Arsenal 4 Fulham 1- Player Ratings – Convincing or Flattering?

January 2, 2019

After that disgrace at Anfield against the country’s best team, a decent result was essential heading into a New Year against a Fulham side also struggling for confidence.

First Half

Both sides showed some nerves early on and it was a bit scrappy. Thankfully Sessegnon left his shooting boots at home. Suddenly Granit decided to risk a nosebleed by moving into the rarefied heights of the penalty area. Wobbly’s pass was cleverly left by Laca and the big Swiss had a fairly simple toe poke finish.

Courtesy of David Price @priceyd101

Arsenal’s play picked up from there and we should have added to the lead before half time.

Second Half

The second goal was a thing of beauty with incisive work filleting Fulham’s left flank. Auba’s clever pass to the Wardrobe put him in the ideal position to lay one on a plate for Laca.

After a couple of chances to extend our lead the Tinkerman brought on two forwards with a gambler’s throw of the dice. A sloppy pass out to the Terrier and a barge in the back won Fulham the ball and the inevitable, ‘brown trousers watching The Arsenal’ period of the game came as the lead was halved by a sub. Fulham scented a wounded animal, so the next goal would be crucial.

Thankfully Rambo came on as sub and almost immediately followed up an Auba pinger against the post and we could breathe easy once again. Auba then missed a little dink finish over the keeper before finally getting his goal via a deflection and a Papa assist.

4-1 and game over for a Fulham team which probably expected no less.

Reuters

Conclusion

A fine result considering the less than perfect performance, though why we can’t see out winning positions without giving everyone kittens will, seemingly, forever be a weakness.

Ratings

Leno – competent, making crucial stops when the game threatened to slip away from us … 7

Maitland-N – right wing back or right back, equally adept – starting to get some confidence back … 7

Papa – far happier playing lesser strikers and his first assist for twenty years … 6

Kos – our captain is slowly beginning to find his feet again … 7

Shkod – Injured or another half-time tactical admission that we got things wrong in the first half? … 6

Wardrobe – majestic at wing back – like a runaway train on the burst, setting up chances with its front wheels … 8

Guendouzi – heart of a lion – more to come from the young man … 7

Xhaka – his goal should have been the cue for a landslide – he himself could have had another – excellent through ball in the second half to set Laca free … 7

Wobbly – big chances galore came from his feet in the first half – much improved … 8

Laca – Fine goal and perhaps didn’t moan quite as much when he was subbed …. 7

Auba – a goal machine – he’s going to run away with the golden boot if he can sharpen his finishing even further … 7

Subs

Terrier – clearly he needs a rest as he’s been carrying some of the team on his tiny shoulders earlier in the season … 6

Rambo – instant impact at exactly the right moment – thanks for all the goals Aaron … 7

Saka – debut boy got a brief taste of the high life … 6

chas (who largely saw the game through BBC goal flashes and Arsenalist clips on Twitter)

 

How lucky are you? Double Bubble and a rather more sombre reflection on the day’s proceedings from LBG, your man at the stadium……

At the start of the day Chas asked for a “game to be proud of”. I will include the word proud for as long as is possible, but I’m afraid readers may see it disappearing into the ether quite quickly in my assessment of the game.

Be proud AAers of the result and three points, of some evidence of determination to rectify the travesty of a performance that was Anfield.

Be pleased with another goal from Aubang ( even thought he should have had an easy hat-trick) and Laca being given enough time on the pitch to score his goal before being (ridiculously) substituted. (Be pleased that he thought about kicking up a right fuss on seeing his number, but refrained when he heard the whole ground boo the decision, and instead went off graciously).

Be pleased with the short period of time AM-N was able to influence the game further forward before being dragged back in the rearranged defence.

Be pleased Fulham were useless in front of goal and Leno had little to do. (Two x Sessegnon chances put away early on and we could have lost!)

Be pleased that Kos is back, even if puzzled by the couple of pub defenders playing alongside him, which makes him more nervous than usual.

Be pleased Ramsey mishit a shot and scored.

Sorry, that’s the best I can do on the “proud”ish front.

I have an opinion, on why much is not right currently and will share when others have disagreed with everything I’ve said!

LBG Ratings

Leno – What he had to do was fine. Goal was up the other end and, although looked somewhat chaotic, didn’t seem he had added to that … 7

AM-N – Some good things going forward, breaking inside. Shame dragged back, where he is wasted, but still kept his end up defensively … 7

Mustafi – No pace, poor positioning, no sense of danger. Always tackles to the ground. Rarely gets the ball … 3/4 

Sokratis – Didn’t win anything in the air. Always tackles to the ground. Sometimes gets the ball … 4

Kos – Some good work. Unlike the other two, does find his own players mostly with passes going forward … 5/6

Wardrobe – Some good work going forward. Not a very good defender … 6

Ouzi – A good game generally. Looking to play “dynamic” passes and succeeds generally. Makes some mistakes (He’s young), but positive, which is what I want from him … 7

Xhaka –  Slows everything down, shovels poop, passed back more often than forward. Is simply not good enough, not quick of thought and action enough to be “the Controller ” in the deep-lying central position. And because he is (trying) to do this job, displaces Terrier to the right, which wastes him through lack of contact with the ball … 3 (for his goal)

Wobbly  – End product, passing, shooting, dribbling generally poor. Knocked off the ball several times easily. Dribbles round and round and round and up his own backside … 4 ( for his pass for Xhaka’s goal, and probably something else that I’ve forgotten)

Aubang – Goal. Missed goals, closes down occasionally. Would like to see more heart … 6/7

Laca – Goal. Works hard, makes runs, rarely found due to people like Xhaka not looking up unless opposition back off and then Laca’s runs are marked … 7

Subs

Ramsey – Goal … 6

Terrier – ( couple of poor tackles on him. Lucky not to be injured …. again) … 6

And the winger Did he touch the ball?

Graham Scott? more like Terry Scott                                                            Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Referee – Absolute pants (original choice of description didn’t pass the censors – ed). One penalty waved away. Tackles from behind allowed throughout the second half … 1

Written by a slightly miffed (it would seem) LBG

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Mesut Leaving? – you’re having a Turkish!

December 4, 2018

Ozil to leave the home of football?

What a load of hysterical nonsense, the man gets left out for two games and he is on his way to Inter, why Inter I don’t know but as the saying goes: never let a lie get in the way of a good story.
Why, oh why, would we let the most gifted player we have at the club leave, it make no sense and it is not going to happen.

Here is another way of looking at things and why they happened but first I want to show that there is a bit of substance to what I have to say. Look below and see that I predicted Emery’s team selection on Sunday.

LB says: December 2, 2018 at 12:41 pm

Great rallying cry BR.
I am sort of expecting Emery to do something very unusual and play the same team that started last week.

COYRRG

Chas says: December 2, 2018 at 1:08 pm

Leno
Bellerin
Mustafi
Holding
Sokratis
Kolasinac
Xhaka
Torreira
Iwobi
Aubameyang
Mkhitaryan

Chas says: December 2, 2018 at 1:12 pm
Good punt, LB.

This post is not about me singing my praises for finally predicting the correct team but why Ozil was left out. The reason is simple, as simple as it was logical why Emery had to play the team he did.
The Basque’s hands were tied by the inability of Kolasinac to defend. Come on we all saw what a mess we got ourselves in against Wolves with the Wardrobe as left back – a scary nightmare that we almost lost.
Further many of us saw how Spuds destroyed Chelsea, funny to think about that now, but they were impressive and would have murdered Kolasinac if left to defend that flank on his own.

All agree up to now? Good, so Emery had to go with a back three and two wing-backs; correct call because Bellerin and Kolasinac were impressive going forward. With that extra berth being taken, as was the case with Bournemouth, there simply isn’t space in the team for Ozil. Does that mean that we no longer need Mesut? Hell no, it means we need a better left wing back so we can revert to playing with four at the back which makes space for Ozil.

Getty Images

Is Ozil unhappy, of course not, there is no shadow of doubt that the ludicrously busy Christmas schedule has been explained to him and the need to keep as many players fit as possible and while that was happening it would have been explained that he had a back problem and should rest and spend time with his family ready for when needed which certainly will coincide with the return of Monreal, if not before, and with that people like me will have the chance, once again, to witness a genius at work.

Written by LB


Chaos at Dean Court – Arsenal FC ratings

November 26, 2018

First Half

We really looked poor in the first period of the game. Vulnerable on every Bournemouth attack without conceding that many shots on goal, but that ignores the balls across the box which just required a touch to be a goal. Terrier had our one moment of brightness, hitting the post with a decent effort from distance.

Gradually we took control and the magnificent OG was just reward for our domination. Everything was going smoothly up to half-time with a few half chances which might have made it 2-0.

1 minute signalled as injury time – just make sure you go in ahead at the break for the first time this season. Nah, let’s chuck 9 players forward to try to grab the second, tit about doing tricks in their area, lose the ball and concede on the stroke of half time. Wengeresque Arsenal – if that’s not being too unkind to Arsene.

Second Half

Helter skelter all the way. Shed loads of possession, some great chances especially on the break. Arsenal’s mastery over xG seems to have gone. Then bang! Auba finishes after the Wardrobe gets behind the Bournemouth full back.

All photos Stuart MacFarlane

Come one, lads, see the game out – just as a side aspiring to a top four finish would do. ‘No chance’, say the boys in peacoat mint or whatever hideous description of that colour Puma have us playing in. Chances are spurned and Bournemouth sense a way back in.

The substitutions will make us more secure, surely? Nope, far less secure. Ramsey playing in his ‘I’ll do whatever I like’ mode and Guendouzi effective but not as effective as Torreira.

Mustafi’s tackle right on the edge of the area just to give Bournemouth one last sniff was heart-attack inducing.

Summary

Written just after the game, I am struggling to understand how we made such hard work of it. Still, job done, a fine three points at a difficult place to go – what the hell am I complaining at?

Ratings

Leno – had the shot covered which hit the post from our first goalscorer – playing out from the back often became, hoofing it out and losing possession. Oh well … 7

Bellerin – seemed to enjoy the freedom of not having to cover his a*se so much with three at the back … 7

Mustafi – some good, some bad – a typical performance all round … 6

Sokratis – seemed a bit baffled by the pace of the Prem but struggled manfully … 6

Holding – Our most composed centre back again … 7

Kolasinac – good going forward in the second half especially – two vital assists, extra point for that … 6

Torreira – tidied up in his usual effective way. Subbed because he was knackered? … 8

Xhaka – some good, some bad, some sweet, some sour … 7

Iwobi – tried hard, made a few poor decisions, should practice getting his foot over the ball when shooting … 7

Mkhitaryan – my personal most frustrating player of the day – so many good positions wasted – almost non-existent in the first half … 5

Aubameyang – doesn’t really lead the line – a couple of decent half chances spurned before his tap in – 20 goals in 31 games can’t complain … 7

Subs

Guendouzi – good enough but why? … 7

Ramsey – why? … 6

Nketiah – brought on to waste time which almost gave Bournemouth enough time to equalise from a free kick … 6

chas


So Long and Thanks for all the Fish – Huddersfield Ratings

May 14, 2018

So after over 1200 games in charge, we finally reached the point where M. Arsene Wenger would be Arsenal FC boss for the last time. A goalfest in the sun would be perfect but some sneaky first away points of the year, acceptable.

First Half

Huddersfield pressed like terriers in the first twenty minutes without really creating a chance, except from dead balls. One particular goalmouth scramble saw David Ospina make his first close range block.

Two planes flew banners over the beautiful arches of the Huddersfield stadium and the 22nd minute of appreciative applause was well observed.

The Beast wasn’t sharp enough to poke home a near post flick-on from a corner before the first quality piece of football in the match produced Aubameyang’s mini record-breaking goal. Laca and Mkhi exchanged passes before setting Rambo free on the left. His outside of the boot driven cross was superbly anticipated by Auba sliding in on his derriere at the far post.

Second Half

The second half saw even more huffing and puffing from Huddersfield but little quality. Twice as many ‘attempts’ on goal than us but with one fewer on target tells its own story.

Two glorious one on ones for the boys in charcoal grey and pink were both squandered by Laca and Welbz respectively. Laca chose to lob a keeper who carried on standing up and Danny really needed to stop and change the angle rather than continue on his weaker left.

Huddersfield had two last attempts at spoiling the Wenger party, one shot flicking off the top of the crossbar and Ospina keeping out a last gasp header at the second attempt.

Ratings

Ospina – Probably did more than anyone else to ensure Arsene left with a victory … 7

Bellerin – Looked great in the Yorkshire sunshine  … 6

Mustafi – Some decent challenges and blocks … 7

Holding – Will be interesting to see if the next manager can bring more out of Rob … 6

Kolasinac – Rampaging Berserker … 7

Ramsey – Flitted in and out like a delicate butterfly  … 6

Xhaka – Great end of season, looking forward to him doing it all year  … 7

Iwobi – Scampered around trying to find a crack … 7

Mkhitaryan – on the beach already  … 6

Aubameyang – Became the fastest Arsenal player to reach 10 Prem goals, ultimately the match winner   … 7

Lacazette – Will a new manager have Alexandre down the middle with PEA on the left? – hmmm … 7

Subs

Monreal – presumably came on to bolster the defence? … 6

Welbeck – created his one on one with a fine challenge but couldn’t find the coup de grace – 6

Maitland-Niles – came on, passed and tackled well … 6

Summary

So Arsene got the send off he deserves with the team finally winning three points away from home at last.

Curiously enough, the dolphins had long known of the impending demolition of Earth and had made many attempts to alert mankind to the danger. But most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs, or whistle for titbits, so they eventually gave up and left the Earth by their own means – shortly before the Vogons arrived. The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double backwards somersault through a hoop, whilst whistling the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’. But, in fact, the message was this “So long and thanks for all the fish”.

chas


Time to Stand Up and Be Counted, Arsenal

March 8, 2018

So, who’s feeling confident about tonight? Are you thinking that a win might be too much to ask for? Or a draw, especially with an away goal or two, something to celebrate wildly? Perhaps a narrow defeat leaving all to play for in the second leg?

Expectations in the classier side of North London are so low after our current run of form that it really is anybody’s guess as to the outcome. Which Arsenal side will turn up?

As for Milan, well they were covered in yesterday’s post. Their current run of form has coincided with an easier run of fixtures so, perhaps, exaggerates how well they are actually playing. One thing’s for sure, the Milanese packing the Giuseppe Meazza stadium this evening will be confident and fiercely partisan.

Team news

Without Bellerin and Monreal available, it is essential that Calum and The Beast play to the best of their abilities. Remember, we reached the CL Final in 2006 with a record-breaking back four of Flamini, Toure, Senderos and Eboue, so all things are possible. Up front Danny must make a real nuisance of himself – perhaps a goal in Milan will give him the boost in confidence he needs to burst out of his shell with fire and passion.

Discipline both in midfield and defence is a must. The referee will have to be strong to resist being swayed by the crowd at every half tackle and dive.

 Team

Team talk from Al Pacino and Winston Churchill 

“I don’t know what to say really. Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional season all comes down to today. Either we heal as a team or we are going to crumble. Heal inch by inch, play by play till we’re finished. We are in hell right now, gentlemen, believe me and we can stay here and get the sh*t kicked out of us or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch, at a time.

You know, when you get old in life, things get taken from you. That’s, that’s part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean one half step too late or too early you don’t quite make the tackle. One half second too slow or too fast and you don’t quite get a shot in. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game every minute, every second.

I’ll tell you this, in any fight it is the guy who is willing to die who is going to win that inch. And I know if I am going to have any life anymore it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch because that is what LIVING is. The six inches in front of your face.

Now I can’t make you do it. You gotta look at the guy next to you. Look into his eyes.
Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. You are going to see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows when it comes down to it, you are gonna do the same thing for him.

That’s a team, gentlemen and either we heal now, as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys. That’s all it is.
Now, whattaya gonna do?”

“We shall defend our Club, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the wings, we shall fight in the penalty areas, we shall fight in attack and in midfield, we shall fight the barbarian hordes of Milan; we shall never surrender.”

chas