Bournemouth Preview

February 27, 2019

Micky summed up Bournemouth in  a few words yesterday – Language Schools and David Wagner.

Let’s start with language schools. The moment I passed my driving test at the age of 17 my mates insisted we spent each post-season weekend down in Bournemouth. Why? Because the language schools were full of ladies from Scandinavia with, what we assumed, were looser morals than our North London girlfriends.. We would rent a few rooms in the local B&B’s and go to the school’s discos with the hope of some horizontal exercise. Were the rumours of  degenerate behaviour correct? A gentlemen couldn’t possibly say.

David Wagner: His managerial record at a club whose ground capacity is under 12k is astonishing. Wagner’s first season in 2009 saw him take over a bankrupt club. Winning promotion in his first season he has transformed Bournemouth and brought unimagined glory to the PL smallest club.  I expect him to go to Spurs when the Podgy Argie leaves for Spain.

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They have some decent players, in particular, the midfielder David Brooks who scored against us at Dean Park earlier in the season. He has a bright future. Begovic always excels at the Emirates and both King and Wilson are dangerous on the break.

Arsenal: Our home record is impressive and despite a growing long-term injury list we are over-performing this transition season, Win today and we can be either 4 points from Spurs in 3rd (if Spurs lose) or 6 points ahead of the Chavs (if they lose).

Would love to see Ozil start but expect the same starting 11 as the weekend with perhaps Koscielny in for Mustafi and AMG replacing Lichtsteiner should be not be fit.

And what of Auba? Too good for the bench but we play better with one up top (IMO),. Does Emery rotate on a weekly basis? He seems to prefer the industry of Lacazette over the mercurial PEA.

B’mouth have conceded 48 PL goals and I expect us to help them reach the half century. They have lost their last 7 away fixtures.

Trouble is …. as we often discovered with those young Scandigirls that there is many a slip twix’t the cup and the lip:-D

An important game ahead of two very difficult and possibly season defining fixtures

COYRRG

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Don’t Look Back in Anger

February 3, 2019

Today we enter the Lion’s Den, the Roman Coliseum. Those lions will hungry after the defeat to the Barcodes etc etc.  NO. It is just a football game with 3 paltry points on offer. Win or lose, we will still finish in the Top 6.

Here’s a question … Many state that Pep Wagner is the best manager in world football. Certainly his wages reflect his reputation. I ask this – If Pep managed Huddersfield would they be any better? My answer is No.

Pep is considered a genius because he works with the very best players. Silk purse out of a sow’s ear comes to mind.. Ask Pep to manage Huddersfield and he MAY do better than the real Mr. Wagner but I doubt it.

And that is why City go into the game as such firm favourites – they have better players than us in almost every position (I rate our front 2 higher), of course they are favourites.

I could write extensively about the damage caused by Abramovich and the Oilers, but this is not the time. The fact remains however, that unlike MC, we cannot afford to spend €50m+ p.p. on a our reserves. They can and do.

Just imagine having the luxury of 3 wingers at the standard of Sterling, Mane and Mahrez. We haven’t even got a winger!

We have to look at Licht or Jenks as our RB back up and that says it all.

But it is not all gloom and doom, we have some fine players and we can beat quality teams, sadly not away from home though we would have beaten the Chavs at the Bridge but for wayward finishing. A couple of lethal strikes today could see us win this afternoon (unlikely as it seems).

Ozil starting? Hardly likely. I expect Mr. Emery to PTB and hope our lightning fast strike force can score on the counter; for this reason, I would use Iwobi. Back 3. Ramsey, Wardrobe, AMN.

Suarez? Possibly a bench place. More likely a start at Bate. in the EL.

As a child I was a committed Subbuteo player, even played in a local league and when not playing as Arsenal I had Man City as my second team. I guess it was the Mercer connection or perhaps it was my fave player, Colin Bell

This is sacrilegious so please excuse me – I would take losing 3 points at Maine Road in order to help City beat the Scouse to the title. Or heaven forbid, Spurs 😱😱

COYRRG

 


Chelsea Preview.

January 19, 2019

Much of this morning’s speculation will revolve, once again, about Mr. Ozil. This being the case I think we can gloss over that and discuss something else. No, not Brexit or a Wall or even the heat in Australia. Not even the worrying statement from Emery about our economy.

How about we cheer ourselves up in the knowledge that the squad is returning to good health with only Welbz and Holding on the long-term injured list. Emery can pick a solid defence – or as good as he can with the tools available, not that I wish to call Mustafi a tool, but if the cap fits …

My opinion:

The back 3 doesn’t work, one only has to look at our goals against to confirm this, so we have to go back to a more solid 4 and abandon the idea of FB’s as wing-backs, especially with AMN and the Wardrobe. The return of Hector and Nacho should add some backbone.

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Some AA’ers doubt Belllerin’s defensive ability, you may be right, but IMO he is amongst our best players.

Quite why Mr. Emery abandoned the deep Xhaka/Terrier combo by sending the little chap further forward is a mystery. Against Spurs they were the key to our victory, surely he will operate the same system this afternoon?

Also, a return to playing one upfront. It appears great mates do not make a great striking partnership. It worked well when we could bring on PEA in the final 20 minutes, his pace terrifying tiring defenders. Why was this tactic abandoned?

Not sure if Mhiki is fit, but we need him back to provide something positive ahead of Bellerin, yet there is no space in the team for both Iwobi and Mhiki if Ozil plays, and Ozil MUST play.

What of Chelsea?. Their manager, David Wagner, is a strange but likeable chap who appears to be doing a very good job with a team depending upon the genius of Hazard allied to the tenacity of the marvelous Kante. The goalkeeper shows the difference between a €60m and a €25m signing, ugly bugger though, our boy is no oil painting but at least he looks human. The midget microphone, Willian always does well against us, hopefully he is crocked.

World Cup winner OG returns to his real home where he should get a rousing reception, thanking him for some unforgettable moments including this …

Look for OG’s pass early in the move

When I lived in London most of my friends were Chelsea or closet Spurs. We always beat them. Always. Who can forget Winterburn’s screamer at the Bridge? As GN5 showed yesterday, those days are well in the past.

Play like we did against West Ham and we will get hammered again, play like we did against Spurs and the points are ours.

Let it Be So

COYRRG

 


Time for Change?

January 15, 2018

There has been mis-management at our club for the last few years and it is not all down to Wenger. However I feel he has hugely contributed to where we currently are in spite of who might be responsible for things right now.

Personally I think the real issue started in that summer TW when we got Cech and we famously were the only club in all the leagues not to bring in any outfield player. Arsene kept coming out with this “we only want super talented players” line and “there is nothing out there available that is better than what I already have”. I thought it was a load of crap then and feel that even more now. I think it started to prove then that his insight and vision had become flawed at the highest level.

None of us can know what happens behind the scene, but I feel fairly convinced that he was backed if he wanted someone and he was making the decision not to move for players.

I also have a gut feeling he has not moved on players we really needed if they slightly strayed over the price he deemed as being good value, and I feel his economic outlook when it comes to football transfers has also proven flawed.

I don’t believe that Sanchez and Ozil initially refrained from signing extensions purely to wind down their contracts. I think possibly in that summer they both thought WTF this doesn’t feel right and held back until they witnessed some positive signs of ambition and development of the side to one that could challenge for the big stuff. I think our current situation has not been manufactured in the here and now and can be traced back to the summer of 2015 and Arsene is hugely complicit in this.

Think on this. A few years ago Luis Suarez wanted to leave Liverpool and come to us because he looked at us as the club that was on the up and that was embarking on an exciting new period. The project has failed and quite frankly I think the perception of Liverpool and Arsenal then has been reversed in the eyes of the worlds top players.

At least with a new manager our club could once again be viewed as a top club that is embarking on something new and exciting.

written by Gooner B


Sticky Toffee Pudding

October 22, 2017

Everton desperate both for points and confidence. Koeman deep in the mire wearing open -toed sandals. Fans disgruntled by the awful football played, New owners disappointed by the poor return on the  €150m+ spent in summer.

Not the best time to visit Goodison.

Especially as we are hardly in the best of form. The win in Belgrade was welcome relief but not enough to heal the scars  earned at Vicarage Rd.

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But before I get too upset about our return of just one point from 4 away games, may I point out that we are just 3 points behind Chelsea in 4th having played a game less. In other words, apart from MC we are keeping up with the pack. What does this show? That we can expect some unexpected results, not just for AFC, but for all teams. It will, as ever, be an interesting season.

Everton have some fine players, they have players whom AFC have reputedly tried to sign. A midfield from Schneiderlin, Barkley, Sigurdsson, Rooney, Gueye and Davies is sure to be strong and combative. In defence they have some excellent players. Upfront? How do you replace Lukaku, a one man attack? Answer – they haven’t.

One player to point out is James McCarthy. I really dislike this bloke. Dirty, violent and a man prone to dive whilst protesting his innocence. He is Alan Shearer without the talent.

We must hope for a strong referee as the messages coming out of Goodison is that Everton are ready to fight i.e. they will try and kick our delicate flowers off the pitch. Expect rotational fouling on both Sanchez and Ozil and probably one of our lads leaving the field on a stretcher. Following those final 15 minutes at Watford we can expect this type of treatment almost everywhere we play.

I expect (hope) to see a team ready to attack; not one lacking Ozil. He has to play if fit. Lacazette has been desperately lacking his genius.

My Team:

Cech

Holding    Koscielny    Monreal

Bellerin    Ramsey    Xhaka    Kolasinac

Ozil

Lacazette     Sanchez

We have a strong bench especially with the return of Coquelin.

In my opinion, apart from Mustafi, this is our strongest team. This leaves Iwobi, Welbeck, Walcott and Giroud out in the cold. Finally, we have a host of attacking options.

I am not expecting an easy 90 minutes, I expect Everton to battle, what we will need is “mental strength”.

COYRRG


What we learned from the Weekend.

September 11, 2017
  1. Lacazette is worth the money.
  2. We can win without Sanchez.
  3. Mr Wenger’s experiment of playing Bellerin on the left is over.
  4. Kolasinac needs PL experience but looks a fine addition.
  5. Welbeck can finish!
  6. Mustafi central with pacy CB’s outside him works against teams who have no attack
  7. Our midfield excel against teams lacking confidence and ability
  8. We are better without The Ox (but good luck to the chap).
  9. In Xhaka and Ozil we have two wonderful creative players who will propel Lacazette towards 25 goals this season
  10. Arsene will struggle to find game time for Walcott

And from elsewhere:

  1. MU are flat-track bullies and will struggle against better, more organised sides.
  2. Chelsea remain a quality team
  3. De Bruyne is a marvellous player and should be sold to Real Madrid – immediately.
  4. The same can be said for Harry Kane
  5. Liverpool played exceptionally well when beating us and were rubbish on Saturday
  6. West Ham are doomed.
  7. And this hurts to write …. Spurs are serious title contenders.

I also learned that it is not a good idea to go walking in torrential rain

written by Big Raddy


Another Victory.

May 17, 2017

Are we going to talk football? Why not?

Strange game last night. First half a meandering dull affair enlivened only by speculation as to why the Emirates was a quarter empty.

Ozil playing beautifully but Giroud the opposite. Sanchez scoring two but losing the ball way too often. Gibbs having his best game for a few seasons.

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Referee, once again, crap. Two clear penalties declined, too many yellows for AFC whilst that thug, Cattermole escapes having crunched Ozil, Ramsey and Sanchez.

Ramsey. Finally finding some form following a run of games without injury. Sadly, it looked season ending damage for the Welsh Wizard. Hope not.

Defence. Another clean sheet but Cech exposed way too often, if Sunderland were not so poor in attack, we could have been in trouble. We miss Koscielny as Monreal is too concentrated upon attack. Mustafi improving as the season progresses and will be very good next season. Loved the no-look Monreal back pass to Cech, top entertainment.

Cech showed why he still has a few more years at the top. Faultless. I love his urgent distribution to get the team on the front foot.

We looked so much better with Welbeck and Iwobi on the pitch. More pace, more incisive, more problems for a tiring S’land defence.

Holding. Who didn’t love his run upfield? The man looks a future star and a huge bargain. Who said AFC can no longer scout talent from the lower leagues?

All in all, we played OK with some sublime work from Ozil and Xhaka. The headlines go to Sanchez but goals apart ( 😀 ) I thought he had a poor game. My MotM was definitely Ozil.

We had to win to keep our run going and put pressure on L’pool, we did. Just need to win the next two games and the season will look much better than a couple of months ago.

written by Big Raddy