Milan 0 Arsenal 2 – Witnessing A Miracle in Milan – Player Ratings

March 9, 2018

The psychology of the human, or is it the human psychology? I don’t know, but one thing is for sure, it is a funny old thing. Bit like football.

I have just scanned down the list of the remaining 720 sides left in the Europa, and Milan are, by some considerable margin, what we would call the historically ‘biggest’ named team remaining.

Of course they are nowhere near the Milan of old, but an away win in their home town at the legendary San Siro must feed the psychology of the Arsenal footballer a huge dose of positive vibrations.

Those select, nay elite, few of us who actually managed to watch the entire second half unaided, may have missed the two goals that knocked the stuffing out of the Italians, I wouldn’t know, but not only will our players take confidence into the second leg but into the rest of the competition.

I’m sure we’d all rate Atletico as the biggest threat, but come on, beating them is certainly not beyond us, and I believe our chances would be improved by meeting them in a one off game like the final as opposed to an earlier round two-legger.

Ok, the game itself. For previously mentioned reasons, I might not be best placed with the detail, in any case, I don’t like detail so I’m very much in my comfy zone here.

The team pretty much picks itself which is a real positive. I’ve mentioned before on the blog how I think Granit is a fine player, just not best suited to our own team’s needs in the more frantic English League, however he looked way more comfortable on a pitch with our continental neighbours. You may think it strange that I pick out this particular individual, but this defensive midfield spot is our Achilles heel in the league.

Not sure how serious The Beast’s injury is, but M-N looked absolutely superb. Confident, composed and very very capable.

That’s it. Me done. Over to you Arsene. Rest the whole lot against Watford I say.

Written by MickyDidIt89

Ratings (chas)

Ospina – Another clean sheet, his pace off the line is both his strength and also his weakness, made some excellent interceptions though, so gets a deserved pass – 7

Chambers – Calum must have found playing in a team running its nuts off to support one another so much easier than playing during Sunday’s debacle, nearly scored with a left foot half volley belter  – 7

Koscielny – Really focused and oozing assurance, watching those scary Gattuso videos must have helped get him ‘in the zone’ – 8

Mustafi – another who grew in confidence as the team began to play football again, a warrior when he’s not acting like a tart – 7

Kolasinac – gained in confidence along with the team until he got injured, needs to work on his final ball, though has probably forgotten what you do when you reach the byline – 7

Ramsey – he covers so much ground trying to find space and his ability to pop up in support of the striker is crucial to our style of play, I so love it when you see an Arsenal player round the keeper, it’s as if you can start celebrating a whole half second before the ball is over the line – 8

Xhaka – playing in Europe you could see Granit’s class, his passing and defending were excellent away from the frantic white noise of the Premiership – 8

Wilshere – Jack seemed to be playing further forward than expected, linked very well with his midfield partners, a competent display   – 7

Ozil – two assists, you could visibly see him enjoying playing in a team that was playing football once more and he ran his legs off   – 7

Mkhitaryan – his quality shone through, crucial goal to cement the team’s fine start, a proper footballer, that’s why he didn’t get on with Mourinho – 8

Welbeck – Vast improvement from the MTH, constantly closing down, finding space and holding the ball up well. Much talk about his mishit but I thought the Milan player running behind just clipped his heel, anyway, everyone catches one fat every now and then – 8


Maitland-Niles – so cool on the ball, his pace is a wonderful asset – 7

Holding and Elneny – slotted in and did what was asked of them – 7


Big Weng – got everything right, Gennaro who? – 9


Szczesny to Return?

April 1, 2016

The Pole in Goal (henceforth known as TPIG) has had an excellent season in Rome. Roma have enjoyed a good season so far and TPIG has been their first choice GK, missing only one game. The fans like him, the manager likes him and it appears he has rebuilt his crumbling reputation,

But is Wojciech off the naughty step at Arsenal?

I like TPIG, he has presence, he has character, he works hard and in my opinion can become an excellent GK but does Mr Wenger agree? The signing of Cech indicates a No, though in my opinion the Cech transfer was a no brainer – the man is fantastic. However, this leaves us with 3 very good GK’s all of whom are looking for first team action, if TPIG returns what of Ospina? All  3 are under contract so it is AW’s decision.


Rumours are that Ospina is unhappy playing second fiddle to Cech and TPIG will be even more dissatisfied returning to a club where he has been demoted from No.1 to not even a bench seat.

Should Ospina leave would TPIG settle for a few games in the Cups? It seems unlikely.

Thankfully this is a luxury problem – long gone are the days of Almunia.

Arsenal own his contract so if we want Szczesny to return then he will. Roma have said they would like him to stay. The media are reporting that Klopp wants him at Liverpool.

What do you think, should he stay or should he go?

written by Big Raddy

Will Petr Cech make a significant difference?

July 1, 2015

I think we can all agree that Arsenal have been lacking a truly top class ’keeper since “Mad” Jens left. Some would say that the lack goes back further to David “Safe Hands” Seaman’s departure.

We’ve seen a few come and go, Almunia, Fabianski and Mannone, while a few more have stayed, Szczesny, Ospina and Martinez. All have been given a chance to make the Number One shirt their own. None of them have been entirely successful.

The signing of David Ospina during last summer’s transfer window came as a bit of a surprise to most Gooners, he had had a good World Cup, was one of two first team ‘keepers at French Ligue 1 side Nice but was not happy to share the gloves with the young Joris Delle and so signed for Arsenal for around £3 million. He had a good but not spectacular first season and now seems likely to leave for pastures new.

So we come to our latest recruit Petr Cech, one of the rocks that Abramovich’s Chelsea were built on and a mainstay of the side since he joined in 2004, his 333 appearances say a lot about his consistency as well as his talent. There can be no doubt that he played an enormous part in the many successes that Chelsea have enjoyed since Abramovich injected his roubles into the then ailing West London club.

I don’t think there can be any doubt that Arsene Wenger has signed one of the best goalies in the world. I believe that Cech will bring an air of calmness into our defence and will give some confidence to our defenders. My personal belief is that he will certainly make a significant difference to our team and it’s prospects in the coming seasons.

What do other Gooners think?

Written by Norfolk Gooner.


Is it Cech Mate against The Pole in Goal?

June 18, 2015

It is with a heavy heart today that I delve into the defensive side of our game. The Goal Keeper.

The blog world is alive with stories of the imminent arrival of Petr Cech for an apparent £14M.

Sz had an absolute stinker against Southampton for sure. Maybe he was hungover from New Year’s celebrations. The game was on January 1st after all.  Who knows. Then, of all times, he chose post match to have a fag in the shower when he was already in the dog house. Got demoted to Cup Keeper, and in came Ospina as No 1.

Thing is Arsene played Szczesny in the final. You can read that as a “thanks and goodbye” or Arsene effectively re-instating him as No1 (it’s not true AW always sticks with the Cup Keeper in the final). Either way you read that choice, a fairly substantial level of forgiveness had to be in the air.

My personal thoughts are that Szczesny still has everything to be a top keeper. He needs to grow up fast. To my mind, there are strong similarities between him and Nic Bendtner in terms of a casual professional attitude, but that is very much my own guesswork. Even top keepers make mistakes, and take away the shocker of the Southampton game, and I think our Pole had a very good season.

Would Cech coming in help, or hinder (he’ll want first team football) our own current keepers, and more importantly, the overall strength of the defence?

written by Micky Didit



Poll: Ospina or Szczesny to play in the Final.

May 28, 2015

Who would you pick?

The case for Ospina:

The current incumbent and clearly Mr. Wenger’s first choice keeper. His record is outstanding –  in 18 matches Ospina has conceded just 11 goals. He has made 48 saves and kept 8 clean sheets. Statistically Ospina is far ahead of the Pole.

A fine shot stopper who came to us following an excellent World Cup for Columbia with a reputation as a future champion, he replaced Hugo Lloris at Nice whose President considered him as good as the excellent keeper who is about to leave the N17 knuckle-draggers.

Ospina is the brother-in-law of James Rodriguez of Barcelona and is married with one child.


Mr & Mrs Ospina 

Ospina is just 26 and already has over 50 International caps, he chose Arsenal over Athletico Madrid when he signed in summer. Clearly a confident man who believed he would soon take the shirt from Wojciech – he was right..

The case for Szczesny:

Two seasons ago TPIG had the football world at his feet. He was the coming man, the man who would be the AFC keeper for the next 15 years – the next Seaman. Szczesny has the talent, the physique,  the technical and tactical nous to be a great goalkeeper. He has already played 130+ games for Arsenal. Last season he shared the Golden Glove with Petr Cech – Wojciech is no mug.

TPIG’s saves per game ratio is the same as Ospina’s and let us not forget he was the GK at the start of the season when the team was so lethargic.

Mr Wenger has shown his preference to play his second choice GK in the FA Cup and last season played Fabianski, which many believe indicates TPIG will start on Saturday.

But …. Szczesny is on the Naughty Step. After some difficult games in which his concentration wavered his mental state came into question following a “smoking” incident. Yet this is a chap with enormous confidence – some might say too much and perhaps it was his mistakes at Southampton in January which have sealed his Arsenal fate.


Mr and (the soon to be) Mrs. Szczesny

Raddy’s Opinion:

I have no real reason for saying this but I don’t trust Ospina. His silly errors vs WBA worry me – he just doesn’t seem to have control over his area. His lack of height could be costly against the aerial power of Benteke etc and Ospina will need to be a damned sight better with his punching from corners and crosses, TPIG is better in the air than Ospina as he has shown many times. He seems to be a good shot-stopper and his distribution is certainly better than Szczesny.

The problem is that I don’t trust Szczesny either. He has the potential to be a world class GK but seems to be undone by a flaky head.  If AW was going to play him at Wembley then he would surely have started vs WBA ( Fabianski played the final game of last season pre-Wembley).

The scale just about tips towards the Pole – he is due to play a solid game, he is better in the air than Ospina, he missed out last season and this could be his final appearance in an Arsenal shirt if (please, please, pretty please) Cech comes in summer. And sentiment rules – so my vote goes to Szczesny.

This is not an easy decision. What do you think?


written by Big Raddy



Arsenal’s best keeper for next season is ……….

April 13, 2015

Apparently David Ospina has the highest win ratio (92%) in Premier league history after 11 wins from 12 games played. Obviously this is a meaningless statistic since when he came into the side other factors will have influenced our current run of 8 games unbeaten in the EPL – not least the emergence of Le Coq as the midfield enforcer we always wanted.

But I have to say that I am mightily impressed with Ooooospinnnaaaaa (that makes me laugh every time I hear the crowd sing it 😀 ). For a guy who is 5-6 inches shorter than the likes of Courtois and De Gea, he certainly makes the most of his attributes. As our resident GK expert GiE has observed, it is Ospina’s calmness and the timing of when to come out for the ball that make him a better keeper than Szczesny at this particular time.

I have heard us being seriously linked to Petr Cech recently as he has been consigned to the bench by the emergence of Courtois. Now Cech is a good keeper and a very decent man – but is he a better keeper than Ospina? Moreover, we are second in the table to Chelsea, why would we want to enlist their second choice keeper if we aspire to be better than them? It makes no sense.

What also makes no sense to me is why we didn’t go for Lloris a couple of years ago. I can only assume Arsene had hoped that Szczesny would iron out some of the rough edges to his game.

So the question I ask is, who would you like to see between the posts for Arsenal next season?



Goodbye Wojciech Szczesny

January 29, 2015

Many regular readers of this blog will know that I have never been a great fan of my compatriot Wojciech Szczesny. There were many reasons for my disapproval of him, but most were based on the knowledge of his father’s career – average keeper, arrogant and mouthy. From the start Wojciech reminded me of his Dad. But I am a fair person and decided to give him a chance and it seemed he rewarded me for that. Since replacing Fabianski in goal, he has grown from strength to strength and most fellow Gunners were delighted with his performances.


Exactly 4 years ago he became our new No 1. Since then we have witnessed a true rollercoaster of a career, culminating in his disastrous performance against Southampton earlier this month. Rumours followed that Wenger had dropped him there and then as our first choice keeper and that was confirmed by Ospina’s appearance in the next few fixtures while Szczesny returned in the FA Cup. As we know Wenger always plays number 2 keeper in FA games. Do we have a permanent new No 1 or will Szczesny return to reclaim his place? And most importantly – do we want him to return?

The media and the fans have  varied views on Szczesny’s career. It has almost become a norm that after a few good games he fails completely – stupid mistakes, lack of concentration, wrong decision or  even a red card. Other players cannot possibly feel safe in front of a goalie with such a poor level of consistency.

Some claim that he is suffering from the same virus that made van Persie and Cesc move to clubs where they have better chances to achieve full potential and win trophies (more money). Others argue that Wojtek is an average keeper and will never be world class. He still makes the same errors as he did 4 years ago and his personality will always get in the way of true progress.

Psychological profiling is nowadays a part of the modern selection process for all top professionals, including footballers and I am sure that Szczesny must have been assessed too. I therefore wonder if his temperament has been ignored or deemed as no issue. Or did Szczesny became nervous after joining the Arsenal? By the same token we can discuss our previous number one, Lukasz Fabianski nicknamed ‘Flappy Hands Fabianski’. Lukasz seldom appeared cool, calm and collected while at the Emirates. Yet he seems to be doing well at Swansea.

Szczesny’s last EPL appearance was a complete disaster. His performance was below par and he cost us valuable 3 points. His body language after the game and failure to even look at the defenders were a sure sign that he knew he let us down. To calm the nerves he had a fag in the changing rooms, right under the nose of Wenger, known to be obsessed with a healthy life style of his employees.  Was it a provocation on WS’s part? Does he want to leave?

The Pole signed a new 5 year long contract in November 2013 making him one of the best paid goalkeepers in the world. Wenger was happy, we were happy and I am sure Szczesny was delighted. But that was more than a year ago, a long time in the short career of a footballer. This time last year Szczesny’s stats were better than De Gea’s, but this certainly is not the case this season. Even Fabianski and Vito Mannone seem to be outperforming Wojciech.

I don’t think I need to say anymore on the subject. I think that Szczesny should leave, don’t you?

Written by Eddie