Wobbly whips Watford – Deeney dismal

September 30, 2018

Well that was a really rip-roaring christening for my first game ever in the lower tier at the Emirates. Watching the game from lower down and closer to the pitch makes the whole experience more visceral. Yes, you don’t see the patterns of play in quite the same way, but footballers don’t either. Gaps and angles, space and geometry are all in a flat plane for the boys with the boots on. I enjoyed it.

First Half

Chances at both ends, the best for Arsenal was Laca’s one on one with the keeper. Robbing the hesitant lump in the Watford defence, dinking the ball beautifully over the keeper but just failing to keep the ball between the posts. Watford also had some decent efforts but were either wide or came up against the helmet.

Anthony Taylor failed to give a clear penalty when Lacazette was fouled. No wonder players go down easily when it’s the falling over that refs give decisions for rather than the actual foul itself. Poor from Mr Shiny Head.

Second Half

End to end and excitement throughout. Again Laca with several chances but none that easy. Watford not requiring large dollops of possession to create danger on the counter. You could see why they’ve been effective. Leno came on when the helmet’s hamstring pinged taking a goal kick. He proceeded to make a fine reaction save from Deeney diverting a dead ball, blocking a one on one and catching or punching everything that was launched at him.

Iwobi coming on for the ineffectual Ramsey turned the game on its head. Suddenly there was drive, pace and power down Arsenal’s right. Alex’s cross was diverted beyond Foster by Cathcart in the 81st minute and then Welbz on for Auba won the ball in midfield, Laca and Wobbly combined beautifully to slide the ball across for a perfect pink-booted Mesut sidefoot. What a wonderful couple on minutes it was!

What a fine view I had!

Summary

A clean sheet – shared by both keepers, each contributed equally. Was it the Torreira effect?  Are we looking more like the new incarnation of an Arsenal side capable of grinding out results by going up a gear or two? Or is it still much too early to tell? Either way it’s fun at the moment.

Ratings

Cech/ Leno – good stuff again from the helmet matched by his German replacement….7/8

Bellerin – better defensively to go along with always being dangerous going forward….7

Mustafi – a little bit Keystone Coppish again….5

Holding – looked the senior partner, visibly gaining confidence with each minute on the pitch….8

Monreal – as effective as ever, such a shame he couldn’t quite reach Xhaka’s brilliant diagonal pass in the second half….7

Torreira – still settling in and becoming accustomed to the type of bruising Premiership encounters teams like Watford are capable of dishing out….7

Xhaka – Love watching his glorious left foot. As TA said, him and the Terrier are a match made in heaven in midfield….7

Ramsey – Slime has got into his head and he doesn’t seem to know what he’s meant to be doing in Emery’s new team….5

Ozil – Came to life in that last segment of the game, with Iwobi on the pitch he had someone to pass to all of a sudden, an extra mark for his perfectly executed goal….7

Aubameyang – wasted on the left again, we’re going to have to move to 3-5-2 to get him involved at the sharp end….6

Lacazette – full effort and commitment. Not sure why he couldn’t celebrate the own goal – we’d finally scored, Alexandre, be happy. Excellent contribution to superb second goal….7

Subs

Iwobi – Wobbly made all the difference – thrust, power and penetration – well played young man….8

Welbeck – a significant part to play in that clinching second goal….6

chas

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Lucky 7?

September 29, 2018

Prior to reading GN5’s history lesson, I thought we always thrashed the Bees. Apparently not. Strange how personal perceptions can deceive. I recall that thug Deeney “bullying (read fouling) his way to a victory and a long ago victory at Highbury but other than that …  well, you get my drift.

We are on a fine run, lots of goals, an improving defence, signs of midfield cohesion and early evidence of the Emery revolution. Some of that is true! This enthusiasm must be tempered by a look at our recent opposition, until we play a top 4 team we cannot really judge.

images.jpeg

Watford sit above us in the table which is either a measure of their quality or the quality of their opponents – they beat Spurs and pushed MU, so perhaps they will prove to be difficult to beat.

Watford have conceded just 6 goals in the PL, they have a strong CB pairing and our forwards will have to be efficient with their finishing.

It will be interesting to see whether UE picks Ramsey this afternoon, I wouldn’t. I would have him riding the pine and play Mhiki instead. Mhiki’s part in the excellent second goal vs Brentford was special, and I think he is the better player defensively. Also, I think that Iwobi will become a pivotal player at Arsenal, he is still young and learning, we need patience. However, if AFC want to keep the Welshman, they have to give him game time.

Terrier or Curly or both? Can we drop Xhaka? Not in my opinion. I like the format of giving each of them 45 minutes, it is working.

My Team:

Helmet

Fashion Icon   AWTH   GB    Nacho

Curly   Xhaka    Rambo

Mesut

Laca   PEA

Once again, this set up relies upon the FB’s for width and I am not sure how effective this tactic is. It works at home when teams tend to PTB but away we need more defensive security.

Football is a game of confidence, confidence develops from winning consistently, we are on a fine run. Seven is my lucky number.

COYRRG

 

 


Arsenal FC – Our record against the Hornets

September 28, 2018

Aside from the following FA Cup wins, our league record against Watford (founded as Watford Rovers in 1881) only begins as recently as 1982. This is because they were in the Southern League up until 1920 and then finally reached the First Division with promotion from the second division in the 1981/2 season.

03 Feb 1906 Woolwich Arsenal v Watford W 3-0 FA Cup
15 Jan 1910 Woolwich Arsenal v Watford W 3-0 FA Cup
08 Mar 1980 Watford v Arsenal W 1-2 FA Cup

Elton John and his appointment of Graham Taylor in 1977 saw the club’s rise from the Fourth Division right up to the top flight in only 5 seasons.

These were the days of John Barnes and Luther Blissett. Blissett still holds Watford’s records for overall appearances 503 (league 415) and overall goals 186 (league goals 148). Luther Blissett was also famous for being signed by AC Milan “by mistake”. Rumours still abound in Italy that it was John Barnes who was being scouted but it was big Luther who was signed in error. Sounds a bit racist to me. He returned to Watford after one season.

The current incarnation of Watford FC has been in the Premier League since 2015 and they have consolidated well with a string of decent Spanish, Italian and Portuguese managers. The loathsome Troy Deeney is the current club captain, though some find his aggression and honesty refreshing.

Credit: Craig Prentis /Allsport

GunnerN5


Truly, Ugly, Deeney – Watford Ratings

March 12, 2018

Troy Deeney being fit to play (when I say fit, I mean breathing and able to walk as long as it’s not uphill and too fast) was the best news this game could have had. With Watford in the relative safety of mid-table obscurity and ourselves being so far off the title pace, meant that there was little to play for except a few points and some comparisons of testes size. Deeney was the vital ingredient in the latter and he didn’t disappoint.

 First Half

Shkodran scoring a carbon copy of his goal against the spuds after 8 minutes calmed any supporter fears that Watford might spawn a couple of early goals as they did at the Emirates last season. It was a perfect delivery from Mesut with which he smashed Cantona’s first to 50 assists record. How the first half finished 1-0 is anybody’s guess. There really were some great chances. 4-2 was Ant and mine’s assessment of the possible goal score.

Amongst our better chances, Auba missed a one on one right at the start of the game, The Beast battered one across the penalty area so quickly that Auba could only get a toe on it and then Mesut got into a magnificent position with a glorious first touch only to lose his composure with the keeper floundering on the deck. Pereyra missed Watford’s best chance skying over after Petr had ended up behind his goal line blocking a free kick.

Second half

The cones did not do their job at the start of the second half. The Arsenal crowd and players all looked as though they wished they could be at home (along with the many who didn’t bother attend). Watford, on the other hand, had their best spell, pressing Arsenal back towards the Clock but without giving us too many heart flutters.

Our first attack of note in the second period resulted in the BVB connection putting us two up. Micki slipped the ball through to Auba with perfect weight, stranding the keeper in no man’s land.

Then came the moments everyone had come to see. A Watford striker went over Maitland-Niles’ knee (in live time it looked to me as if our young Tory had got himself in a position to field a cricket ball rather than make a tackle) and the ref had no option but to give a pen. The pantomime villain stepped up to take the kick, only to allow Cech to make a one handed block which went away from the goal rather than back towards fatty. Cue wild celebrations – it was just like scoring a goal. Two one and things could have gone tits up quickly, but with a two goal lead we were still cruising. Great fun.

Conceding and then saving the penalty woke up both the crowd and the team. We looked comfortable from that moment onward, even with Calum having to deputise for Shkod. The third goal came with a quarter of an hour to go when Micki and Auba reversed roles allowing the Armenian to notch another Arsenal goal so quickly after his crucial effort against Milan. The Emirates crowd even produced a little volume, asking Mr Deeney if he knew what the score was. To his credit, he did seem to be smiling, the hideous gargoyle.

Ratings

(Ratings are always subjective and always likely to be swayed by confirmation bias. Some like them, others don’t – perhaps it’s worth remembering that they’re there to give you something to bounce off.)

Cech – A save from a penalty against our Troy, no flapping and 200 clean sheets, lovely … 9

Maitland-Niles – a few sloppy passes didn’t detract from a quality performance, defended well with both interceptions and tackles, while looking smooth with the ball at his feet  … 7

Mustafi – Excellent early header, drove the defence and looked more like the leader he could be. Hope his groin isn’t too sore this morning  …7

Holding – All of our defenders struggle against the high press when the rest of the team do not give enough options for a pass, Rob was no exception. Made some fine tackles and blocks, and was even making better decisions about when to just get rid, TA6 style as the game progressed  … 7

Kolasinac – Improving as an Arsenal player, whether that’s partly down to the standard of opposition or down to eating less fish and chips, we’ll find out later  … 7

Elneny – Had a fine game in the centre. Chosen to start alongside Xhaka we might have thought that the midfield would look a bit static and lacking forward drive, but Mo provided plenty of thrust and no small measure of forward attacking passes, too … 8

Xhaka – Granit’s form is improving game by game, his defensive positioning is better and I still love his left foot  … 7

Ozil – No subjective rating is ever possible for Mesut, he oozes class and the number of goals and great chances he creates is testament to that  … 8

Mkhitaryan – Looking more like an Arsenal player with each game, should have had a penalty which Atkinson (Fifa referee, yeah right) chose to ignore to add to his goal and assist … 8

Iwobi – Watching Alex from the upper tier, you can see that he’s seeing great passes all the time, it’s just that, at the moment, his execution is lacking somewhat. It’ll come, keep working hard BIG17  – 6

Aubameyang – Settling in nicely, once he gets his razor-sharp finishing back up to scratch, his partnerships with Mesut and Micky could be most productive  – 7

Subs – Chambers slotted in well, Danny produced a rasper and Jack came on for no good reason.

chas     

 


Revenge – A Prayer for Owing Deeney – Watford Preview

March 11, 2018

And so we’re back to the League, 13 points from top 4, 8 behind 5th, Burnley only 2 behind over our shoulder, what sort of team do we put out? Thursday’s return leg against Milan has to be our overriding priority, but team confidence and momentum are important, too. I certainly wouldn’t go as far as Micky suggested on Friday and rest the whole team!

Chubster Troy Deeney has featured in much of the build-up during the week with the media absolutely loving being able to drag up his ‘lack of cojones’ comments made after our defeat in October. My overriding memory of that game was the ridiculous penalty awarded for a Richarlison dive which got Watford back in the game when they were dead and buried.

Arsenal were stunned to be on the wrong end of yet another appalling refereeing decision but that’s still no excuse for the abject capitulation which occurred from that moment onwards in the game. The execrable Deeney crashing into Cech just before the winner was scored, was also vital. Watford had two shots on target in the whole game. We owe Bellend of Troy some retribution.

Team news

Our two replacement fullbacks in Milan both left the pitch with injuries apparently (the Chambers knock is a surprise to me, though it seems he is in the squad). Maitland-Niles has to play in that case and I’d imagine we’ll also see an outing for Rob Holding. Maybe a back three might make best use of available resources.

Aubameyang will be raring to go after missing our Europa win and it will be great to see Micki and Mesut supporting him while continuing to build their own budding understanding. Maybe give Xhaka and Rambo a rest?

Team

We have to build on that magnificent performance in Milan. I’d love to see us come out all guns blazing, closing down, shifting the ball quickly and nabbing a few sharp goals early on.

Post Mr Deeney’s photo plus quote from October up in the dressing room as a teamtalk.

Should be all that’s required, surely?

chas