Man Utd Pre-Match. Confident? Don’t look at the Stats.

December 5, 2018

A two part post today. Big R’s pre-match followed by GN5’s statistics for the game

Pt 1:

IMO next to our trophy-less neighbours the biggest game of the season is the Red Devils especially now they are managed by The Miserable One.

As you will read below, we have a poor record at OT but Mr Emery is a new brush, could he bring us our first victory since 2006? If so, how?

images-1.jpeg

Would you choose the Back 3 which has been so successful  or revert to a Back 4? Will Ozil return? Should Wobbly start or Lacazette? Ramsey or Mhiki?

LB made a fine case that Emery is using the Back 3 to accommodate Kolasinac whose defensive discipline is uncertain. It appears to work as this frees the Wardrobe to play with more invention thus he had his best game on Sunday.  If Mesut is still suffering from “back spasms” then I see us lining up with the same team but rewarding Ramsey for his impressive 45 mins..

My Team:

Bent

Mustafi      Sokratis    Holding

Catwalk   Terrier   Xhaka    Wardrobe

Ramsey    Wobbly

Auba

As we know, Mr Emery is likely to make changes should it not be working.

Enough of that … time for some vitriol. Anyone who has read my comments over the years knows how I detest  Moaninho. Since his first press conference in London, his cowardly eye-gouging, the destruction of Inter Milan, his playing style, his conceit and arrogance. And now the beleaguered act. To read the farcical statement that Everton have spent more money than MU said it all, He is the Donald Trump of the PL.

As to the MU team … expect a rough game. Lukaku is a battering ram who creates the space for the lightning fast raids by Rashford and Martial. In midfield they are aggressive but have flair.

And then there is Fellaini.

We need a strong referee. Dean was appalling on Sunday, tonight we have Andre Marriner and we can only hope for better.

Arsenal must be on a high after 3 wins in a week. It should be an exciting but cagey, tense game.

Unknown-1.jpeg

 

Pt 2:

Perhaps our least impressive away record is against Man U, the last game we won at Old Trafford was September 17, 2006 and we have only won a total of three games in the Premier League era. This particular game is special as it’s the 100th away game.

Here is our overall away record.

Our away record by game – in the Premier League.

Memorable victories at the Old Cowshed

14th March 1998 – Man U 0 Arsenal 1

A fair few points behind in the League but with games in hand, this game was pivotal in Arsene’s first League title. Marc Overmars scored in the 79th minute after Arsenal had dominated throughout. Bergkamp, Anelka, Parlour and Petit were imperious and Alex Manninger made a crucial stop when a linesman failed to flag an offside Andy Cole in the first half.

Photo by Rui Vieira/PA.

8th May 2002 – Man U 0 Arsenal 1

With Henry injured and Dennis on the bench, Paddy V, Edu and Parlour bossed the midfield allowing Wiltord and Kanu to score whenever they wanted. They chose the 55th minute (with Freddie’s help) and Arsenal went on to clinch the Double at the home of their nearest rivals (The FA Cup had already been won a few days earlier with goals from the Romford Pele and Freddie).

This is a new era with a new Manager and a renewed level of energy which may introduce a new flavour to our results at Salford.

We are unbeaten in the last 19 games in all competitions – will we make it 20?

GunnerN5

Advertisements

Spurs Pre-Match. Slightly biased.

December 2, 2018

Let us start here. This is an Arsenal blog,

if you expect a balanced view go elsewhere. If you expect me to be anything less than scathing towards our trophy-less neighbours from Wembley you will be disappointed. If you think I am going to write about Harry Kane being the best striker since Jimmy (not good enough for  the ’66 WC team) Greaves, think again.

Why? Because where I went to school you had a choice, you were either a Gooner or a Spud, and once you made that decision it was for LIFE. This was the beginning of my understanding of Yin and Yang, of the balance between good and evil, right and wrong. And for me and millions of others Spurs have always been wrong’uns.

images.jpeg

When I was blessed with Goonerdom it was a time of total THFC dominance (I know … to you younger chaps it is inconceivable!). Spurs were the best there had ever been and I can still recount the entire Spurs team of the early ’60’s. Sadly, but inevitably, a long slide into obscurity followed.

Do you know the last time Spurs won a proper trophy (not the Carabao/MilkToblerone/Disney Cup)? It was in 1991 – 27 years ago. And the one before that? In the early 80’s!!

And they think they are as big a club as the Mighty Arsenal 😀 😀

Their fans are so short of ammunition that they resort to 100+ year old history and complaints about our elevation to the top rank, from which, unlike Spurs, we have never fallen.

Enough of the past, how about today? It should be an enthralling encounter. Spurs on the back of 6 wins including two against decent opposition, us on a run of 18 unbeaten.

We go into a home game as underdogs, a rarity against the Miscreants, especially as we have lost just 2 of the last 14 (thank you GN5).

Unknown.jpeg

I could spend the next few minutes writing about their players, but where is the fun (for me) in that? We know – their fans tell us often enough. Of all of their players the only ones I would want at AFC are Eriksen and maybe a CB to replace Mustafi. The others are all too ugly.

I could also write about their manager, David Wagner, who as an Argentinian is well versed in the dark arts.

As to their fans … they are the only visitors to our ground who regularly damage the stadium, one has to question why they smash a toilet or rip up a seat in the away end – it is not as if a Gooner uses them!

Of course many Spurs fans are reasonable people, and I count many amongst my friends but they have a rotten core, they have been misguided into an awful decision to follow the skinny cock. It has affected them – generations of “almost” would affect anyone.

I think it would be remiss of me not to remind them that “4th is not a trophy and nor is 2nd or 3rd”. A refrain we heard every season for almost 20 years.

So, in a big game who starts for us? Ozil is straight in, as is Terrier and Xhaka. As always we have problems at the back and I would not be surprised to see us line up with the back 3 which won at Bournemouth.

My Team:

Bent

Catwalk    Mustafi   Greek Bloke     Wardrobe

Terrier   Xhaka    Iwobi

   Mesut

Laca   PEA

Emery has a choice and it will be very interesting which direction he takes with the team; will he be pragmatic and look to control the midfield, including an extra MF/CB or will he attack?

I hope he gives it the beans.

As I am sure you know, we start slow, not leading at half-time at all this season, a strange stat. Could we please score early, pretty please?

As always this is a game between Good and Evil, sometimes twice out of 14). Given Spurs excellent form we have cause for concern but we have the tools to win. No place for feint hearts. For Harry, England & St. George etc

A tense afternoon ahead and we can win this.

Let it Be So.

COYRRG


Farewell Andrei

November 22, 2018

I remember it so clearly, we had seen a small genius at work at the Euro’s in the summer of 2008 then there was much in the media that we may sign him. I

Barca had offered €15m for Arshavin, then Spurs came in with a €16m bid but he refused to downgrade from Zenit St. Petersborg to either club. Then on a snowy final day of the TW he signed for us.

I was excited.

But let’s be honest, he never really fitted in, did he? 143 games, a few outstanding performances but not the Boy Wonder we were hoping for. Andrei was 27 when he signed and really should have had a bigger impact because he certainly had the talent.

Highlights: Of course the 4 at Anfield and his brilliant celebration but for most of us it is the winning goal at THOF against Barca. What a night that was ,and what a celebration; taking off his shirt to reveal a T-shirt with an image of his celebration at Liverpool. Do Russians do self-irony?

A loan period at Zenit was Wenger’s response to Arshavin’s weight issues and lack of consistency, followed by a return to Arsenal where he spent much of the 2012/13 riding the pine. A free transfer back to Zenit for a couple of seasons. After that it was all downhill.

Andrei has spent the last 3 seasons in the Kazakhstan PL (sounds a bit Harry Potter) where he was Player of the Season in 2016.

My memories are of a player who never fitted into the system Wenger developed. Arshavin was neither a speedy winger, an Ozil style creator or a Ramsey-like box to box MF. Why did Wenger buy him? Surely not on the strength of one excellent International tournament?

He retires aged 37 with a bundle of cash and a long, fairly successful career behind him, but for me it is a question of “what could have been”? In my opinion he should have signed for Barca and we could have signed Iniesta. Imagine Iniesta alongside a young Fabregas … dreamy.

written by Big Raddy


Could Pep one day coach Arsenal’s First Team?

November 19, 2018

Joseph (Joe) “Pep” Montemurro, the Australian of Italian descent on course to make Arsenal Women winners again. Could he do the same for the men’s team?

This is what Joe had to say to Katie Whyatt of the Telegraph about Arsenal Women who last won the league title in 2012 and the all-conquering side that won it all in 2007 as the other big clubs started investing and winning (does that sound familiar?)..

“It was a big transition with other teams investing. The Man Citys and the Chelseas challenged the status quo of Arsenal being the dominant team. I think it needed to find its level of confidence, find its level of belief, find its level of enjoyment and what Arsenal stood for.”

“Arsenal’s always been synonymous with an attractive, proactive brand of football. It’s a football that excites, a football that entices. I think there’s also a level of integrity and respect that typifies Arsenal worldwide, as a club and as an identity.”

“I’ve always been a coach that loves teams to dominate with the ball. The most important thing is a level of fluidity, and I believe in what Arsenal stand for. It was a matter of me reiterating those messages, and allowing the players the freedom to start to enjoy their football again, to believe in what we’re trying to do. The reality is I put levels of clarity into what the ethos and the ethics of the team needed to be as a standard. It’s restoring those beliefs in your everyday work and your everyday language.”

How good were Arsenal Women of the past (pre 2013)

(from Wiki)

Arsenal have won the FA Women’s Cup fourteen times, and the Women’s League Cup ten times.[5] This includes eight League and FA Women’s Cup Doubles; in 1992–93, 1994–95, 2000–01, 2003–04, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08 and 2008–09, and four domestic Trebles, in 1992–93, 2000–01 and 2006–07, 2008–09. Arsenal have represented England a total of seven times in the UEFA Women’s Champions League (formerly the UEFA Women’s Cup), and had previously reached the semi-finals twice (in 2002–03 and 2004–05).

The 2006–07 season was Arsenal’s most successful ever, having won not just all three domestic trophies but also the 2006–07 UEFA Women’s Champions League (then called the UEFA Women’s Cup), beating Umeå IK in the final 1–0 on aggregate; this was the first time any British club won the competition. On top of that Arsenal won the FA Women’s Community Shield as well as the local London County FA Women’s Cup. The end result was that the team won every single competition available to them, earning a unique sextuple. The wins that year came against full-time professional players, whereas most of the Arsenal team had full-time jobs.[7] Additionally, Arsenal won all 22 games they played in the Premier League that season, scoring 119 goals and conceding just ten.[8] In recognition of the achievement, the team were honoured with The Committee Award by the Sports Journalists’ Association in the 2007 Sports Journalists’ Awards.

So how well is Pep doing in 2018 –

Played 7 games:

4 Home Wins 18 Goals For, 4 Goals Against

3 Away Wins 16 Goals For, 0 Goals Against (that’s right, zero goals scored against them whilst away)

Total 7 Wins, 34 Goals for, 4 Goals Against, Undefeated so far.

Some of the big wins this season –

Beating Liverpool Women 5:0 at home

Beating Chelsea Women 0:5 away

Other high scoring wins whilst away 0:7 (at Yeovil Ladies) and FA WSL Cup 0:9 (at Lewes Ladies)

Could Pep make the transition to the First Team?

Pep cut his teeth in the difficult youth and senior men’s teams of the old Australian NSL and Victorian State Leagues. An ethnic diverse bunch of clubs representing Italian, Greek, Maltese and Croatian communities in which expectations are high and it’s all about the results to get respect. He has saved clubs from relegation and he has taken clubs to promotion. He has taken mens and womens teams through the entire season undefeated. He is also well qualified –

(wiki) In 2010, he completed his UEFA A license at Coverciano Italy via the FIGC (Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio). He also completed his UEFA Pro License at Coverciano in July 2014 and is a member of the Italian Coaches Association (AIAC). He also holds an AFC/FFA A License and completed the Master of Sports Coaching degree at the University of Queensland.

In his own words https://www.arsenal.com/news/joe-montemurro-my-own-words

“To put it simply, I’m a project coach. I love everything about the journey.

I’m not a smash-and-grab manager who goes in there, saves a club from a tight spot and then leaves. It’s about building a group and developing a DNA. It’s really, really important that everyone’s on a journey and everyone’s involved in a process to build something very, very special. That’s what I feel we’re going to achieve at Arsenal. “

And the Aussie ABC had this to say – It is Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, however, with whom comparisons have recently been drawn. And not just because friends and family back in Victoria know Montemurro by the same abbreviated first name.

It could be the Catalan speaking when Montemurro explains his playing philosophy. “We want the ball … with the ball you’ve got control,” he says.

“We work a lot on that. And on positional play. That creates the framework for players to be innovative and creative within it and express themselves.”

So can Pep make the transition? Don’t be surprised to see him on the bench next to Emery before the end of this season. Could the backroom boys already be grooming our very own Pep to take over?  Yes its a real possibility but I can also see him being tempted back home to his wonderful family, most likely as Australia’s new national Women’s coach in preparation for the Women’s World Cup to be played on Australian soil in 2023 (the Aussie WWC bid is already underway).

And the best thing is that Pep is living the dream. He has been a lifelong supporter of the Arsenal, let it be so…

So who has been to watch the transformation of the Arsenal Women’s team under the guidance of Pep?

Can you see Pep sitting alongside Emery in the not too distant future?

Could Pep become the new Pep at Arsenal?

Written by VP of Oz


Another London Derby. Another Scorpion?

October 28, 2018

Yet another London Derby. Games at Palace are usually exciting events, let’s hope for a winter cracker this lunchtime.

Unknown.jpeg

I am always grateful to Crystal Palace for developing the talents of Ian (God 8) Wright. I fondly recall his brace for Palace in the 1990 FA Cup Final against MU. That little chap brought me so much pleasure – thank you GG for signing him.

Thinking of GG, he scored a couple of stunners against Palace (as LBG wrote) but none as good as Giroud’s from 2017.

Which brings us to today. Arsenal are in wonderful form, can it continue? I see no reason why not not. The chaps will be rested (apart from those who played in Lisbon).

So far this season we have seen a constant change of formation and it is almost impossible to predict what is UE’s choice of tactic. How can it be that we play so poorly in the first halves and then improve so radically in the second? Is it really rope-a-dope?

We have to be excited by the quality of the new signings and also the development of our young players. The future looks very bright.

Palace are struggling but have the ability to upset any team at Selhurst Park. In Zaha they have a much-in-demand winger, one we have been linked with over many years. I am not convinced by him, we need consistency and Zaha is a bit too mercurial for me. We have the better rounded and younger Iwobi.

My Team:

Burnt

Catwalk  Mustafi   TGB    Swiss Chap

Another Swiss Chap      Terrier     Nigerian

Genius German

Laca   PEA

Will Emery play two upfront? He doesn’t usually. SO, given PEA started in Lisbon, it is likely he will be benched for Mhiki and get another brace in his 30 minutes.

Left back remains a problem. AMN (Cons) got a few minutes in the U-23s but to play him against CP’s biggest threat (Zaha) would be risky. Nacho and Wardrobe are still not ready, so we have to play Lichtsteiner or Xhaka. Xhaka is no LB, he looks lost, so another run out for our ageing Swiss full back, a master of the Dark Arts, I love to watch his opponents infuriated by his “Italian “skillset” but hope Nacho is fit enough to play.

Enough of this rambling …

This is not an easy fixture and should we rack up No.12, I will be very, very happy.

COYRRG

 


Arsenal FC – Our away record against the Eagles

October 27, 2018

In 1895, the Football Association had found a new permanent home for the FA Cup Final at the site of the famous Crystal Palace Exhibition building. Some years later the owners, who were reliant on tourist activity for their income, sought fresh attractions for the venue, and decided to form their own football team to play at the Palace stadium. There had been an amateur Crystal Palace team as early as 1861, but they had disappeared from historical records around 1876. The owners of the venue wanted a professional club to play there and tap into the vast crowd potential of the area. Although the Football Association disliked the idea of the owners of the Cup Final venue also possessing their own football team and initially rejected their proposal, a separate company was established to form and own the club. Crystal Palace Football Club, originally nicknamed “The Glaziers”, was formed on 10 September 1905.

Our first game against Crystal Palace was in the FA Cup and took place at Highbury on January 27th 1934 in front of 56,701, Arsenal won 7-0 . The goals were scored by Ralph Birkett (1), Jimmy Dunne (2), Pat Beasley(2) and the legendary Cliff Bastin (2).

Here’s a little timelapse Pathe footage of the Clock End filling up for that game in 1934 (well, it appears to be the Clock End as the old East Stand is on the left?)

This was also the year that we lost our inspirational manager Herbert Chapman.

Our away record against Crystal Palace is superb we have only lost twice at Selhurst Park our overall record is – W10, D6, L2, GF34, GA19, GD, 15.

Photo by Chris Turvey/EMPICS via Getty Images

It would be very difficult to predict anything other than a resounding victory for Arsenal.

However our only loss in the Premier League came as recently as April 10, 2017  when we lost 0-3 so we cannot afford to take a victory for granted.

GunnerN5


Another Arsenal season is Upon Us

August 8, 2018

Here we are at the front door of my 71st season and I’m feeling uncertain about my feelings. (After hearing of Kronke taking full control of Arsenal I’m even more apprehensive).

What has happened in my first 70 seasons, well I’ve seen 2,876 league games, thousands of different players, 19 or 20 managers, experienced us winning 8 League Titles, 11 FA Cups, 10 Charity Shields, 1 Cup Winners Cup, I Fairs Cup, 2 League Cups and 2 Doubles. All in all I’ve been around for 33 out of our total 41 trophy seasons.

I’ll attempt to encapsulate my 70 seasons into one post.

Of the players that I have seen, my top team would be –

David Seaman, Goalkeeper (1990-2003), 564 games

Nigel Winterburn, Defence (1987-2000), 584 games

Tony Adams, Defence (1983–2002), 669 games

Lee Dixon, Defence (1988-2002), 619 games

Patrick Vieira, Midfield (1996-2005), 406 games

Freddie Ljungberg, Midfield (1998-2007), 328 games

Robert Pires, Midfield (2000-2006), 284 games

Frank McLintock, Midfield (1964-1973), 403 games

Ian Wright, Striker (1991-1998), 288 games

Denis Bergkamp, Striker (1995-2006), 423 games

Thierry Henry, Striker (1999-2012), 377 games

My bench would be –

Jack Kelsey, Goalkeeper (1949-1962), 352 games

Peter Storey, Defence (1961-1977), 501 games

David O’Leary, Defence (1973-1993), 701 games

Joe Mercer, Midfield (1946-1954), 275 games

Liam Brady, Midfield (1974-1980), 307 games

Robin van Persie, Striker (2004-2012), 278 games

Doug Lishman, Striker (1948-1956), 244 games

My top managers would be –

Arsene Wenger (1996-2018) 13 trophies, average league position 2.95

George Graham (1986-1995) 7 trophies, average league position 5.1

Tom Whittaker (1947-1956) 5 trophies, average league position 5.2

The worst managers would be –

Jack Crayston (1956-1958) Zero trophies, average league position 8.5

George Swindin (1958-1962) Zero trophies, average league position 9.4

Billy Wright (1962-1966) Zero trophies, average league position 10.5

Bertie Mee (1966-76) 3 trophies, average league position 8.3

Terry Neill (1976-1983) 1 trophy, average league position 6.0

Don Howe (1983-86) Zero trophies, average league position 6.7

Their joint ineptitude covered 1,260 league games (33 seasons) they had an average league position of 8.4 and they won just 4 trophies. That’s 432 more games than Arsene Wenger managed – give that some thought?

My top seasons would be –

1947-48 – This was my first season and we won both the League and the Charity Shield.

1969-70 – After 16 seasons in the trophy wilderness we won the Fairs Cup.

1970-71 – We won our first League and Cup double.

1997-98 – We won our second League and Cup double.

2001-02 – We won our third League and Cup double.

2003-04 – The year of the Invincibles

2016-17 – We won our record 13th FA Cup.

It was sad, for me, to see the end of the Arsene Wenger era, as his teams and achievements brought me more joy than all of the other managers I’ve witnessed.

But the memories of his players and style of football are etched in my brain forever,

Who can forget Dennis Bergkamp’s wonderfully incisive passes, Thierry Henry’s runs and goals or our wonderful Invincibles – far too many memories to list.

I hope that Unai Emery brings us some of the same calibre of football that I’ve enjoyed for the last 21 seasons.

I miss being in the crowd on game days, I miss the banter in the pubs, I miss the banter with my family, I guess I miss the overall English Arsenal atmosphere. But I have my memories to fall back on and I look forward to more great times ahead supporting the Arsenal.

Written by GunnerN5