A Look at Lewandowski

October 22, 2013

“When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now”

M. Wenger is 64 years old today and as a gift UEFA have given him a mouth watering challenge at THOF; our Professor must be hopping with anticipation at the prospect of pitting his wits against a team and manager who represent the finest in football.

Our season has started (apart from a ref-affected first game) brilliantly. Reflected not only in the points tally but also the possibilities of the team’s future – we are already very good and we are going to be the “couilles de chien”.

Dortmund: Not much to tell you that you don’t know already. They are very good, they are in form, they have a superb defence, a better midfield and a lethal attack ! Klopp will be in the stands following an ill-advised impression of the Ferguson rant  – how was it SAF was never sent off for abusing a 4th official?

I am looking forward to watching Mkhitaryan, the man signed to replace the treacherous, Goetze. And of course the performance of Lewandowski will be under the spotlight, what with the media speculation of a transfer to The Emirates. Cannot see it myself but he is a top striker and we could squeeze him in somewhere!

Last time BD came to THOF we won 2-1 with goals from some fellow whose name I forget. BD beat us in 2002 with a goal from Rosicky, it would only be right for the Little Mozart to score for the righteous tonight (70th mins sub?)

I wrote recently of my admiration for both Subotic and Hummels and how they cope with the wingless Arsenal attack will be one of the keys to the game.

Then there is their fans. It must be wonderful to have such support – our away boys are brilliant but these loonies are on another level completely!

Arsenal: Once again the absence of Walcott’s pace could be costly. I love our tiki-taka but some unadulterated searing speed undoes defences, if nothing else it forces the defenders to sit further of the player.

However, the addition of Özil has brought an added dimension. His headed goal on Saturday came as a result of a lung-busting late run  –  a part of his game which has surprised me. Not only is Mesut brilliant with the ball at his feet and a master of space, he is also an extremely hard worker.

The recent run of success allied to the two CL wins must give the entire squad huge confidence. It is this rather than the personnel which will inspire the team tonight. The return of Cazorla and Arteta brings wizardry, calm and authority to an already fine side.

The development of the understanding between Santi and Mesut will be one of the highlights of the coming seasons. Both hugely intelligent, both two footed (as are we all – no disrespect to uni-peds) and both team players.

I have been wracking my brain to find fault in out attacking play and have decided that we do not score enough goals from outside the area. Can someone remind me of the last time?

The defence remains a concern. We have to start getting some clean sheets or the season may unravel. It is all well and good relying upon the attack to score more than we concede but eventually we will get caught out. Thankfully, it seems that the problem lies in lapses of concentration rather than a deeper lying malaise.

My Team:

a v bd

An attacking team. The bench is getting stronger and amazingly Bendtner is looking threatening. If we are winning on 75 mins expect to see Monreal

Tonight is one of the highlights of this (or any) season. Two teams who are committed to attacking football on a warm autumn evening in a packed, noisy stadium. Given a decent referee it will be a great game. I wish I could categorically state that we will take the points, what I can state without fear of contradiction is that every Arsenal fan watching on television would love to be there.

Win this and we are almost through to the next round.

Written by Big Raddy


Boing-ed off.

October 7, 2013

The good guys returned to the top of the table on goals scored after the medias latest bête-noir Jack Wilshere equalised early in the second half after the home side took the lead shortly before half time.

A hard working and confident West Brom kept the Arsenal at arm’s length for most of the first half and stopped Arsenals superior creative resources from effectively taking a hold of the game.

West Broms form players Berahino and Amalfitino had early chances and Chesney in goal managed to keep Arsenal in the game. Arsenal’s form player, Rambo, also had a good chance to break the deadlock but sadly the chance was well saved and then West Broms early pressure brought about the goal. There was a sense of inevitability about the cross being floated into our area and an unmarked header from West Brom nestling in Chesney’s net.

Conceding just before the break was, to quote the football commentators cliché it was “Psychologically, a bad time to concede a goal”,

This would be a test of the Arsenal’s resolve as the midfield battle had led to the now customary rotational kicking/fouling of Wilshere that seems to be condoned by referees. As expected the first infringement by Jack was duly punished by a yellow card just before the players trudged off for half time.

Jack was also unlucky not be given a penalty for Malumbu’s lunge from behind as he surged to the West Brom goal.

Second half and the was a renewed sense of urgency as the Arsenal created more chances and let their superior talent shine through although ex gunner Anelka blew chances to extend the home sides lead.

The introduction of Rosicky, with his tendency to drive forward, helped the push for the equaliser and it was his lay off that teed up Jack to blow away the smoke of unwanted attention by equalising from outside the box with a thudding howitzer of a strike.

Later on Jack’s clever through ball put Giroud clear but Myhill, in the Baggie’s goal, did well to keep out the Frenchman’s subsequent shot. At this point the final result looked like two points dropped, but on hearing the hilarious news of our swamp dwelling Middlesex friend’s home spanking perhaps it was not so bad.

Still top of the table going into the break with some great players to come back after means we retain pole position and are still well set for a title challenge.
UTA!

By ChärybdÏß1966


Reasons to be Cheerful

October 6, 2013

If we win today it will be our 9th away PL victory in a row – an Arsenal record. Given WBA’s last victory this is no given, they are clearly a decent side.

There is a cautious optimism around the club (= euphoria) the like of which we have not seen since the Highbury days. Could 7 PL and 4 CL games really have engendered this remarkable turn around? Well, if you choose to believe the red-top’s narrative. In fact we have been on a roll for most of the year; since the beginning of February our PL record is P22  W18 D2  L2. Read that again!!  56 points out of a possible 66 – we lost to THFC & AV, drew with Everton and MU.

56 out of 66! Astonishing, and almost certainly the reason why Big Raddy has been in such a good mood this year.

Can we keep it up today?

WBA have some decent players – none that would get in the AFC first 11, but in Sessegnon and Amlfitano they have players in form. However, WBA , like us, have serious injury problems in attack with Long, Anichebe, Sinclair and Anelka out (could change pre-game).

The CC game is no indicator to today’s match though some of the personnel will remain. Nor is Albion’s home form of two losses and just the one win. What is relevant is their win at Old Trafford last weekend – it shows this is a decent side who will cause us problems. They have scored just 6 goals so far which may be due to the injury problems.

Positives: There are many.  We have not lost in 6 visits to The Hawthorns. We are the only team to have scored in all our PL games. We have won our last 8 away games etc etc etc

and We are walking in an Ozil Wonderland

We seem to be pressing higher up the pitch aided by the tireless Giroud who is adding much more than a goal-scoring threat. It is helped by the arrival of the energetic rampaging style of The Flamster, we looked very solid when he teamed up with Arteta. This could be the answer in away fixtures where we will play more on the break. However, This means that Wilshere is once again on the bench – a luxury but surely one which needs to be sorted, he is too good to ride the pine. And what happens when Santi and Theo come back?

My Team:

hpm1

Of course we could play Jack in place of Tomas but AW (and I) love what Rosicky brings to the team – energy, pace of thought and action and huge determination. Expect to see Wilshere on the 70 minute mark. We have little attacking threat on the bench should Arsenal fall behind, the sooner Podolski and Walcott return the better.

The results were predictable yesterday – let it be so today (apart from a humiliating defeat for the Lillywhites) because, let’s be honest, given the spirit at Arsenal it would be surprising if we lost.

Come on Arsenal, make Big Raddy a happy man (and in turn he will make Mrs. Raddy equally joyful)

Written by Big Raddy


Confounding the Critics : Arsenal 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0

September 2, 2013

This is not a match report, its a bunch of ramblings from a very happy Gooner with no real structure.

Lets start as we mean to go on, with a bloody good laugh. Laugh at the media, laugh at Levy’s £109m investment, laugh at AVB sprinting down the touch line to tell Kyle Walker to launch the ball in to the box because he was too thick to realise it was 30 seconds to go, laugh at all those who say Arsene Wenger doesn’t do tactics.

Yesterday our wily old Frenchman won the tactical battle, and the players executed it perfectly. Looking at the line ups it appeared that Spurs had been set up to create a solid defensive unit and to spring counter attacks using the pace of Townsend and Chadli feeding Soldado (I’m glad at this point the teamsheet is there as it indeed shows that they had a centre forward on the pitch £28m worth apparently).

Wenger had a trick up his sleeve, their midfield three lacked mobility, so Wenger set us up not to push too high, their attacking three were isolated and red and white shirts crowded them out and regained possession with relative ease. And when we won possession we had the pace and numbers to look threatening running at the heart of the Tottenham defence.

Wenger was rewarded by his players with a beautifully fashioned goal, at pace the ball was pinged around and players moved with intent, Theo was set free down the right with Spurs defenders not knowing who to mark, Giroud pulled Dawson this way and that before darting towards the near post to produce a deft finish to the bottom corner from Theo’s accurate cross.

giro goal

After the goal we were content to continue the game plan, sitting deep, defending strongly and maximising use of the football when we had it. We were so comfortable that AVB started to change his team pushing Paulinho further forward, which just gave us more room to play forward when we did have the ball.

Despite having very little possession we continued to look threatening on the break, a better pass or a better touch at the crucial moment and we could have had a second.

Just before half time Jack Wilshere was removed feeling unwell and was replaced by Flamini, it wasn’t long before we got to see why it was a “no brainer” for Arsene. Flamini slotted straight in, for the rest of the half and all of the second he was one of the first to press the ball, organising those around him not used to such a battle. Those around him responded, Ramsey, Santi, Rosicky and Theo all prepared to do the more unpleasant side of the game, winning the ball back, fighting for possession.

I haven’t even moved on to the defence yet, they were simply magnificent, Soldado did not get a touch from Koscielny, Chadli and Townsend were kept relatively quiet by Gibbs and Jenkinson and Mertesacker did what he does best, provides calm assurance to those around him and reading the game inside out. And when they did breach the defensive unit Szczesny produced an absolutely top class save.

With players tiring and Spurs throwing more bodies forward it did get a little tense in the last ten minutes. We struggled to clear our lines and hold onto possession further up the pitch, especially once Rosicky and Theo had been replaced by Monreal and Sagna respectively. Giroud had been able to rely on those two for most of the game to be his outlet when trying to hold the ball up, now off the pitch he was looking more isolated but what I think we are all beginning to love about Oli is his work rate, he does not stop competing for his mates. Anyone watch MotD on Saturday night? A certain Mr Berbatov (that player that Arsene should have signed last summer) was sulking around St James’s Park. I know which of the two I’d rather have in my team.

All in all a very good days work, this wasn’t our most fluent display, but it was the kind of performance many of us have been waiting for. So many of my Spurs supporting clients were quick to text me after our defeat by Villa, I’ve kept my powder dry, when should I text, first thing in the morning, or when we’ve announced three super super quality signings?

Ratings:

Szczesny : 9 comfortable handling all game, good distribution especially under pressure and two cracking saves.

Jenkinson : 8 disciplined at right back, considerably helped by Theo occupying Walker

Gibbs : 7 given a bit of a working over by Townsend early on but ordinary service was resumed for the next 70 minutes, not helped by no one occupying Rose.

Koscielny : 9 is he pleased to see us or is that a £28m striker in his pocket.

Mertesacker : 8 leads by example.

Wilshere : 7 not his normal effervescent self but considering illness unsurprising

Ramsey : 9 lead the team in tackles, touches and attempted passes.

Cazorla : 9 the boy is class

Walcott : 8 used his pace to worry Spurs when we had the ball and defended well when we didn’t

Giroud : 9 a great finish, constantly working for his team, goal line block.

Subs:

Flamini : 8 it was indeed a no brainer

Monreal : 7 did what he had to

Sagna : 7 ditto

Wenger : 10 out tacticted the young pretender

Enjoy transfer deadline Gooners bathing in the warm afterglow of a North London Derby win.

Gooner in Exile


St Totteringham’s Day – Report & Player Ratings

May 20, 2013

That was a very, very nervous experience made all the more intense by the fact that we were expected to win. Some how being the underdog in crucial games makes it just that little more bearable when a loss is inevitably considered before and during the game. But win we did and by doing so we secured the chance to play Champions League football next season which I believe makes it sixteen seasons on the trot, no mean feat when you consider just how desperate and disappointed those around us were at missing out again.

Does that introduction work? Nah, it was nail biting hell, ninety four minutes of torture before the release of the final whistle and the opportunity to laugh at the pained faces of those left wondering “if only” at White Hart Lane. That’s better, that’s more like the introduction that this game deserves.

kozzer scores 2 v toons

It was in fact a very professional win, every player followed the game plan, nobody panicked, all of which lead to our just desserts safely being locked away at the home of football.

As I sit hear in the afterglow, looking back at the season I think it has to be said that the single most important decision made was that to drop Vermaelen. This is not meant as a poke at the Belgian, I am convinced he remains a very popular player amongst Arsenal supporters; it’s just that everything points to him being put on the bench as the spark that galvanised the defence.

Do any of you remember the debate that divided us over which centre back paring would be the most successful? Half the people said Vermaelen and Mertesacker and the other half said Vermalen and Koscielny, I was one of those arguing that the later combination would be more mobile. But I think it is fair to say no one argued for Mertesacker and Koscielny.

kozzer celebrates v newcastle

Well there you go, those two flanked by Gibbs, Nacho and Sagna have proved to be a very solid defensive unit indeed.

Did you notice how much more controlled Sagna was in his attacking play today, no wild crosses and solid as ever in his defensive duties.

I can’t finish the defence without giving Koscielny special attention; he was the standout player of the day and the Man of the Match by some distance. Koz, you have no idea how much happier you have made all of our summers; for you, your performance and your goal we salute you.

The midfield worked well together. Ramsey was immense and will rightly pick up the AA award for the most improved player. He started the season coming on as a sub on the right wing and did very well; he then got his chance to start in the middle and was poor, poor to the point of serious abuse. From there he disappeared back to the bench, reappearing after the spud loss to progress to being undroppable which is where he is today.

Sadly for our Spanish Captain couldn’t lead us to the end of the game but the Ox came on and added fire to the midfield belly. Have you noticed how well he and Walcott work together? Theo is the senior player and is able to tell the Ox exactly what he wants to happen, the upshot is that Theo plays with a greater confidence.

If I have one minor moan it would be that Rosicky was a bit sloppy by his usual high standards. Many will not like me saying this but I think we were a bit fortunate that Wilshere got injured when he did because if we had carried on playing the same way we did against spuds I believe we would not be in this happy position today. Rosicky is an attacking midfielder who interacts well with the most talented player we have at the club and Wilshere is nowhere near that yet.

And on the subject of the most talented player at the club I am sure we are all agreed that the AA award for best player of the season goes to Cazorla, he ran his socks off again and boy what a great buy he turned out to be.

Podolski, not being so brilliant in the air, forces Sagna and Gibbs to send the ball into the box along the ground rather than hoofing it high which is one of my pet hates; his tally of assists this season is very impressive. As to whether he is the answer to our number nine issues I neither know nor care today, I am just pleased with our not quite so BFG.

It was a good day to be an Arsenal supporter, we need to push on from here with some quality summer signings but I will leave you with my favourite image of the day. Remember the end of the game when the Sky cameras went over to White  Hart Lane? Well think of despair of their faces and chuckle.

Have a great day.

Written by LB

Following on from LB’s excellent report Rocky would like to offer these player ratings:

Szczesny: little to do but exuded confidence. 7

Sagna: very solid performance. He still seems a fraction slower than before his leg breaks but he defended well against Newcastle. 7

Gibbs: got pulled out of position a bit in the first 20, but played very well thereafter. 7.5

Mertesacker: typically good showing from the BFG. He is one of the best CB’s in the EPL. 8

Koscielny: a perfect performance at the back, augmented by as coring the all-important winning goal. 9 (MOTM)

Arteta: it was clearly a risk starting him, but he played with his usual efficiency before having to retire with injury early doors. 7

Rosicky: not everything came off for TR7 but he was involved in some of our best moves and his work rate was incredible. 7.5

Ramsey: phenomenal effort as we’ve come to expect. Some of his best work is unspectacular and, therefore, is missed by many. An invaluable player on the day. 8

Cazorla: drifted out at times but was a persistent threat to Newcastle and fought very hard for the cause. 8

Walcott: plenty of effort and skill from Theo, who was double- or triple-teamed throughout. It was a relief that his late effort that hit the post after great solo play did not turn out costly. 8

Podolski: Lukas was up for this one and fought hard in both attack and defence. Got a head on the ball to set up Koscielny’s winner. 7.5

Subs

Oxlade- Chamberlain: it was a surprise when Oxo slotted in to the holding midfield role vacated boyar teat, but hE did well. 7.5

Giroud: his hold-up play was good and his presence helped see us through to kids debating. 7

Wilshere: not time enough to do anything special. 7

 


Oops, I did it Again ….

May 4, 2013

Can Arsenal continue their fine run since that dark day somewhere in N17? 7 games unbeaten, 17 points. Since January, 11 played. Won 8 D2 L1. 26 points from 33 – that is League winning consistency and very different from the norm.

Different opinions abound about today’s game. Either it is good or bad to play a team already relegated. Will QPR play without restraint and freedom given they have no pressure? Will their players look to cement contracts or put on good performances in order to find a buyer? Or will they just have a dose of the Sod it’s and stroll through the afternoon? My guess is that this will be a tough game for Arsenal.

Those who have read my posts will know my opinion of Mr Redknapp.  I like QPR but when they took on this miscreant I looked forward greatly to watching him twitch his way to an ignominious end of the season. And this is why  ….. First off, Redknapp is ugly. Second, he has delusions of grandeur and a bizarre belief in his ability. Third, he destroys clubs. Fourth, he is a Spud. Fifth, he is a crook (allegedly). Sixth, he is as thick as a very thick person. Seventh, His son is a tool. Eighth, he thinks he is amusing and definitely not a wheeler-dealer. Ninth, his style of football is awful and based upon hard work and the love of a big man (Crouch). Tenth, he is a Spud and as such hates Arsenal. I could continue but you get the drift ……

Unknown

“So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodnight”

Harry would never allow his team to lay down to Arsenal. Never. And QPR have some decent players – a fine GK, a quality CF, some battlers in midfield (Jenas loves a goal against us), Traore at FB and Bobby Zamora returns upfront.

For a tactical view of the game, may I recommend 7am Kickoff?

As always how Arsenal play this afternoon is tantamount; no fear, attack from the first, get an early goal and consolidate, stay tight at the back and organise at set-pieces, don’t make stupid individual errors and work hard. Simple really (can I have a job please, Mr Gazidis?)

We have almost a full squad to pick from. The loss of OG continues to highlight Mr Wenger’s curious decision to go into the season with just one Centre Forward. Doesn’t he recall the dark days of playing Arshavin at CF? We have to find someone in summer. But who knows – maybe Nik Bendtner will come back and fulfill his potential (as if!!).

My Team:

qpr v arse

I would love to see Ox start but it just ain’t gonna happen. Perhaps Wilshire will start ahead of Ramsey but Aaron has been great these past few weeks and so I expect JW to get 30 mins alongside Ox or Gerv. Monreal is back in the squad and could get some pitch time if we are well ahead on 70 mins.

Today’s English Explorer: Verney Lovett Cameron (1844-1894). Superb name and the full facial set. What more can we ask on this fine sunny Saturday afternoon? Vern’s continent was Africa. At a time when the English were wandering all over Africa discovering stuff, Vern was just walking, and walking distances.

Starting as an assistant to David Livingstone, Lovett made his first independent mission to Lake Tanganika where he followed the Congo-Zambezi watershed. This took him to the coast and Cameron thus became the first European to cross Africa from sea to sea (or is it ocean to ocean?). He later joined Richard Burton (one of our previous explorers) on an expedition through West Africa

230px-Verney_Lovett_Cameron_1878

Verney has a touch of the Aaron Ramsey about him, don’t you think?

Verney Cameron died falling off a horse in Leighton Buzzard, which, as we all know, is a treacherous and dangerous place. He was just 50 y.o.

Another vital 3 points on offer today. We are doing well and under normal circumstances should expect a victory today but as we know there is many a slip twix’t cup and lips.

p.s. Did I mention how happy I am that “Arry is Championship bound?

Big Raddy


Mozart…or Jack of All Trades??

April 19, 2013

One thing that has baffled me since the Norwich match is M. Wenger’s actions and statements with regard to our talented midfield duo of Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere.jack

Firstly, after praising Rosicky to the hilt after the WBA game, then expressing his anguish in not having him available for Norwich, our man, quite understandably (from a team selection point of view) slots Jack into the vacant spot in midfield against Norwich. Sadly Jack looked a bit short (to say the least) on Saturday and dear old Arsene admitted as much by saying ‘I thought I brought him back too quickly’ Damn right you did! …..so what did you do??…….picked him again on Tuesday against Everton!!…. when they proceeded to kick lumps out of him in front of a blind referee!!

rosicky

For Christ sake Wenger, why refer to Rosicky as a superbly technical player who always brings something to the team, have him fit………..and then leave him out!! For me, Rosicky was the one player who could have turned the game for us on Tuesday – but he didn’t even get on. As for Jack?… they are lucky, considering the battering he got from Everton’s bruisers, that he isn’t out for another long spell. Up until the WBA game ‘Mozart’ Rosicky was doing enough to earn an extended run in the team, but not to figure AT ALL on Tuesday for me was Arsene’s big tactical mistake. Rosicky would have unlocked them.

Now, on that point, could Jack unlock them in the same way? No!!……and I’ll tell you why. Tommy drives down the middle when attacking, and looks for a forward or through ball. Jack, on the other hand plays the width of the field and this does nothing to unlock defences. Defenders like nothing more than players who move left to right in front of them with no penetration.

Now Jack, you have to make a choice on what role you are playing in the team. being a ‘Jack of all Trades’ – being here, there and everywhere, affects the shape of the team when you don’t hold your position, Are you a defensive midfielder, attacking midfielder or just a play anywhere in midfield midfielder? You have to make a choice which role suits you best. Right now I’m not sure you know yourself. One thing is for sure, as good as you are, your goals tally has to improve (Rosicky has scored more!!) as does your assists. Nobody is a bigger fan of Jack’s talent than me, but right now I think he needs to decide what role he wants to play in midfield and concentrate on it and let those around you do the rest

And as for you M. Wenger, don’t just talk up Rosicky….pick him and let him play up!!

Written by MacGooner 


Boing Boing : Rosicky Wins It

April 7, 2013

Away at the Hawthorns was never looking like a comfortable ride, Arsenal were liking to make it three wins aim a row in the Premier Legue and put ourselves 4th and breathing down the necks of Spurs.

Wenger named an unnamed side, which given the performance at home to Reading seemed a fair thing to do.

The thing I like most about this midfield is its fluidity, Gervinho, Cazorla and Rosicky take themselves across the pitch, which means that even an organised defence like WBA’s has trouble tracking runs.

ros 3

The first goal being a case in point, Arteta floated a perfectly weighted pass into the penalty area, Gervinho had run from inside right to the left side if the penalty area to collect unchallenged despite 4/5 defenders being close by and only Giroud for company, not one for rushing Gervinho waited for support finally cutting back and aiming a cross come shot to the fat post, Rosicky had joined the attack and arrived unmarked to head home from the 6 yard box.

This wasn’t Rosicky’s first action of the half having earlier cleared off the line with a very good header. In truth the Arsenal goal had come against the run of play, Fabianski had already been called into action but generally the new found defensive strength was holding strong.

We did seem to apply the handbrake after the goal and attacks were infrequent, Gervinho forcing Foster to save well with his feet and after fantastic interplay round the box by Santi and Giroud, Ramsey missed when it seemed easier to score. His recent performances have deserved a goal.

Half time 1-0 up and half job done.

Soon after the restart Rosicky had doubled the advantage, collecting a ball by Ramsey to fire a shot that Foster saved well, Rosicky followed in his own shot and fired low and hard past Foster. The celebration said it all.

Seemingly coasting to the win this wouldn’t be Arsenal unless they put us through the mill a bit, and this they did when the BFG found himself out of position for the first time in the afternoon and lunged to prevent Long collecting and going through on goal unchallenged. Red card and penalty, it is easy to argue that Per should have let Long continue but that’s a big ask of even the most calm of defenders.

A fraught half hour or so followed as WBA with crowd full of support bombarded the box in search of an equaliser. We managed to hold firm and the backslapping at the final whistle showed how important this game was.

Ratings

Fabianski 6.5 – some good shot stops, but a bit weak on crosses and kicking was weak this afternoon.

Sagna 6.5 – crossing poor, slightly out of position when BFG forced to bring down Long

Koscielny – 8 solid performance

Mertesacker – 6.5 losing 1 point for not staying in his feet

Monreal 7 – starting to settle in PL

Arteta 7 – quiet and efficient performance

Ransey – 8 another solid showing and a goal sure to come soon

Rosicky – 8.5 MotM two goals, one goal line clearance.

Cazorla – 7.5 quieter day for the Spanish magician

Gervinho – 8 stretched WBA with his pace and movement

Giroud – 7 quiet day for the big man, worked hard as ever.

Subs

Gibbs – 7 steady

Vermaelen – 7.5 held firm for last thirty minutes

Coquelin – 6.5 quiet

Written by Gooner in Exile


The Return of the Swerve : Arsenal 4 – Reading 1

March 31, 2013

In any other season Reading at home would be a home banker pencilled into our predictors. This season anything has been possible, so it was a great relief yesterday to see the team come out the blocks from the first whistle and not stop running until the final whistle. On top of that the team played with purpose and pace that we have only seen on brief occasions this year, and for me the most important feature of our play we pressured the ball when we didn’t have it.

Wenger named a couple of changes from the side that won away at Swansea, out went Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diaby and Walcott, in came Sagna, Gervinho, Ramsey and Rosicky. Many of us have felt on recent substitute appearances the latter three deserved a bit more game time. If Ramsey continues to play as he did today he will soon have silenced all of his critics, Gervinho too whilst sometimes appearing not to know what he is going to do next was lively enough and threatening enough to silence the boo boys.

It was Gervinho that gave us the lead after ten minutes, following good work on the right he continued his run into the box as the ball made its way to Santi, Santis shot was going wide but Gervinho reacted and stuck a boot on the end of it.

The rest of the half was one way traffic, Reading rarely venturing out of their own half. Whilst we were comfortable those of us watching at home were desperate for a second goal to put us in full control. That goal should have come when Olivier Giroud was brought down in the box by Taylor, it was a clumsy challenge and Giroud had already got his shot away, but how many free kicks were given yesterday for defenders after clearing the ball being clattered into by an onrush ing forward….I can count at least three on us without trying, so if that’s a free kick that should’ve been a penalty.

Just before the end of the first half a possession stat for the last 5 minutes flashed up, Arsenal 95%, could this be another one of those days?

Adkins sent Reading out with a little more purpose in the second half, but any attacking threats were quickly nullified by good defending starting from the midfield and completed by the defence.

Any hope Reading had of finding an equaliser were soon dashed, more good work around the box by Santi and Gervinho saw the ball teed up for Santi to curl beautifully into the right corner of the goal to make it 2-0. This is what Gervinho can bring with his dribbling skills, he took the ball into the 18 yard box and sucked three defenders towards him, most importantly the man marking Santi which then left him with an easy pass.

The third came 20 minutes later, Gervinho stretching his legs on the counter attack waited for Giroud to join him, just when I thought he’d held it to long he laid it to Giroud who dispatched his shot low and hard to make it 3-0.

There was a small element of foot off the gas and Reading were allowed to get one back almost immediately, the cross came in far too easily to the back stick and Robson-Kanu arrived at the back post to grab a consolation.

Gervinho was allowed to soak up some much needed applause and was replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Giroud was replaced by Podolski.

Two minutes later and Oxlade-Chamberlain read and intercepted a poor pass out of the Reading defence and just ran at them, there is something very exciting about the way this young man runs with the ball, he burst into the area and was brought down. Arteta cooly scored from the spot kick and the three goal advantage was restored.

Despite being the end of the scoring there were still things to be admired in the performance, the team continued to press Reading when they had possession, and continued to push for more goals, some of the pass and move around the box was great to watch.

We should beat Reading at home, the fact that we did and so easily suggests we may have turned the corner this season, will it be too late to achieve the 4th place trophy?

Ratings:
Fabianski 7 – not a lot to do, little chance with the goal, but good handling and distribution throughout.

Sagna 6 – poor for their goal, offered little going forward (although didnt really need to)

Monreal 7 – steady at full back did not need to over commit to attack an was rarely troubled at the back, injured trying to prevent their goal

Mertesacker 8 – marshalled those around him well, snuffed out any threats with ease.

Koscielny 7.5 – solid performance

Arteta – 8 professional performance in the middle of the park, kept possession ticking over and always there to pick up the pieces on second ball

Ramsey – 8.5 very strong performance from the young Welshman, deserved a goal for some of his run and passing around the box, worked tirelessly to regain possession

Cazorla – 9.5 MOTM everything good comes through the boot of our Spanish wizard, he is just simply a joy to watch play football

Rosicky – 7.5 took some time to get into the game, but provided movement and quick passing essential to our play

Gervinho – 9 two assists one goal and a constant threat to Reading, more of the same please.

Giroud – 8 provided the fulcrum for others to play off, good finish for his goal, just wish we would see him relax a bit more in front of goal, and also be brave enough to use his right peg occasionally.

Subs:
Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7.5 got straight into the game am earning the penalty the young man seems to have found his confidence again.

Podolski – 7 found it difficult to get into the rhythmn of the team. Looked a bit lost when the ball was being moved one and two touch around him by Santi and others.

Gibbs – 7 nothing to do in defence supported attack well as we know he can.

Written by Gooner in Exile


Midfield squad ……. is it good enough?

March 26, 2013

Here is my outlook on the midfield hope you enjoy it .

Oompa loopmas

Abou Diaby. Average player does his shift some games other games he’s just unreliable and prone to giving the ball away.

Should he stay or should he go?

Tomáš Rosicky.  Great player but he seems to have lost his way since the injury set back, can be unplayable at times but this season we have not seem him at his best.

Will he sign a new deal or will he be wanted elsewhere? Let’s not forget he’s getting older and we have players like the Ox who can play on the wing.

Mikel Arteta (vice-captain). I like the man from Spain, he’s a grafter and a gifted player when he feels like it .

His form has been a little patchy this year but he does his best for the club.

Jack Wilshere. Wonder boy jack is one of the best English players in the England squad when he’s not injured and he does an amazing job in midfield for Arsenal.

We’ve got to keep him – for a lot of us on here, he’s the next to wear the captain’s armband.

Aaron Ramsey. Love him or hate him, I personally think he’s doing his best. Yes he’s a youngster, but he can spot a pass and he can score a few and he’s one for the future.

We must keep him .

Santi Cazorla. Excellent, fantastic footballer and one of the players of the season so far he works hard and he can cross dribble and shoot and he’s gives 100% every game – another player who like to score.

Francis Coquelin. Not seen much of him as he’s a bit part player and is often used as a sub. When he comes on he does very well and I’m sure some Spanish clubs will be after him in the future.

Andrei Arshavin. I liked the Russian with the basin haircut, he has lost his way or he can’t regain his place in the team I can see him leaving in the not too distance future .

He will always be remembered for his one man show at Liverpool a few seasons ago .

sheep pic

MIDFIELD PLAYERS ON LOAN !.

Emmanuel Frimpong. This pong would not be out on loan, I’d recall him, he gets some tackles in and he is not scared of any player and he’s built like Mike Tyson .

What AW will do with the pong we will have to wait and see.

I’ve friends who are Wolves fans, he went there on loan before he had an injury and the wolves fans loved him and chanted his name every game.

Ryo Miyaichi. What a waste of money simples, buy him then loan him out, will he ever play a first team game in the Premier League.

Denílson. He looks to be enjoying his loan spell back home and can’t see him returning now or in the future but again I liked him when AW played him and he used him a lot.

I have not included the Ox or Theo as they play up front more than midfield but those two are another who in time will be a fantastic acquirement for Arsenal in the future.

What’s your opinion on the state of our midfield?

Sheep Hagger ™.