Should Petr Cech play in the Europa Final? Poll

May 22, 2019

Should Petr Cech keep goal for Arsenal in the Europa League Final?

Having played in Europe all season, he is the logical choice.

This tweet he put up the other day is a bit sickening but it was a personal triumph for him to be a part of the spawniest CL win in history in 2012.

Now we have the news (presumably leaked by Chelsea ) as the Europa Final approaches that the big Czech is to return to the bus stop in Fulham as Director of Football after this season is over.

Is there a sudden conflict of interest or will Petr’s outstanding professionalism dispel any doubts in Unai’s mind?

What do you think?

Should he play in the Final? Are you having any second thoughts?

chas

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Arsenal 1 Brighton 1 – Player Ratings

May 6, 2019

Team selection –  meh- does it really matter?

First Half

Mkhitaryan hit the post in the 2nd minute and things looked bright for a moment.

A fortuitous penalty put us in front but we singularly failed to capitalise on it.

Brighton had a few half chances on the break. It’s such a disgrace that we made a team which narrowly avoided relegation look our equal.

Ryan made a decent save from Auba just before the break. Can’t really remember much else on target

Second Half

At least we created a few more chances but the keeper, some courageous defending and Auba not being able to score an open goal meant that the crucial second was not forthcoming.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Taylor evened up the score with another ridiculously soft penalty. 1-1 and a reasonably fair reflection of the game.

The triple substitution seemed to destabilise the team rather than give it a boost.

Plan B is give it to Iwobi. Cosmic.

Conclusion

Brighton deserved their point and we don’t deserve to be in a top 4 which contains a poor spud side and a poor chav side.

I feel sorry for anyone who made the journey for an end of season celebration and witnessed that travesty of a performance.

I find it hard to agree with those who say we have made progress this season. As far as I can see, we are as poor as last season and much worse than 2016/7.

Man U drawing away to Huddersfield made me laugh. Us drawing at home to Brighton did not. We haven’t been any better this season than a shambolic Man United in Mourinho disarray.

The whole season rests on the Europa now and let’s hope Auba’s late goal helps get us to the Final where anything can happen in a one-off game.

Tara Rambo
Credit Epa-Efe/Neil Hall

It was unfortunate that Rambo, Danny and Petr had to say their goodbyes during the lap of dishonour.

Getty Images

Ratings

I can’t really be bothered with separating the players out from one another.

A rating of 4 for everyone including the subs? Maybe 3?

Leno made a great save to stop us losing 2-1. Where was Lucas Torreira meant to be playing in the first half? – I really had no idea. The strikers tried to score but didn’t have the quality of that early season purple patch when they defied the xG.

Managers

Emery – didn’t get his team playing well enough in the League for the 4th? 5th? 6th? game in a row. We’ve been garbage for weeks … 3

Chris Wagnerson – managed a team which had just escaped relegation, with nothing to play for but pride and made them the equal of a poor Arsenal team – I’d give him a higher rating but other managers have made their average teams look much better than us recently … 5

chas (written just after the match to give a true reflection – please disagree in the comments)


Thanks, Petr, good luck in the future

January 16, 2019

So, Petr Cech has announced he will retire at the end of the season. He could still have a big part to play in our season depending on Leno’s fitness.

There are some parallels between Petr’s switch from the dark side and our former keeper Pat Jennings’ move from the bowels of N17 down to the sunnier end of the Seven Sisters Road.

Cech won 4 League titles, 4 FA Cups and 1 a-piece of the CL and Europa cups with the chavs when Abramovich’s money was all conquering in the country. As a credit to him as a man, no Arsenal supporter has ever really held this against him.

In the same way that Jennings was universally respected, Petr Cech oozes decency and a certain statesman-like presence which commands admiring regard both in other players and in supporters alike.

In his early career Petr is reported to have played as a striker before switching to keeper. Perhaps his skills on the deck weren’t quite up to scratch.

Moving from  FK Chmel Blšany to Sparta Prague in 2001, Petr soon came to the notice of many clubs abroad including The Arsenal. In fact, he was really close to signing with the Gunners in 2002 but those pesky difficulties in obtaining work permits put the kibosh on the deal. Rennes in France were the beneficiaries and he played for two seasons in Ligue 1.

His career with Chelsea is well documented and, although the trophies won while he was there were all bought with oligarch’s money, he made a massive contribution to the chavs having a defence with an exceptional record. He made 3 penalty saves in the CL final in 2012 (2 in the shootout) and was voted fans’ MOTM.

Petr’s head injury was sustained in October 2006 after a collision with Stephen Hunt’s knee. The resulting depressed skull fracture left him needing to wear the goalkeeping helmet henceforth on the pitch.

Signing for Arsenal in the summer of 2015, Petr’s career took an upturn. No longer having to smear Vic’s vaporub on his top lip to be able to stand the smell of being in the same dressing room as Terry, Ivanovic and Cole etc, must have been a blessed relief to the Czech glove butler. His career sailed to new heights culminating in the FA Cup triumph over his old muckers in the 2017 Final. Although sidelined with injury for that Final, he had played in the glorious semi-final win over Man City.

Reuters

Thanks for the memories, Petr, you’ve always been a top bloke – it was just a shame you couldn’t have joined us in 2002 and become an Invincible. Still, your career turned out ok elsewhere, so I doubt it keeps you awake at night not having been part of such a momentous achievement.

Thanks again – what a great career you’ve had!

chas


Was Leno at Fault for Liverpool’s Goal?

November 7, 2018

Following on from a thread about  whether Leno was at fault for the Liverpool goal, this is taken from a comment by our resident Keeper, GIE:

Now on to the goal plus Leno’s general command of the box and I am not so impressed. That said, I think Cech is also not the greatest in this area and we have seen examples on several occasions (one being his debut). Always thought at Chelsea he was well protected by Terry and co in front of him and could stay on his goal line. So yes, Leno is currently our no 1 but I do think he needs to improve that area of his game and he can, given time.

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What would I liked to have seen different on their goal?  Well you only have to watch their keeper in a similar situation in the first half. A similar cross, a similar dive except he fisted it away therefore adding power and it came at Mikhi really quickly, meaning he needed to kill it dead, which he didn’t, and the chance was gone. Compare that to the nicely settled ball Milner had to strike.

This was because Leno tried to catch it, which was not necessarily the worse decision if it had stuck, but I would rather see him either adjust his hands and flick the ball up over onrushing defenders and attackers without deviating the ball’s path or use two strong fists to punch away at speed. What happened was probably a result of indecision; all keeping errors in cross situations are nearly always a result of that. So he needs to work on decision making and he will be fine.

And decisions need to be made later even when the ball is in flight. Now I know I didn’t play at this level but whatever level you play at, you should have the necessary skill/mental capacity to achieve the same result against players of equivalent standard. (One team I used to play against (Haringey Boro) are in the first round of FA Cup this week, they’ve gone up a couple of leagues since I played them).

Take a free kick situation (like the one that led to Van Ducks header) and a high line (I was fond of that too as it gave me the 18 yard box unimpeded). If they put the ball between penalty spot and goal line and in centre of goal, I was coming for it, anywhere else it was the defenders’ and attackers’. Not many players were going to beat me with a header from further out. The only time I’d have to worry about bodies around me is if they floated it up high but even then I’ve got height advantage with arms so as long as I watched the flight and attacked at the highest point it was never going to be an issue.

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Corners are trickier balls that can be whipped in flatter and therefore take height advantage out of the equation. That said, I think as a team we need to change it slightly: if they put a man on the keeper you have to leave him on his own – we tend to put a second man in there, so not only is Leno blocked by one attacker he is also impeded by a defender too. If the opposition, as Watford do, put a second player on the keeper and the defence does likewise,  the GK now has two attackers and two defenders to navigate around.

My view was if they put a man on me, tell the defender to F off and make sure one of the men on the posts pick him up in second phase (if necessary) then I could ignore him, play my normal game. If he blocked my run to the ball, it was easy for officials to see the foul. Also if I ignored him, he wasn’t in my mind when I went to attack ball

written by Gooner In Exile


Playing the ball out from the back – Progress Report

September 6, 2018

What on earth is going on with Emery?

We are a Harry Arter miss away from being the laughing stock of the Premier League. If the Cardiff player had scored from the gift that Cech presented him early in the weekend’s game, the Arsenal Blogsphere would have gone into melt down. The number of visits to this site and every other would have gone through the roof because that is what happens when we lose – every single Arsenal moaner comes out of the woodwork. As it happens, Arter missed and we won so as very close as we came to being the laughing stock, we are not and traffic in Blogsphere is very light; that’s to say, it is just me writing this and you reading it.

So what is Emery trying to achieve giving seemingly suicidal instructions to play it out from the back in the way he is? I have ventured the idea that the purpose is to draw the opposition forward with the aim of being able to pass the ball past them in the hope of releasing our forwards with more space to work in and therefore a greater chance of scoring?

It can hardly be said that the tactic is working smoothly as it often resembles something from a Keystone Kop movie but ironically one of the by-products is that the opposition are drawn even further forward in the hope of exploiting our errors and this in turn frees up even more space for our strikers.

This understandably drew humorous comments suggesting that if things continue like this the whole of the opposition will be camped just outside our eighteen yard line and all Cech will have to do is to chip the ball over them to give one of our attackers a free run on goal.

Chas raised the more serious question of: weren’t we playing out from the back last season? The answer to which in my view is, err, yes but I would add importantly: not in the same way. Notice how extreme Unai Emery has taken it: Cech is playing the ball out to Mustafi and Sokratis who are almost standing next to their respective corner flags. They are so far back, the opposition, who are also trying to do their own version of the high press, are drawn to the ball. Both our defenders then play the ball back to Cech. This is repeated during which the opposition have moved even further down the pitch which is the cue for Cech to play the ball past the advanced opponents and start the basis of an attack. The flaw in this, as we know, is that Cech keeps on fluffing his lines and giving the ball away, creating heart stopping viewing.

Hmmmmmm

It was very different last year. If we got a goal kick, Cech would either hoof it long or if he played it short to say Bellerin, he in turn would try and move it down the field as quick as he could. By this time, and in either case, the opposition would have formed two lines of five with their goal keeper behind them otherwise known as — The Bus. We all remember what would happen then; we would pass the ball backwards and forwards across the pitch just outside the opponents eighteen yard line trying to find a way past before losing possession and then having to chase back like demons trying to stop a breakaway goal.

Anything, anything but a return to the monotony of that model has got to be the reason why Arsenal supporters are remaining so calm and tolerant of such comedic incidents. If those kinds of errors had happened last season, uh I don’t want to think about the size and scale of the melt down.

Emery has more room to manoeuvre among the Arsenal faithful than he probably realises, the divisions among the support are still fresh in the mind and the idea of returning to them is, I am sure, something that should delayed for as long as possible.

Emery does have the choice, of course, he could play Leno. Many have pointed to Guardiola’s first season and the ruthless way that he dealt with Joe Hart. It was thought that England’s ex could not play the ball with his feet the way Pep wanted and because of that he was shipped out. Guardiola then went on to sign Claudio Bravo and we all know how that worked out.

Back to Emery, yes he could have followed the Guardiola route or, as the Basque has done, give the old guard a chance to try and carry out his new way of doing things. Will Cech be able to adapt? It’s not looking good and we are going to see exactly what we have in reserve when we get to see Leno in the Caribou and the Europa. I like the choice that Emery has made of being slower in making radical change; big decisions on Ozil, Ramsey and Cech do not need to be rushed.

Guardiola took over a better squad and far greater spending power; he would have almost certainly been given the brief of your job is to the win the CL. Fanciful things like that might have swirled around the heads of our incoming Spanish contingent but there is a Gulf between the two clubs. In our case drastic change too quickly could have caused drastic problems, not something that would have been missed by the Arsenal hierarchy and as such I feel confident that an equally serious but far more down to earth message was made loud and clear to our incoming manager: no matter what you do always remember one thing – Arsenal do not do relegation.

Written by LB


Slightly less pants than West Ham – Player Ratings

August 26, 2018

And we’re off. Arsenal’s season is up and running with a 3-1 win over West Ham. Not one for the purists, names like Bergkamp, Pires and Henry will not be needed to describe this one; live long in the memory it will not, if it makes it past Tuesday it would have done well. But a win, is a win is a win and those important three points will stay with us for the whole season.

Goodness only knows what style of play Emery is trying to create; I guess we are going to have to wait a bit longer to see how that one unfolds. As for the system; he employed a 4-2-3-1 which sort of made sense. Our Basque manager is obviously getting closer to what he wants. I was particularly impressed with his substitutions and his taking advantage of the change in the FA rules that must now say that it is permissible to make changes at half time, I am guessing that it is a new directive because I have never seen such a thing in all my time of watching Arsenal, well certainly not for the last 22 years.

Iwobi you are not cutting it – off. Guendouzi: a few too many loose passes – off and Aubameyang: feeling a bit under the weather – off. The substitutions were decisive — you under perform and you are off. I like it.

As for the game, West Ham went ahead after more Keystone defending which allowed Arnautovic to rifle a low shot past Cech’s out flung right hand.

“We’re winning away, we’re winning away how (awful) must you be, if we’re winning away.”

Monreal put them back in their place, with superbly controlled effort that fell kindly to him after some kind of shananigans, I can’t remember exactly; I was just too relieved that it went into the back of the net.

Half time arrived and on came Lacazette who gave us a lot more thrust upfront. We were always in control it’s just that until you get the second goal there is always that nagging doubt that it might not happen and I have to write something on the lines of at least we didn’t lose. But not this time, Lacazette put us ahead after he spun, fired the ball into Aubameyang’s chest and into the goal. The man obviously plays snooker as he knew exactly where PEA was and the exact angle he needed to hit him in order for the ball to go into the pocket.

On came Danny to enthusiastic singing from the crowd; do you realise that Welbeck is the only player with a song. Think about it, what a sad indictment, there is only one player in the squad who is deemed worthy to have his name sung – having his own song. And long may it continue, I have a soft spot for Welbeck, I still think there is time for him to turn into one of the absolute best strikers in the EPL. What a cool finish; gather ball, back to goal, spin and blast past keeper. 3-1, and we all sighed a huge sigh of relief, no one more than Unai Emery.

Cech: great keeping, kept us in the game again, have you noticed how immediately after the break when there is a goalkick, Cech plays the ball out at a 90 degree angle and then, out of panic, because no one is quite sure what they are supposed to do, it is passed back and we all start feeling really nervous, this must be on half time managerial instructions. My point is that I liked it when Cech clearly thought that this is nonsense and reverted to clearing the ball like normal teams. 8

Bellerin: someone suggested that he must be playing as high as he does on instructions, there can’t be any other answer because again we were getting slaughtered down the right flank when we lost possession. Still, good going forward as usual. 5

Mustafi: I don’t know what to say, is it all his fault? Does he really know what is expected of him? Who knows? 4

GB: played one superb long diagonal pass that I was impressed with – slowly finding his feet. 4

Monreal: Excellent goal, still our number one left back choice, I do like Nacho. 7

Guendouzi: probably guilty of trying a bit too hard and not keeping enough of an eye on the basics; should be interesting what UE does with him next. 5

Xhaka: a workman like performance, not a DM and not a goal scorer. Imagine Torriera as the DM and Ramsey next to him, you have a genuine DM and a genuine attacking midfielder who scores goals. 5

Ramsey: well he got to play his supposedly favourite position, mah, it was ok. Now about that leaving Ozil in his ‘sickbed’  malarkey, hmmm. 6

Mkhitaryan: he was better today, tracking back and all, his place is secure because no one else can play on the right. 7

Aubameyang: come on PEA, we need a hero, someone worthy of a new song; it’s been so long since a player had his own shiny new song. 6

Favourite comment:

Aaron says:
August 25, 2018 at 4:43 pm
Did I just see the Arsenal slow up a counter? My goodness……

Written by LB

Last Gasp Laca – Chelsea Chastened by Iwobi pen

August 2, 2018

Let’s just cut to the chase, dive straight in and talk about the best part of the ninety four minutes, no I don’t mean the last gasp goal from Lacazette that saved us from one of most horrible feelings that there can be no matter what the competition – losing to Chelsea is never a good look and never a good feeling; no, I am talking about something so much more uplifting, what is it, what is it, all this build up, is it going to be worth it? Oh yes it is – Guendouzi’s body check on Hudson-Odoi. The irritating upstart had been messing Hector around all game when suddenly bosh, have some of that you dirty chav; Guendouzi who is rapidly coming one of my favourite players showed him what is what and left the annoying blue mess writhing on the deck.

It is staggering that he is only 19 and has been playing in French lower league. There is no doubt in my mind that he has made Elneny redundant and some may say Xhaka too. Granit is a bit of a marmite player so I understand where some people are coming from but it is a bit early for that. Incredibly there is a lot of similarity in their style play but if anything the young Frenchman moves that ball around just that bit quicker, so although, I don’t expect that it will be long until Granit returns he will know he has serious competition for his place and he will not have the protection of being a shiny new Emery signing: Xhaka is a product of the old regime. Should be interesting, we shall see. Can’t stop thinking about that body check – love it.

Chelsea put out a pretty strong side and carved our defence open like a Sunday roast. You can say that with Monreal, Torreira and Xhaka in the mix things might have been a bit different – perhaps, but even with all three of them there I don’t think we would have stopped their goal and what’s more I predict we will suffer an awful lot more of that kind. Koscielny might have done something about it but that is a long way off.

The best form of defence is attack, well it is going to have to be, although, fortunately we are blessed in that department. And there is Iwobi – Barn Door meet Iwobi, Iwobi meet Barn Door, no Alex it’s over there; he should have scored and given us a slightly calmer finish.

But cometh the, (how on earth am I going to make this one work? No idea.) cometh Lacazette. We all saw it; he was more potent in 5 minutes than the rest of the attack had been for seventy minutes. The Butcher’s Dog got himself on the score sheet again and has surely earned himself a starting berth against City.

Cech was awesome. The step up for Smith-Rowe was a tad far; I bet he regrets not taking the shot on when that golden chance appeared. Kolasinac: we have done this one, he is just filling in. The central defence pairing, well if you can see some upside please let me know?

Mah, it was only a friendly and we avoided losing which no one likes. Next up, the caring sharing, kind hearted souls from Italy’s capital – Lazio. Onwards and upwards.

Written by LB