Howay The Lads

April 15, 2018

Mid-table, virtually meaningless clash? Exciting PL game between two highly experienced, quality managers? The chance to see world class footballers giving their best? Or a mix or all three?

IMO any Arsenal game is anticipated with bated breath, I love to watch my team; sadly, in recent time the excitement has dissipated after 30 mins as we muck about with hardly a shot on target; hopefully the new attack can change this.

PEA can be the answer.

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We are on our best winning run of the season, admittedly we have played some very average teams, most of whom are relegation threatened. Newcastle are also on a fine run and are now safe.  Will both teams give it the full beans? I doubt it.

We haven’t lost to Newcastle since 2010 but we have yet to win an away PL fixture in 2018. One of these runs will continue. Apparently we have not lost 5 away games in a row since 1925!

My Team:

Cech

Chambers    Mustafi     Holding

Bellerin      Xhaka    Elneny    Iwobi

Ozil

PEA    Welbeck

A few second string players, maybe Nelson or Maitland- Niles will get a kick. Ramsey, who suffered a very nasty cut midweek, Kos, Nacho, should be rested. Maybe Ozil benched for Nelson with Iwobi “in the hole”.

Early kick-off following a heavy Sunday lunch. Hope I can stay awake for the second half.

COYRRG

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Semi-Final beckons. Can we? Will we?

April 12, 2018

4-1 up, it can’t go wrong, can it? Given the results over the past two days anything can happen and with Mustafi in his current form we have to be concerned.

It may be unfair to spotlight one player in what has been an awful season for us at the back (43 PL goals conceded so far) but Mustafi’s inconsistencies are hardly of benefit to the confidence of the others. Take the S’ton game, both goals came directly from his shilly-shallying (now there’s a word!).

So what should we do? Drop him for Chambers? Probably not. Should AW select a team to PTB or play a normal attacking game? Will he include Elneny as an extra defender in place of the attacking Miki or give Iwobi a run? My guess is he will err on the side of caution.

We saw that CSKA Moskva are limited in their defensive abilities themselves with us carving out chance after chance at the Emirates. I expect us to score and then the tie is done but what if we don’t? Can the team keep a pacy Russian attack at bay? It is questionable.

My Team:

Cech

Koscielny   Mustafi    Monreal

Bellerin   Ramsey    Elneny    Kolasinac

Ozil      Welbeck

Lacazette

Jack has to be benched in a match of importance and with his form at such a low ebb. Kolasinac is the better defender and more likely to add some steel.

The first half of the home tie (which thanks to Chas and Peaches I was able to attend), was the best we have played in many a moon, the ingenuity, pace and sheer verve of the performance gave rise to hopes that next season could be so much better.

I expect CSKA to be very aggressive in an attempt to unseat our brave boys; they will have to start fast and stop our passing through midfield. Ramsey etc will need shin and calf and ankle pads. A strong, unbiased referee, please.

Concede early and the nerves will kick in, score early and the tie is over. I know what we all want.

COYRRG


A Sinking Ship? Player Ratings

February 26, 2018

Are we a sinking ship or just a side in transition which is completely out of form?

Yesterday’s trouncing hurt. I don’t agree that there was  lack of effort or fight, in my opinion (and I know it is not some of yours) it was a lack of quality. We simply got outplayed and out-thought. Both the players and the management.

Not one AA’er thought we would win, some may have hoped but none honestly believed we would leave with the Cup. What we all hoped for was that Arsenal would compete and for much of the first half we did, in fact had PEA not missed a sitter (or was it a superb tackle) we could have been even at 45 mins. What happened next was a shock. What changed? We just couldn’t get the ball, our passes when we had the ball were wayward, our attackers had no chances. Ozil and PEA were passengers. Was it AFC who got worse or City who put on a masterclass of movement and possession football?

Whatever it was, we were embarrassing for 30 minutes, especially after the second goal. We rallied towards the end but created only a single opportunity (PEA for Iwobi)

Player Ratings:

Ospina. Second time in 4 days he was beaten by a cross shot.  5

Chambers. Battled hard  5

Mustafi  Terrible for the first goal. A flaky defender who needs to find consistency  3

Koscielny. Had a decent game. My MotM   6

Bellerin.  Managed to keep Sane relatively quiet but could not get forward   5

Ramsey. Clearly unfit.  4

Wilshere. Plenty of drive and action, not enough creativity.   5

Xhaka. Poor performance. Worked hard but simply not good enough   3

Monreal/Kolasinac. Thank goodness Sterling was injured.    4

Ozil. Anonymous. 3

PEA. Tried hard but got no service. Missed our only real chance.  4

Wenger. Looks lost and must be sitting at home dazed. We got tonked and it seems as though his final season (hopefully) will be his worst.   4 (one extra for looking so smart at kick-off)

Looking at the above, I am surprised that I gave the defence higher marks, but it was not their fault there was a tidal wave of City attacks., for the most part they defended well, though Mustafi’s weakness for the first was very poor.

Still … onwards and upwards. Let’s beat them on Thursday.

wriiten by BR

 

 


Mkhitaryan free to play at Liberty Stadium?

January 30, 2018

This season the only consistent aspect of the team is it’s inconsistency. Our away record is awful – we have yet to win away in 2018 and have won just 3 games on the road (out of 12). Had we won the same as Rubbish Spurs, we would be in 3rd place a point behind MU.

With the change in Swansea’s fortunes since Carvalhal’s arrival, Arsenal’s task looks difficult. Liverpool went there on the back of beating City and lost without scoring; we could easily do the same.

But we won’t, will we?

A full squad, apart from OG, Welbz and Santi, means Mr Wenger can experiment with a system to include Mkhitayran (henceforth HM or Miki). Will Miki find form, can he be the replacement, is he as good as Mesut, can they play together, is he another Wilshire, can he play a defensive role and replace Xhaka, is he good in the air , can he recapture his BVB form etc etc? Whatever the answers, he is an exciting prospect.

Whilst lauding recent Swansea form, it must be remembered that they sit bottom of the PL with a minus 20 goal difference – we should get something from the game. An early goal will force Swansea to attack and not PTB which is their usual tactic. We have to be careful at set plays and of the counter.attack but this is a team who have scored just 7 goals at home so far this season (from 12 games) – they are not an attacking threat, so I would load the team with attackers …

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin    Mustafi    Koscielny    Monreal

Wilshire   Xhaka    Mkik

Iwobi    Ozil

Lacazette

Yes –  the Famous Xmas Tree Formation (FXTF). With the total absence of wingers in our squad (can you remember us ever being winger-less?) other systems will have to be employed.

Should be an exciting 48 hours.

COYRRG


Chelsea Pre-Match. Ozil’s Night?

January 24, 2018

Another semi-final. In the last one we smashed Man City.  Can we do the same to the Southern Oilers?

Team selection will be interesting as it will show how much of a priority Mr Wenger gives to the Carabao – very little is my guess. Though in a season which promises to end poorly, any silverware is important.

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Man City put out a full squad against Bristol, they are clearly focussed upon winning the CC, which indicates that AW will give it the beans tonight.

I fear the away goals rule, it could cost us dear, especially given the flakiness of our defence. We conceded twice against the Chavs last time we met at THOF, do so tonight and we wave goodbye to Wembley (until we play away to THFC).

No Miki, he is cup-tied. No OG, Welbz and possibly Nacho. So almost a full squad.

If we are to win Ozil has to perform. He has been in good form of late and his set-up for Lacazette last weekend was superb. More of the same tonight, please.

Conte, who like most Italian managers is blessed with magnificent hair,  will be prudent, adopting  defensive tactics and relying on the counter-attacking excellence of Willian and Hazard. As always, our wing backs will need to be wary.

My Team:

Ospina

Chambers      Mustafi    Koscielny

Bellerin   Wilshire    Xhaka    M_N

Ozil    Iwobi

Lacazette

We have little attacking threat on the bench with Theo gone, and OG/Welbz injured. Could it be the night when Eddie cements his Carabao and AFC career, scoring late in the game to seal a victory?

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I know I shouldn’t mention this but one of my worst football moments was late in a return leg CL game at Highbury against the Chavs, you know the one. That’s not going to happen tonight, is it?

We can win this.

COYRRG

 


Time for Change?

January 15, 2018

There has been mis-management at our club for the last few years and it is not all down to Wenger. However I feel he has hugely contributed to where we currently are in spite of who might be responsible for things right now.

Personally I think the real issue started in that summer TW when we got Cech and we famously were the only club in all the leagues not to bring in any outfield player. Arsene kept coming out with this “we only want super talented players” line and “there is nothing out there available that is better than what I already have”. I thought it was a load of crap then and feel that even more now. I think it started to prove then that his insight and vision had become flawed at the highest level.

None of us can know what happens behind the scene, but I feel fairly convinced that he was backed if he wanted someone and he was making the decision not to move for players.

I also have a gut feeling he has not moved on players we really needed if they slightly strayed over the price he deemed as being good value, and I feel his economic outlook when it comes to football transfers has also proven flawed.

I don’t believe that Sanchez and Ozil initially refrained from signing extensions purely to wind down their contracts. I think possibly in that summer they both thought WTF this doesn’t feel right and held back until they witnessed some positive signs of ambition and development of the side to one that could challenge for the big stuff. I think our current situation has not been manufactured in the here and now and can be traced back to the summer of 2015 and Arsene is hugely complicit in this.

Think on this. A few years ago Luis Suarez wanted to leave Liverpool and come to us because he looked at us as the club that was on the up and that was embarking on an exciting new period. The project has failed and quite frankly I think the perception of Liverpool and Arsenal then has been reversed in the eyes of the worlds top players.

At least with a new manager our club could once again be viewed as a top club that is embarking on something new and exciting.

written by Gooner B


Signings on the Horizon?

January 2, 2018

Windows open. We could use some new blood. Will we get any?

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Can Arsenal afford to let Sanchez go and if they decide they can, is there a viable transfer target to replace him?

Debuchy could go but we have no-one to back up as a RWB/FB. Our central defence is wobbly with Koscielny fragile, BFG pensionable and the others inconsistent. We are lacking a right winger as Mr Wenger refuses to play Theo (who is likely to leave). Giroud is 31 and ageing fast. Welbeck is as good a finisher as I am. We lack spark in midfield with no-one able to get a grip on the game. Heaven forbid that Ozil leaves in summer.

So … is Draxler good enough? Is Turan too old? Will AFC compete in a hugely inflated market? In summer it was shocking to read we paid €35m for Mustafi, but at today’s prices was a bargain.

And who could get sold? Akpom, Elneny, Perez, Walcott, Coquelin, Debuchy ++?

My guess is that we will not buy anyone, sell a couple and loan a few out.

What do you think?