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Remember the last time? Go Grab it Arsenal!!

April 12, 2014

Morning all.

Three times we have met Wigan in the Domestic Cups, the last being the Carling Cup semi-final back in 2006.

It was a two-legged affair and not a good one!

Having lost at their place 1-0, we returned to Highbury needing just a victory by two clear goals to see us through.

We scored, taking the second leg into extra time and scored again to take a 2-1 advantage. All we had to do is hold on and we were into the final…

However, Jason Roberts struck with just seconds left and that was enough to send us packing by the away goal rule…

Funny enough, it was a defensive mix up which led to that winning goal, just as it was at Wembley in 2011……

Both sides are very different to what they were back then though and of course, Wigan were a Premier League side whereas now they are fighting hard in the Championship to try and regain that status. We, well things are pretty much the same, still fighting for that 4th spot and hoping our trophy drought will finally come to an end….

Today, we could take a huge step towards making that happen IF every person, player and coaches alike, give 100% from start to finish.

And we are going to have to because you can bet your bottom dollar, Wigan will!

Uwe Rosler has done his homework:

I watched the game last Sunday and it was another very impressive lesson from Roberto, tactically how Everton approached the game. 

Not a lot of people focused on how disciplined and how focused Everton Football Club operated in the first 20-25 minutes without the ball.

Everybody knows Roberto is focused on ball possession but how well the team worked against the ball at the beginning of game was very impressive.

There were good pictures for me to learn from and also take one or two things on board, like I did with Manchester City in the last round.

In the last round, Wigan went to the Etihad and withstood everything Manchester City threw at their goal, barring the one blip of course and they managed to do what only one other English club has managed to do all season and that’s come away with a win.

That’s the FA Cup for you, it’s all about one game on one day and giving your all, getting the right result and waiting for the next round, the next chance to pounce and get the unexpected result.

Not only have Wigan beaten Manchester City, they have also beaten PL sides, Cardiff and Crystal Palace in order to get to Wembley today.

So yes, respect what they have done, now let’s go and put an end to their great run!!

We have beaten Tottenham, Coventry City, Liverpool and Everton – all tough opponents and two of whom have battered us in the league.

League form goes out the window today, our poor league performances must go out the window, today is about 90 minutes, or 120 if that’s what it takes of non-stop 100% commitment, togetherness, organisation and passion.

It’s also about our manager having done his homework, he has to know what to expect from Rossler and his team and play in a way which will not only stop their threat but to know how to exploit any weaknesses the Championship side have.

Let’s not be another victim of of an FA Cup upset.

This is the best chance we have had in a long while to get to an FA Cup Final.

Go and grab it Arsenal!!

COYRRG’s!!!!

 

 

 

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3 clubs can catch us, we have to win!!

April 6, 2014

Morning all.

Seriously, Everton, the Totts and Manchester United can catch us, even overtake us and nab that 4th, and last Champions League place!

We have to be focussed, we have to be united and we have to be strong. Certainly a lot stronger than we have been since Christmas.

Yes we can moan about injuries, we can moan about refereeing decisions in fact we can moan about anything we choose can’t we, as long as it makes us feel better and helps to brush away the the reality. That reality is that we are where we are right now because of Arsene Wenger, the club, and of course the players….

But we’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt, now it’s all about putting every last bit of effort into each and every remaining fixture we have and that starts today!!

The manager needs to get his selection right, he needs to send the right players out onto the pitch in the right frame of mind and get them playing the right way to win this football match.

And the players he selects, need to give everything they have within from start to finish!!

Aaron Ramsey is back which really is good news. Whether he starts or not remains to be seen but just knowing a player who was hugely influential to our great run up until Christmas is fit and ready to play again, is just what the team and us fans needed to hear.

Kieran Gibbs is a doubt but these days that is not such an issue because behind him is a fit Nacho Monreal.

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley is expected to be fit despite suffering  an injury against Fulham last week. Phil Jagielka and Steven Pienaar remain on the injured list.

Head-to-head

  • Everton are without a win in their last 14 matches in all competitions against Arsenal.
  • The last three league meetings have all been drawn.
  • Everton’s last victory over the Gunners came at Goodison Park in March 2007 (1-0).

Everton are having a really good season. They have won their last five league games, their longest winning run since November 2002 and no team has lost fewer games in the Premier League this season than them. Added to that, they have only suffered one home defeat during this seasons campaign!

Mind you, so have we!!

We’ve had a torrid time of late, winning just three of our last 10 Premier League games (W3, D4, L3).

We have been pretty average, no, make that dreadful away from home having been battered very early on at both Anfield and Stamford Bridge but today that has to change. Martinez will have watched both of those games and no doubt he will tell his players to get at us from the off. We have to be ready for that early bombardment and deal with it. Not just roll over and fade away.

No more early kick off excuses and no more turning up and not being ready to fight either.

We have a great group of players, and today those players need to fight tooth and nail to get a result and they can do just that.

If they really want to…..

COYRRG’s…..!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 


Sagna to City? Final chance for Arsene Wenger to get 3 points against a top four side this season….

March 29, 2014

Morning all.

Would Bacary Sagna really sign for Manchester City?

Would you blame him if he did?

Apparently, we have now caved in and offered the right-back a new three year contract but still he hasn’t signed…

Not so many years ago, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri made the move to Manchester, not to the red side of course, but the blue side. You know the one, the one which had and still has very wealthy owners and a squad which we as Arsenal fans, if honest, would admit nothing other than envy for….

When both players left, and let’s forget that Adebayor was another, many Arsenal fans suggested and maybe even screamed that all they wanted was a bigger pay packet.

Well, even if money was the initial attraction, surely it can’t be denied that those players who decided to move have been totally vindicated? Ok they haven’t won vast amounts of trophies yet but it must be fun playing in a side with so many top players.

I’m not trying to heap loads of praise on a club which has bucket loads of money and who are prepared to ‘buy’ their way to any trophy they can get their hands on but what I will do is praise a manager who is willing to say, ‘you give me the money and I will spend it and try to make us a great side’.

And there’s the difference.

Not only that, the City owners tried with one manager and gave him time but it failed. Roberto Mancini was like a kid in a sweet shop as he signed players. But what he didn’t do was sign players he needed to fill the gaps in his squad and therefore, his side was always unbalanced. (Ring any bells?)

Yes he won a couple of trophies but he could and maybe should have done so much better considering the amount of money he spent. The City owners clearly thought that too as he was sacked and in came Manuel Pellegrini it looks like he’s about to make his side a side for the long haul…

Pellegrini is no spring chicken though is he?

No, he’s 60 years old, just a few years younger than Arsene Wenger, yet he knows how to sign wingers, he knew which striker to sign in the summer to make his attack just that bit stronger and when it comes to playing attacking football, is there really a better side to watch?

But this isn’t meant to be all about Manchester City, it’s about a manager who has money and is prepared to spend it for the good of the club and the fans.

It’s about an older manager who has a younger mans footballing ideas, a manager who has the ability to get his players to play out his ideas on the pitch.

Arsenal FC have the money and to be honest, we have the bulk of players we need to play fantastic football but, what we don’t seem to have is the manager who can beat those around him. A manager who can take us from trophy chasers to trophy winners. A manager who will make us strong again and turn us into a side which doesn’t crumble at the first sign of trouble.

Today we face Manchester City…..

The old ‘newbie’ in the Premier League against who appears to be the old ‘has been’….

If Arsene Wenger wins this battle today, I’ll be very shocked but very very pleasantly surprised.

Should we win, it would mean Arsene Wenger has out thought and finally beaten one of the clubs who sit above us in the league for the first time this season and with it, prove he’s not completely out of ideas….

We need a win and we need it badly because sadly, not only are the clubs ahead of us creeping further ahead, the clubs behind us are catching us up……

COYRRG’s, give us fans something to be proud of today!!

Go get those desperately needed three points……

 


Defender hints at staying & Biggest game of the Season says Arsene…

March 22, 2014

Morning all.

Much speculation surrounds the future of Thomas Vermaelen but here’s a big hint that he’s staying put whilst talking about his manager and his 1000th game:

It’s incredible – not a lot of managers do that nowadays because they come in and out, so for him to achieve 1,000 games is something unbelievable.

Everybody wants him to stay as long as he can. He’s been incredible with what he’s done for this club and for the players as well.

We would be really happy to see him signing on for a few more years. If you see him off the pitch there’s always a lot of hunger in him and a lot of ambition still. He’s not losing that at all.

So the captain wants Arsene to stay, which suggests he wants to stay and play for him, the players want him to stay and the man himself wants to stay…..

So my guess is, he’s staying…….

Sometimes, some people just really do let themselves down don’t they and Jose Mourinho did just that yesterday.

On a day when so many managers paid tribute to Arsene Wenger for reaching such a milestone, the poison dwarf, aka Jose Mourinho could only muster up a few words. None of which were full of praise:

I admire him and admire Arsenal.

It is not possible to have 1,000 matches unless the club is also a fantastic club in the way they support their manager, especially in the bad moments – and especially when the bad moments were quite a lot.

What a horrid man he is!

Anyway, the best way to shut that squirt up is to finally beat him, get the three points and then go get that league title which has eluded us for far too long.

Yesterday was an emotional day for Arsene Wenger, Arsenal FC, players past and present and of course us fans but that’s done and dusted now and today it’s back to business…

Business means getting three points and closing the gap between us and the top spot.

Chelsea have Ashley Cole out injured and both Ramires and Willian are suspended.

Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby are all out injured and Tomas Rosicky is a doubt too which is not good news. I hope he passes his late fitness test.

I doubt anyone really expects us to come away from Stamford Bridge with all the points but I’m not sure why. We have shown this season how determined we can be in defence so if we can get an early goal there’s no reason why we can’t go on and win the game.

Head-to-head

  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last four Premier League games against the Gunners (W2, D2).
  • Arsenal have a good record at Stamford Bridge, winning almost a third of their 76 league visits (W25, D25, L26).
  • The Gunners have also outscored the Blues at the Bridge, with 100 goals to 95.

So, all is not doom and gloom going into this game and I honestly don’t think we should play with any fear….

Pace, width and decisive passing will win this game, together with strong defending, discipline and 100% commitment to win.

That all has to come from us.

A mention for Scott from Oz, our resident blogger from ‘down under’. He’s here in the Uk and after a trip up the river, he’s off to watch the boys play for the first time. Is he excited, for sure he is and I hope he becomes the players lucky mascot both today and for the City game….

‘Game of the season’ says Arsene..

Let’s get one of the best results of the season by beating that horrid lot on their own turf!!

COYRRG’s


Sherwood & Adebayor give the perfect Arsenal team talk….

March 16, 2014

Morning all.

It is a fantastic occasion – always was to play in these games. I don’t think there is much blood and thunder these days – I want it to be more of that.

I think that gives us the edge. We are possibly more functional than they are, but if they get into their stride we know they can be very dangerous, so we need to knock them off their stride.

It is my first time as a manager at the Lane to be standing opposite Arsene Wenger and hopefully I will get one over on them.

We’ve got the best game we could have, a north London derby. We won’t need any more motivation for that, will we? I am sure they will be up for it. It is probably the best game we could have.

I always thought it was a good time to be playing Arsenal, but it’s ups and downs. We have to soldier on, you can’t always win games and we know that.

What exactly gives them the edge?

Tottenham more functional than us?

A good time to play Arsenal?

Come on Tim, you know deep down where your heart is and it’s not with the team you manage right now, go on, admit, you were, are and always be a Gooner!!

Just like George Graham was and always will be……

But seriously, Sherwood is right, blood and guts will win this game today together with pride, passion, commitment and the never ending will to win.

The pride of North London is at stake, the bragging rights of winning the biggest derby in the capital of England..

Win today and we will have done the treble over the this season!

Adebayor has waded in to and his comments should spur our boys on:

Arsenal are a good team when they have the ball. When they don’t, they are not that good. When you put them under ­pressure, they can’t handle it. They don’t have a lot of physical presence. Apart from Flamini, I don’t see anyone who puts themselves into a proper battle.

Rosicky is not that type of player, Cazorla is not the type of player who defends. Arteta is trying to do it, but that’s not his job. They don’t have anybody who can say, ‘If I have to kick, I will kick. If we have to fight, I will put myself at the front of it’. That’s how we have to play. Push them and force them to make errors.

Not one single Arsenal player should need to be reminded about what today is all about but just in case they do then I hope they take on board the comments from a man who once declared his love for us and show him what utter poppycock he speaks .

Lets see that fighting spirit, that desire and passion for the red and white of the club and the never say die belief….

We haven’t won at the dump for a while now, let’s do something about that today Arsene!!

COYRRG’s….


Too much damage done in London, or can Wenger get one over Pep?

March 11, 2014

Just two days short to the day, exactly one year ago, we travelled to Germany needing three goals to knock-out Bayern Munich. We managed two but couldn’t get that final goal to see us through.

We return to the same ground tonight needing at least two goals to give us a chance…. And of course, we mustn’t concede.

Giroud slotting one past Neuer a year ago...

Giroud slotting one past Neuer a year ago…

The teams’ performance that fateful night in Bavaria was deemed the ultimate failure steeped in honour and glory. After that victory, we went on an amazing run during which we dropped just 4 points, against Everton and Manchester United, out of a possible 30 to ensure we ended up with the trophy so craved by our ambitions board and manager for the 17th time.

But when the draw was made for this stage of the Champions League against the defending champions of the competition, we looked destined to perish at the same stage of the Champions League and against the same opponents as last season.

However, Senor Guardiola was quoted as saying “I have never won here, “I learned that you can never dominate Arsenal for 90 minutes. You can dominate for 30 minutes, to half-time, for 75 minutes, but for 90 minutes it is impossible. Arsenal, with these quality players, you always have a problem.”

That was the respect arguably the best club team and football manager in European football had for us going into the game on the 19th of February. Some may argue that Pep was just paying lip service to our egos but looking at the team sheet just before kick-off, I was perplexed to see how cautiously the Bavarians were going to line up with only 3 attacking players in Gotze, Mandzukic and Robben as compared to the 4 very attacking players we fielded if we consider Wilshere as a defensive minded player.

Not surprising we started the game very positively as we did the previous year by testing Neuer on 2 occasions within the first few minutes. We even won a penalty on the 7th minute but we all know what transpired…

The general consensus by most Arsenal fans after the game was that the sending off of Wojciech Szczesny in the 37th minute was the turning point in the game. I am not so sure that was the case as leading up to the penalty that Alaba missed we had only had 3 shots on target and that included Ozil’s penalty save by Neuer.

Following Ozil’s penalty, Bayern attempted 4 attempts on goal before Szczesny was sent off without us making a single one.

In my view, the tide had turned against us more than 15 minutes before Nacho Monreal replaced Gibbs who I thought had been overloaded relentlessly by Gotze, Rafinha, Kroos, and Lahm on our left hand side. This is not questioning Gibbs ability by the way but rather the lack of protection afforded him on numerous occasions.

Before the game, most of us had identified the potential defensive weakness of our left hand side. Wenger on the other hand decided to throw caution to the wind and continued with his naive trend of not providing any protection to our fullbacks against some of the most lethal wingers in world football.

It was therefore no surprise that Bayern set out to exploit that side and compounded by Monreal’s sudden introduction into the game and going a man short as a result of the red card which was perfectly ‘orchestrated’ by Robben, it was bound to be a long night with our backs against the wall.

So the big question is do we stand a chance or will the damage which was done in London prove irreparable?

Going back and referring to the build up to the corresponding game a year ago, the club was in a bad state; our ability to finish 4th in the league was under great scrutiny after losing to our noisy neighbours 2-1 away from home at White Hart Lane. Moreover, Blackburn had beaten us 1-0 at home in the FA Cup just a few weeks before.

On this occasion we have just beaten a very strong Everton outfit convincingly with our record signing showing all the signs of the flair and ingenuity we all know he is capable of. Although our league position is not as secure as it was going into the first leg, there is a positive sense and air of expectation amongst the faithful.

Our opponents FC Bayern Munchen are smoothly sailing in all competitions they are involved in. Last weekend they racked up a record 16th successive Bundesliga win after coming from behind to beat VfL Wolfsburg 6-1 at the Volkswagen Arena. Their best player, Ribery who missed the first leg is back from his most uncommon of injuries with a superb performance and goal.

In fact it looks like the Bavarians’ who are unbeaten in a staggering 49 Bundesliga matches have no weakness for our toothless attack to exploit. But I beg to differ. As I mentioned before the first leg, I believe their centre-halves have a weakness against strong old fashioned strikers like Giroud. Even young Yaya Sanogo was able to cause the two defenders a few head-aches in the first legs.

As in most top-tier games in recent times, I believe we always ‘shoot’ ourselves in the foot by not doing the basics very well until we have gone behind. Maybe it is either due to nerves or a lack of tactical nous from our veteran manager or simply a lack of quality amongst the ranks. Some may say our line-up is always so predictable that it makes our opponents’ job very easy. Whatever our individual views and arguments are, I believe that the boys have to be mentally prepared and focused to work hard for at least 120 minutes if we can’t do the job in the initial 90 minutes.

In the ideal world I would like Wenger to change tact for once and play Serge, Ozil and Oxlade-Chamberlain in a 3-5-2 set-up so that we can match Bayern’s dynamic midfield in numbers. This will offer us the opportunity to press and stop Bayern from playing from the back.

However, I suspect Arsene will go with Giroud on his own upfront with three of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil and Rosicky behind him. Then play the experienced duo of Arteta and Flamini in a fluid formation which may translate to 4-2-4 if we score very early on in the game to mimic the performance against Napoli at the Emirates’ last year.

I am not so sure playing a back 4 which translates to a back 2 or 3 at best when we are on the attack is the best way to claw back a two goal deficit in the Allianz Arena. It’s clear that our fullbacks are unrealistically expected to provide both the width we need to have a good performance as well do their primary defensive duties.

Although playing our usual way on paper has an attacking edge, on this occasion we will be gambling on the clinical prowess of Ribery and Robben who will give Sagna and any deputising left-back another torrid time on the flanks. There is also the issue of the likes of Muller, Kroos and possibly Lahm playing in the area right in-front of our back four, thereby outnumbering our defensive midfielder for the night.

Our club captain may find himself thrown into the deep-end as Gibbs’s replacement since both our first choice Left-backs will be missing this crucial tie. I strongly believe that this injury gives us an ideal opportunity for Arsene to play a back three of Sagna, Per and Koscielny. Vermaelen, Arteta and Flamini should then be deployed in midfield with a dynamic front four of Ozil, Giroud, Alex and possibly Podolski or Rosicky.

If we are to inflict a defeat, similar to the one that ended Bayern’s 6 months winning streak at home when we won away in Bavaria last year, Arsene will have to dust off all his managerial manuals or go back to the drawing board.

Since in football anything can happen, my wish is that Dante and Neuer end up getting sent off in the first half giving us every opportunity to eliminate Bayern in order to continue the trend of no club being able to retain the Champions League trophy in modern times…

Finally, as the saying goes, there is no harm in dreaming and adding to the fact the ‘football gods’ somewhere smiled on us last weekend and allowed Wigan to defeat Man City in the FA, it is sane to say anything is possible so far as we are prepared to put in the shift during the entirety of the game…

Come on you gunners!

Written by Tsgh


Wenger singled out by FA Chief. Time to show what we are really about….

March 8, 2014

Morning all.

Greg Dyke, Chairman of the FA has had this to say about the lack of young English players in the top league:

It comes down to two basic arguments, the Arsene Wenger argument which says your boys are just not good enough and the other says they are, but there’s a blockage.

There clearly is a blockage at certain clubs of getting young boys enough experience to get into the best leagues in the world.

I think we are the last club he should be citing for young players not getting their chance. Ok sometimes one or two in our squad could play more often but that’s a different matter all together. Also, he’d have been a lot more wise not to single out Arsene Wenger when right across the Premier League, there are many clubs who aren’t fielding many English players. Added to that, we have many younger English players coming through our Academy, can many other clubs boast the same?

I doubt it and in my opinion this just proves that when the FA get a sniff at the chance to take a swipe at Wenger and the club they do. Just like they send out weak and totally inept referees to most of our matches, especially when it’s a tough game and a tough impartial referee is required.

Anyway, it’s FA Cup day, 12.45 ko against Everton at The Emirates and Mark Clattenburg is the man in charge of the whistle.

Antolin Alcaraz could return for the visitors but Phil Jagielka could remain on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. Joel Robles is expected to continue in goal as he has done throughout the FA Cup and Lukaku will no doubt start having recovered from injury.

Lacina Traore, Bryan Oviedo, Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone all remain sidelined for the visitors.

We have a long list of injuries ourselves, Walcott, Ramsey, Kallstrom, Diaby, Wilshere, Monreal and possibly Koscielny.

Everton played an amazing game against us at the Emirates. We have to play them again in the FA Cup and we know it won’t be an easy.

We’re talking about Everton but we could easily to talk about every team in England. That’s part of the English game. When you want to win a game you have to first of all win the challenge and win the battle in the midfield.

But if you don’t manage to put your team on the same level or an even higher level in terms of intensity, in terms of [the] physical aspect than the other team, you have no chance to play your game.

Mathieu Flamini is of course referring to the league fixture we played out with Everton earlier in this season.

Everton came to us and started more like they were the home side and to be honest, we did very well to hold on so long without conceding a goal. Ross Barkley was causing plenty of problems, as was Lukaku up front but were having one of those ‘off days’. No matter how many goal scoring opportunities we created, that darn ball wouldn’t go into the back of the net.

Ozil finally broke the deadlock on the  day with under ten minutes left in the game after a super ball was played to the back post by Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott headed the ball back across the area, Giroud totally fluffed the chance but thankfully, Ozil was lurking right behind him to smash the ball home. We had chances to increase our lead but failed to take them.

Deulofeu came on and broke our footballing hearts by grabbing an equaliser….

Today we need to start a lot more lively than we did back then, we are at home, we need to play like the home side and not let Everton get an early rhythm to their game. Close them down if we don’t have the ball and force the errors, the misplaced passes and take advantage on any given opportunity.

We must get that early control, play with a lot more urgency than we have done of late and when we get chances, take them.

This is a huge game for all sorts of reasons, the main one being we want to progress and get to Wembley. We need to win to get some confidence back and of course we need a great performance from every player who has the privilege to be playing for our club…

Every player needs be in the right frame of mind, put in the right level of commitment, passion and desire because only that will win the day…..

We have witnessed moments of all of the above at times during this season, many times but not enough.

Arsene Wenger and and many of the players talk the talk, today it’s time to walk the walk!!

COYRRG’s….


Mesut set for a day on the bench? Sunderland more important than Bayern Munich….

February 22, 2014

Morning all.

When asked about Mesut Ozil and whether he is over his gaff from Wednesday night, Arsene Wenger said:

Is he alright now? Certainly not because 48 hours is a bit short to get over that.

Mesut must be feeling pretty low mustn’t he, he knows he had the perfect chance to get us a well deserved lead against Bayern but he fluffed his lines. I know it’s easy for us all to sit back and slate the old fool for his sloppy spot kick but just imagine how he’s feeling. He’s been getting a fair amount of stick over the last few weeks and this will not have done his confidence any good whatsoever.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him sit this match out, I hope he doesn’t as I’m a firm believer that when you fall of your horse, get right back on and ride again….

Just don’t take any more penalties, just as Dennis Bergkamp didn’t after 1999….

As the unveiling of the Dennis Bergkamp statue takes place today and with the old magician being present for the match, let’s hope the boys can go out there and give a long overdue top class league performance topped off with three well earned points.

Despite Sunderland occupying one of the relegation places right now, they will be a tough nut to crack I’m sure, especially after the effort the players had to put in on Wednesday night.

Kieran Gibbs is out with a buttock injury! Not quite sure what he’s done there but back in is Mikel Arteta.

Just who starts today remains to be seen as Arsene Wenger has confirmed there will be changes:

There will be changes – that’s for sure. How many I don’t know yet. I have to decide today after training and tonight.

No doubt Olivier Giroud will return and hopefully Lukas Podolski will start too. Serge Gnabry surely deserves a starting place too and we’ll need his direct style of play against a side who will try and defend as if their life depended on it.

Well we need to do the same all over the pitch. Play like the players life depended on this display and result because in my opinion, this match is far more important right now than the return fixture against Bayern Munich.

We are second in the league and need to keep on going until May and make sure we at least secure third place and that isn’t me being negative, it’s me being realistic.

The best way to do that is by securing three points today and just maybe those around us will start dropping a few points here and there…

COYRRG’s….

That’s it for another day..


5 Times European Champions in town… Do we stand a chance?

February 19, 2014

When the draw for the second round of this year’s Champions League was made on the 16th of December last year most fans and probably majority of the football world concluded we won’t stand a chance against the current reigning Champions from Bavaria.

The more positive one’s said that if Wenger changed habits and bought a top striker in the mould of Costa and added a top midfield player in the form of Draxler then maybe we might have a chance.

But we all know how our winter transfer window unfolded so…

Since the draw was made we have lost our best player of the year in Ramsey, Theo, who these kind of games are made for and Giroud has been caught with his pants down.

Meanwhile, Jack is struggling with his form and Diaby, well he is still Diaby but at least he has a new companion in Kim.

The Bavarian War machine.....

The Bavarian War machine…..

Listening to the media and pundits will make most Arsenal fans assume that there is no point in even turning up for the game but most forget that even the 5 times winners of this competition have not had it all their own way over the last twenty odd years.

As the club and German legend rightly said this week whilst singing the praises of our often under-appreciated manager and taking a dig at Jose for not being a Bayern material, the last 30 years has been very disappointing for them. If you consider that the Bavarians won 3 European titles in the 70′s but then had to wait almost 25 years to win another trophy in 2001 and another 12 years in 2013, it seems that they are not quite the efficient German machine we all assume they may be.

The Bavarians come into this tie having scored a respectable 13 goals in their last 4 games in the Bundesliga with even the ‘pensioner’ Pizario chipping in a few over the weekend.

Poor Giroud....

Poor Giroud….

We on the other hand have scored 5 and conceded 7 in the last 4 EPL games but do the last 4 results paint a clear picture of both clubs form coming into this all important game?

In my humble opinion I would say No!

Bayern have played against the likes of Stuttgart and Freisburg who are all lingering around the bottom half of their league whilst we have played the two biggest clubs in England based on history, although one might say United are not currently a force.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to diminish the scale and quality of the opposition we are about to face but merely trying to put things in perspective.

With this in mind, if we compared the form of both clubs in their respective leagues then a completely different and rather frightening picture can be painted. After all, FC Munchen are leading the Bundesliga pack by a colossal 19 points whilst we sit respectably one point behind the ‘special needs one’s’ team’ in the EPL.

But as a long term enthusiast of the Bundesliga all due to my fellow other country man Tony Yeboah, I have to admit that this is one of the weakest Bundesliga seasons I have watched in over 20 years. The gulf in financial power of the Bavarians, who I consider to be the most financial stable club in world football, is clearly taking a toll on the rest of their rivals.

Since Klopp’s Dortmond  beat Pep’s Bayern in the German equivalent of our community shield in the summer, Dortmond have regressed and misfired on a few occasions and they now find themselves sitting in 3rd place 17 points behind league leaders Bayern.

However, all is not well with the Bavarians. They come into this game with their own set of issues that include Ribery requiring surgery in his backside to repair a burst blood vessel…

Shaqiri who has truly improved under Pep is also missing from the clash but Bayern have a fit again Schweinsteiger and Martínez to call upon. But I suspect even with Schweinsteiger and Martínez back to full fitness, Pep will persist with Lahm and Kross in midfield with Gotze and Muller giving them the attacking prowess they may need to take a good advantage away to the Allianz.

I think the Bavarians will line-up with Neuer; Alaba, Dante, Boateng, Rafinha; Lahm; Muller, Kroos, Gotze, Robben; Mandzukic in a 4-1-4-1 set-up with Muller and Gotze interchanging places during the game and also overloading our left hand side knowing that again either Santi or Poldolski may not be very disciplined to help our left back.

On our side we have no new injuries and so ideally I would like Gibbs and Sagna to come in for Monreal and Jenkinson with Poldoski playing on the left hand side of our attack. I presume Podolski will have a big point to prove against a club he may feel did not give him many opportunities during his brief spell with them.

In midfield, we have Rosicky fully rested after having been given a break away from the FA cup game and with Arteta suspended; Flamini should resume his defensive role in front of our back 4. I am hoping that Wenger will play Tomas in the all important box to box role in a 4-1-4-1 formation, no doubt Bayern will line up in the same way.

Wenger will no doubt expect Giroud to put aside all of his off the field issues and lead the attack so that he can cause Dante and Boateng a few problems in their defence.

I am not sure why Bendtner has not been selected in the last 2 games but personally I think he is another big game player who may relish coming on if needed instead of Yaya. I would prefer Serge to be given the last place on the bench instead of the young Frenchman.

With Alaba and Rafinha likely to play in a very attacking mode, I expect Wenger to use Oxlade on the right of our attack in order to impress again and help stake his claim for a place in the England squad for Brazil.

Arsene may however think that it won’t be fair on Alex to be playing 2 tough games in 4 days soon after coming back from injury.

I also believe another big decision Wenger will have to make will be who to choose between Santi, Jack and Ozil in the second attacking midfield role.

Personally, I think he will give Ozil the nod over Jack and Santi and I don’t think Jack would suit the type of game Arsene would have to play at home in the Champions League against a very fast and technical F.C Munchen team oozing with confidence in their own ability…

I hope Arsene shows the world that the old dog still has a few tricks up his sleeve and shows Pep why Wenger is still the old master he publicly admits to respect.

The line-up will most likely be Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny; Gibbs; Flamini, Rosicky; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, and Giroud. I think Wenger will however drop Alex for Wilshere.

Those with interest in tactics may observe that Pep and Arsene have both reverted back to playing 4-1-4-1 after both played 4-2-3-1 in the past 6 or so years… an interesting move by both managers in my opinion.

I think the Bavarians have a weak area in central defence and so if we’ turn up’ and play without the proverbial hand brake on we stand a good chance of making sure that the history of no club retaining the European title continues for another season at least. The key in my view will be how and who Arsene chooses to stop both Kroos and Dante from playing the ball from the back.

Come on you Gunners… Let’s hope the players give the home fans something to shout about.

Have a good day…

Written by Tsgh


Will revenge be sweet, or is another drubbing on the cards?

February 16, 2014

Morning all.

So, just a week after we suffered a horrid loss at Anfield, the chance to get some kind of revenge is on offer today. Of course we won’t get the three league points back but we could make sure we are in the draw for the next round of the best domestic cup on offer….

I’d love us to win this cup and maybe more so than the Champions League as we’re an English club and this is an English competition.

Somehow though, I don’t think our manager shares the same view as me and I think it’s likely that we’ll see changes…..

The first game can, of course, have an influence on the second one [when they are so close together]. But we are hugely focused on giving a strong response to show that it was an accident. I’m confident we will be hugely concentrated and go into this game with power.

Power says Arsene, not sure where that is coming from….

Back to the changes, would it be such a bad thing?

We’ve gone a bit stale of late and a few fresh faces might just be exactly what this side needs.

Flamini is back which is welcome news but after that, I couldn’t even take a guess who Arsene Wenger will field but I doubt he’ll make any changes to our central pairing, especially as Thomas Vermaelen still sits alongside Abou Diaby on the injured list.

Up front I think we could see change, Yaya Sanogo, Lukas Podolski and Nicklas Bendtner are all fit and healthy and my guess is that one or more of those three will start.

Whoever get’s selected, the most important thing is that they are all ready.

Ready to wear the red and white shirt. The one that holds Arsenal crest and represents the club we all love and support regardless of all the rubbish stuff we get dealt from the owner, board and manager. Arsenal FC is bigger than all of them and it’s better than all of them because our club will still be standing tall long after they leave…

No points, but a place in the next round of a great traditional cup is on offer…

Arsene Wenger:

These guys are winners. When they lose in that way believe me they are hurt.

When you can put things right, you want an opportunity to do that and we have an opportunity.

COYRRG’s, go show you are winners and go take the opportunity on offer………..

Hope it’s a great day all…..


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