Reading: Player Ratings and Analysis

October 26, 2016

Well, that was fun wasn’t it?

Reading were no pushovers but not good enough to really threaten, that said, Martinez made a couple of fine saves which highlighted our abundance of quality keepers.

At 24, Martinez was one of the oldest Arsenal players, he is older than Ox! Fortunately for him GK’s have a longer shelf life.

And what of the Young Pretenders? Iwobi shone as one would expect. He could be the Real Deal, a future superstar. Up there with Messi and DB10. He has amazing dribbling ability, great balance, a good eye for a pass, he can shoot, tackle (?) and has stamina. I hope AW allows him to develop slowly and not overplay him, thankfully Ramsey is about to return and perhaps Iwobi will get some rest.

Jeff, and Niles found it hard to get into the game but showed flashes of their potential. Both typical Wenger youths; inventive, fast and confident.

Once again, Holding was impressive. Alongside Gabriel we looked solid in the centre of defence. Gibbs showed why he is good enough to play for England but not good enough to start for Arsenal, in other words the best FB on the pitch.

Jenkinson must have been delighted to start again for the club he loves. As one would expect his performance was full of energy but The Corporal has the problem of always being second fiddle to the best RB in the PL.

Elneny held the midfield and did his work efficiently and without too much drama.

Upfront we continually chose or misplaced the wrong final ball. Perez was busy as was Ox but we really should have  put more pressure on the Reading goalkeeper. I cannot recall Perez having a shot on target however it is easy to see why Mr Wenger has such confidence in him, Perez needs Ozil and Sanchez to flourish.

Ox. I love this bloke. I love his energy and his passion. I love his intelligence. But …. he should be progressing faster than he is if he wants to stay at Arsenal. Danish TV had Ox as the Man of the Match . Yes, he scored twice but his passing, especially this crossing, was wayward (I say this without the benefit of stats!). Against a young Reading side in a game with little pressure Ox was the best player on the pitch but I expect more.

The subs did well. Zelalem and  Willock both got a taster but the best news for Gooners was the return of the mighty Giroud. He looked fit and strong , bringing out a marvellous save from Al-Habsi (who had a great game.)

Overall, Arsenal played some wonderful, dynamic passing football making for a really enjoyable evening.

Player Ratings:

Martinez     7

Jens               6.5

Gabriel         7

Holding        8

Gibbs            7

Iwobi            8

Elneny          7

Maitland-Niles       6

Jeff                6.5

Perez            7

Ox                 8

Written by Big Raddy


Another Goal-Fest?

October 25, 2016

Strange how the EFL Cup has become such so much fun. A few years ago it was just anther fixture to be got through in a busy PL/CL season and one we hoped would not result injuries; today it is  (IMO) more interesting than Boro last w/e.

Why? Because:

A.  It doesn’t really matter if we win or lose.

B. We get to see the depth of our squad and in particular the young stars of the future.

C. It is potential Silverware (though not open-bus through Islington silverware).

Tonight we entertain Reading. A Reading who not so long ago were a PL team with good players and Steve Coppell as manager. Not so any longer and one must wonder why. Reading is a rich town, has a fine ground with a good fanbase evidenced by an expected 5,000 travelling fans tonight.

They have a good man at the helm, Jap Stam is a proper bloke, anyone who stands up to the Whisky Sodden SAF is OK in my eyes; whether he is a good manager is another thing altogether but I wish him well.

Players? No idea. I only know Paul McShane, who plays FB for ROI, and Steven Quinn who played for Hull when we smashed 😀 them at Wembley in 2014.

Our team is just a guess. I am delighted that Corporal Jenkinson makes his Emirates return tonight and hope he has a brilliant game. Hector is just magic but we need a proper back up.

Anther player returning is Didit’s favourite player Mr Giroud. I look forward hearing that Beatles dirge at least once tonight.

My Team:


Jenks    Gabriel   Holding    Gibbs

Maitland-Niles    Ox    Elneney   Iwobi

     Riene-Adelaide        Perez

This team has two chaps with double barrelled surnames. I like it. Could this be a marketing plan to increase the costs of replica shirts? If so, AW is a genius and expect more such signings.

I expect a tough but open game and hope for a win.

Actually what I really, really hope for is a repeat of the 7-5  of which I am sure Chas will find a video for our entertainment.


Another Thriller?

December 17, 2012

What to expect tonight? Have we any idea? And therein lies the problem with our current team – inconsistency. No-one, and that includes Mr Wenger, knows whether we will enjoy a night of flowing football and a handsome win or another stumbling, incoherent performance.

Last time out at the Madejski we witnessed one of the most bizarre games in Arsenal’s history. Being thrashed by a very ordinary team in a horror first-half, Arsenal went  on to thrill their fans with late, late goals and loads of them. It was football, but not as we know it.

Do you think we will score 7 tonight? No, neither do I.

The damage done to the confidence of the team by the horror loss to Bradford will have one of two effects; either they will respond by digging in and grinding out a win or they will say, “b*ll*cks, we are better than this and we will show you all.” If it is the latter then the rest of the season could be exciting for us Gooners, however  ……

Reading go into the game rooted to the bottom of the table and on a run of 5 consecutive losses. We have won one of our last 6 (can’t believe I wrote that!)

A return for Theo is very welcome, he hurt Reading in the CC and I expect him to do so again. Giroud is also available and probably welcomed the rest. The remainder of the team is less clear but we can no longer point at injuries as the reason for our inconsistency.

The midfield selection must be a headache for AW; JW is back and starting to show his exceptional abilities yet it took the arrival of Rosicky to gee him up on Tues evening. What with AW’s penchant for Ramsey how will he set up the team? My guess is this:


With Cazorla playing further forward as the support striker. This allows both Rosicky and Gibbs to exploit the left wings and hopefully provide some ammunition for Giroud.

Today’s English Explorer: Clement St. George Royd Littledale (1852-1931). With a name like that he was sure to be a top bloke (love the St. George). His area was Central Asia. A big game hunter, Littledale  collected for the Natural History museum and led expeditions all over USA, and later into the Caucusus and Russia. Always traveling with his wife Teresa, one expedition took them from East from Russia and all the way to Peking. Another was a 1400 mile walk aimed at reaching the forbidden city of Lhasa in Tibet. They got to within 40 miles before being stopped. Teresa became ill and had to be carried 1200 miles back to India to recover. Now, I have tried carrying my wife upstairs and struggled – imagine carrying her 1200 bloody miles!! Littledale was a great Englishman and worthy of further investigation.


The Peter Storey of Explorers

Will we win tonight? Your guess is as good as mine, but we certainly should beat the bottom team in the table if we have pretensions of a Top 4 finish


Written by Big Raddy