The Saints are Coming – Southampton preview

April 8, 2018

Southampton come to the Emirates sitting in the bottom three of the Premier League and in desperate need of some points. For Arsenal the fixture comes as the filling in a Moscovian, Europa sandwich. Momentum and confidence are again at stake with League points a bit of an irrelevance.

The Saints’ squad is a bit of a mystery to me (like most of the PL teams, I’m afraid). They still have Shane Long who only ever plays well against us. I also recognise the names of Tadic and Charlie Austin and the ex-chavs player Romeu, but the rest are a roll call of unknowns. Let’s hope it stays that way.

We know all about the Saints ‘new’ manager, the loathsome Mark Hughes. I really don’t understand the home-grown manager merry-go-round. Pardew, Poolis, Fat Sam, Hughes – what is the point of continually employing managers you know will probably let you down in the near future? At least Hughes did play on the South coast when his playing career was in decline, so there is a little history there.

Enough of the opposition, how are we fixed? Mkhitaryan caught a nasty bang on the knee against CSKA and is out for a period. Aubameyang will be keen to build on his recent League form. Aside from those two, it might be a case of shuffling the pack a little to save the more fragile for next Thursday. Chambers will relish playing his old team and Kos needs to rest his dodgy Achilles. Mesut is rarely rested, though the more delicate Rambo may want to continue his recent good run.  Maybe a few others will be rested with Holding, Iwobi, Elneny and Welbeck keen to get some game time. Jack had a really poor night in Europe, but might get another chance in the hope he plays himself into some decent form.

Team  

With less pressure on the team we usually perform well, finishing past seasons strongly after all hope of the title has vanished. Some decent finishing to match Thursday’s would be rather nice, though it’s doubtful the Saints will allow us as much space down their flanks.

An Auba hat trick will get the enormous crowd off their feet; though if he scores late on, many will miss it in their rush to get home for Songs of Praise.

Apols for the lacklustre PM (BR is on manoeuvres), though I’d imagine its general CBA-feeling sort of captures the unbridled enthusiasm for this particular fixture. 🙂

COYRRG

chas

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Suddenly the FA Cup is Worth Winning?

March 19, 2018

2014

So, Arsenal FC win the FA Cup in 2014 and finish 4th in the League.

Arsenal fans …………. No-one’s happy as we didn’t beat anyone decent on the way to Wembley – only the spuds, Liverpool and Everton – yeah, but they were all at home. Fourth placed trophy again – we should be finishing above City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

2015

Then we win it the following year, crushing Villa and also come 3rd in the Prem.

Arsenal fans …………. Not good enough – still didn’t beat anyone any good on the way to the Final – only Man Utd at the Old Cowshed and a few other sh*te teams. Fancy comin 3rd to the chavs and blue mancs, why do we always finish behind them?

2016

No cup but a 2nd place finish, ♫ It’s happened again ♬

Arsenal fans …………. We only finished second thanks to the spuds spursing it up by coming 3rd in a two-horse race. We should have won the league and only came second because the spuds are bigger bottlers than us.

2017

Arsenal finish outside the top 4 for the first time in 20 years but manage to win the FA Cup for the third time in 4 years beating Abu Dhabi FC and the Fulham Oilers in the Final.

Arsenal fans …………. Tinpot trophy again – why can’t we win the League or the CL? Sack the board, sack the manager and get rid of most of the players. Spurs finishing above Arsenal for the first time in 22 seasons – that’s the final straw.

2018

This season Spurs, Man U and Chelsea all went out in the CL Round of 16 and all three are clinging on to the hope of an FA Cup win to save their season. At least two of them will finish potless this season (hopefully all three, cmon Soton! 🙂 ). Then again, probably 2 of them will have a 4th place trophy as well for consolation.

Arsenal fans………..Wish we were still in the FA Cup and had a shot at the CL, other than via the Europa.

Do we need some perspective?

chas

 

 

 


Revenge – A Prayer for Owing Deeney – Watford Preview

March 11, 2018

And so we’re back to the League, 13 points from top 4, 8 behind 5th, Burnley only 2 behind over our shoulder, what sort of team do we put out? Thursday’s return leg against Milan has to be our overriding priority, but team confidence and momentum are important, too. I certainly wouldn’t go as far as Micky suggested on Friday and rest the whole team!

Chubster Troy Deeney has featured in much of the build-up during the week with the media absolutely loving being able to drag up his ‘lack of cojones’ comments made after our defeat in October. My overriding memory of that game was the ridiculous penalty awarded for a Richarlison dive which got Watford back in the game when they were dead and buried.

Arsenal were stunned to be on the wrong end of yet another appalling refereeing decision but that’s still no excuse for the abject capitulation which occurred from that moment onwards in the game. The execrable Deeney crashing into Cech just before the winner was scored, was also vital. Watford had two shots on target in the whole game. We owe Bellend of Troy some retribution.

Team news

Our two replacement fullbacks in Milan both left the pitch with injuries apparently (the Chambers knock is a surprise to me, though it seems he is in the squad). Maitland-Niles has to play in that case and I’d imagine we’ll also see an outing for Rob Holding. Maybe a back three might make best use of available resources.

Aubameyang will be raring to go after missing our Europa win and it will be great to see Micki and Mesut supporting him while continuing to build their own budding understanding. Maybe give Xhaka and Rambo a rest?

Team

We have to build on that magnificent performance in Milan. I’d love to see us come out all guns blazing, closing down, shifting the ball quickly and nabbing a few sharp goals early on.

Post Mr Deeney’s photo plus quote from October up in the dressing room as a teamtalk.

Should be all that’s required, surely?

chas   


Snow White and the Seven Tiny Midfielders

March 1, 2018

Succinct PM :

Up against it against a better organised and balanced side.

Arsene, play your best balanced and strongest 11 not just put your 11 best individual (or most favourite) players out there.

Play a proper HM to protect the back 4 not an attackingy type CM in this position…..and not 2 of them to make up for this as it wastes a valuable player elsewhere in the line up.

Get some width in the team and / or instruct certain players to give us that width at the right times. Tell them when this is most important.

Get more support to the striker so he is not isolated with 2 CD’s on him.

 

Go win game.

Cheers, simples.

GoonerB

 


Wembley – First Half Ok – Second Woeful – Player Ratings

February 11, 2018

First Half

Arsenal defended pretty well, restricting the spuds to minor chances. Early on it didn’t seem very likely to be our day when the lino flagged Auba offside when put through brilliantly by Jack. ( I was so looking forward to him bamboozling Lloris).

Note how the linesman is meant to be on the line of the last defender but is in line with Mkhitaryan instead, which means he would see more of Auba

On the break we were poor. The team had been set up with quick, talented players at the sharp end, ideal for effective counter attacking. Misplaced passes were to prove very costly when we had clear overloads.

Second Half

We appeared to come out half asleep (as usual). A goal down in the first five minutes to a hopeful punt into the penalty area. Confidence drained, we could have been 2, 3 or 4 down in the next 25 minutes.

Tottenham sat back, alarmed they hadn’t gone further ahead, and we finally created some chances, the best falling to Lacazette almost on the bell.

LB says:

Things we learnt and thoughts on players.

Forget fourth place.

Mkhitaryan is much better playing on the right, evidence Everton.

Wilshere is not good enough when top level tested.

FGG says:

We just didn’t come out with enough intensity second half and it cost us. Then we fell apart for 20 minutes where we could’ve easily been 3 or 4 down, before finally creating something in the last 5 minutes. Not good enough.

What I learnt today is that whilst we all know we have defensive issues, these last 2 games have shown us how our attacking play is just as much to blame for those defensive frailties. I would argue that we defended much better as a team in the Spurs game (certainly first half) than we did against Everton, but our inability to keep the ball or sustain pressure meant that Spurs had loads of the ball and were able to pin us back in our half. It’s too much to expect our defence to hold out for 90 minutes against the likes of Kane if we are constantly on the back foot. The Everton game showed that when our attack clicks (it’s bound to be inconsistent given how new it is, so I’m not overly worried about the attacking performance) then it’s good enough to cover over defensive frailties.

GIE says :

 The defence did well for the majority of the game but were guilty of giving very poor ball to the midfield.

The midfield were pretty good at holding shape and not letting runners go, but were not making most of the ball when at feet.

The attack, when they did get the ball didn’t do enough with it.

Nearly all the above compound each other, and I found it pretty much the reverse of when we played them at the emirates where we were the ones picking up loose balls off their back line and putting them back under pressure, don’t think we did that enough today although they had a plan to go longer from defence to attack so bypassed those passing channels into midfield where we punished them at home.

Player Ratings 

Cech: kept us in the game but wow has his footwork become embarrassing. 6

Bellerin: tough job dealing with Son although he did it quite well, my beef is that there were too many cheap give away passes which after losing possession forced the pressure back onto Arsenal. Spuds simply didn’t do that. 5

Mustafi: probably one of his best games, very pleased with him. 8

Koscielny: jump man for goodness sake. 6

Monreal: had to stay further back than he normally likes due to out of place Mkhitaryan, did ok. 6

Elneny: used every ounce of his limited talent and was well deployed. 7

Xhaka: never going to be a constant goal threat and never going to offer enough of a defensive shield. 6

Wilshere: ran into blind alleys, made poor passing decisions added very little to the defensive cause, being so slow and short and all. Just not top level materiel. 5

Ozil: the telly Ozil that I saw looked as though he was struggling to get into the game, maybe it was different if you were there. 5

Mkhitaryan: look at the difference when played on the right as per the Everton game with his pin point accurate passing compared to his wayward display today. Easy to get this right after the event but I hope we learn from it. Offered nothing defensively and there was me fearing Iwobi on the left, goodness the left is the Nigerian’s best position and again when he came on he was sent out to the right — why? Both players. 4

Aubameyang: still in his honeymoon period, he gets a pass today, mah. 6

Ratings from LB (written just after the game had ended)


Premier League Top 6 Teams – Next 6 Games

October 3, 2017

(Before we start I realize that Burnley is currently in sixth position on goal difference but this post is about the most likely top six at the end of the next six games).

Here is each team’s schedule of the next six games plus their current standings.

Man C has the easiest looking games as they only play 1 other top 6 team – Arsenal at home.

Man U’s run of 7 easy games is over and they face Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea in the next 6.

 

Tottenham play 3 top 6 teams Liverpool at home and Manu and Arsenal away.

Chelsea play Man U at home and Liverpool away.

This could be a great opportunity for Arsenal to move up the table but their 2 games against the top 6 look tough.

Liverpool could drop out of the top 6 as they are vulnerable on defence and play 3 high scoring top 6 teams.

My question to you is in what order do you see the teams after the next 6 games?

Written by GunnerN5

 


Next up we travel to Anfield to play Liverpool

August 24, 2017

I always get a thrill when I hear the traditional names of the stadiums, well that’s not entirely true as I get a totally different feeling when I here White Hart Lane or Old Trafford but generally the names strike a very pleasing chord with me. As commercialism has taken over the names of yore are fast disappearing. Recently Mike Ashley was forced to change the name of the Newcastle ground back to St. James Park after the Geordie fans echoed their horror at their ground being called after his Sports Direct business.

Anyway I’ve always been a fan of Liverpool and their style of football especially with my in-laws being Liverpudlians, on each family visit they always managed to get me a ticket and their fans were just incredible just being among them when they sang the “Liverpool Anthem” used to give me goose bumps.

I managed to see one game against Arsenal and even though I was in with the Liverpool crowd they treated me exceptionally well – that is they didn’t aim their rolled up newspapers at me when they took a leak.

Overall Liverpool has the edge over us – but as you can see below after playing 182 league games against each other there is a difference of a mere 4 games.

W D L GF GA
Total Home Games 40 31 20 140 80
Total Away Games 24 19 48 105 175
Total Games 64 50

68

245 255

 

Now here is our complete league record (home first). –

Enjoy the game everybody and I hope the Arsenal strut their stuff and keep the Pool supporters in their seats.

Written by GunnerN5