Clement to improve ailing Swansea?

January 14, 2017

Swansea. What a shame. Lovely small club, promoted to PL. Get big name manager. Do exceedingly well considering budget. Sell best players. Don’t re-invest. Manager wants better players, owners want profits, manager resigns.

Then it is all downhill. Managers come and go, results don’t improve. Relegation highly likely.

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So far this season Swansea have had 3 managers and are in dire straits (60 y.o. Mark Knopfler as their play maker). That’s what happens with crap owners. It could happen to any club.

Arsenal. What makes our club special? A history of careful stewardship. What would have happened had Usamov taken control? We will never know.

Today’s game is a potential banana skin. Swansea have some confidence after their win over CP. They also have a new, very good manager in Paul Clement, Quite why he left Bayern Munich where he was assistant manager to take over at Swansea is a mystery . At Derby, he only lost once in 19 games!

We have the usual injury list but welcome back some faces. Hector and Kos return having put pen to paper. I would play Gibbs and give Monreal a rest

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin    Mustafi    Koscielny    Gibbs

Ramsey    Xhaka     Coquelin

Perez    Sanchez    Ozil

Why drop Iwobi? I don’t know, just so Ramsey can get a mother game under his belt. There is likely to be a midfield battle and we are away so I would pack the midfield, hence Coq/Xhaka.

We need to win today (as always) but it will be no easy victory.

COYRRG


Happy Holidays?

January 3, 2017

Bournemouth is known as the English Riviera (or it is in my family!!).  We used to holiday there in the days before I was allowed to travel on my own. When I passed my driving test Bournemouth became a weekend destination because there were language schools full of Scandigirls who had weekend discos ( a portent for my future!) …. you can guess the rest!

As such Bournemouth raises happy memories in BR’s ageing head, let’s hope I feel the same way at game’s end today.

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Eddie Howe has done an amazing job . Not only keeping a small club in the PL but doing so by playing attacking football. They almost gave us a shock at the Emirates where a 90th minute goal from Sanchez sealed the points. We won 3-1 in an absorbing game with Bournemouth missing many chances. It was the game of Debuchy’s brief return.

Rotation will the keyword today. I expect AW to rest a few and perhaps finally experiment with the Ramsey/Xhaka combo.

My Team:

Cesc

Bellerin    Mustafi     Koscielny    Monreal

Ramsey    Xhaka      Coquelin

Perez       Giroud     Sanchez

Has AW the courage to rest Sanchez given that Ozil is out again? If so, it would be intersting to see Ox start on the right with Perez on the left. Or Iwobi.

I cannot recall a run of games when the whole of the top 6 win so consistently, Spurs, L’pool, MU and Chelsea have stepped up a gear and we need to do the same.  A win today is important, a draw is simply not enough. Winning under this kind of pressure is what makes Champions, and we will see how the team responds.

I still maintain that we were unfortunate in both losses in December and that it affected the fans more than the team – time will tell.

We are unbeaten in 2017, let’s keep it that way

COYRRG

 


The Righteous. Arsenal vs Them

November 6, 2016

What do you think when reading the following?

Sheringham,  Hoddle, Ginola, Berbatov, Robbie Keane,  Perryman,  Archibald, Graham Roberts, Paul Allen. I could go on.

I cannot say what you think, but I think ,what a bunch of execrable shitehawks. The very worst of footballing abominations.

And what links them all? They are in the Top 30 Spurs players of all time!!

What does this tell us? Plenty. Let’s start with the moral bankruptcy of a club steeped in the dark arts (Alan Sugar??). Then carry on by pointing out the total lack of a Title medal (Berbs had to leave to get one).

They are Pretenders. They exaggerate their abilities, exaggerate the size of their club, all we have to do to counter their pretensions is to point at their trophy cabinet in the last 25 years.

Arsenal remain the Premier Club in North London. Q.E.D.

And yet …

They have improved and in the past couple of season have almost but not quite achieved their main ambition which is to finish above Arsenal (LOL). And I like it. I prefer the frisson of a NLD which we could lose – for way too long it was so one sided it was like playing Islington Schools Second 11.

 

This afternoon (lunchtime) will be tense. Really tense. Because Spurs have finally got a team capable of challenging  – not for the PL, but to finish above us.To suggest they could be PL Champions is farcical and only truly considered after a night on the pop.

If Pochettino sends his team out to attack rather than PTB and play on the counter, we could be in for a terrific game. But he won’t. He will hope for an early goal and then we will see 80% AFC possession as usual.

Why will he do this? Because Spurs have a very good defence and defensive midfield but a weak attack. Eriksen is a terrific player and should be at a big club (not good enough for AFC though) but apart from him ….??

Enough of the Knuckle Draggers.

I wrote this on Nov 8 2015 : “Any NLD is exciting but this one is special. Spurs are unbeaten in 10 and we are joint TotL. A draw seems the obvious result but quite frankly the idea of the blue-bellied Scum leaving the Emirates with anything other than a damned good thrashing is unacceptable. Just think 5-2. This is a reasonable and just scoreline.” Uncanny that the situation is exactly the same.

Let us hope that Theo is recovered because he loves a goal against the Heathens.

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My Team:

Cech

Bellerin    Mustafi    Koscielny    Monreal

Xhaka     Coquelin      Iwobi

Walcott    Sanchez      Ozil

If Ramsey was at 100% I would start him ahead of Iwobi, but what if Santi is fit? Does he start ahead of Xhaka in what is likely to be a physical midfield battle against Wanyama and Dembele?

I would love to see a Spurs red card this afternoon. Clattenburg is our referee – could be worse. Any man who sends off Me-rinho is OK in my book.

Can we win against a very strong Spurs team with a likelihood of Kane returning? Of course we can – Just read the opening paragraphs!

If Arsenal can start fast – which we have struggled with in recent games – and maintain defensive solidity – which we have struggled with in recent game, then we will win. We are at home, we have better players, a better manager, better fans, better playing style, better history.

The path of the Righteous man is beset on all sides by inequities (in this case The Miscreants).  We are The Righteous.

COYRRG

 

 

 


Our Cup Final.

May 8, 2016

This is a game to get the blood coursing through the veins. It is almost winner takes all and possibly our most important game of the season (huge exaggeration but you get the drift!).

If I am honest I am not optimistic. I know we won there last season, I know City have just lost an important game, I know that they have a few injuries and those who are fit are misfiring and for City this could be “After the Lord Mayor’s Show” …

But We are The Arsenal and in recent years we struggle when the pressure is really on.

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Living in Copenhagen I am often asked why the Danes are The Happiest Nation on Earth (THNOE), amongst my answers is this- Happiness is directly linked to Expectation. If I expect to be first and come second I will be disappointed whereas if I expect to finish third and finish second I am happy with my result. I expect Arsenal to lose this afternoon 😀

The game would have been even more interesting had WHU not blown up yesterday. They are playing Man Utd midweek with the winner having the chance to gain CL qualification. Sadly, their bubble has burst (:-D )

Pellegrini, whose final home game is the honour of facing The Arsenal,  has been a fine addition to the PL. Had he been a few years younger (62 y.o) I think he could have been a good successor to Mr Wenger.

Do you think that Coq-elny are a copy or as good as the MC Fernandinho midfield defensive axis? And will AW play both Coq and Elneny in order to give us more protection against the pace and strength of Aguero and Sterling/Navas? He hasn’t in recent games.

Will Cazorla get pitch time? Or Wilshire?  Will Sanchez start on the right? My guess is that we will start with  the following:

Cech

Bellerin   Paul Easter    Koscielny    Monreal

Ramsey     Elneny    Coquelin

Sanchez     Welbeck    Ozil

Mr. Wenger, please, please, pretty please, do not start with OG. I like the Big Galoomph but as an impact substitute, Welbz gives us pace and a different dimension plus he hates City.

We are reaching the point when the bench is a difficult choice, we have such squad depth when all are fit. Had all been available throughout the season we would be hailing AFC as PL Champions but the fates have not been kind.

A point would be very, very welcome but ff we lose today we always have Aston Villa to finish the season on a high and leave me with a happy summer.

Should be an exciting afternoon – especially for those in the Prawn Sandwich section.

COYRRG


Must Do Better.

February 29, 2016

That was the worst performance for a long time. And just to rub salt in the wounds, they scored two goals.

I’ve exhausted most of my anger already, but I thought our lack of intensity/focus was disgraceful. Our finishing got a bit better, but our application was gone. Look at Ramsey stroll around for their third goal. Time and again Coquelin and Ramsey simply let players run off them. Our midfield was so non existent all ManU had to do was pick up the ball and run and suddenly they’d be in our box.

Is Mertesacker so important to us? Gabriel was terrible and for a while now Kos hasn’t been as good as we’re used to seeing. Despite having the potential to be caught out perhaps Per’s organisation and passing is important to us. Without Santi in there, and with Ramsey only focused on getting on the end of things rather than making them happen, we need someone to be able to pick out the right pass, and Gabriel just looks lost with the ball at his feet.

Theo Walcott needs to be benched. Play Jeff and at least it’ll be like playing with 11 men.

Alexis isn’t contributing anything positive, but maybe it’s time to play him at CF with Welbeck and Campbell on the flanks to support him. Keeps him from having to track back, and I think a lot of the problem with him comes from tiredness.

The title is not gone, but maybe it’s better we think it is. We’ve been playing with such a burden on our shoulders, perhaps it’s better we just concede the title and go out and play football the way we want to. Win, lose or draw, at least entertain us Arsenal. Usually, the results will follow the performance.

The refereeing was very good yesterday. Including the decision to not send off Aaron Ramsey who only pushed Herrera’s (?) hands away, and he decided to go down like he was shot. Good call to book them both.

This performance should really draw a sharp reaction from the manager. Drop Ramsey for doing the Denilson jog, drop Walcott for being a liability, and take Gabriel off and bring in Chambers if Per was dropped for the Chelsea red card. Play the kids if you have to. At least they’ll bring some enthusiasm. Though Iwobi looked shockingly unprepared yesterday in the short time he was on. Which is weird because he’s looked good before.

written (as a comment) by Shard


Arsenal 1 – 0 Leeds: Genius Never Gets Old

January 10, 2012

It’s not a trick of the eye, it’s not a fancy photoshop job. That is indeed Thierry Henry in an Arsenal shirt, an Arsenal shirt of 2012, wheeling away to celebrate a goal.

And not just any goal, but an Henry goal. Song played in a brilliant through ball that split the two covering defenders, Henry took one touch to control the ball, and himself, and then he curled right into the corner of the net away from the keeper’s despairing dive. This was a goal that was a blast from the past – the good old times when it would be Bergkamp or Bobby Pires or Freddie playing the ball into Henry. It brought a joy to the Emirates that we’ve not seen in some time.

More importantly, it also brought us into the Fourth Round of the FA Cup where we play Aston Villa.

Leeds came with one objective last night: shut up shop and try to get a return leg at Elland Road to bring in some much needed funds. In the first half we had 63% possession, but created little in the way of real chances. Arshavin, Ramsey and Arteta all had half-chances but none that really caused panic in their defence.

I must give a word to the three mentioned above. Despite his wayward shots and odd bad decision, Arshavin put in as much effort last night as he has done in a long time in an Arsenal shirt. He kept going until the last minute, and it was pathetic he got the yellow card (although deserved) when he was the one kicked and dragged all night. Ramsey and Arteta also put in a massive shift in midfield, both are neat players who aren’t afraid to get stuck in. Wenger’s choice of Captain was spot on – Arteta is a calming influence in there, and with Jack due back soon from injury we’ve a nice midfield forming.

As for our younger players, Chamberlain had a decent game. He is a willing lad, always game to run and try the odd trick to get around his man, he’s not afraid of a shot either. What I liked about him last night was how he would spot a man free on the other wing and switch play with a good pass. Ramsey did the same on occasion. It was a great shame Coquelin went off injured, he has played well of late and was proving he was deserving of his run in the first team, hopefully his injury isn’t serious. Yennaris had a decent game with he came on for Coquelin, didn’t do anything rash and wasn’t afraid to get on the ball.

As for Ignasi Miquel – can someone make sure we wash all that Barcelona DNA bullshit out of him so when he becomes a top defender he’ll stay at the mighty Arsenal and not whinge to “go home. ” Here is your home Ignasi! He is only 19?! Is he?! Composure or what? (Although I know it is Leeds and they didn’t threaten much but this is based over his few games this season). (PPS He also has lovely hair).

At the back Kos and Squidgy did what was needed, which wasn’t much. Szczesny also did well to stay alert and make a good save right at the death – however, he needs to remember that sometimes it is okay for the keeper to just boot it into the stands. His fancy dan stuff out on the sideline that gave the ball to a Leeds player could be more costly against a better side.

Aside from that, Chamakh started well for ten minutes and then did little. I’m not sure if its him not trying or us not playing to his strong suit (whipping balls into the box for him to attack) but at the moment I’d rather see Park getting the spot on the bench and having a shot – with Chamakh off to Africa he should have his chance now, or will Henry take it?

And so we are back to where we began – with Henry. The headlines are all going to be about him tomorrow and why not? Look how much the goal meant to Henry, meant to Wenger, meant to everyone at the Emirates, to Arsenal fans worldwide, to non-Arsenal fans worldwide.

You see, genius doesn’t get old. No matter who a man plays for, you have to appreciate when they are good, when they are great. There was just this more than horrible belief that Henry’s career would be overshadowed by that handball against Ireland because that was the last “big thing” Henry did. Until last night. Last night’s goal was so simple to Henry, it brought back all those other 226 goals with waves of emotion.

THIS IS HENRY! This is the Henry that must be remembered. Twitter was absolutely mental last night with people proclaiming the “Return of the King” and it wasn’t just Arsenal fans. All the Arsenal players were buzzing, players from other clubs, commentators, celebs, nobodies, everybodies – think what you may of Henry’s return but isn’t the buzz that moment created reason enough to smile and be happy?

That handball against Ireland will be put into the annals of history and everyone will be talking of 9th Jan 2012 and where were you for the second coming of the king?

Me? I was at home in my room in Ireland going mental, thanking Henry for the one birthday present I wanted more than most (ask Peaches), and while you are reading this I will be at work, wearing an Arsenal shirt from the Unbeaten season with “Henry 14” on the back and telling any Irish person that wants to argue otherwise that 78 minutes into last night’s match is Thierry Henry, Son of Arsenal and one of the finest players the world has ever seen.

With 12 minutes remaining, Henry scores his 12th goal against Leeds in 12 appearances wearing number 12 on his Arsenal shirt in 2012

Tell me it wasn’t meant to be?!

Written by IrishGunner


Very Nearly A Perfect Day.

February 28, 2010

I cannot remember the last time I felt so proud of an Arsenal performance.  A fantastic day in which we clawed ourselves back to within three points of Chelsea after a dogged, determined display against Stoke, marred only by the tragic injury to Ramsey.

Rumour has it that we had been training all week in preparation for Stoke’s predictable aerial threat — and it showed. I am not talking about the goal we gave away after only seven minutes; I am talking about preparing ourselves for a determined fight back in the event that we went behind. And boy did they respond well, led notably by the team’s paternal leader, Sol Campbell, who may not be the armband wearer but he certainly is Arsenal’s proud standard bearer.

Stoke’s goal came predictably from a throw in conceded by Song who should have known better and given away a corner rather than a far more advantageous throw in but instinct kicked in. Delap sent the ball in with predictable menace which bounced off one of a cluster of heads and fell kindly for Puke, or what ever his name is, to head home. The commentators pointed the finger of blame at Eboue who certainly deserves his share of it but where was Sagna and who had been designated to protect that post during all the supposed mid-week preparation?

Stoke’s tails were up; they were fighting for every ball as if their lives depended on it and I for one feared the worst but there was one man who was not going to say lie down and role over: Sol Campbell was determination personified. Fabrégas may rightly get the man of the match award but it was Campbell maturity that shone through when the chips were down to rally the rest of the team when they needed it most. His infectious determination to throw himself at fifty-fifty waist high headers lifted the team to drive forward in search of the equaliser.

Arsenal poured forward using the most potent weapon we have available: our quick passing game. The interplay between Fabregas, Nasri and Ramsey was impressive; the problem was that the ball, having been thread through the eye of a needle, found its way to Bendtner who compared to world class Cesc does not have the ability to control it, the result being that the ball would pop up and we would lose possession.

It is a mark of Fabrégas’s own determination that he did not let that put him off and simply switched to using the Dane’s aerial ability. Our Catalan Captain sent in a superb cross for Bendtner who somehow managed to out jump three tall Stoke defenders to send the ball over Sorenson and into the net. The goal took the wind out of Stokes sails, their mid-week exertions started to take their toll and it was now Arsenal who with renewed belief were chasing everything down as if their lives depended on it.

The break enabled Stoke to catch their breath but that didn’t last long there was now only going to be one winner. Arsenal came out with all guns blazing, pouring forward with images of Premier League medals in their minds and then it happened. I am going to make clear that when Eduardo had his leg broken I didn’t think it was a red card offence, I thought it was a hanging offence, so I am no liberal, but having the use of Sky plus I have replayed the incident ten times and I do not think that it was intentional. Ramsey was unlucky, that break was a result of his commitment to the cause of Arsenal winning the league and boy I want to see him lift that trophy.

Many of the Arsenal players were understandably distraught by the sight of one of their friends groaning in agony on the floor and I for one wondered if they were capable of lifting themselves up. This job fell to Clichy: the image of the Frenchman determinedly encouraging the players to refocus will stay with me for a long time. The introduction of Rosicky and his experience helped; he led by example, driving forward in search of a winner but nagging thoughts started to enter my mind and I wondered if it was going to be one of those days when everything goes against us. Enter Nikki, his quick thinking changed all that, aiming a clever little chip at Puke’s hand, the referee decided we deserved a bit of luck and awarded a penalty, could you watch?

Fabrégas stepped up and in the face of what must have been incredible pressure slotted the ball into the corner, we were ahead. It was time for a bit of keep ball. The icing on the cake came in injury time when Rosicky drove a low rasping shot towards the Stoke goal, Fabrégas anticipating the rebound was there to knock it calmly across the goal to  our fox in the box Eduardo to score one of his trade mark tap ins. Cue unbridled celebration and relief to finish off what was very nearly a perfect day.

Player ratings:

Almunia: it has to be said that he had a good game, ok there was one flap but in that kind of game if it doesn’t lead to a goal then I reckon it is forgivable. I have been trying to work out where his new found confidence has come from and the only thing I can come up with is that being dropped for the Porto game and assuming his days at Arsenal were numbered he then watched Fabianski and said to himself: I may be crap but I am not that crap. 7

Sagna: another warrior like performance from our Bacari, I reckon he has been practising his crosses because they were a darn site better today, not great, but better. 7

Campbell: inspirational performance from the paternal captain his job is to get the team past the winning post at the end of the season. Take a look at his celebration after the Vermaelen goal, committed to the cause or what. 8

Vermaelen: has learned how to play with Campbell now and because of it gave a very commanding performance, what was he doing on the goal line four minutes into injury time? 8

Clichy: back to his absolute best today, he ran tirelessly down that left flank, was always available and had the best right foot low pile driver I have ever seen him send in. 8

Ramsey: he drove forward as hard as any other player on the field; the thing I noticed today that was different was how he had gained the respect of Fabrégas; our Captain won’t pass to anyone, for instance he will pass to Walcott as a last resort but today Ramsey was as good as anyone in the mid field. I obviously hope he recovers quickly. 8

Song: ridiculous yellow card, totally undeserved, we will miss his commanding presence in the midfield. 8

Fabregas: world class performance from a world class player.9

Eboue: sadly not as influential as I hoped, his job was to run with the ball into Stoke’s area, he was slightly better when he came out in the second half but still no where near as good as he needs to be to keep his place on the right mid; I expect him to be replaced by Walcott next week. 5

Bendtner: if he was half as good as he thinks he is he would be brilliant, still that was a fine header for the equaliser so credit where credit is due. 7

Nasri: put in the kind of performance he usually saves for the Emirates, skilful and determined. 7.5

I don’t know how you are going to believe us; we are going to win the league.

By London