If it wasn’t for bad luck, we wouldn’t …

January 29, 2019

Much of the pre-match attention will focus on the tragic loss of Sala. In a sport dominated by brusque masculinity it is rare to hear someone speak with as much dignity and emotional honesty as Neil Warnock. Hats off to the chap (henceforth known as David Wagner). I know Arsenal will handle the event with the tact and grace we expect from our club.

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Chapeau

I appreciate Mr. Wagner the man but certainly not his footballing philosophy. Wagner/Warnock knows his teams don’t have the skill sets to compete so he instills them with aggression, shit-housery and an ability to PTB. All of which we will witness this evening.

As you would expect the prime reasons for Cardiff being in the relegation zone are an inability to score goals allied to an propensity to concede. They have scored only 19 goals, second lowest to Huddersfield, and conceded 44, second highest to Fulham. Mr. Wagner has problems. Thankfully, David is used to the relegation battle and I wish him luck in keeping Cardiff in the PL, hopefully at the expense of some Northern team of cloggers.

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Mr. Emery. These are our 3 Best Players

We go into this match with a skeleton crew of defenders. Two lost in our last match. With both Bellerin and Holding on a gap year and the young Greek lad still in the treatment room we are down to bare bones. It must be awful if Mustafi is the first name on the teamsheet 😦

There is the possibility that Koscielny may play with a mask – he can be our be our Lone Ranger with Monreal as Tonto and Mustafi as Silver (only the older reader will get that joke!)

Elneny can play central defence. A chimp can write Macbeth.

No problems upfront, just a selection. Does Mr.Emery play an attacking team or continue with the midfield diamond? You know my opinion. We are at home against a team in 19th who have picked up 5 points on the road, scoring just 6 times. It is a night to unleash the attacking talents in the squad.

I would like to see Iwobi start, alongside Ozil, PEA and Laca. Drop Ramsey and Wardrobe and Nacho playing left of a back 3. This requires Iwobi to cover much ground but the lad is young and will love running about on a chilly night in London.

We need a win after the confidence draining result last Friday and with a trip to Maine Road on Sunday.

Let it be So

COYRRG

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Wembley Beckons – player ratings for Carabao Semi part two

January 25, 2018

First half

The chavs came flying out of the blocks, high press, overloading the centre backs with Hazard, Pedro and Willian confusing the whatnots out of Koscielny and Mustafi. Thank Dennis their early goal was cancelled out by Nacho’s crazy double kiss header, else the game could have run away from us.

Our midfield was all over the place with no-one quite sure what they were supposed to be doing as the ball flashed past them.

Gradually we got a toe-hold and had the two best chances in the rest of the first half; a Granit fizzer from a free kick and Mesut’s deflected right footer just before the break.

Second half

So much better second half, even without the cones! Chelsea began to play for the away goal counting after extra time. Their rotational fouling was not penalised by the lenient Oliver. Granit must have had a nose bleed being in the chavs’ six yard box but there he was, at a ridiculous altitude at precisely the right moment; almost as if it was pre-ordained. Alexander missed a chance to put the game to bed which, being kind, was probably harder than it looked. No major scares in the last ten minutes – job done, off to Wembley.

Ratings

Ospina – Busy Doing Nothing – 2 shots on target for the chavs didn’t leave our Colombian much to do ….7

Monreal – Pinball Wizard – Magnificent commitment throughout, his goal came at exactly the right moment ….9

Mustafi –  Working in the Coal Mine – always tries hard, improved as the game went on….8

Koscielny – Leader of the Pack – seemed to be fighting his injuries even more than usual but still imperious  ….8

Bellerin – The Way You Look Tonight – quiet, didn’t do much at all ….6

Xhaka – Road to Nowhere – summed up Arsenal’s performance, chaotic but Johnny-on-the-spot ….6

Wilshere – Push It – barely got a touch in the first half, an inspiration in the second ….7

Elneny –  Nowhere to Run – covered every blade at the apex of the upside down midfield triangle ….8

Iwobi  – Back Door Man – most tackles, most misplaced passes, bizarre  ….7

Ozil – Pretty Beat Up – the man with the weave decided kicking him was the only way to lessen his impact ….7

Lacazette – So Lonely – even less support than normal with the dog-botherer gone and an extra body in midfield ….7


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


The two Arsenal players Barcelona fear most

December 15, 2015

I was  on my way to work this morning listening to an interview with Philippe Auclair on the radio discussing the CL draw. It was suggested to him that Barca would be very happy to have drawn Arsenal again.

On the contrary he said, there are 2 players that Barcelona fear. Immediately the names of Ozil and Sanchez sprang to mind … but no, he was referring to a different two players …. Can you guess who?

They know about Ozil, he plays with the ball on the ground in a style they understand and equally, they don’t fear Sanchez’s all action high pressing style – it’s what they do.

No, the players Barca are wary of are the in-form Olivier Giroud (he is the kind of striker they hate to play against) and Petr Cech who has put them out of the CL almost single handedly before. He is their ‘bogey keeper’, they seldom beat him. Apparently Messi has never managed to put one past Cech.

When I thought about it, this all makes perfect sense.

They should also be aware that in Koscielny we have one of the best CBs in the world and as I have said before, our wing back pairing of Monreal and Bellerin is unrivalled in the EPL.

We are a better team than when they played us last time. With the steadying influence of Cech in goal and the quality of our defence, Barcelona will not find it easy to score against us even with their unparalleled front three.

Add the fact that the FP (little joke betwee AA regulars 🙂 ) is in fine form and all of a sudden, Arsenal v Barcelona is the draw we should all welcome. If we manage to beat them, we can begin to dream…….

Rasp


Are Arsenal’s fullbacks good enough?

August 28, 2015

The general perceived feeling on the forum is that we are doing fine on the full-back position as we have four reliable full-backs at our disposal:-Debuchy, Bellerin, Monreal and Gibbs.

I tend to agree that are “good full backs” but I am not convinced that they can take our club to the next level as they still suffer from defensive lapses, do not create enough assists or goals and worse, do not bring enough width to our game at times when we are stuck with fruitless possession in the opponent’s half…You look at Ivanovic, Alves, Rafinha, Lahm, Alaba, Alba and even Baines, Coleman or Clyne (he still needs to confirm though) and you realize that our FBs are not doing enough for our team…

What is your take on it?

Written by RC78


Surprise of the season so far

April 8, 2015

We have heard a lot over recent seasons of transitional year not just for us but several clubs around the top 4, Liverpool, ManUre and even Chelsea have gone through changes that the managers and existing players have to cope with, it seems we have been in transition for eternity, but in reality we were in a status quo, Arsene getting the most out of a competent if not great squad. Finally it feels like we are in real transition from PL consistency to challengers, hopefully with a good start to next season we have a real chance of adding the big prize to the trophy cabinet.

The thing that makes me confident in this are the players that have come to the fore and surprised us and upset the apple cart that was my perceived wisdom.

“Theo must have a place”

“Arteta allows us to play our way he is first name on the team sheet”

“Szczesny will be fine”

In Welbeck, Coquelin and Ospina three players (not star names) have come along and made us all reconsider. I’ll even add Bellerin in that group with Nacho. For seasons we have been told it is lack of spending that has held us back, but this season two players created by us, a bargain squad player from an overstocked competitor and two other minor signings have all become first team regulars. They have all taken their opportunities and the real success is that they made us forget the players they have replaced.

Even Santi in his deeper position could be seen as a surprise, who’d have thought he could join in the tackling back?

Last season when Arteta was out injured we missed him and badly, whilst he was out this season and Flamini replaced him we continued to miss him, but now Coquelin has brought a new dimension to the role (namely pace and aggression) it’s hard to see where Arteta fits in.

At right back a lot of fans were worried that we were taking a step backwards by allowing Bacary to leave and only bringing in Debuchy, if Debuchy’s early performances didn’t calm those worries, Bellerin’s outstanding performances have consigned memories of Sagna to the dustbin, we are better now in this position.

But neither of these are my biggest surprise that title goes to Welbeck, let’s be honest none of us rated him that highly in a United shirt, but he has come in and staked a claim for a regular place, early on he was asked to play up top with Ollie missing, and I guess most of us saw him as a stop gap in that position and out wide until Ollie and then Theo returned. But he is keeping Theo out of the side, when they are both on the bench it is Theo who remains getting splinters whilst Danny is called upon. I think mainly because he gets himself involved, he presses, he is strong and leaves it all on the park. He has better feet than I gave him credit for and is much stronger than I thought. The only criticism at the moment is he seems too eager to score himself when others are in a better position. He has made me think it’s time for Theo to move on, and the best thing about that if it happened we would be the ones deciding it was time for him to move on, £16m for Welly was a steal, anything over £20m for Theo will be good business.

So who has been your biggest surprise?

Gooner in Exile


The Arsenal Rover’s Revenge On Cardiff

November 30, 2013

Cardiff. Hate the place.  I lived there in the late ’80’s and was visiting my daughter who was in Cardiff Royal Infirmary. I had parked my vintage  ´60’s Rover P5B in the underground carpark and it was stolen, only to be found burnt out not more than 800 yards from the hospital. An act of pure vandalism which has coloured my view of the city ever since.4374975717_b12ba8fb7d_z

Hope whomever torched my beauty suffers eternal damnation (mine was British Racing Green)

Anyway … enough of my personal angst. We play a hopeful Cardiff side today, fresh from a totally undeserved draw with United, they were cock-a-hop and understandably so. This is why I love football – it is so uncertain; we were by far the better side at OT and lost to an off-the-shoulder number from a traitorous cheese-eater. Next week the same team lose two points to a promoted side who cost less than MU’s bench.

No doubt the Cardiff fans will be expecting a similar or better result against our heroes. Could they repeat the defeat of the Northern Oilers? Possibly.

Cardiff have beaten Arsenal twice since 1927! Not a great record though as we haven’t played them in the PL it is difficult to be too triumphal.

Much is being made of Aaron Ramsey’s return to his home club. He hasn’t scored for two games and will be desperate to end his barren spell 🙂  Captain of Wales and the best player to come out of the province since John Charles (… of course he is better than  MonkeyBoyo, HairyBoyo Giggs, Madboyo Bellamy, ThickBoyo Rush or FatBoyo Southall), Ramsey is on fire. Not just his goal scoring but his all-round play. I am never impressed by yards run during a game- if it were an indicator of quality we should play Mo Farah – but it does show how involved he wants to be and it is this drive which makes him special. Same with Jack or Flamini or Sagna – they want the ball.

At this point let me show you the interior of the Rover P5B 3.5V8 ……….

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Can you see why I was upset?? (mine had black leather interior)

On another point, can I say how happy I am that TPIG has signed a long-term contract and Merts is in discussions. We need to develop the side and not allow another Fab 4/BSR situation to re-occur. A settled squad is vital – just look at the mons down the road (Mons = Disaster. Derives from 1st WW).

Cardiff: Good but not great players. Among their big summer signings was Andreas Cornelius , a huge 20 y.o. Danish Unit of a centre-forward. Cornelius has been injured but is due to return today. He cost a club record fee of €10m from FC København where he was so popular that over 40% of the shirts sold had his name printed on them! The man is strong in the air and swill usurp our stupid Dane in the national team. (p.s. there is another superb Dane coming through,  Viktor Fischer a left winger at Ajax, for whom a huge future is predicted).

Well organised, very fit, strong in spirit and team-ethic Cardiff will push us but we really should beat them if we find some form.

I will make a prediction: If Malky Mackay stays Cardiff will stay up, if , as is predicted, he leaves for Fulham or Norwich then I am afraid we will return to having just one Welsh club in the PL.

Arsenal: All about team selection – who gets dropped? Arteta and Gibbs are both fit and in the squad, but both Monreal and Flamini were superb mid-week so how can AW drop them? After the debacle that was Santos last season it is such a turnaround to have two brilliant LB’s. How to keep them both satisfied when both have significant chances to go to Brazil IF they get first team games  – very difficult for AW because if Monreal is dropped then what does that do to team morale? Why should reservists bust a gut to get a chance and then when they get one and play an almost perfect game only to be dropped …… you get the point.

Away from home I expect both Arteta and Flamini to start but that means dropping one of our attacking MF’s – actually more than one with the return of Theo.

This is my guess:

cardiff v arse

But, the team could equally include Rosicky (who has been fantastic) Wilshere and Cazorla! The return of Theo to the team will give us more Thrust.

Do you think we can take three points from a team lying in 15th place, just 3 points off the drop zone? If we are to be contenders then the answer must be yes, and it is only that Cardiff have done well against the Big Boyo’s that theres any apprehension. On the other hand they have lost to both Spurs and Newcastle.

It is getting cold and thus time for our heroes to start wearing lycra undergarments and gloves. Not like the old days ….

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Bobby Gould training at Highbury when men were men

written by Big Raddy