Courage, Cohesion and Confidence.

May 9, 2019

Our turn.

So far in the semi-finals the team which lost the first leg won the tie. These are not good omens nor is our away form.

No … stop this Raddy,. Get a Grip. Negativity breeds negativity. As Mr. Python says “Always look on the bright side of life.”

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If we score one Valencia have to score 5 to win (4 for pens), if we score two Valencia have to score 6. So, what should Emery do? In my opinion, he should stack the midfield and attack from the first whistle.

The Mestella is a hostile stadium for the away teams. Valencia’s home record is very good particularly in defence, they have conceded just 11 goals in 18 La Liga games. Not so dusty upfront with 21 goals scored (to compare, at home we have scored 42 and conceded 16 in the same number of matches – away from home we have conceded 34 😱)

Valencia were poor at the Emirates. We conceded a stupid set piece goal which puts the tie at risk but otherwise Arsenal were comprehensively the better team The Frenchman, Gameiro, looked quality and on both wings we looked vulnerable.

This week we have seen other fine sides collapse in the second half which should be a clear lesson. The best team does not always win, sometimes it is luck and strength of character. We need both.

Do we have strength of character? Looking at the last few weeks the answer has to be No but tonight is different. We are two games away from Glory and no-one will remember the pisspoor performances if we get to Baku.

If Ramsey, Hector, Holding and Welbz were available I would be mega-confident, they aren’t. So who gets to start?

Cech in goal – I wouldn’t pick him but Unai is loyal to his players. Kos and the Greek Bloke. Does he start Monreal or Mustafi to complete the Back 3 Mustafi has been better in the last few games – always the butt of the Gooner’s ire (usually well-deserved) one must also recognise when he plays well. Monreal always giving his all, I would play Mustafi

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Kola will surely start but would you pick AMN

The midfield is much harder to predict. I would not play Douzi but he is a favourite of UE and startedd in the home leg. Nor would I start either Ozil or Mhki who are not in good form, but if we don’t start one of them, who supplies the ammunition to our front two?

I don’t know and have to trust that UE does.

IMO if Xhaka and Terrier play well we will win.

And what of the bench? Do we have anyone riding the pine who gives you confidence that they can either shore up a crumbling defence or give us attacking impetus? You know the answer.

Courage, Cohesion and Confidence will get the Arsenal to Baku because we already have the skill and talent. It will be a battle and in the words of a true Englishman …

“The games afoot, Follow your spirit and upon this charge, Cry “God for Unai, England and Saint Charlie George.”

COYRRG

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Do AFC have the Cojones?

May 2, 2019

Two exciting and entertaining semi finals played earlier in the week, can we continue this fun?

To be honest, I know nothing about Valencia apart from what GN5 gave us on Tuesday, and I was really disappointed that they beat Villareal in the quarters, thus denying us the return of Santi. But the team sitting in 6th in La Liga are strong opposition.

Valencia have scored 40 goals in 35 La Liga games, hardly attacking prowess, they have conceded 32, and are 31 points behind the leaders, Barcelona having drawn almost half of their games. On paper this should be a home victory but we are short of players and form.

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Ozil has to start, this is exactly the kind of game he thrives in – opponents who are unlikely to be over-physical and rely upon breaks.

It is vital we keep a clean sheet and you all know how likely that will be! Back 3 and one with experience – Kos, Sok and Nacho. Wardrobe and AMN, maybe an Iwobi , a Xhaka and the two upfront PEA/Laca. We still lack any width relying upon the wing-backs for crosses. Lacking attacking options on the bench means Eddie could get to play in a European semi final.

Emery knows both Valencia and the EL, will he choose to be less attacking in his team selection for the first leg, trying to ensure a clean sheet at home? If so, Terrier will come in for Iwobi, and possibly Mhki for PEA.

The Emirates needs to be noisy and get right behind the team. There will be tension and there will be occasions when Xhaka etc make mistakes but this is when the players need encouragement not the frustrated moans of the “supporters”. PLease, if you are lucky enough to attend, sing, shout, chant … roar. As usual we TV viewers will be in Peaches’ pocket making as much noise as possible.

Whatever happens I am hoping for an improved performance from our chaps; we have been awful recently and thrown away the chance of 3rd place. But we can win this tie – Valencia are simply not as good as Arsenal, we have better, more expensive players but do they have the cojones?

We shall see

COYRRG

 


A Fond Farewell.

January 13, 2018

So, Mr Coquelin leaves the squad.

A player who resurrected a failing career in a manner which will inspire other players. He is proof that endeavour pays and his reward is a fat contract with a top Spanish club. Well done, Francis.

I cannot say that I have been a fan of Mr Coquelin, in fact to me he represents all that has been wrong at Arsenal over the past decade – a reliance upon players who simply are not good enough to propel my club forward. Neither good enough in defence nor attack, his skills lie in hard work, hard tackling and playing simple balls to more creative players. This may be harsh as we have had the occasional glimpse of a player who has great skill and can distribute accurately from midfield to attack, sadly, it was a rare glimpse.

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Squad players are necessary. We have many of them. It must be galling to be either on the bench or not even there week after week. To spend all that energy in training trying to impress the manager but rarely having a first team appearance. Knowing that only if a couple of players are injured you will have a chance.

Of course €30+k a week is a decent recompense for such trials.

Coquelin is only 26 y.o., played over 100 games for us, won 2 FA Cups, a Charity shield and became a multi-millionaire. Not bad for a man who was on loan at Lorient, Freiburg and Charlton in a career that seemed to have stalled.

Upon his return from Charlton Le Coq was a revelation in his DM role resulting in Mr Wenger calling him “the long-term solution”, it wasn’t to be .

Will he play first team football at Valencia? I guess so though Valencia currently sit 3rd in La Liga, 5 points ahead of Real Madrid, which must mean they have a settled team.

Valencia must be happy with AFC,having sold us Mustafi for €40m and used just €12m to buy a decent midfielder.

Thank you Francis Coquelin, Goonerdom wishes you well in your future.

written by Big Raddy