil money haters. I’m always a little uneasy about this group of two as you open an ethical can of worms that goes down the rabbit hole of sponsors/owners etc, and simply that we, The Arsenal, are a major part of the whole obscene money merry-go-round.

Ok, that’s about it for a quick conversation starter. What I’d love to unearth is an Arsenal fan who hates a Grimsby or Bolton with every fibre in their body 🙂

Mickydidit89

Arsenal’s Drama Queens Overreact

January 26, 2019

My macro view of the state of things:

  • We have the 6th best squad in England
  • We have the joint 3rd best 1st X1 (= with Utd, Totnum and Chelsea)
  • We lost 1-3 at home and that hurts
  • Our season’s priority (including another summer’s transfer window) is to rebuild, find a new identity and get back to being a top four side
How’s it going?
  • In his first window, Emery bought two defenders, two defensive midfielders and a goalie
  • Our defence is as bad as ever BUT….when was the last time Monreal, Kos, Sok and Bell had a run of games? Exactly
  • Holding was looking good 
  • Emery certainly got things right against Totnum and The Chavs in the league
Last night:
  • It is not a good way to start the weekend by losing 1-3 at home in The Cup, and I don’t care who that is against
  • We started the night with a back four of M-N, Kos, Sok and Kol. That lasted 29 minutes.
  • The opposition then scored in the 31st and 33rd, thus allowing them to sit back and counter against a defence that very soon went and lost its other CB.
Could it have been different?
  • Mmmm, maybe, but realistically we’re looking at the first half hour and our inability to score first 
  • I think we set up without enough in the middle ie against Chelsea we had Granit, Terry and Ouzi, with just Ramsey supplying a front two of Auba and Laca
  • Auba is not a bloody winger, he is an elite goal hanger 🙄
The Drama Queens
  • Post match I had a very rare sniff around other blogs. Dear God, I promise that will be the last time
  • Things were very bright post Spuds and Chavs, so surely a reasonable level of reaction to last night shouldn’t be too much to ask 
My feelings
  • Our attacking midfielders are Mesut, Ramsey, Iwobi, Danny and Mhki
  • Only one of those has top two teams level quality to set up Auba and Laca
  • Emery doesn’t like that player.  At all
  • I do get concerns over his work rate, and we also know Ramsey is off. While I’m just about ok with  Mesut being off loaded as well given the manager’s view, this presents a HUGE challenge. He needs to find two Terrier level age/price/quality players to fill the Ramsey/Mesut hole and that is a very, very big hole
  • We’re now left with just the League and Europa, which given my previously stated season’s objectives is not bad as we’re free from any distractions. Chelsea are the bookies Europa favourites and we can beat them.

Ok, I’m bored of this now. We have free weekends. Enjoy.

Mickydidit89


A Friday Pre-match

January 25, 2019

Friday night kick off. Reminds me of 26/5/89. A similar result would be lovely.

OGS has walked into a perfect situation, any team relieved from the yoke of Merino-dom is certain to play better, especially one which contains so many highly-priced egoists. Dropping Pogba and Martial in order to inspire them was never going to work.

Will we see the blood and thunder of previous MU cup ties? I hope so but very much doubt it. Gone are the days when Arsenal had players who would “get stuck in” though we are better than under Mr. Wenger in the art of sh*thousery, Sokratis, in particular, is Lauren-esque in his attitude. As always, we will need a strong , unbiased, efficient referee

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I expect Mr. Emery to start with his strongest team because this is an important game for him. Having beaten a poor Chelsea team Arsenal will want to cement the growing confidence in the squad. After beating Spurs we lost our mojo, we do not want a repeat

Will Mr Emery continue with the midfield diamond which worked so effectively last weekend? MU have so much pace upfront, it would seem the best tactic but perhaps he will revert to a Back 3 given the injury to Hector.

The Corporal, AMN or Licht at right back? My choice would be AMN simply because of the pace on MU’s flanks; Martial, Rashford,  Ratface Lingard and the Dog Fancier.

Sanchez is an odd case – I expect him to get a frosty reception but why should he? He scored some wonderful goals for us and for a season or two carried the team, why the hostility? It is not as if Sanchez was a Gooner; he was just a hired hand who left to get more money. I don’t blame him. €400k a week is quite an incentive to leave the Arsenal.

Winning the F.A. Cup is part of the Arsenal tradition, it remains high on our priority list. United are our rivals for a CL place and our long-term rivals in terms of glory. We need to beat them.

Let it be So

COYRRG


Is the Arsenal Man United rivalry a thing of the past?

January 24, 2019

Yesterday’s post suggested that the aggressive, no holds barred Arsenal v Man U animosity originated in February 1988 when Nigel Winterburn castigated Brian McClair for blasting a penalty into the North Bank right at the end of a fifth round FA Cup tie with United 2-1 down. Funny as that was, did the seething dislike of one another begin then?

As far as supporters go, the Cockney Reds (London-based Man U supporters) have always been universally disliked by fans of London teams. Between 1967 and 1993, Man U did not win the League title. We won it three times but it was Liverpool who dominated the 70s and 80s.

Arsenal won the title in 1989 with the famous last game of the season triumph at Anfield. That McClair/Winterburn spat had occurred the season before so perhaps it had been that which sparked the mutual loathing. Certainly October 1990 at Old Trafford saw a 21 man brawl, when McClair started kicking Winterburn after a dodgy tackle on Irwin.

As David Rocastle said, “It was our team-mate, our little blood brother, in trouble. They were kicking Nigel like a nightclub brawl. That’s what got us upset. If it was just a bad tackle, you wouldn’t go in like that, no chance. But when I saw them kicking Nigel I ran over thinking, ‘You can’t have this!’ We went in there and we stuck up for each other. At Arsenal we never, ever started any brawls – we just finished them.”

Arsenal won the game 1-0 thanks to Anders Limpar but we were docked 2 points, the mancs docked only 1, even though they had instigated the violence. Arsenal ran away with the League losing only the 1 game all season and the fans enjoyed singing “you can stick your 2 points up your a*se” as the title win was confirmed.

During the early and mid 90s, United dominated the League once Ferguson found his feet. He had been within a cat’s whisker of being sacked (oh, how things might have been). Once a certain Monsieur Wenger transformed the dreadful George Graham mid-90s Arsenal into a team which could compete for the title again, his rivalry with Ferguson was set and became a feature of the late 90s right up to the 2005 FA Cup Final.

Other outfits complained that it had become a two team League with either Arsenal or Man U winning it every season. The biggest games every season were the blood and thunder London/red Manc showdowns. Overmars in 1998, the epic 1999 season (which sadly all went United’s way) and the battle of the midfield titans of Vieira and Keane were all hall marks of that time.

United hated Arsenal’s 2003/4 dominance and several times used tactics more suited to Gorbals street fighting to close the gap in class. Our 49 game unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of grievous bodily harm all over the pitch, a pathetically lame excuse for a referee in Mike Riley and a disgraceful Wayne Rooney dive. If Fergusion couldn’t win fair and square, it was obvious he would do anything in his power to conjure up an advantage.

These days he sits in the stands like a genial old uncle who commands respect and admiration by all those around him. However, Arsenal fans will never forget the beatings our players took, especially at Old Trafford, which were the work of one man alone.

Since 2005, Arsenal slipped and it was only the revolting Robin van Persie who revived the animosity with his ‘listened to the little boy inside’ nonsense.

Are there any players left who might still understand the depths of hatred which caused mild-mannered bloggers like Chary to lose their rag whenever Man U were mentioned? Herrera is a sh*thouser’s sh*thouser but he’d be like that whichever team he played for. Maybe the new, baby-faced United manager would know more about it than anyone else involved tomorrow.

Rooney knew the score, van Nistelrooy would do anything to turn us over, the Neville brothers were manc-versions of the Krays in some of those early noughties games at OT, Schmeichel and Wright squared up over allegations of racist taunts and corresponding two-footed tackles, Keown caused the Dutchman to soil his pants in 2003, Lauren cut Ronaldo in half at Highbury, Vieira made Gary Neville look like a schoolboy in the tunnel at Highbury.

Andy Hooper

Where has all this resentment gone? Swallowed up by Chelsea and Man City buying the League, maybe. Would we want it all back how it was, maybe not. Perhaps with both teams currently more likely to be fighting for the 4th CL slot or Europa football rather than Championships, it has taken some of the edge off it?

What do you think? Are we now looking back at an intense rivalry consigned to history?

One thing’s for certain, when the whistle blows for kick off tomorrow evening, I hope the Arsenal team show the passion and pride they’ve shown in the two big London derbies at the Emirates so far this season and go out to humiliate Solskjaer’s boys with the quality of their football.

chas