Everton. A Chance to say Goodbye?

May 21, 2017

Will this be the final time Alexis and Mesut grace Islington’s most sacred turf? Hope not , but if it is let’s win this afternoon with the style and brio they have both brought to the Arsenal.

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Everton are a good team and Koeman has done well to keep them in the mix until the last month or so, they will finish in 7th at least 14 points ahead of 8th. With a much smaller budget than the Top 6 it would be fair to say, they have comfortably won League 2 of the PL. Whether they can push on is doubtful without massive investment.

Everton will be no push-overs, they are good all over the pitch and AFC will have to play well to secure the points. This being the case I do not think AW will rest his best players ahead of Wembley.

My Team:

Cech

Holding     Mustafi    Monreal

Bellerin   Ramsey   Xhaka     Gibbs

Ozil      Sanchez

Welbeck

Such a pity Ox is injured as he adds a better attacking punch than Bellerin but Hector is a wonderful replacement and gives the immature Holding fine back-up. Ramsey wasn’t as crocked as I feared, Kos is still a doubt, the rest pick themselves. Apart from upfront where despite the gulf in the goal stats I still prefer Welbeck to the FFP. Why? Movement. Versus Boro we looked so much better when Iwobi and Welbz came on as subs.

Thinking Iwobi, AW has to find a place in the first team for this young fellow, the man is just terrific and probably the man to take Sanchez’ or Ozil’s shirt when they leave.

I hate the end of the season. I need the weekly injection of football in my life. What happens in the close season? Gossip, speculation and fantasising (and in my case a long sun-filled holiday in Italy). Thankfully, unlike our noisy neighbours, we have another week to enjoy.

Will it be Weds or Thurs evenings? Quite honestly, I don’t really care. As an armchair fan I do not get the thrill of seeing Messi, Ronaldo, Cavani, Dybala etc in the flesh. If it is to be Thursdays I will have the enjoyment of seeing teams I know nothing about, safe in the knowledge that Arsenal have a good chance of winning well and seeing loads of goals.

But that is for another day, today is all about beating Everton. It can be done and I will be sending positive waves all the way to North London alongside shouting at my television in support of my team.

For the final time this season a win at THOF is possible. Can we do it? Of course.

Let it be So ….

COYRRG


Who goes? Who stays?

May 3, 2017

Which players shall be sent away and why?

Cech – Ospina – Martinez – Szecesny

Bellerin – Chambers – Jenkinson – Debuchy
Monreal – Gibbs
Kos – Mustafi – BFG – Holding – Gabriel

Xhaka – Coqueiln – El Neny
Ramsey – Wilshere – Cazorla

Ox – Walcott –
Iwobi – Ozil – Campbell
Sanchez – Jeff

Giroud – Wellbeck – Lucas – Akpom – Asano – Sanogo

Here is my start:

Cech – Mustafi, Koscielny, RECRUIT – Bellerin, RECRUIT, Xhaka, Ramsey, RECRUIT – Sanchez, RECRUIT

Recruits as starters:
DC = Ideally Bonucci but can live with Pepe or Varane
LB = Ideally Mendy but can live with Rodriguez or Gaya
CM = Ideally Vidal but can live with Sygurdsson
FW = Ideally Lukaku but can live with Vardy

Must leave:
Scezcesny
Debuchy, BFG, Gabriel, Monreal, Gibbs
Coquelin, Ozil, Campbell, Lucas, Asano, Sanogo

Loan out:
Jenkinson or Chambers, Akpom

Your team (without players on loan) shall consist of 27 players MAX and at least 23 players.

written by RC78 (cobbled from a couple of comments)

 


Bellerin. Mid-Term Report

April 20, 2017

Hector Bellerin. Now there is a problem arising for whomever is to be our manager.

Has a last decent season and thinks he is Jack the Peanut. Believes he is already the finished article and all he needs to do is turn up then bide his time until Barca/Real come calling.

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Big Raddy’s Pre- FAC SF Report:

Dating the fit and famous may do wonders for your rep in the dressing room but some fans just think you are a flash ponce. Well … let me tell you laddie … a pony tail does not make a man (I know, I have had one) nor does a few tattoos. Nor does belting upfield looking for the spectacular pass and forgetting that Mustafi is not the fastest on two legs.

No, my young man, defending is the essence of the work of the full back, just ask Dicko, Ralph or Nige, they will tell you. TA would have given you a forearm smash for some of the recent performances. Yes, an attacking fullback is very modern and you have been excellent at getting forward to support Weak Theo but what do we remember you for? We remember the brilliant last ditch tackles when your pace got you into positions no other FB could manage. Practice and repeat.

Being dropped at Boro was the start. You are not an automatic first team choice if you do not put in the yards, and it comes as no surprise that you were booed post-defeat by the away fans at Palace (though at least you went over to them).
Potential is what you have, make it a reality and become the great player you could be; it requires application, concentration and determination. You have all the God-given tools, use them.

5/10

written by Big Raddy

 


Arsenal News or Lack of.

March 31, 2017

I write posts, a lot of them. Well over 500 in the AA years since 2010 (?). Yet here I sit, staring at my keyboard completely bereft of ideas for a post. Why? Because of the Interlull.

It is crap. International games have become meaningless as most of our players play for countries which invariably qualify top of their Euro/World Cup groups. Quite frankly, we do not care about watching England struggle against Lithustania.

Other players are involved in long-distance travel to S. America or Africa, expend huge energy in travel, training and playing time, then return to AFC (their wage payers) Kerry Packered or injured.

My suggestion is that for the top National teams they stop qualification tournaments which are dull and only exist to make money for already rich Associations. The big tournaments should be seeded.

Right, enough of that train of thought ….

Bored with “will he stay or should he stay”

Bored with “will they sign a contract extension”.

Bored with discussions about Silent Stan and his cohorts ideas for the future of the club.

So what to write about?

I could , of course, pre-empt my pre-match and start the ball rolling on a discussion about our huge game on Sunday, but what of tradition? We have still three days to go and what do we discuss tomorrow and Sunday morning?

I could express my dislike of small dogs, plimsolls, coloured Doctor Martins, and my love of sliders and ladies with “abundance”, but we have done that, haven’t we, and at least the posts should be football related.

Or we could not have a post at all. In my opinion the site would die if we only post a couple of times a week and I would hate that to happen.

So … I remain blank. Perhaps you have an idea?

written by Big Raddy


R.E.S.P.E.C.T

March 7, 2017

We were humiliated in Munich. Did OK in the first half and got smashed in the second.

Will AW give it full gas against BM at home? He tried it at Liverpool and despite a second half revival we got sucker-punched. Or should AW batten down the hatches and hope for a morale boosting draw or even a narrow victory?

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No Ozil, though he was conspicuously absent in Munich, so his input will hardly be missed. Sanchez is likely to start if only to shut up the media.

My Team:

Ospina

Bellerin   BFG   Koscielny    Monreal

Ramsey    Xhaka    Iwobi

Ox    Sanchez     Welbeck

Walcott is so out of form he surely cannot start but perhaps AW will give him some pitch time in a no pressure game. I would drop Coquelin, he just isn’t good enough to compete at the highest level.

I would like to see BFG return to the side and add some calm to a nervous defence

I am sick and tired of my friends ribbing me about Arsenal following the BM game. Given the milliions spent on the squad  we should be able to compete. We are good enough to do so but have lost our way in recent weeks.

100% application and pride in the shirt is all I ask.

COYRRG

 


An Afternoon for Attack?

January 28, 2017

Are you confident of a win today? Really?

We always used to win at Southampton but in recent years our win ratio has plummeted.

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Given the lack of Elneny, Xhaka and Cazorla we are reduced to just two effective MF’s -Ramsey and Coquelin, a partnership which has yet to blossom. Furthermore, we are playing Watford in the PL on Tuesday and away at The Bridge on Saturday.

AW has problems. How will he resolve them? Will he play AR/Coq in all three games? Or Sanchez and Ozil? Or will he prioritise the PL? I know I would.

Much as I love the FAC the need to have our best team available and fresh for Chelsea is paramount. So, what is the solution? Do we go all gung-ho in Didit style or do we throw in an extra defender in the hope we can keep it tight and sneak a win?

I would prefer the all-out attack route, either go down in flames or live to fight again following a glorious victory.

My Team:

Ospina

      Gabriel     Mustafi    Holding    Gibbs

Ox     Coquelin     Iwobi

Perez    Sanchez    Welbeck

There is zero chance AW will play this team, but it would be great if he would.

I would keep Bellerin for Tuesday and play Gabriel, giving instruction to Ox to play the Ramsey role and get up the wings. In other words, a 3 at the back with Gibbs pushed further into midfield.

Imagine how worried the S’ton defence would be to face such a potent front line. If only Theo were fit to play his former team, but Perez is a fine replacement.

Is Welbeck ready to start a game? If so, should it be at St. Mary’s or at the Emirates on Tuesday. I would give the fellow a run this afternoon but doubt AW will.

Mr Wenger has said he will play one or two youngsters, so perhaps Maitland-Niles will start alongside Coquelin with Ox pushed further forward. Or even better we may get to see The Jeff!

Mr. Wenger will have a chance to rest his ageing bones in the stands, talking into his sleeve to Steve Bald (sp.) who will undoubtedly ignore him.

And what of the opposition?  They play in red and white striped shirts and black shorts. Matt Le Tissier used to play for them. So did Kevin Keegan and Gareth Bale.

And they have a very good young Danish MF called Højbjerg  (which means High Mountain) whom they signed from Bayern Munich.

We have a mountain to climb this afternoon. We have the necessary equipment, all we need is a bit of luck, the right weather and steely determination. It worked for Hillary and Tenzing – it will work for The Arsenal

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COYRRG

 

 


Arsenal 1 – Aston Villa 3 : How Not To Start A Season

August 18, 2013

I’m not even sure where to start, as no one else has offered to do the report i’m going to try and fill the breach.

I have to admit that I missed a portion of the first half between our opener and their equaliser (parenting duties called).

There were no surprises with the team and bench, we are down to bare bones before a ball has been kicked, the absence of Arteta was a concern to all. We had seen in the Emirates Cup that Ramsey and Wilshere are not yet ready to partner each other in the deep lying midfield roles, this is due to a mixture
of inexperience and lack of understanding between them when it comes to one staying and one going.

We started brightly our opening goal a lesson in how to break quickly and clinically, Rosicky playing a great ball down the line to Oxlade-Chamberlain, he in turn picks out Giroud who finished well having made a good run in the box.

What was all the fuss about? We were going to prove the doubters wrong.

What followed was a combination of our old failings, individual errors that brought pressure and lifted Villa, an injury stretched squad
picking up more injuries in innocuous challenges, and our complete inability to get a ref to do us a favour once in a while.

The Villa equaliser came from a bit of good play from Abonglahor, he drifted past too many half challenges with ease no one getting close enough in red and white and was hurtling into the box, Szczesny had few options….stand big and hope he fluffed his shot or go for the ball, he chose the latter and raced out to the feet of Abonglahor, he lost the race Abonglahor pushing the ball past him and taking the contact. Taylor let play go on to see if there was an advantage but as the Villa player stuck it in the side betting he brought it back for the penalty. (Remember this later when I give a full assessment of Taylor).

Szczesny got down well to save the initial penalty but Benteke was first to react and nodded it home. That was disappointing as when watching the replays you see Benteke stop after he takes his kick which should have meant we could at least make his second chance more difficult but Szczesny was left exposed and the Villa front man nodded gratefully home. I should say I think Szczesny made a bad choice on the rebound, he jumped towards the ball, which made Benteke’s header a bit easier…..not that I am blaming him, it’s just another lesson our young keeper can learn.

Not long after we were being forced into a reshuffle, as Gibbs challenged for a header, his forehead connected with the back of the Villa players head. I was surprised at the amount of blood on Gibbs forehead and unable to be stitched and return he was substituted, I guess with the midweek trip in mind as much as for the players safety.

This is where the first calls about our squad lightness will appear. I have two comments:

1) If Monreal had been fit it wouldn’t have been an issue, if anyone believes we should have three senior left backs in the squad please do not moan about squad bloat or paying too high wages to squad players ever again.
2) Even if Monreal was fit he wouldnt definitely be on the bench, after all you don’t have one player in each position on the bench, and we could have easily seen Jenkinson on anyway.

For me I would have left Sagna at right back rather than switch two positions, although to an extent I can understand why you wouldn’t want to young players making combination on the left.

We made it to half time at 1-1 with a couple of scares along the way and not much more created going forward.

We started the second half ok, Cazorla on for Oxlade-Chamberlain another injury….Cazorla seemed to help the team retain possession and do a bit more with it but it also unbalanced us, there was no real cover for Sagna on the left side of midfield.

That was until we undid ourselves again, the ball moved far too easily through the midfield leaving Koscielny tracking back to win possession, which he did with ease, clearly playing the ball, it looked good on first viewing it looked better on replays, Taylor and his linesman decided otherwise awarded the penalty and booked Koscielny. Koscielny’s look of disbelief and smile said it all.

Benteke took the spot kick and sent Szczesny the wrong way.

Just six minutes later Taylor decided to put the icing on the cake of one of the worst refereeing performances I have seen by producing a second yellow card for Koscielny, he had hardly touched the Villa man (if at all I haven’t watched a replay) but he made another step before sprawling himself to the floor. Taylor bought it and showed Koscielny the second yellow.

At this point it was game over, if we wanted to get anything from the game anyway, we could have opted to shut up shop and go away with a 2-1 defeat, but instead we tried to find the equaliser, which was always going to leave us wide open at the back.

We went close a couple of times, Rosicky sending one high and wide and another into the body of the Villa keeper. Giroud had a half chance to hit one with his right peg but chose instead to try and bring it back to his left.

Villa took the opportunity to add a third as we had over committed to attack and Szczesny was left 2 on 1 and no chance.

It is hard to deny we are light on numbers, however the only position that would have helped us yesterday would have been defensive midfield, as with (the panic bought) Arteta missing there was too often a big hole in the centre of the park, and I would guess with his presence we would not have conceded so much ground on Villa’s opener. But this comes down to when we want to spend and who we are trying to spend the money on…do we want a Premier League defensive midfielder or a Champions League one? In two weeks time it may be irrelevant, but surely better to wait and buy the best we can get than rush in and buy average, remember no one likes average squad players on good wages.

As I said earlier despite injury to Monreal surely spending on a left back would be frivolous unless we plan to let one go as well. A centre back would be handy at this point, loaning out Miquel seems crazy if we don’t plan to buy big in this area, as I’d prefer a young centre back raised the Arsenal way to another Squillacci.

The same goes for the spear head of our attack.

And now the ref…..where do I start. He allowed Villa to get away with numerous fouls before being booked, the same did not appear to apply to us. He played advantage on their penalty, but rarely have us advantage for innocuous fouls when we had the ball. I can remember two clear occasions, Rosicky fought to turn his man, once he had turned and had taken him out of the game Taylor blew his whistle for the foul to allow Villa to reset, a late foul on Wilshere by their full back in our half, the ball was with Cazorla ready to get moving and Taylor pulled it back and allowed Villa to reset. Garbage,

And then bookings:
Koscielny 2 fouls, 2 bookings
Cazorla 1 foul, 1 booking
Abonglahor 4 fouls (repetitive ankle taps) 1 booking (last one)
Westwood 4 fouls 1 booking (last one)

And then the curse of rotational fouling, we suffered 18 fouls, 8 on Wilshere, targeted? Just a bit! Allowed to get away with it….absolutely….but of course it’s up to Arsenal Football Club to protect Jack for England…do me a favour!!

So what did we learn, well nothing new really we already knew it all, but it makes it harder to judge when all the other footballing gods appear to be against us.

I do know that this coming fortnight is going to be very tough, and we will see signings one way or the other, it’s just a question of what level of player they are.

If anyone wants to rate the players they can, I can’t after that result because I don’t think it would be fair.

Gooner in Exile