Southampton. Player Ratings

May 11, 2017

Cech. Terrific, even his distribution was good. Saved a couple of one on ones and made a spectacular flying save from Redmond.   9

Holding. Early to make this huge statement but this man has a touch of the Tony Adams – he could be that good. Calm, clever, determined and strong. 8

Mustafi. A welcome return and he seems very comfortable as the fulcrum of the back 3. A couple of times he was out of position which allowed S’ton to get behind the defence.  7

Monreal. I think he is a better attacker than Gibbs but also a better defender and he was very solid last night.   7

Ox. Made an energetic start but often his final ball was inaccurate. Made one lovely cross before injury.  6

Ramsey. Massive energy and ambition but as usual much of his work comes to nothing. Clever headed cross for Giroud. 7

Xhaka. He is becoming the metronome of the team. This is both good and bad as sometimes he delays his passes or goes sideways but I have high hopes for his future at AFC. Tried a couple of long-distance shots which was positive. No yellow card – again!!  7

Gibbs. Settling into his role but (and I know I keep saying this) he is not good enough in the opposition half. His crossing is not accurate, he is not on a wavelength with Sanchez. That said, he played well   6.

Ozil.  As always he worked hard. Made a lovely pass for Sanchez goal.  Love the bloke.   7

Welbeck. Plenty of runs but had poor service. I cannot recall him forcing a save from Forster.  6

Sanchez. Brilliant but oh so frustrating. Every game I despair as he gives away ball after ball then he pops up with another outstanding, match-winning goal   8

Subs

Bellerin. Doesn’t seem comfortable with the 3 at the back  system. Feels as though he needs the summer to re-group and come back fitter and faster.   5

Giroud.  Just on the pitch for a few minutes and scored to once again hit double figures for the season.   7

Mr. Wenger. Another clean sheet indicates that the Back 3 experiment is working. We have conceded just 3 goals in 5 games. Substitutions were as expected.  7

My MotM. Cech.  An outstanding performance

A competitive first half with Southampton dominating the opening 15 minutes, from then on Ramsey and Xhaka controlled the game and I was always confident we would win.

written by Big Raddy

 


An Afternoon for Attack?

January 28, 2017

Are you confident of a win today? Really?

We always used to win at Southampton but in recent years our win ratio has plummeted.

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Given the lack of Elneny, Xhaka and Cazorla we are reduced to just two effective MF’s -Ramsey and Coquelin, a partnership which has yet to blossom. Furthermore, we are playing Watford in the PL on Tuesday and away at The Bridge on Saturday.

AW has problems. How will he resolve them? Will he play AR/Coq in all three games? Or Sanchez and Ozil? Or will he prioritise the PL? I know I would.

Much as I love the FAC the need to have our best team available and fresh for Chelsea is paramount. So, what is the solution? Do we go all gung-ho in Didit style or do we throw in an extra defender in the hope we can keep it tight and sneak a win?

I would prefer the all-out attack route, either go down in flames or live to fight again following a glorious victory.

My Team:

Ospina

      Gabriel     Mustafi    Holding    Gibbs

Ox     Coquelin     Iwobi

Perez    Sanchez    Welbeck

There is zero chance AW will play this team, but it would be great if he would.

I would keep Bellerin for Tuesday and play Gabriel, giving instruction to Ox to play the Ramsey role and get up the wings. In other words, a 3 at the back with Gibbs pushed further into midfield.

Imagine how worried the S’ton defence would be to face such a potent front line. If only Theo were fit to play his former team, but Perez is a fine replacement.

Is Welbeck ready to start a game? If so, should it be at St. Mary’s or at the Emirates on Tuesday. I would give the fellow a run this afternoon but doubt AW will.

Mr Wenger has said he will play one or two youngsters, so perhaps Maitland-Niles will start alongside Coquelin with Ox pushed further forward. Or even better we may get to see The Jeff!

Mr. Wenger will have a chance to rest his ageing bones in the stands, talking into his sleeve to Steve Bald (sp.) who will undoubtedly ignore him.

And what of the opposition?  They play in red and white striped shirts and black shorts. Matt Le Tissier used to play for them. So did Kevin Keegan and Gareth Bale.

And they have a very good young Danish MF called Højbjerg  (which means High Mountain) whom they signed from Bayern Munich.

We have a mountain to climb this afternoon. We have the necessary equipment, all we need is a bit of luck, the right weather and steely determination. It worked for Hillary and Tenzing – it will work for The Arsenal

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COYRRG

 

 


Arsenal have the Best Fans?

January 19, 2017

Only 13k at S’ton last night. What has happened to the Magic of the Cup?

If we draw at S’ton how many would go to the replay at the Emirates? My guess is another full house.

Our average gate through 2016 in the PL was 59,444 which is 99.4%  capacity.  Slightly lower for Cup games.

The police numbers are a little lower because there are some season ticket reprobates who do not attend all games yet the club maintain that as the ticket is sold, it is an attendance.

Sadly, some of those fans are not supporters!

Why are Arsenal so popular? What do you think?

Written (in haste) by Big Raddy

 


Southampton Pre-Match. Expected team. Lucas Perez?

November 30, 2016

Our 4th home game in an unbeaten November, can we finish with a win?

Back in September we beat Forest 4-0 on a very enjoyable evening, the mixture of youth and experience delivered top entertainment. A repeat would be great.

But Southampton have real quality amongst their youth set-up, it has been so for almost a decade. How they do it is a mystery – Theo, Ox, Chambers, Lallana, Clyne, Luke Shaw, Bale etc etc.

That said, there are few clubs who have brought through as many youth team players as Arsenal, and the Notts Forest game introduced us to a couple more: Jeff, Akpom and Maitland-Jones started the game with Willok, Bielik and Zelalem coming on as subs. There are more in the pipeline.

Tonight may be a golden opportunity for Lucas to show why we paid big money for what (IMO) is a Welbeck substitute. there is a rumour he could play.

His name is Lucas Perez Martinez, why isn’t he known as Martinez? Why was he Perez when we signed him and now is called Lucas? Perhaps it is because of Emiliano?

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The most likely starters are those who did not play on Sunday and are likely to ride the pine at The London Olympic Stadium.

My Team:

Martinez

Maitland-Niles (Cons)    Holding     Gabriel    Gibbs

Ramsey   Coquelin   Iwobi

Jeff     Perez     Ox

 

In an ideal world this would be an opportunity to give Jenkinson a few minutes, the elevation of Debuchy to the first team must have damaged The Corporal’s confidence;  he is a sure starter at West Ham and we cannot risk him.

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For those lucky enough to be going, enjoy the game. For us screen watchers the game is not being shown on UK TV, streams are few and far between (unless you live in Africa). Some links pre-game would be helpful.

A semi-Final against Hull (we can hope!) would be great.

COYRRG


Will Arsenal make it 19 in a Row?

March 19, 2015

The race for the top four Premier League positions is on in full force. Twenty nine games played and just nine games left. Fourteen teams still have a mathematical chance of finishing in the top four but I will only concentrate on the battle involving the top seven.

Chelsea still appears to be Championship favourites although their form has dipped of late and as it’s dipped their tactics have become even cruder. So far this season their only slip ups against non top seven teams were draws with Burnley and Sunderland and a loss to Newcastle. They only have three remaining games against the top seven – United and Liverpool at home and Arsenal away. I fully expect them to play ultra defensive football, hoping for a breakaway goal but happily settling for a point in each of the three games, while winning all of their remaining games against the non top seven teams.

However they have only managed to gain 19 out of 30 points in their last 10 PL games so my prediction may be overly optimistic.

My predictions are –

Hull – away win, Stoke – home win, QPR – away win, Man U – home draw

Arsenal – away draw, Leicester – away win, Crystal P – home win

Liverpool – home draw, WBA – away win, Sunderland – home win

Last 10 games DLWWDWWDWD (Pts % 63.3)

Current points 64

Projected points 88

Manchester City is difficult to predict as their form is inconsistent at best and erratic at worst, which was highlighted by their loss to Burnley. Against the non top seven teams they have drawn with QPR, Burnley, Everton, and Hull and lost to Stoke, West Ham and Burnley. Against the top seven they have already dropped 12 points.

City has only managed to win just 50% of the points in their last 10 games so they will have to turn things around to hold on to second place.

My predictions are –

WBA – home win, Crystal P – away win, Man U – away win, West Ham – home win

Aston Villa – home win, Tottenham – away draw, QPR – home win

Swansea – away draw, Southampton – home win

Last 10 games WDLDDWWLWL (Pts % 50.0)

Current points 58

Projected points 81

Manchester United have really ridden their luck this season by winning games that they should have lost but they are now heading into a run of very difficult games. After their loss to Arsenal in the FA Cup ended their hopes of any trophy’s this season their consequent win against Tottenham will be a boost to their confidence.

My predictions are –

Liverpool – away draw, Aston Villa – home win, Man City – home loss

Chelsea – away draw, Everton – away win, WBA – home win

Crystal P – away win, Arsenal – home draw, Hull – away win

Last 10 games DLWWDWLWWW (Pts % 66.7)

Current points 56

Projected points 74

Liverpool is showing some impressive form and is undefeated in their last 13 PL games.

I only see Pool dropping points against Man U, Arsenal and Chelsea. In their last game against Swansea they rode their luck but in the end they won the game on a very fortunate deflection. I see them as legitimate contenders for a PL place.

My predictions are –

Man U – home draw, Arsenal – away draw, Newcastle – home win

Hull – away win, WBA – away win, QPR – home win

Chelsea – away draw, Crystal P – home win, Stoke – away win

Last 10 games WWWDWWWWW (Pts % 86.7)

Current points 54

Projected points 75

Tottenham have beaten both Arsenal and Chelsea in their last 10 games but have also lost to Man U and Liverpool so they are very unpredictable, in their  0-3 loss at Old Trafford they did not look like a team capable of finishing in the top four.

Our shadow over the North London midgets is getting bigger and darker by the year.

My predictions are –

Leicester – home win, Burnley – away win, Villa – home win

Newcastle – away win, Southampton – away draw

Man C – home draw, Stoke – away draw, Hull – home win

Everton – away draw

Last 10 games WLWWWLDWWL (Pts % 63.3)

Current points 50

Projected points 69

Southampton seems to have run out of steam and have dropped 13 points in their last 10 games. In their last game they gained a point at Stamford Bridge and looked good in the process. I only see them losing to Man C in their final 9 games but I cannot see them making the top four.

My predictions are –

Burnley – home win, Everton away draw, Hull – home win

Stoke – away draw, Tottenham – home draw, Sunderland – away win

Leicester – away win, Villa – home win, Man C – away loss

Last 10 games WWWLWDLLWD (Pts % 56.7)

Current points 50

Projected points 68

Arsenal has won eight of the last 10 PL games and our only losses were to Tottenham and Southampton. During this period only Liverpool gained more points winning 26 while we won 24. I cannot remember the last time our squad looked so strong with only 9 games left in the season.

Our key players are close to their top form with Cazorla, Ozil and Alexis just oozing class. Ramsey and Walcott still have a way to go but it’s great to see them both fit again – they will be needed. Ospina has been very steady in goal and shows a lot of confidence, which spreads to the team.  Coquelin has added some steel and tenacity to our midfield while Giroud proved his worth with his performances against West Ham and Monaco. My main concern is with our full back positions, we always seem to be exposed down the flanks – when they make their forays downfield our center backs are drawn out of position while they are covering for the absentee’s.

My predictions are –

Newcastle – away win, Liverpool – home draw, Burnley – away win

Sunderland – home win, Chelsea – home draw, Hull – away win

Swansea – home win, Man U – away draw, WBA – home win

Last 10 games LWWWLWWWWW (Pts % 80.0)

Current points 57

Projected points 78

The season will hinge on the following 10 games and will most likely be decided based on the outcome of the first seven of them.  To be honest they are the type of games that should decide the championship – the best against the best – I await them with nervous anticipation.

 Arsenal v Liverpool

Arsenal v Chelsea

Man U v Arsenal

Chelsea v Man U

Chelsea v Liverpool

Liverpool v Man U

Man U v Man C

Spurs v Man C

Man C v Saints

Spurs v Saints

I firmly believe that we are up for the task – how about you?

To arrive at my final conclusions I’ve predicted the outcome of 54 games so I’m bound to be wrong but how wrong do you think I am?

19th march

GunnerN5