Arsenal’s Redemption or Atonement?

December 26, 2016

Two losses are a sobering experience so I doubt our chaps will have piled into the beers and port over Yule. My guess is that they are really raring to go and make the end of the year a positive.

West Brom and Pulis are not exactly the opponents Mr Wenger would have chosen, my guess is that he would have liked to play a Top 4 side but instead we play a team who are punching above their weight, sitting in 8th.

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A few stats: We have only lost to WBA once in our last 11 meetings. They have only beaten us once at The Emirates (2010). The last time we played WBA on Boxing day was in 2002, we won 2-1.

The papers seem to be indicating that if we can stop Matt Phillips, we will be OK as he has been involved in 7 goals in 7 games.

Pulis. I have written extensively about this fellow over the years. I am too mellowed out to start again now 🙂  Suffice to say, I don’t like him, his tactics or his cap.

Arsenal: I expect to see the same team start which started at The Etihad. They have to show their poor second half was an isolated occurrence. I am sure there have been post-mortems aplenty.

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Given the number of games over the next days there is sure to be rotation but I expect this to happen vs Palace and beyond.

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin    Gabriel    Koscielny    Monreal

Xhaka    Coquelin    Iwobi

Walcott    Sanchez    Ozil

We have to win. Not just because we need the points. Such is the Arsenal fanbase that any faltering in our title bid is greeted with angst and opprobrium. Goodness knows how the “supporters” will react to losing at The Emirates. No doubt a chorus of booing and Wenger Outs.

But that won’t happen because we are going to win.

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy

 

 


Tony Pulis : The Greatest Ever Manager

May 11, 2013

In the last week there have been two very important fixtures for Arsenal’s season, we featured in neither and to be honest neither fixture really went our way.

First Fergie kicked us in the nether region one last time by going back on a promise to honour the race for Champions League spots, then Adebayor gave his most productive display if the season to help Spurs avoid defeat in West London.

So it made me think we suffered for our hatred, and now with important games this weekend again neither featuring the Mighty Arsenal it is time for drastic measures to appease the footballing gods and offer some kind of metaphorical personal sacrifice in the hope that either Villa and Stoke will do us a favour this weekend.

With Stoke virtually safe it is doubtful that Pulis will go all out to deny Spurs when he can upset us instead.

In a brazen attempt to win favour my headline is my penance to those lovely fellows in the Potteries, you will know how much it hurts me to say it, so how low will you sink this weekend in an attempt to conjure up the Arsenal friendly footballing spirits.

While I’m at it I would like to say I also think Ryan Shawcross really isn’t that kind of player.

Gooner in Exile


From Messi to Shawcross.

February 23, 2011

Funny old game football. A week ago we were facing sublime skill, at the weekend passion and unlikely hope, and tonight aggression and anti-football. It is a testament to the Beautiful game that all types of football can be encompassed inside 7 days.

We know what to expect from this Stoke team under the tutelage of Mr Pulis, it will be park the bus, long throw ins and long, long balls to test the aerial expertise of our defence.  The midfield will be tigerish putting our skill players under intense physical pressure and yet trying to remain within the rules. Pulis will not be distraught if another Stoke player gets a red card because his defence for any loss will be that Arsenal are a team of foreign pouffs and divers…… “Same old Arsenal, Always cheating.”  Mr Wenger doesn’t speak to Pulis which tells me all I need to know about the Stoke manager.

Lest we forget, Ryan Shawcross is a stalwart in the Stoke defence, an innocent according to his manager, a nice guy who doesn’t deserve the criticisms from fans according to the pandering British press, and an out and out thug according to Aaron Ramsey. I expect to hear a strong vocal “welcome” for young Ryan which will hopefully temper his tackling and remind him that he caused a brilliant young talent to lose a year of his career; though I doubt he has the sensitivity to understand our dislike.

It should be noted that Shawcross is not the only hardmen in the Stoke team – they are full of them. From Carew upfront, to Faye, Delap, Whitehead and Diao in midfield, to Collins and Robert Huth in defence, Stoke are packed with aggression. This will be no easy ride for our artists.

But we have developed the ability to fight fire with fire, and it is some time since we were bullied out of a game. Wilshere and Cesc may be delicate players but they can handle themselves in the heat of battle as can Song and our defenders. Plus we be without the finesse of Van Persie who will be replaced by the added bulk of Chamakh or Bendtner (I would pick Nik who is better defensively).

Sadly Koscielny is out for tonight, a big loss considering the style of Stoke’s attack. Szczesny will have to use his height and strength to counter the Delap effect; I imagine this will be a baptism of fire for him and that our young keeper will not have faced tonight’s type of bombardment, but having come through the Barca game, I expect him to take Stoke in his stride. The inclusion of Djourou and probably Nik B will assist the defence at set plays.

I expect Theo to score the first goal.

My team:

We are on a super run of League form. Apart from the 20 minute madness at Newcastle, Arsenal have been in great shape. Mr. Wenger will be looking for another 3 points tonight and hope that our rivals start to drop points.

Iron Maiden on Sunday and today it is the turn of another of Britain’s great Rock acts, Lemmy from Motorhead, who was born in Stoke in 1945 (can he really have made it to pensionable age?!). Though Stoke’s most famous son is of course Robbie Williams.

COYRRG


Give a warm Emirates welcome to Mr. Ryan Shawcross

December 18, 2010

Firstly, I would like to thank all those who wrote such kind words regarding my piece in  the Arsenal in the Community book. Secondly, I would like to thank Peaches and Rasp for establishing such a hotbed of creative activity.

Which has nothing whatsoever to do with Stoke, particularly the “hotbed of creative activity!!” We know what to expect from this Stoke team under the tutelage of Mr Pulis, it will be park the bus, long throw ins and long, long balls to test the aerial expertise of our defence.  The midfield will be tigerish putting our skill players under intense physical pressure and yet trying to remain within the rules. Pulis will not be distraught if another Stoke player gets a red card because his defence for any loss will be that Arsenal are a team of foreign pouffs and divers…… “Same old Arsenal, Always cheating.”  Mr Wenger doesn’t speak to Pulis which tells me all I need to know about the Stoke manager.

Lest we forget, Ryan Shawcross is a stalwart in the Stoke defence, an innocent according to his manager, a nice guy who doesn’t deserve the criticisms from fans according to the pandering British press, and an out and out thug according to Aaron Ramsey. This is what the super-intelligent contributors to Arsenal Arsenal think:

Gunnern 5  “I hope that Shawcross gets the worst, and most sustained, barracking that any player has ever received from an Arsenal crowd.”

Rocky Lives “I hope our home support is loud and sustained and drowns out any noise from those Stoke tw*ts who sang abusive songs at Aaron Ramsey as he lay on the deck with half his leg hanging off”.

As you can see, there is not much love lost between Stoke and the Arsenal fans. Unlike WBA, Stoke will not come and try beat us playing stylish attacking football – Stoke will come to be efficient with the hope they can create an upset and return to the Potteries with a point. We must stop them.

At last we are getting back to a full squad. There are rumours of Diaby’s return to fitness, though he will need some pitch time to regain his sharpness. I know he is not to everyone’s taste but I believe he has all the qualities to be a valuable squad member. Theo, Nik, and RvP are vying for a start. For me the experiment of playing RvP as a deep lying forward in the DB10 mode is not working and needs to be abandoned. I want to see Robin leading the line and as such would give Chamakh a 70 minute rest.

My team:

Bench.  Chesney, Nik, Kos, Cesc, Chamakh, Arshavin, Gibbs

I believe the height of Djourou will be important as will the strength of Squillaci and Song. If Diaby really is fit, I would give him the first hour, but am expecting Wilshere to start. I really hope Fabregas will be given more time to recover, my personal choice would be that he takes a week off in the Maldives and comes back full of vim and vigour, but as Club Captain I guess he will be desperate to start.

CL draw. Barcelona. I would have preferred to meet them in the Semi’s but we are going to have to beat them to win the thing, so let’s get them out the way in 8 weeks. If TV and Cesc are fit, we will win and win comfortably. 3-0 at home and a draw away.

Today we can bounce back from Monday’s disappointment and return to the top. 4 goals would be nice…..

COYRRG


Your girlfriend is right after all……Size Does Matter

October 13, 2010

Today’s post was written by Red Arse over the weekend and continues the discussion about serious injuries.

Written by Red Arse

Like most Arsenal fans, I greeted, with relief and joy, the news, that “Rambo” Ramsey was not far from resuming full time training, with a view to returning in the New Year. It is wonderful, not just for us as fans but for the player himself.

But it led me to think back to the horrific injury that we were shown happening to him, in all its gory detail, on Sky TV, in full HD close up. The recollection brought an involuntary, empathetic shudder as, in my minds eye, I saw his leg bending in several completely unnatural directions and how it appeared to be held together only by virtue of his red and white sock. Yeuk and double Yeuk! I felt sick to my stomach reliving it, even in flashback.

But, hold on, that was not Rambo I was envisioning, it was Dudu, smashed by Taylor; but no, oh God, no, it was neither, it was Diaby, with his ankle apparently sheared off at Sunderland. Wasn’t it?

Well, it seems that they have all become one amorphous whole, each as shocking as the other.

This week’s news, that Danny Murphy had lambasted the thuggish gorillas, sent out by even more thuggish managers, to brainlessly assault more skilful players in more skilful EPL teams, in a manner likely to cause appalling career threatening injuries was amazingly refreshing and unexpected. He even named names; Fat Sam, stupid McCarthy, sickening, self justifying Pubis. Wow!

Picked up by other publications, his comments received mainly positive responses, with many a sage nod of the head, and a general agreement that such thuggery was wrong and that something must be done to curtail these wanton acts of aggression.

Contrast this with the xenophobic “Whingeing Wenger” headlines that greeted similar comments by our esteemed manager. The same moronic “it’s a man’s game”, and “I know him, he would not do that deliberately”, yada, yada, were soon churned out by said thuggish managers, of course.

Sometime ago, I wrote a Post highlighting the cretinous cabal of professionally limited managers, who encouraged and condoned this appalling, “in their faces”, tactic, inflicted by their physically imposing but cerebrally challenged minions. To Danny Murphy’s list I had added Mark Hughes, Owen Coyle and others, on the margins, whose teams occasionally dabble too.

Surprise, surprise, several of the usual suspects popped up; Kevin Davies, Shawcross, and de Jong among them, claiming they had always behaved like choirboys and their sainted managers had never issued any such instructions, nor incited them to inflict damage on skilful opposition players.

Now, at this point, I intend to leave that stream of thought and perhaps shock you, by coupling these Neanderthal antics with our lack of success, in recent times.

Following our defeat by Chelsea, I have lost count of the number of times opposition fans have said, “Your team were out muscled and well beaten” or “They never remotely looked capable of winning, because they were up against a better team, who were far stronger, taller, heavier and more powerful”.

I also lost count of the number of times I denied this was so. “We played well, and were unlucky to have lost”, I said, “We could have won, if we had taken our early chances”, and so on, and so forth.

All the time, at the back of my mind, I was thinking the unthinkable. “These guys could be right!”

In my opinion, even though I think Arsène is the best manager I have ever seen, I think he is complicit in our setbacks against the other top 4 teams, or the intimidating tackling and long ball tactics used against us so often. This is as a direct consequence of the type and size of players he has bought for us, over recent years.

We have often argued on this site about the pace or strength of our current players, with the implicit criticism, by some of us, that they were not quick enough or big enough physically.

Underlying this argument is the indisputable fact that when we were kings of the EPL, winning not just one, but two Doubles, we had in our team colossal players like Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Paddy Viera, Sol Campbell and many others like Manu Petit, Titti Henry and the incomparable Denis “Iceman” Bergkamp. I use the term “colossal” advisedly.

They not only had great skill, but they were giants physically. All of them strapping fellows with muscles on their muscles; they were all well over 6 foot tall, with great long ball winning legs, and a hard bitten, “take no prisoners” attitude in the winning of titles.

And then it all changed!

Arsene fell in love with seemingly fast, small, amazingly skilful players. Their brand of football is an entertaining, breathtaking style, with fast flowing, exquisite passing at its core. This appetite for physically small skilful players has now extended to defenders, with our latest recruits having very modest physiques.

Unfortunately, these little guys do not win against the “Big” teams. And they do not win trophies.

That is the crux of my disquiet. For reasons I do not pretend to understand, AW has decided that our best chance of winning trophies is by recruiting players half the size of those wonderful Double winning teams of yore!

This is not working! Please, Arsene, change your mind!