Toon dooned by a Xhaka boom

September 16, 2018

First Half

Nothing happened. Hopes (and fears) for a deluge of goals were battered on a sea of directionless football from both sides. No shots on target, virtually no shots. Duller than a day trip to Sunderland.

Second half

Another half time sub, presumably a firework or two tactically inserted and a different Arsenal emerged for the second period. The ball suddenly became an important ingredient in the footballers’ toolkit. Torreira injected an urgency and positive momentum that the first 45 had totally lacked.

Ozil and Ramsey, instead of looking like Arsenal’s equivalent of Lampard/Gerrard, started to enjoy finding each other. Every player looked hungry for the ball and keen to find space for a pass when not in possession.

Auba was fouled a few yards outside the area and it looked as though Torreira had decided he fancied a pop. Lo and behold, Granit produced a peach and Arsenal’s first goal direct from a free kick for donkeys. Beauty.

The whole red and white machine was suddenly infused with extra confidence and a second looked likely as Toon heads dropped. Mesut passed the ball into the net 10 minutes later after a blocked effort from Laca and that looked to be enough to see off the demoralised barcodes.

Arsenal, being Arsenal regardless of who the manager is, still managed to give us all kittens in the final 5 minutes of the match. First Cech had to make his first meaningful save from a free header at the back post, before an identical chance was duly despatched as injury time began. Thank Dennis there were only the three extra minutes to endure.

Summary

Guendouzi must have been perplexed seeing the Arsenal side which emerged from the tunnel after half time. It looked one he might have enjoyed playing in. That first period, on the other hand, probably made him grateful he’d been hooked.

Why did we ease off after the second goal? Was the tactic to allow the opposition to come on to us and then to pick them off on the counter? Two goals rarely seems like a convincing lead where Arsenal are concerned.

Anyway it turned out that they were enough in the final reckoning. Another away win, three points in the bag plus two home fixtures next up and things look a whole lot rosier than when we were in ‘crisis’  a few games ago.

Ratings

Cech – more comedy on the floor from Petr’s feet. A couple of dangerous passes followed by humping it up the pitch. Strange. Had little to do with his hands, one decent stop from the header and numerous catches of overhit lofted balls into the area….6

Bellerin – acres of space behind him in the first half. Good job Shkodran is always there to cover with his lightning pace. Still think Lichtsteiner behind him makes sense. Hector is always dangerous going forward though….6

Mustafi – some good stuff in amongst some typically crazy moments….5

Sokratis – stoic and resolute from our stone faced Greek. Made several important tackles, blocks and interceptions plus he even showed a yard of pace. Settling in nicely….7

Monreal – competent without having too much to do….6

Guendouzi – seems to have lost just a touch of his earlier confidence. Though when passing backwards is your only option as it was in that appalling first half, it’s always going to be a struggle….5

Xhaka – grew into the game, usual high number of passes and a glorious peach of a dead ball which sailed into the net….7

Ramsey – completely anonymous and disinterested in the first period. Much better when the football began in the second….5

Ozil – looked especially pleased to mark his 200th appearance with a goal….6

Laca – tried hard to make an impact throughout. Didn’t have a great deal of service….6

Auba – no smiles in the first half and didn’t look comfortable on the ball before finally being withdrawn….5

Subs

Torreira – another 45 minutes for the Uruguayan. Seemed to make an immediate impact with tempo and forward movement….6

Mkhitaryan – tidy in possession without achieving much at all….5

Welbeck – one impressive break but didn’t have the balance to finish off a fine chance….5

Manager – changed things at half time which was much needed….6

chas

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Arsenal F.C. – Our record against the Toon

September 14, 2018

This is an incredible accounting of our first ever official league game – it was in Division 2 against Newcastle United and was played at The Manor Field on September 2nd 1883.

The report is courtesy of the brilliant “The Arsenal History” website ……..

Competition: Football League Division Two

Location: Manor Field, Plumstead

Attendance: 10,000

Referee: Joseph Tillotson

Match Report:
Arsenal 2
Shaw, Elliott

Newcastle United 2
Crate, Sorley

Woolwich Arsenal’s inaugural Football League appearance was played at the club’s “new” ground, the Manor Field, having vacated the Invicta Ground during the summer. A bumper crowd, travelling from all parts of London, turned up to witness the first Football League game played in the south of England.

Joe Powell had the honour of captaining Arsenal for this historic game and won the toss, allowing Newcastle to kick off at 3.30pm on a glorious autumn afternoon.
Newcastle started well and caused a commotion in Arsenal’s penalty area from a corner, Charlie Williams fisted away and William Jeffery eventually cleared. But Arsenal drew first blood when, after just six minutes of play, Elliott broke through, fed Charlie Booth on the left wing and his cross found Walter Shaw who, with a terrific shot, put the ball into the net just out of Ramsay’s reach. This maiden League goal was met by rapturous applause from the crowd.

The game then settled down, play was very even with each team playing different styles: Newcastle playing more as a unit whilst the Arsenal players preferred to create their own chances. This was much in evidence as Newcastle had a good spell of possession resulting in Jock Sorely forcing Williams into a good save, and winning a series of corners. In amongst Newcastle’s possession, Arsenal twice broke away and James Henderson was unlucky to hit the post and also headed wide from a Booth cross.

Shortly after the break Arsenal went further ahead when, following an impressive solo run from his own half by Booth, Arthur Elliott beat Alex Ramsay with a stinging shot. There was a hint of offside by Elliott but the referee was not best placed to see it.

Thinking that they had won the game, Arsenal eased off which allowed Newcastle to continually press the Arsenal goal. Powell and Williams seemed to be equal to everything Newcastle threw at them but eventually, after 65 minutes, Tom Crate got through to score through a melee of players.

This goal spurred the Magpies on and they equalised in a similar manner a couple of minutes later through Sorley, despite protests for offside from Arsenal. This resulted in a frantic finale as both teams went all out for the win, but no more goals were scored resulting in a 2-2 draw which, on the balance of play, was the fairest result.

2 September 1893 Woolwich Arsenal v Newcastle United

Line-ups:

Woolwich Arsenal: C Williams, J Powell, W Jeffery, D Devine, B Buist, D Howat, D Gemmell, J Henderson, W Shaw, A Elliott, C Booth.

Newcastle United: A Ramsay, H Jeffrey, J Miller, R Crielly, W Graham, J McKane, J Bowman, T Crate, W Thompson, J Sorley, J Wallace.

Arsenal v Newcastle all time results:

Written by GunnerN5


Turned over by The Toon – Newcastle Ratings

April 16, 2018

The only people looking forward to this one were some Geordies hoping to finally take some points from Arsenal and Joe Willock making his debut. My mate, Nick had a tenner on 2-1 so at least some good came of it.

First Half

A beautiful sunny scene at St James’ was brightened further by an excellent volleyed goal from Laca with the assist coming from our new Gabonese left winger.

Then came the inevitable. Mustafi should have been trying to block Perez’ near post effort by getting his whole body in the way between ball and goal, not poking a hopeful foot out. Cech would have only saved it if it had hit him.

Unfortunately our best chances during the first half fell to Calum Chambers.

Second half

Nothing happened worthy of note except for the usual déjà-vu.

Ratings

Cech – Beaten by two good finishes … 6

Chambers – Hector had a prior engagement at Brent Cross, so we were left with more proof that Calum isn’t really a full back (p.s. he ain’t no striker either)  … 5

Mustafi – without Kos there to mop up, Shkodran looked a little limited. Beautiful pass to Auba for the goal  …6

Holding – Tried as hard as anyone else  … 6

Monreal – Missed Mesut and Rambo when looking for a pass  … 6

Elneny – Couldn’t recreate the heights of Moscow in a team lacking movement and creativity … 6

Xhaka – Should have stayed in bed with the flu  … 6

Willock – Didn’t look out of place, comfortable on the ball (as you always expect from an Academy player). Unfortunately got in the way of a pass to Auba in our best first half breakaway   … 6

Iwobi – Best of a poor bunch, enjoying his freer role and taking some responsibilty … 7

Aubameyang – Looked to have initiated a perfect partnership with his striking buddy early on with a beautiful left footed assist, but sank into relative anonymity – 6

Lacazette – Cracking finish for his goal, but ultimately drifted off to sleep like the rest of us  – 6

chas

 


Newcastle away …. any answers … or more questions?

August 30, 2015

We got 3 points away from home at a ground that I am not sure will be that easy for many of our rivals this season. On the general positive front our passing and movement was excellent and only lacked that last little itty weeny bit….the placement of the ball between the white thingy’s with the mesh behind it. Ok we did place it there once but at the end you did feel we should have been far more comfortable. Also, yes, we should have had a penalty, so the officials once again conspire to undermine our season. We should be 2 points and 2 goals better off right now.

I mention the officials because the toon fans obviously felt very hard done by yesterday. However in the cold light of day and viewing these incidents again I would challenge any of them to disagree with the decisions. If anything the non penalty penalty kept them in it. With that as well as the other goal I think we would have gone on to score 2 more.

So with general all round excellent play why didn’t we put them to the sword a bit more? Does this have implications for the season? Are we lacking a world class cutting edge up front or could it be more simply that we are not quite in full gear yet? Could it also be that McClaren has them far more organised now and that Newcastle didn’t come out to play enough football and got so many men behind the ball that breaking them down was always going to be tough. If anything it possibly got tougher once they were a back’s to the walls 10 man outfit.

My stance has softened on yesterday once I stepped back and reviewed it. I actually think we looked so fluid and sharp that we forced them into a bus parking exercise.

Someone may come before the transfer window closes, to provide that extra cutting edge up front, but let’s say they don’t, and there is a very real chance of that. I still feel we have quite a bit at our disposal. Many are now looking to Welbeck to save us, because to many Giroud and Walcott can’t cut it, and I am looking forward to him getting his opportunity. However, even having been a critic of Giroud I still feel that both he and Walcott have something to offer as number 9’s, if we play them in the right way. I would also say that where Walcott is concerned he could be a number 9 option and still play as a wide player when needed.

Many will use yesterday as hard “EVIDENCE” that Walcott can’t do it. Well as already said Newcastle firstly made it difficult. Secondly from my point of view none of Walcott’s chances were gimmes yesterday. If you watch them again in most of the cases Walcott is actually latching on to balls at high speed. That automatically makes it more difficult to control any shot on target than at a slower pace. It is of course easier if the ball is on the ground as you run onto it.

He had a one on one with Krul in this situation and there is an argument that Theo could have done a bit better by chipping the keeper. Fair enough but not an easy skill at that pace and in reality it was Krul that did very well here in reading the game and coming out.

His second big chance is the one that many are referring to as almost an open goal. The one on the rebound from Sanchez shot. Look at it again peoples. Again Theo is arriving at high speed…more difficult. Secondly the ball is bouncing….adds extra difficulty. Thirdly he is not directly in front of an open goal, but is at an angle with the keeper getting up from the ground to narrow his options….again adds to the difficulty. This was no gimme. Alright it didn’t happen for him or Ollie when he came on but the great Ronaldo and the great Aguero missed easier chances yesterday!!! 

This is not a “defence of Theo” post. More I am trying to rationalise why we didn’t quite make it easier and why our striking department individually and as a whole didn’t quite pull it off as well as they could have. Theo and Ollie might not be quite good enough to push us to the title. Then again they might be and my point is that yesterday is not enough for me personally to say they can’t.

If anything I really wanted Wenger to play Theo to Giroud’s right when Ollie came on. With Ollie and no Theo teams play a higher line. With Theo and no Ollie teams play a deeper line. With Theo and Ollie they are in trouble either way. It looked a potent combination a couple of seasons back and would have meant that we had our next 3 most clinical goal-scorers (Sanchez, Rambo and Theo) all playing off Giroud. As said I don’t see any reason why they can’t rotate as striker or also play together.

Arsene got his subs right because we won the game. Fair point. I do however feel the subs were a bit negative and he could have put them to the sword with something more similar to what I mentioned above. AOC could have gone in to the heart of midfield where all those pesky Newcastle players on yellows would have been shedding a load when he started to run through the centre at pace. We have in recent times been too gung-ho, but weirdly I also feel Arsene goes with too much caution and still needs to find that balance at times.

Anway, discuss A.A’ers.

 

 

Written by GoonerB

 

 

 


Ozil to win it for Arsenal?

August 29, 2015

Newcastle. What do you think of when hearing that name?

I have a mental image of SuperMac, Keegan arriving by helicopter, Dirty Shearer with one arm raised, Dire Straits, Bryan Ferry, that TV series with Jimmy Nail and the bloke who became Inspector Morse’s assistant, unintelligible accents, dreadful beer, Gazza, Sir Bobby Robson, Ugly Beardsley, Fat Football fans and much more (add a few if you have the inclination!)

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And in recent years a total road wreck of a football club. Managers sacked, dreadful players bought and sold, fan unrest, an owner who is hated by the fans and a top quality, traditional institution  which could attract the very best becoming a selling club.

Newcastle have spent 5 times as much money as AFC in this window (so far)!  IMO this is a dreadful state of affairs and questions must be asked. I do not accept that players are not available – if they chose other clubs one must question the negotiating skills of our buying team. It is claimed that Thauvin chose Newcastle having been approached by AFC, if this is true our boys really do a crap job.

McClaren is a good manager and will bring discipline into a difficult club who were lucky to escape relegation, he has bought young, pacy players who he hopes can change the atmosphere in both the changing room and the stands. Their start is worse than ours which brings some degree of hope.

images-1

Her Maj in Her Home Kit

But we need points and we need them NOW.

How do we get them?

The usual …… hard work, team play, concentration, fast attacks, clinical finishing. A little bit of intricate passing and a sprinkling of magic.

Could Chambers play worse than his first half on Monday? It would be difficult. There is a fair chance he will start alongside Paul Easter and if he does then AW has to instruct his midfield to give better protection.

Theo to start? Would be good but who gets dropped? Giroud is the obvious choice though he is our only goal scorer this season (how rubbish is that?)

Dare AW drop Cazorla and play the Ox thereby adding some pace and width down the right? Or Ramsey? Or both and play Theo and Ox.

I don’t know and I am not paid millions to make such a decision. What I do know is that at present things are not as they should be. There is imbalance in the team both vertically and laterally. We need more cohesion in front of goal, better understanding between the defence and the midfield, and less reliance upon left-sided attack. It has to be said (and it was by LB!) that if you have Ozil and Sanchez on the left then we are likely to use them. I really fancy Ozil to score today and will bet a fish that he will.

The season start has shown that we have no idea how the team will perform today – who knows today could be the launch pad for a run of wins or it could signify the start of a difficult season.

I will be watching from behind the sofa.

I am 54% confident

COYRRG


Cazorla or Rosicky to start?

March 21, 2015

St. James Park. Not been the same since the days of Keegan and Shearer. Why?

From the outside it is Sports Direct and Mike Ashley. A Londoner buying the North-East’s premier club and running it without recognition of it’s past history. I have no idea whether Mr. Ashley has profited financially form his purchase but he must have regretted the effect his decision has had upon his family and reputation. Can there be a more disliked owner in the PL?

How can the Newcastle fans be happy when every season they sell their best players. In 2014 they sold Debuchy, Remy and Cabaye – the core of their French based burgeoning team? Is it any wonder that Pardew struggled to reach the level of success demanded by the owner and the fans?

Newcastle are struggling for personnel with Cisse and Coloccini banned and Taylor, Tiote, De Jong and Aarons missing through injury. These are difficult times for a rookie manager. I feel sorry for John Craver who is surely  a caretaker until summer. Having won only one of their last six PL games confidence must be low.

That said, they remain a good mid-division side. dangerous on the attack and resolute in defence. Furthermore they will be expecting to succeed at home against an Arsenal who will be feeling the physical effect s of the efforts midweek in Monaco.

We are on a fine run of form, our squad is strong and in the main healthy, Mr Wenger has choices he has not had for many seasons – if ever. Even without 3 important midfielders (plus Diaby) he can choose between Le Coq, Ramsey, Cazorla, Flamini, Rosicky, Ozil and Alexis. Rosicky or Cazorla? Santi has been excellent the past couple of months – his best spell in the shirt but perhaps this is a game for Rosicky to stat. He plays a similar game but is probably a little better defensively. Upon reflection, I would start the Spaniard and exchange them on 70 minutes.

Many have said they would rest Alexis today but my thoughts are why? Our next game is not until April 4 as we enter an International break. Alexis is certainly not as potent as he was early in the season but he remains enormously entertaining to watch and an important cog in the team. As this is an way fixture I expect Mr Wenger to play another midfielder – probably Ramsey.

My team:

Ospina

Bellerin    BFG     Koscielny      Monreal

Ramsey   Coquelin   Cazorla

Ozil

Giroud    Welbeck

There is a temptation to play Walcott and Chambers. Walcott’s pace is a potent weapon when playing away as Newcastle will look to attack and be more open to the counter-attack. Chambers was isolated against West Ham primarily because Walcott does not give him enough protection, he deserves another chance. Discuss.

As always, for tactics, stats etc look elsewhere.

In a tight competition for top 4 every point is vital and under normal circumstances I would be satisfied with a point, but second is possible and we need 3 points from this game.

I am 54% confident.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Bring Me Sunshine

December 13, 2014

Ospina

Chambers   Koscielny  Hayden  Monreal

Ramsey  Wilshire   Arteta

Gnabry   Walcott Ozil

That is some team and one capable of winning this afternoon, unfortunately it is plucked from our lengthy injury list. 4 weeks out for Ramsey!

Why did I start with this? Two reasons – firstly that injuries will stop Arsenal having any chance of winning the PL this season, and I do believe we were in with a good chance; secondly, Mr Wenger said yesterday regarding the January transfer window ““If everybody is fit then we don’t need to go into the transfer market.” 

This worries me. Arsenal have consistently been top of the injuries league for many years, doesn’t Mr Wenger know this? Doesn’t he know that we never, repeat never, have an injury free squad. We have to buy or loan at least two players in the window if we are to challenge for Top 4. (update: Chas has pointed out that this was just part of AW’s speech and he has not written off the possibility of signings – Mr Wenger, not Chas 🙂 )

Newcastle: On a run of wins and arriving having “battered” the Chavs. They too have injuries but nothing like ours. They have pacy forwards who are in form, a solid defence  – Taylor is out but Coloccini could be fit. Alnwick starts who is  3rd choice GK but when we were forced to do so Martinez performed very well, I expect the same of Alnwick. Sissoko is suspended and that is good news.

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Greenwich-born Steven Taylor. Ideal signing for AFC

Arsenal: So what do we have to win? It seems obvious to me that Newcastle will score so we must outscore them. Having so few defenders means we have a space for an extra attacker – so my tactic would be to play an extremely attacking side. A 3-4-3 would do it but Mr Wenger is likely to start young Bellerin on the right with Debuchy next to him. This sends Per to the left of defence which don’t work very well against Stoke, did it? Any team which kicks-off with Ox, Santi, Alexis, Welbz and OG has a chance of scoring heavily.

A little extra: Have you ever heard of Elisabeth Fry? You should have – she is on the back of the £5 note! She was a prison reformer during the early 19th century. Born in Norwich  to a wealthy banking family Elisabeth became a Quaker and heavily involved in humanitarian work. Horrified by the conditions of women at Newgate prison in London she resolved to make the prisoners brutal conditions easier and set up a charity to give food and medical care.

This was a time when a woman’s role in society was ornamental yet Fry became the first woman to present evidence to the House of Commons. In 1840 she opened a nurses school  – one of her pupils was Florence Nightingale who took a team of Fry’s nurses out to  the Crimean War. She then opened a large hostel for ladies who had fallen on hard times in Manor House and later a much larger one in Highbury, just around the corner from The Emirates .  She died in Ramsgate in 1845.

220px-Elizabeth_Fry_by_Charles_Robert_Leslie

Have you seen this woman?

Back to football. Should be a cracking game today and one full of attacking play. Given the paucity of defenders and the excellent form of the visitors we cannot be too optimistic but with Alexis in the team anything is possible. A win would make my weekend.

written by Big Raddy