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.


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


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


December starts well! – Unai pops his NLD cherry – Arsenal v spuds Player Ratings

December 3, 2018

Everything you want to happen in an NLD does happen – Christmas has come early.

Hark the Herald Arsenal Sing, Glory to our new born King.


Leno – several decent saves from Son and Kane to counterbalance his near post calamity for the spuds equaliser… 8

Bellerin – quality throughout – his one small misdemeanour we can forgive – Hector knows what an NLD is all about … 8

Sokratis – Solid, indefatigable, rock-like, showed some pace tracking Kane … 8

Mustafi – demonstrated that he has got something to contribute – warrior-like for a derby which is exactly what’s required … 8

Holding – felt sorry for him – all that bollix about him lunging in for the pen, he was trying to block a potential shot, not making any kind of tackle – it was a dive pure and simple – Mike Dean hang your head in shame – Rob looked good in possession … 8

Kolasinac – stood like a fat sack of potatoes for the spud first goal, playing 3 players onside, but his cut backs were a feature of his play in the Bundesliga and playing in a back five relieves pressure on his defensive shortcomings … 8

Torreira – what a magnificent purchase – sets the tone of Arsenal’s performance with his energy, enthusiasm and will to win. Brings ‘La Garra Charrua’ to Islington. A glorious first goal, too … 9

Xhaka – Granit plays as if the captaincy really means something to him – love his left foot – crossfield balls opened up the spuds in the first half … 8

Mkhitaryan – gave it his all in the first half – sometimes appears a luxury player – perhaps not the blood and guts player for a derby but full of rich quality … 7

Iwobi – looked dangerous – but rightly sacrificed for the second period … 7

Aubameyang – that second goal was so pivotal to the outcome of the match – Lloris didn’t have time to move – a real peach – two goals, great celebrations, back to smiling his tits off … 9


Ramsey – Aaron is really contributing even with his contract disputes – two assists made a big difference to the game’s outcome … 8

Lacazette – the way he skimmed the ball in of Dier’s shin was magnificent … 8

Guendouzi – he loves Arsenal – I love Guendouzi … 8

Other ratings

Unai Emery – masterful half time subs – what a way to pop your NLD cherry … 10

Mike Dean – awful, egocentric performance – thank Dennis it didn’t cost us in the end … -2


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.


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?


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


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


The Auba Laca Conundrum – Is there a solution?

November 23, 2018

What is the best way of using our twin strikers Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette? Can they both start games without upsetting the balance of the side?

At the beginning of the season, Unai Emery appeared to have settled on the fact that he needed Aubameyang to be in his starting eleven even if it meant leaving a rather unwilling Alexandre Lacazette on the bench.

Then, after sneaking past West Ham fairly late on, came Cardiff away and both Auba and Laca started with Ramsey and Ozil making up the front 4. There seemed to be a chemistry between the pair, both scored and the Gunners just about ran out deserved winners. We then went on to also scrape wins against Newcastle, Everton and Watford with both playing, Aubameyang now becoming accustomed to being pushed into a wider left side position to accommodate the Frenchman.

Fulham away, just before the October interlull, was glorious. Laca scored two and Auba, coming off the bench, also got a brace. For the first hour, the team formation appeared to be a 4-4-2 with Danny Welbeck playing the role of Laca’s partner. This seemed to be a sign that, for the second time, Unai was still puzzling over the problem of squeezing both main goalscorers into a starting XI.

Leicester at home saw Auba come off the bench to score two instant tap-ins after some scintillating Arsenal team play, while Laca struggled to take the not so clear-cut chances which came his way.

Our last three matches have been distinctly odd, with our best performance of the season against the dippers sandwiched by probably our worst two performances against Palace away and Wolves at home. Both Auba and Laca started all three with PEA shoved out on to the left flank in each. Although he scrambled a goal at the far post at Palace, he has looked less than his usual happy self in those 3 games, especially against Wolves. Lacazette scored a brilliant individual goal against Liverpool, but also looked a little lost against Wolves (then again, it was a poor team performance).

It would be so good to see them happy to both assist and score alongside each other again as it was in September, but this will largely depend on Unai Emery finding the solution as to how to get them both on the pitch at the same time. One or other of them coming off the bench for the last 30 sexy minutes has worked well on several occasions so far, whereas starting both from the kick off has had decidely mixed results.

Perhaps a change of formation might be able to accommodate both without being detrimental to team balance.

Anyone got any ideas?


Could Pep one day coach Arsenal’s First Team?

November 19, 2018

Joseph (Joe) “Pep” Montemurro, the Australian of Italian descent on course to make Arsenal Women winners again. Could he do the same for the men’s team?

This is what Joe had to say to Katie Whyatt of the Telegraph about Arsenal Women who last won the league title in 2012 and the all-conquering side that won it all in 2007 as the other big clubs started investing and winning (does that sound familiar?)..

“It was a big transition with other teams investing. The Man Citys and the Chelseas challenged the status quo of Arsenal being the dominant team. I think it needed to find its level of confidence, find its level of belief, find its level of enjoyment and what Arsenal stood for.”

“Arsenal’s always been synonymous with an attractive, proactive brand of football. It’s a football that excites, a football that entices. I think there’s also a level of integrity and respect that typifies Arsenal worldwide, as a club and as an identity.”

“I’ve always been a coach that loves teams to dominate with the ball. The most important thing is a level of fluidity, and I believe in what Arsenal stand for. It was a matter of me reiterating those messages, and allowing the players the freedom to start to enjoy their football again, to believe in what we’re trying to do. The reality is I put levels of clarity into what the ethos and the ethics of the team needed to be as a standard. It’s restoring those beliefs in your everyday work and your everyday language.”

How good were Arsenal Women of the past (pre 2013)

(from Wiki)

Arsenal have won the FA Women’s Cup fourteen times, and the Women’s League Cup ten times.[5] This includes eight League and FA Women’s Cup Doubles; in 1992–93, 1994–95, 2000–01, 2003–04, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08 and 2008–09, and four domestic Trebles, in 1992–93, 2000–01 and 2006–07, 2008–09. Arsenal have represented England a total of seven times in the UEFA Women’s Champions League (formerly the UEFA Women’s Cup), and had previously reached the semi-finals twice (in 2002–03 and 2004–05).

The 2006–07 season was Arsenal’s most successful ever, having won not just all three domestic trophies but also the 2006–07 UEFA Women’s Champions League (then called the UEFA Women’s Cup), beating Umeå IK in the final 1–0 on aggregate; this was the first time any British club won the competition. On top of that Arsenal won the FA Women’s Community Shield as well as the local London County FA Women’s Cup. The end result was that the team won every single competition available to them, earning a unique sextuple. The wins that year came against full-time professional players, whereas most of the Arsenal team had full-time jobs.[7] Additionally, Arsenal won all 22 games they played in the Premier League that season, scoring 119 goals and conceding just ten.[8] In recognition of the achievement, the team were honoured with The Committee Award by the Sports Journalists’ Association in the 2007 Sports Journalists’ Awards.

So how well is Pep doing in 2018 –

Played 7 games:

4 Home Wins 18 Goals For, 4 Goals Against

3 Away Wins 16 Goals For, 0 Goals Against (that’s right, zero goals scored against them whilst away)

Total 7 Wins, 34 Goals for, 4 Goals Against, Undefeated so far.

Some of the big wins this season –

Beating Liverpool Women 5:0 at home

Beating Chelsea Women 0:5 away

Other high scoring wins whilst away 0:7 (at Yeovil Ladies) and FA WSL Cup 0:9 (at Lewes Ladies)

Could Pep make the transition to the First Team?

Pep cut his teeth in the difficult youth and senior men’s teams of the old Australian NSL and Victorian State Leagues. An ethnic diverse bunch of clubs representing Italian, Greek, Maltese and Croatian communities in which expectations are high and it’s all about the results to get respect. He has saved clubs from relegation and he has taken clubs to promotion. He has taken mens and womens teams through the entire season undefeated. He is also well qualified –

(wiki) In 2010, he completed his UEFA A license at Coverciano Italy via the FIGC (Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio). He also completed his UEFA Pro License at Coverciano in July 2014 and is a member of the Italian Coaches Association (AIAC). He also holds an AFC/FFA A License and completed the Master of Sports Coaching degree at the University of Queensland.

In his own words

“To put it simply, I’m a project coach. I love everything about the journey.

I’m not a smash-and-grab manager who goes in there, saves a club from a tight spot and then leaves. It’s about building a group and developing a DNA. It’s really, really important that everyone’s on a journey and everyone’s involved in a process to build something very, very special. That’s what I feel we’re going to achieve at Arsenal. “

And the Aussie ABC had this to say – It is Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, however, with whom comparisons have recently been drawn. And not just because friends and family back in Victoria know Montemurro by the same abbreviated first name.

It could be the Catalan speaking when Montemurro explains his playing philosophy. “We want the ball … with the ball you’ve got control,” he says.

“We work a lot on that. And on positional play. That creates the framework for players to be innovative and creative within it and express themselves.”

So can Pep make the transition? Don’t be surprised to see him on the bench next to Emery before the end of this season. Could the backroom boys already be grooming our very own Pep to take over?  Yes its a real possibility but I can also see him being tempted back home to his wonderful family, most likely as Australia’s new national Women’s coach in preparation for the Women’s World Cup to be played on Australian soil in 2023 (the Aussie WWC bid is already underway).

And the best thing is that Pep is living the dream. He has been a lifelong supporter of the Arsenal, let it be so…

So who has been to watch the transformation of the Arsenal Women’s team under the guidance of Pep?

Can you see Pep sitting alongside Emery in the not too distant future?

Could Pep become the new Pep at Arsenal?

Written by VP of Oz

January Sales – what type of player would you buy for Arsenal? – Poll

November 18, 2018

If you were Unai Emery and could buy only one player in the January window, which position in the team do you think is in the greatest need of reinforcement or improvement?

I don’t usually look at the ‘we’re after this player or that player’ clickbait articles, so I haven’t really got a scooby what sort of player the manager is supposedly interested in (that’s if it’s even vaguely possible to deduce such a thing from completely fabricated stories 🙂 ).

Personally, I think we need someone to link the midfield and attack, like a Santi Cazorla type player. Though a case could be made for left side wing attack even with Wobbly having had such a fine season there so far. Deffo don’t like Auba there.

A young left back with international pedigree, a ball-playing centre back who’s great in the air, maybe a new glove butler?

What do you think?


Talking ’bout an Emery Revolution.

November 16, 2018

Is there one?

Over the past couple of posts we have taken stock of the season so far, I am sorry but today you will get much of the same!

When comparing games against the same opposition at this point in the season we have less points than 2017 ( my research – not fact – although it may be  😀 ).

So, the points haul hasn’t improved significantly.  Have the performances?

I wrote during the first half of the Wolves game that our play was” measured, ” by that I meant slow. Very slow.  It was not the first as we continually give the opposition  45 minutes start before performing at AFC levels. So far, we have been fortunate that the opposition have not taken the plethora of chances but it cannot continue into December when we play so many good teams.

Is this a tactic? Are we playing Rope-a-Dope in the hope that the opposition are exhausted in the final 20 minutes? If so, he is not the first.

I recently read the Sir Alex Ferguson autobiography (I am a closet masochist), it was a tactic of his to press in the final 15 minutes and according to him, the pointing at the watch was to remind his players that they had a huge chance of scoring in the final 5 minutes. It worked.

Is the import of young talent in Curly and Terrier new to AFC? Of course not. Cesc played for us at 17, so did Jack.

A post during the Interlull will concentrate upon the front 4, so I will not dwell here but we have problems which need solving. Our best players are not given the best platform to display their undoubted talents.

And the defence!. Sevilla were a team who were so difficult to break down and this was the foundation for their success, can we say the same of this Emery team? Can we  ****.  OK, we have had injuries and have yet to find an established first choice back 4.  But do we know who they are? I doubt even you, in your wisdom, can name our best CB partnership! Bellerin is automatic and we have backup for him in the Swiss fella. Monreal on the right but given his performances so far, can you really say his backup Kolasinac inspires confidence?

Midfield? Who knows – this another area which requires an entire post. But once again we have no clear first choice.

That said, it is a healthy situation when we have so many choices insomuch as those choices are good quality, but are they?

What is a revolution is the attitude in the stands but one must question why, when an AW went behind, the fans did not support the team as they have recently.

I should point out that I am a Wengerite and want Emery to continue his wonderful work. There was need for change and UE’s start is promising but no more than that.

written by Big Raddy