Thank goodness that fixture is out of the way ….

January 18, 2016

I felt bitterly disappointed after the game yesterday. This had nothing to do with our performance, or even the dropped points. This had to do with the fact that it really didn’t feel like I’d watched a game of football. Yes, Stoke have some better players now, and they could well have scored goals, were Cech not such a beast. But they only really came to stop any football being played. Right from their pitch, to their ‘tactics’, it was all about constantly pushing/pulling/tripping Arsenal players, generally preventing the game from flowing.

I never really put stock in the Stoke play Rugby claim (and while Wenger is quoted as saying that he was talking about one specific incident where Stoke pushed an opposing keeper into the goal) Stoke were physical, dirty, but they played a fascinating in its ugliness type of football. But yesterday, as far as I’m concerned, was more rugby than football. I’m glad to come away from there with a point, and with no injuries.

rugby

On our players, Cech, Per, Monreal. Campbell, and Giroud come away with huge credit. Flamini was ok. Kos was good, but what’s up with those misplaced passes? Bellerin was good defensively, but couldn’t contribute much on offense, which is fine the way we were playing. I’ve been very annoyed with the Ox recently, but he was generally better, apart from one boneheaded moment when he came back into our half to get in front of a Stoke player, and instead of passing to a teammate, he tried to flick it forward. I get the sense he’s going to find form soon.

Ramsey and Walcott were both immensely frustrating. Both seemed too casual in their touches and passes at times. Maybe Ramsey is tired and that is affecting the simple things. But Theo man. His technique is terrible. On a small ground, with no Ozil or Sanchez to create space for him, he just couldn’t do anything. He was kinda helping out in defense, but that’s about it. Iwobi made a big difference when he came on. That Theo made such a fuss about it after putting in a performance like that isn’t very nice.

Not very nice too, were the Stoke fans. What can you say about such folk? There’s supporting your team and then there’s using it as a front to create a ‘safe space’ for all your vilest, nastiest tendencies. A Roman senator would recognize the importance of the Brittania as an arena to act as a safety valve for the mob. I suppose it’s better than them torturing kittens or something.

All in all a good point away to a tough stadium, and still top of the league, with the cavalry not too far away with Alexis, Coquelin, Wilshere and Rosicky set to return soon.

Shard


Major Tom to Ground Control

January 17, 2016

What a strange season it has been. Who would have thought that the ultra-defensive, park the bus mindset of so many PL managers would change so quickly into the exciting football we have seen in 2015/16. 3-3 draws have become the new 1-0’s. Long may it continue.

Or is it poor defending?😀

Take today’s opponents, Stoke. Managed by one the the meanest, most defence obsessed, get in their faces, kick their best players out the game, route one obsessed men in the Premiership they have turned into a club who play proper football. What has happened to Sparky?

What changed?  What made the miscreant Hughes buy Shaqiri, Krkic and Affelay?

Whatever the reasons, I am delighted. However, Stoke still have their share of thugs with both Debuchy and Ramsey having bad memories of strong-arm Stoke-isms.

There are exciting developments at Arsenal.The arrival of El Nino and the possible return of Duracell Boy; I don’t expect either to start but both could get some pitch time. Our results suggest that we have not missed Sanchez but there can be little doubt we are better with him on the pitch. If Theo doesn’t put in a decent performance this afternoon the bench awaits. Flamini has done a sterling job but needs a rest –  would you blood El Nino against Stoke or Chelsea? I wouldn’t. A couple of sub appearances are most likely.

I expect the same 11 to start as at Liverpool.

We have lost 5 of the last 8 games at the Britannia. Not good and hard to fathom. We have always finished the season above them and despite the aggressive grunts emanating from the cavemen who grimace bare-chested in the stands, we should do better.

My dream scenario would be an easy Arsenal victory with Aaron Ramsey scoring a hatrick, Flamini giving Shawcross a sly kicking and Kos flattening the cowardly, cheating basket named Arnautovic. But I would take a scrappy , plucky, lucky 3 points.

As always at the Britannia we will need a strong referee who is not influenced by Stoke’s baying boneheads. The incumbent is Craig Pawson; don’t know much about this chap but we must hope for the best.

I am still hurting from the stupid equaliser at Anfield, a win today would set us up nicely for the Chelsea game and to some extent negate that pain. A draw and we go back to TotL.

My youth was spent living for football and music. The first time I saw one of my Heroes was at the Finsbury Park Rainbow. I queued for hours and got tickets to see Bowie. He came on stage an hour late and proceeded to do a 45 minute mime act with Lindsay Kemp and then left the stage. To say I was disappointed is a massive understatement. But … I didn’t give up and was fortunate to see him on many occasions including some of the most exciting and spine tingling musical moments of my life. Words cannot express my thanks to Mr David Bowie.

We can be Heroes …. Just for one day.

COYRRG


First home win of the season to Stoke Arsenal’s fire.

September 12, 2015

Morning Gooner’s.

Big Raddy’s PM’s  are what most of us look forward to, his insights and his odds has us all debating – the man’s a genius, but he has to have a break now and again, and somebody has to try and cover. Word went out or should I say plea, so to follow the great man’s PM views is asking quite a lot, but if this is used, here goes……..

Today’s game at home against a tough rival  Stoke City have seen many physical battles, Stoke have a reputation of tough tacklers and putting themselves about. Mark Hughes, Stoke City’s present Manager has brought a slightly different approach to their game as they can play some attractive football now. Hughes was known for his aggressive play when he was a player, the same mentality is now put into use as stokes Manager.

Stoke have had tough times at The Emirates, played seven, lost seven. Her’e a few comments from Hughes leading up to this fixture.

Mark Hughes believes his Stoke City side are better equipped to tackle Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium than ever before.

Despite enjoying a frustrating start to the 2015/16 campaign Hughes is optimistic ahead of Saturday’s fixture and has pin-pointed the attacking qualities of his side as potential game-changers in the capital.

“It is never an easy place to go to be perfectly honest with you, and in previous seasons we haven’t managed to cover ourselves in too much glory down there,” the Welshman told Stoke City Player ahead of the game.

“In fact there record against us at the Emirates in the Premier League is perfect – having taken maximum points from all of the games between the two sides up until now.

“I would like to think that we are better equipped than we have been in seasons past to go down there and deal with them given the quality of player we have inside the building now.

“We have been to other very difficult places and picked up good results; obviously Manchester City springs to mind, so we know we are able to take positive results from these games.

“Arsenal are one of those teams who are difficult to play against, especially on the road, and they have that upper hand over us, but that has to change at some point I would suggest.”

Hughes admits he has been unable to pin-point the factors between the Potters contrasting fortunes against the Gunners at home and away.

“It’s a difficult one to figure out really. I’m not sure what it is. I suppose they are one of the top teams in the league and in Europe to be fair to them and when you take on teams of that ilk it is difficult,” he added.

“We have been very good at home against them and performed exceptionally well for the best part, but away from home we have struggled somewhat.

“They are capable of hurting any team in the world on any given day, but we know that we have our own game-changers who can hurt them.

“It is all dependant on what happens on the day. If one or two things go for us and we play to our maximum capabilities and remain resolute then we have a real chance of picking up a positive result.”

Well those few words from Mark Hughes says to me that he feels today will be a tough game. Of course we still have to win at home this season, so Hughes must feel a little easier.

For ourselves of course there is bad news. Wilshere who was to make his comeback in this fixture has had a setback and won’t feature, Welbeck has also had a setback, and has undergone surgery, so he too is long term. Our Striker Oliver Giroud was boo’d off the park in his international match by his fellow Frenchmen, so his confidence has taken a knock.

Koshielney has had problems with his back, and was left on the bench while on international duty, where his fitness is now will soon be announced

On the positive side Theo scored twice for England so he could be a starter.The rest of the squad seem to be available but I wont be doing a Raddy and predicting a line up, as he I’m sure gets inside information.

I also wont be giving a percentage as is normal on Raddy’s post I leave you all to do that for yourselves. Arsenal have to kick start their season. I feel that our possession stat’s have been excellent, but we just seem to be lack that finishing touch. Get that sorted and I see another win on the cards. Seven wins on the trot at home, looks good on paper but Stoke can cause us problems. We have a few injury problems and after this hard fought game I expect a few to have bruises, hopefully just bruises. I predict a win, it has to come, and today I feel is the day.

Speaking on Friday, Wenger explained that many supporters were unhappy at the lack of signings in the transfer window. He did go on about the reasons but many have heard all that talk before so I won’t bore you with it, but he has asked supporters to get behind the team, he feels that the players deserve your support. Arsenal supporters always get behind the players, today will be no different, Perhaps Arsene feels guilty, I honestly don’t know why, Do you?

COYRRG’s

Steve Palmer

 


Thug Tactics

January 12, 2015

After yesterdays game, and also from our last game against Stoke, it’s got me thinking about the dynamics of certain types of tactics. Intimidation and violent play now seem to be a part of the English game. We all talk about the English game being a physical one, but there is physical and there is violent. There is a distinction. Arnautovics push on Debuchy yesterday was violent, Charlie Adams strangle hold on Sanchez in our last meeting with Stoke was violent. Crouch uses his elbow as an offensive weapon against players when jumping for a ball. This is not physical play, but acts of violence.

This is how the BBC described the push against Debushy:

“The Frenchman, 29, landed heavily after colliding with Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic and was replaced by Hector Bellerin in the 13th minute at Emirates Stadium.”

After colliding, ffs, are they blind? The referees have to take some blame as well, they clearly failed to act on a couple of violent fouls yesterday and in our previous game against Stoke. So who is to blame? Does the manager instil a Thug mentality into his players during training and the pre match team talk? Or is it already a part of the players mentality? There are players who have that type of DNA, Joey Barton springs to mind, Shawcross as well. I can imagine managers like Mark Hughes capitalising on the aggressive nature of some players, telling them to target certain players, but do they actually incite violent play in their team? This is my question?

written by Northbank 1969


Redemption Song

January 11, 2015

6/12/14. The Potteries: The first half on the slime covered fields of Middle Earth was embarrassing. Three down to base level tactics, which must have been discussed endlessly during the week prior to the game, the players shamed their fans and their manager. Second half we were by far the better team and had we not been chopped by a homer referee we may well have won.

What infuriates more – their gigantic violent defence or their gigantic violent attack? Crouch should have been sent off for continual use of the elbow, Adams should have been imprisoned for GBH on Alexis. Anthony Taylor (the idiot ref) must be enjoying his new gold Rolex.

images

Anthony Taylor’s Nice Little Earner

11/1/15. A chance for the team to make reparations to both the fans and the manager.

Let’s start with the man who could be at the centre of the game, the referee, Jonathan Moss. In 17 games this season he has given out (why is a card always brandished?)  58 yellow and 7 red cards including sending off the miscreat Puncheon at The Emirates in August.

Stoke: On an unbeaten run which includes both us and MU. They cannot be under-estimated. But …. they are Orcs and have an odious manager. If the world was a fair and reasonable place, they would both be languishing in the lower regions of the Northern Premier League but it isn’t and Stoke continue to assault all who play them, aided and abetted by The Chief Orc, Sparky Hughes.

I don’t want to write about their players, they are all shitehawks apart from the diamond in the rough, Bojan – what is this superb, gifted player doing in Orc central? From the Nou Camp to the Britannia – the mind boggles and one can only hope he finds redemption come seasons end.

It has been raw weather this weekend which may prevent Stoke from playing hoofball but I doubt it. A couple of weeks ago West Ham sent in almost 60 long balls into our penalty area. That is one every 90 seconds!! Expect much of the same today.

Arsenal: The 7th cavalry are on the horizon as Ozil, Ramsey, Flamini etc return from injury. Walcott has had a run about and Giroud is off the naughty step. We have our first choice back five playing together for the second time this season. It augurs well

images-1

Proof Ozil exists

I wouldn’t start Ozil, Ramsey or even Theo; this is a game for fighters and men who are 100% fit. Why risk the returnees?

My team:

TPIG

Debuchy     BFG     Koscielny    Gibbs

Ox    Flamini    Rosicky    Cazorla

Alexis   Giroud

Not much height or heft but much pace and ingenuity. If Santi and Alexis can continue their wonderful form the Orcs will be bamboozled. With Theo to fly past Bardsley for the final 20 minutes and Ozil to get perhaps 15, we should be set up for the trip  to the Champions next weekend.

Given Szczesny’s excellent judgement of the high ball at WHU he must start today; the aberrations of his Southampton performance should be forgotten and forgiven and  having Ospina on the bench will energise him.

A first league win in 2015 would be a boost especially given the Hapless Hotspurs loss and the disturbing improvement of Liverpool.

The first half at Stoke was our worst performance for many a season, this afternoon the team have a chance for redemption. Let it be so.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Happy Xmas, The War is Over

December 7, 2014

I said in my yesterday morning comment that Stoke had the home advantage, and could beat us on the day, and so it proved. Of course it didn’t help that we have not won there for some considerable time, and i felt Stoke actually believed they could out muscle us as the surly did.

When looking to see where we went wrong, i don’t think you have to look further than the injury list to see where our weaknesses are. Many supporters are claiming that the manager is at fault because he didn’t buy more players in the transfer window, maybe there is a bit of credibility there, but i feel that when we look at who was not available, the transfer window is grasping at straws,

Many are now saying that Martinez was at fault and they now want TPIG back between the sticks , Personally i felt Martinez made one mistake all afternoon, when a fierce swerving shot went straight at him, it hit his mid drift and he struggled to grasp it but a goal never resulted. His cover let him down on all their goals and in my opinion he wasn’t at fault for any of them.

Koshielney Debuchy Arteta Wilshere Walcott Diaby Ozil Szezesney Ospina Monreal all out injured, Hardly the managers fault, that all these players are all out at the same time.

We can all find reasons why we should have defended better, or why our forwards miss what looks like easy chances, but we all have to admit, that having the injuries we have would certainly stop any team from playing consistent football. I believe the best Manager in the world would struggle with an injury list the same as ours.

Many are moaning that Jenks was loaned out now that we need a right back, but that is nonsense as we brought in Chambers for Jenks which allowed Jenks to get the Premier league experience which we all said he needed. We also brought Debuchey who looked to be a fine replacement for Sagna but of course injury halted him.

Now you know as well as me, that Chambers was never intended to be used every game of the season, Belerin also was supposed to only be used in cup games, but again injuries to first team players has resulted in being forced to use learning players.

Ramsey as we can see, has had a lack of form since he came back from injury, Wenger could never had predicted that, and with Ozil out and Arteta as well we have been forced to suffer Ramsey’s form, its not as if we have Wilshere to bulk up the midfield as he has long term injury as well.

Wenger must have believed that Diaby would have been playing by now as he has had a complete season out, but his half a game resulted in him picking up another injury. By this time in the season any manager would have expected to have most of his players to pick from, but as we know our players are rolling over in every game, but that is not because Wenger never brought in the transfer window.

It is quite evident to me that Koshielney is a key player for us, when he is not in place BFG has nightmares and of course the depleted team always need a reshuffle where our players are asked to play cover positions. We can only buy certain amounts of players in any window most teams are the same, but of course most teams do not have our injury problems.

At the end of the day we wanted Marquee players top quality Talent. We all know the restrictions we have been under for quite some years, but now we are buying players, but as i said we can still only buy what’s available on the market..

Wenger has stated that he believes we can win the league in the next three years. Had all our players been available since the start of the season, we could have won it this year, No ones fault Just fate that’s all, some thing we have had problems with for some time, but don’t be mistaken, we have the players now to win the league and possibly the Champions league as well ,but the secret is getting them all fit and Playing.

written by Steve P.

This is Rasp’s rant published earlier …..

Arsenal don’t plan to fail …. We fail to plan

I couldn’t get a stream to watch the game and so had to follow via BBC sport and blogsites – therefore I cannot comment on the specifics of the performance.

There are reports of poor refereeing, of Stoke getting away with wrestling our players to the ground, of us being outmuscled and of Arsenal getting soft yellows and a red whilst Stoke indulged in orchestrated rotational fouling that went largely unpunished …….. No s**t Sherlock!

If we don’t know by now what to expect from a game against Stoke then we may as well give up and try another sport. We play in the English Premier League, this type of ‘battling game’ is what makes it popular worldwide.

Arsene has to stop trying to be King Canute in domestic games, employ a bit of pragmatism and build a team that can stand up to the Stokes of this world.

As Rocky observed last night, the foundations of yesterday’s embarrassing defeat were laid when we failed to bring in defensive reinforcements in the summer and then failed to prepare a team for Stoke’s all too predictable onslaught yesterday.

Rasp


Arsenal don’t plan to fail – we fail to plan

December 7, 2014

I couldn’t get a stream to watch the game and so had to follow via BBC sport and blogsites – therefore I cannot comment on the specifics of the performance.

There are reports of poor refereeing, of Stoke getting away with wrestling our players to the ground, of us being outmuscled and of Arsenal getting soft yellows and a red whilst Stoke indulged in orchestrated rotational fouling that went largely unpunished …….. No s**t Sherlock!

If we don’t know what to expect from a game against Stoke by now then we may as well give up and try another sport. We play in the English Premier League, this type of ‘battling game’ is what makes it popular worldwide.

Arsene has to stop trying to be King Canute in domestic games, employ a bit of pragmatism and build a team that can stand up to the Stokes of this world.

As Rocky observed last night, the foundations of yesterday’s embarrassing defeat were laid when we failed to bring in defensive reinforcements in the summer and then failed to prepare a team for Stoke’s all too predictable onslaught yesterday.

Rasp


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