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)

Advertisements

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

 

 


Friday Night Football at the Emirates

August 9, 2017

For the first time in the Premier League history the season will kick off on Friday August 11th when Arsenal will host Leicester City at the Emirates with the game starting at 19:45.

We played our first game against Leicester 125 years ago on January 7th 1895 – back then the teams were known as Leicester Fosse and Woolwich Arsenal, we lost the game 3-1. Overall we have played 124 league games against each other with Arsenal having an overall record of – W58, D38, L28, GF247, GA169.

Woolwich Arsenal 1895 – courtesy Arsenal.com

We have not lost a league game against them for 23 years when Leicester beat us 2-1 at their ground on November 23rd 1994.

Our starting line up then was:

Goalkeeper David Seaman

Defender/Right back Lee Dixon

Defender Steve Bould

Centre back Martin Keown

Centre back Andy Linighan

Left back Nigel Winterburn

Midfielder Jimmy Carter

Midfielder Stefan Schwarz

Midfielder Ian Selley

Forward Paul Dickov

Forward Ian Wright

Ian Wright scored from a penalty in the 19th minute while Leicester’s goals came from Andy Linighan 16′ (og) and David Lowe 28′.

Here is our league record against Leicester for the past 40 seasons.

After our performance against Chelsea in the Community Shield I’m feeling very confident that we will win our opening game to set us on the right track for the season ahead.

Written by GunnerN5

(Ed – other notable Friday night Arsenal fixtures….)

Friday May 26th 1989

Friday April 16th 2004

 


The November Curse – Real or Imaginary?

November 4, 2016

It now seems to be accepted fact that November is always a bogey month for Arsenal.

A calamitous November last season is still fresh in the memory. In the League we started with a drab 1-1 with the N17 miscreants. This was followed by a 2-1 away defeat to the Baggies (they had 1 shot on target); Le Coq was injured early on and Arteta, his replacement, put the ball in his own net before being replaced himself. Santi missed a penalty after some spot-tampering by Olsson. What could go wrong, did go wrong.

The final League game of November 2015 was a 1-1 draw with Norwich in which Santi was injured early in the 2nd half but played the whole game for some strange reason (causing him to miss most of the season) and Alexis was withdrawn with a hamstring after being shoved into a camera dug-out!

In the Champions League, the month had started with a 5-1 battering from Bayern with the only consolation, a 3-0 win over a poor Zagreb side.

alexis-dugout

On the basis of that evidence, it certainly seems as though November is cursed for us, but I wondered just how bad it had been over the past 10 years, so decided to take a gander.

The snapshot below shows both Prem and CL games won, lost and drawn and also details of any fixtures played against our next two League opponents. The bottom row shows our win, draw and loss percentages over the last 10 Novembers.

november

Arsene Wenger’s overall percentages are 57.5% wins, 23.2% draws and 19.3% losses. (Based on 1,136 total games including 653 victories, 264 draws and 219 defeats)

It immediately becomes clear that, in the League particularly, there is an 18% increase in defeats compared to the average. That is huge. In the Champions League the defeat percentage is about average and an increase in draws maybe due to the nature of the CL group stages.

What could be the cause of such a large anomaly in the League?

Injuries? Possibly.

An increase in snood and glove–wearing nambypambyism caused by colder weather? Doubtful.

Excrement happens? Maybe so, but why always in the same period of the season?

Has anyone got any theories?

On a more positive note, November has had some highlights and in some seasons has even been pretty good.

November 2008 saw us beating our November nemesis, the mancs, 2-1. This victory was easier than it sounds. Two goals by the FFBW, one a belter from a snake-like pass from Fabregas, were followed by the mancs getting a late consolation.

November 2012 included the second glorious 5-2 (in one calendar year) against the spuddies. Adebayor, both put them in the lead and then, in true secret agent style, revealed his Arsenal roots and deliberately got sent off a few minutes later.

November 2013 saw us win 3 of our 4 Prem games. A 2-0 win over Liverpool, including a stonker from Rambo, one of the highlights. We also won 2 out of 2 Champions League games that month; one of which, a 1-0 away win in Dortmund, is fondly remembered by two of our AAers and their Ford Focus.

rambodippers

November 2016 started with a fine, hard-fought CL win on Tuesday capped with a goal of rare beauty from our German maestro. Hopefully we can continue to build a head of steam with the NLD on Sunday and our visit to the Old Cowshed the following weekend.

The next two fixtures probably won’t make or break Arsenal’s season, but they could certainly go a long way to breaking the ‘bogey November’ idea and launch us forward into a successful winter.

We’ve recently broken the Swansea hoodoo, let’s continue with this theme and banish another skeleton from our closet.

Written by chas


Are you ready for the 25th edition of the Premier League?

August 13, 2016

Looking ahead to our 25th season in the Premier League I’m filled with both anticipation and apprehension of what lies ahead for our team. In just a short few days our players will step on the field at the Emirates to play our 925th game in the PL to date our record is won 502, drawn 241 and lost 181 – which is the 2nd best all time PL record, shown below.

Pos- Team P W D L Pts
1- Man U- 924 586 194 144 1952
2- Arsenal – 924 502 241 181 1747
3- Chelsea – 924 486 238 200 1696
4- Pool – 924 456 233 235 1601
5- Spurs – 924 374 239 311 1361
6- Everton – 924 332 267 325 1263
7- Villa – 924 316 275 333 1223
8- Newcastle- 844 326 216 302 1194
9- Man C- 734 304 181 249 1093
10- Blackburn- 696 262 184 250 970
11- West Ham- 768 253 200 315 959
12- Saints- 658 210 177 271 807
13- Leeds- 468 189 125 154 692
14- Boro – 536 156 157 223 625
15- Sund’land- 570 147 153 270 594
16- Fulham- 494 150 136 208 586
17- Bolton- 494 149 128 217 575
18- Leicester- 384 118 110 156 464
19- Coventry- 354 99 112 143 409
20- Sheff W- 316 101 89 126 392
21- Dons – 316 99 94 123 391
22- WBA – 380 94 106 180 388
23- Stoke – 304 98 86 120 380
24- Charlton- 304 93 82 129 361
25- Norwich – 316 89 92 135 359
26- Wigan- 304 85 76 143 331
27- QPR – 278 81 65 132 308
28- Pompey- 266 79 65 122 302
29- B’ham- 266 73 82 111 301
30- CPR – 274 74 73 127 295
31- Derby – 266 68 70 128 274
32- Nottm F- 198 60 59 79 239
33- Swansea- 190 62 52 76 238
34- Ipswich- 202 57 53 92 224
35- Hull – 152 32 41 79 137
36- Wolves- 152 32 40 80 136
37- Sheff U- 122 32 36 54 132
38- Reading- 114 32 23 59 119
39- Watford- 114 23 28 63 97
40- Oldham- 84 22 23 39 89
41- Burnley- 76 15 18 43 63
42- Bradford- 76 14 20 42 62
43- B’mouth – 38 11 9 18 42
44- B’pool  – 38 10 9 19 39
45- Barnsley- 38 10 5 23 35
46- Swindon- 42 5 15 22 30
47- Cardiff – 38 7 9 22 30

 

We play Liverpool in what will be our 49th game against them in the PL where our home record is W9, D9, L6 and our away record is W6, D8, L10. Personally I am very nervous about our chances as with our makeshift defence Liverpool could easily turn us over.

My apprehension also surrounds our lack of a proven goal scorer; if we do not significantly improve in this area and are forced to compete with the same attacking force, I have strong doubts about our ability to win major trophies. We still have until the end of August to add a striker and another centre back but leaving it so late causes me great angst and reduces our chances of success.

My anticipation comes from the excitement of another season of watching the team I have grown old with; as odd as it may sound, I’m still like a young child waiting for the season to start (my 70th) and as usual I will be behind them 100%.

With the improvements in both management and players for Liverpool, Man U, Man C, Chelsea and Spurs, not to mention Leicester I feel that this will be one of the most exciting and competitive Premier League seasons on record.

Are you ready?  I am.

GunnerN5


It was 20 years ago today ……..

May 4, 2014

Firstly let’s honour the boss and the team for avoiding Spursday for yet another season and allowing Didit and I an opportunity to continue our gastronomic tour of Europe.

I know all the arguments about 4th not being a trophy etc etc, we have done them to death in the blogs. I just ask this – would Everton, Spurs, MU etc like to swap with us? Would Moyes have been sacked had MU finished 4th?

Which brings us onto today and our final home game of the season against a West Brom side who need the points much more than we do. If WBA survive will Pepe Mel keep his job? I hope so. Yesterday’s results must have boosted WBA’s chances.

Who would you like to see relegated?

I am afraid I have never taken to WBA, don’t like their kit, don’t like their ground or their nickname – the Baggies – reminds me of Australians (cricket lovers will understand). In fact since their halcyon days of Big Ron and the 3 Degrees (look it up!) they have become just another Midlands club – sorry WBA fans but that is how it is. That said, I love that the Three Degrees are to honoured with a statue outside the Hawthorns

Then there is Jeff Astle. Let me explain. The year was 1970 and I was football obsessed. England were World Champions having won the Cup in ’66. We had a formidable team but had to travel to Mexico to defend our cup. England were drawn in a group with the favourites and eventual winners Brazil. This is the famous Brazil ’70 side which included Pele, Jairzinho, Rivelino and Carlos Alberto and is known as probably the finest football team ever assembled. Anyway ….. had we won that tie we would have avoided West Germany in the next round and probably gone on to win the thing again. Instead despite Gordon Banks worldie to save from Pele’s header and Bobby Moore’s unforgettable tackle on the great man, we were losing to a Jairzinho goal. As the game entered it’s final phase Astle came on as sub for Franny Lee. We were pushing for an equaliser and then Astle got his chance to become a hero; Terry Cooper knocked in a cross, the ball fell to Astle 5 yards out from an empty net and he scuffed it. The nation wept. We went on to lose to West Germany.

images

Jeff remains a hero at West Brom; there are the Astle gates into the Hawthorns and the fans still sing his name, but to millions of England football fans his miss heralded the end of England as an International force.

Arsenal: Do we finish the season on a high by sending out a first choice team and playing some risky full out attacking football or give some reserves a run out? Given 17 years of watching Mr Wenger, I will hazard a guess – the former 😀

Confidence must be high, Ozil and Ramsey are fit and firing, we are as injury free as an AFC squad can be, and it should be sunny. WBA have reason for concern.

Bacary must start in what could be his final game at The Emirates. It would be very sad to see him leave as I have a long standing man-love for our braided Frenchman, hopefully he will see the light and signdating. To those lucky enough to attend please sing him name loud and proud – he deserves it after a fine season.

The team almost picks itself. Podolski is playing his best football since his arrival – could it be he is playing for a move or showing AW he doesn’t need to sign another left-sided attacker?

My Team:

a v wb

It would be a surprise to see anyone replacing the above but perhaps Rosicky will be included – he is such a wonderful player and too good to ride the pine.

Sad that Ox and JW are not fit enough to stake a claim for the WC squad but being Arsenal-centric I am delighted. A long beach holiday followed by an uninterrupted pre-seasonshould set them up nicely for our tilt at the title.

20 years ago today a much younger Big Raddy began his day with a pint of lager in an airport pub. It was the start of one the most memorable days of my life. A pre-match drink up in bars all over central Copenhagen, followed by an unforgettable noisy walk to the Parken which is just 400m from where I sit to write these posts. An astonishing defensive display which could have been the pinnacle of the Famous 5’s achievements, and a rare as hen’s teeth Alan Smith goal from outside the area in front of 25,000 very nervous fans led to the lifting of a Euro Cup. It was a magical evening – my first magical Copenhagen evening of many.

Unknown

 

Here’s to the Winners of 1994 ….. could the current Arsenal team emulate their predecessors and win a Cup 20 years later?

Written by Big Raddy