The NLD….. will probably be a boring 1-1 draw.

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                                    6th November 2016

                              Arsenal Vs Tottenham Hotspur

There may well have been fireworks last night, but there are bound to be a few more this afternoon.  For most fans of either club this is the big one.  It used to mean bragging rights in factory canteens all around North London, now it’s more likely to create alarm and despondency, or triumphant euphoria on blogs and social networks instead.

I’m not sure how the majority of players, both Arsenal and Spurs, view local derbies these days, few if any were born and bred in the area, brought up with a fierce loyalty to one club or the other.  To the fans though, there is no question about it, if there is one game they would give almost anything to win it’s this one.

You’re not reading this for a history lesson, so I’ll skip the stats except to say of all the meetings between the two greatest rivals in world club football, Arsenal have won more than Spurs.

Tottenham have been creeping closer over the recent past and could have, apart from a seismic meltdown, actually finished above us in the league for the first time almost in living memory last season. Currently we are three points and three places above them with a superior goal difference.  They are, however, the only unbeaten side in the league, how gratifying it will be to wreck that little run. 

          There will only ever be one team called “The Invincibles”.

There have been many great matches between the two clubs in the past, but the one that will forever burn brightly for me was on a certain Monday night in May 1971 at White Hart Lane. Ray Kennedy’s header went in off the underside of the bar and pandemonium broke out on the terraces as Arsenal celebrated the sweetest of title wins.  My wife and I along with Ted, my late older brother, and two mates from work had fought our way through the turnstile only moments before the gates were slammed shut with over fifty-four thousand inside the creaking old ground and thousands more left out in the street.
I don’t expect that level of drama today, The Emirates is a much more staid venue and the crowd much, much less vociferous.  The thunderous tackles of 1971 have given way to the powder puff taps and dramatic dives of present day football and footballers.

There will of course be interesting mini battles all over the pitch, with players such as Xhaka, Elneny and Coquelin facing the likes of Wanyama, Sissoko and Dembele anything could happen.  The referee will have to be alert to the propensity for diving by Doolally Alli and Lamela.  What are the odds of both teams completing the game with a full complement of players?

One of the mainstays of the Tottenham defence, Alderweireld, is not available through injury while Kane is a risky option to start as he can hardly be said to be match fit.  Both the Spurs full-backs like nothing better than bombing forward, so space behind them could be an option for Walcott and Alexis to take advantage of.

Wenger gave little away about injuries, at his press conference, but that’s entirely to be expected.  In one paper this morning a back four of Jenkinson, Mustafi, Gabriel and Koscielny has been suggested, that’s supposing that none of Bellerin, Monreal and Gibbs are available. 

I hope that we have Bellerin and Monreal back at least, they along with Walcott and Cazorla were due to be assessed  yesterday.

There are many intriguing combinations available for selection, I’m sure Wenger and his backroom boys will sort something out.  Whoever he chooses, they must start from the first whistle, get in Spur’s faces and dominate the game.

Can we do it?  Can we shatter their unbeaten run?  Of course we can!

C’mon The Glorious Gunners!!

Written by Norfolk Gooner.

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Arsenal will be reading Reading!

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Tonight we get down to the real business in the prestigious EFL cup (English Football League Cup) and we of course expect to beat lowly Reading, don’t we?

The last two times reading have reached this stage they have been eliminated by the mighty Arse, one of those was a thrilling 7-5 in 2012, however, the Gunners last two home games in this competition have ended in defeats.

Expect large changes in the team selection tonoght with Akpom, Jeff, Maitland-Niles and Rob Holding coming out to play. Zhaka will also be absent due to his 3 match suspension.

I expect some of the big guns to be on the bench….. just incase, so Sanchez, Ozil and Walcott will be included. Ospina back in goal instead of Cech. Perez will probably get a game but I think something more than a sore toe is keeping the french poof out of the team so don’t expect to see his well groomed coif tonight. There has also been no news on the injury to Santi, so prepare for the worst on him.

It’s an opportunity to rest some of our tired players and progress to the next round with an easy win…. or will it?

 

 

The Arsenal malaise returns

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Morning all,

After a six game winning run, Arsenal are halted by Lowly Middlesbrough, a tough game to watch after what we have been used to. Arsenal seem to be a Jekyll and Hyde football club, one minute showing form that could win silverware, then failing miserably to score one goal, against a side struggling in the relegation places.

Its common Knowledge that our players are very well paid, most supporters couldn’t care less how much they earn, as Arsenal can afford it, but they would like to see some of the clubs players at least trying to look as if they care about the result, Middlesbrough  came calling, and the bookies had us odds on favourites, playing at home, but held to a frustrating goalless draw.

Arsenal coming off a six goal win in midweek in champions League, only to fail to impress against a side at the bottom of the Premier. It was Arsene Wengers 67th birthday, but sadly ended his day struggling to understand his overpaid super stars. Granit Xhakha missed his first game of three due to suspension, while Santi Cazorla missed this game due to injury that he picked up in midweek against Ludogretts, but that seemed to upset the smooth running of camp Arsenal.

Arsenal spluttered and stuttered to half time without ever looking to penetrate Middlebrough’s stringent defence, The red hot Arsenal machine we witnessed in mid week, were having their Jekyll and Hyde performance which seemingly comes round a little to often for my liking.

I would normally talk about the game in question, but on this occasion, and the seemingly ground hog day performance, has me wandering back to my old conspiracy theories. I can remember my old playing days, and if i am honest, i would say that i was a very competitive player. I hated losing and i have to say i look for reasons when a team of highly talented players all have a bad day at the office together. In my day, i would have an off day, and i felt it stood out against the rest of the teams performances, many players lose form during a season but very seldom do they all lose form in the same game.

I look back to the first game Elneney played for us, and i remember reading a stat that said he had 20 shots, whether that fact was actually right, i can not say for sure, but i can say that his shots have dried up since, and not just his, the whole team seem to suffer on the same days.

Mesut Ozil, King of the assists, one minute pinging excorcet accurate balls through, to passing straight to a defenders legs, I have to wonder why. Theo Walcott a player tagged with having a talent for finishing off, and yesterday i saw fumbles at least three or four in area’s he would usually finish off from. Alexis Sanchez, a maestro going forward, yesterday saw him stuttering forward only to twist and turn till he was offloaded, in fact our back line were at times left wide open, by advancing way to far up the pitch, it seems that heroics from Koscielney and Petr Cech who couldn’t have been told of ground hog day, or is that just instinct.

Belerin and Monreal two very good players failed to find any reasonable crosses caught out of position and both on the same day, Iwobi a young man with oodles of trickery reduced to an early substitute for bringing nothing to the game at all. I could of course go right through the players but i am sure you can see where i am coming from, and i have to say that when the whole side seem to be having a  bad day, is to me suspicious.

When a side has 70 percent possession, but only produce 3 shots on target, and they happen to look like pass-backs i start to wonder the worse. What would be the reason, i ask myself, and i have to remember Wenger’s thousandth game as Arsenal boss, and remember the performance put in by the players that day, and click we had the same attitude. Is this just a coincidence, or am i just imagining a pattern. When a resolute defender with a turn of pace resorts to rugby type tackles, and not another defender anywhere near, i ask myself why, and sadly i cannot answer that question, all i do know is, this Jekyll and Hyde day will certainly come back again, and it is starting to come under question.

Written by a doubting Steve Palmer. 

Ludo gets fucked by the Arse

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Firstly, I have to admit I didn’t see the game…. my stream wasn’t good and I only got sound, so I listened. This match report is written therefore on what I’ve seen on the webby and from a telephone call with my big brother last night after the game.

Six nil eh, for fuck sake we’re looking good. My brother was gushing, very unlike him because he’s normally a bit of a ‘Kelsey’. He actually said he couldn’t criticise any one player and the Sanchez goal was a thing of beauty (I must find a video of said goal) . I’ve seen a video of Özils’ second and our 5th, assisted by Lucas and that wasn’t bad, but by then Ludo was well fucked and was just bending over and taking whatever came their way.

It was Mezuts’ first hat trick and well deserved apparently, he’s obviously playing well to justify being paid £250,000 per week ha ha, same goes for Alexis. If Walcott continues banging them in he’ll want the same.

So there you have it, that’s about as much as I can write from my perspective. PSG got a win and 3 goals to the good but it still leaves us top of the group on GD of +3, it looks as if the game against the Parisiens on the 23rd of November will be the crunch game to decide top spot. Next game away to the Bulgarians who will clearly want to prove that they didn’t deserve to lose 6-0.

 

Ludo Getz comes to the Emirates

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Just as we are getting back to Premiership football after the International break, along comes another distraction.
It’s time for another chance to milk the cash cow otherwise known as the Champions League.  This evening we welcome our first ever Bulgarian opponents in a CL tie Ludogorets.  Founded in 1945 they play in the Parva Liga, the top tier in Bulgarian football, and are nicknamed The Eagles. They are based in the town of Razgrad where the ground capacity is a mere 8,808. It’s also worth noting that they are proud to include in their official website that they have electric floodlights.  This may not be all it’s cracked up to be as, on my two visits to the country, the power was off more often than on.  The return leg will be played not in the Razgrad ground but in the National Stadium in Sofia.
Ludogorets won the league by a margin of fourteen points with a positive goal difference of thirty-four.  Their current first team squad contains no fewer than eight Brazilians but only seven Bulgarian players.
Ludogorets two previous group games resulted in a one all draw away to Basel and a three one home defeat against PSG.

Our starting line-up will be the usual mix of first team regulars, bench sitters and a one or two young prospects.

Ospina will take his place in goal, Bellerin will most probably play, I’m not sure which other right backs, if any, are fit. I would imagine that Xhaka will get a run-out, his last before an FA enforced break.  With Giroud and Ramsey still not fit and Cazorla, who looked in need of a rest against Swansea likely to be left out, there will be room for Jeff and maybe a chance for Lucas to show his worth.

Whilst no Champions League opposition can be taken lightly, this should be a relatively comfortable win for the good guys.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the Eagles shape up,  could it be One of those nights?  In the Long Run, I hope it’s not a case of Desperado. 

Burnley…. sometimes life is cruel ha ha

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Arsenal were forced into boring tippy tappy football once again by a Burnley side who had a game plan and stuck to it…. this is no criticism of the Gunners, what can they do against a 9 man defence…. not a lot.

Add to that the rigours of having played a midweek CL game against Basel and you have a recipe for a tired team against one of the best defensive sides in the premier league.

I really thought it was going to end up as a goalless draw until Kos the boss got his elbow to the ball. I don’t give a shit about all the commentary about it being offside and / or a handball, the ref let it stand and it gave us the much needed 3 points, which is all that really matters.

It means that we regain 3rd place and stay in touch with the leaders. Ozil had an off day and it really showed, his passing and control of midfield went missing and consequently, our creative build up play suffered.

If a title winning side is judged by being able to grind out wins against the likes of Burnley, then we are in with a chance. The boys now have an International break to recuperate before a couple of straight forward home games that should bag us maximum points.

One nil to the Arsenal is starting to sound good.