Burnley vs Arsenal: Pre-Match

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The Gunners travel to Burnley today, which is somewhere in Lancashire a little way further north from Manchester…. a fucking long way from the Home of Football.

On team news Coquelin has apparently recovered from his knee injury quicker than expected and is being assessed. Giroud, BFG, Ramsey, Welbeck and Jenks are still side lined.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same team that played against Basle in mid week. After todays game it’s an International break so why not! Wenger celebrated his 20 years at the club yesterday, 1st October and is getting lots of plaudits from around the country, Sean Dyche, the Burnley manager has a lot of respect for our manager and stated that he thinks he is one of the best. Expect Burnley to use strong arm tactics and park the bus.

Burnley is a town of weavers, the industrial revolution helped it to become the Cotton Mill capital of Britain. The football club was founded in 1882 and they have played at the Turf Moor ground since 1883. Apart from Lancashire hotpot, the area is renowned for culinary delights such as; Malkin Pie…. eaten by witches at the Good Friday Great feast at the Malkin  Tower. Lancashire Fish Pie and Lancashire Butter Pie…. they like their Pie in Burnley.

Not much else to say about Burnley apart from I hope we give them a thrashing. Results yesterday didn’t go in our favour and Liverpools win at Swansea pushed us down a place to 5th, Spuds and Man City play before us this afternoon so most of us will be hoping for a draw at White Shite Lane, so if we get a good win we will move to second place above Liverpool on goal difference and closing the gap on City.

I’m going with another 3-0 win for the good guys. Sanchez and Walcott getting on the scoresheet once again and perhaps another cracker from Xhaka……

COYG’s

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Scintillating Arsenal….

I had a very dodgy internet connection last night and only managed to see the first half and the first 10 minutes of the second…. screen froze for both goals so I missed them as well. But from what I saw…. fucking amazing football.

We’re getting back to some beautiful football and I’ve seen a replay of the second goal and the move and passing leading up to it was sublime. Walcott on fire, who would have said that a few months ago when we were all moaning about his lack of commitment.

We have such a strong side this season that I’m creaming my pants. Can we go on to win something other than just the FA Cup? Will this amazing football continue or will we do the usual and fade away in the latter stages of the season? Only time will tell but the boys seem to have found some hunger and determination.

At the moment we can only live in hope that they can continue like this. Unbeaten since the first game of the season against the scousers  and plenty of goals…. 13 I think in all competitions, but it should be more, the boys should have got more last night but Wenger seems contant to get a good lead in the first half and then take it easy in the second half. Probably wise considering the schedule and an away match at Burnley at the weekend.

Long may it continue…. we can’t complain about not getting exciting football and we can’t complain about Theo anymore.

Arsenal……. at fucking last

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It took some time coming but it was so sweet and went some way to getting revenge for some of our recent results against Chelsea. What a complete performance, I didn’t see the whole game but between having a drink in the afternoon with some friends I’d not seen for five years and going to a party, I managed to slip the first half into my busy drinking schedule….

….. and was I pleased to do so. A first half of a masterclass where we were just too good for a poor Chav side. It was just a shame we couldn’t increase the score line in the second half, six or seven nil would have been very, very sweet.

I’m not going to pick out any single player from that first half performance…. it was a team effort where it all clicked, all the right boxes were ticked and they played like potential champions, it bodes extremely well for the rest of the season.

Has Wenger finally got the balance right….. no he hasn’t but he is definitely going in the right direction, the initial line up could have been criticised and once again, Mr X wasn’t picked to start, but that’s a small criticism considering the result and how we achieved it.

I don’t know about you….. but I want more of that.

The Pre-Match: Arsenal v Chavs

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Morning Gooners,

Match day again, and we host Chelsea football club, and their new Manager Antonio Conte,  kick off at five oclock. This will be our twelth time of playing Chelsea, without getting a win, so hopefully that run will not last much longer. Both sides have had good runs, to the build up to this game, and both sides have injuries, John Terry will not be fit enough and Aaron Ramsey also struggling for fitness, A late fitness test for Oliver Giroud will tell us whether he will figure in this match, as his sore toe is still an issue.

Danger men for Chelsea, Diego Costa, we have seen in the past that he likes nothing better than controversy, and he will certainly be on the wind up today. Last seasons game saw Gabriel Paulista  sucked into his evil plan, where he saw a red card, this season the signs are that Mustafi could be the defender in line for some of his antics, Mastafi is experienced, and hopefully will treat him much the same as  other misfits.

Eden Hazard is another talented Chelsea player, given room he can run the show for them, so its up to us to shut him down early. Oscar another player that can play havoc with defences, he to needs to be looked after. Antonio Conte, has brought back David Luiz who was ejected by former Manager Jose Mourinho, to fit by the experienced Cahill. Luis will fill in nicely for John Terry, but is not as defensively minded as Terry, so a chink in the Chelsea back line where we can penetrate.

For ourselves we have a squad of talented players to choose from, who they will comprise of is anybodies guess, but across the back, i would go for Belerin Mustafi Koshielney and Monreal, Both our top keepers have had a rest so either one could be included , i go with Ospina. Midfield, again a big choice, but Granit Zakha is a must in this game, Elneney or Coquelin i would take Coquelin, with Cazorla and Ozil. Forwards pick themselves, Iwobi Walcott and Sanchez, Lucas or Giroud, Giroud if fit, but i think he will start with Lucas.

Chelsea are a physical side so expect a lot of challenges from behind, they defend hard and they leave marks , we need to play to our strengths and pass the ball accurately and quickly, we need also to shut them down as quickly as we can, do it early and away from the box, as that i feel is the danger zone. We need to make runs all over the park if we are to unsettle Chelsea’s defence, we know they have weaknesses and we will have to exploit them.

I see this game as an important step for us, both clubs are sixth and seventh is the league and both climbing, we have to win this game, and the time is right, if we are to impart our presence among the top, then we have to make sure this twelfth game with them stops today. We have the players, do we have the desire.

Written by Steve Palmer

Xhaka has the ‘X’ factor

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It was only the League Cup but………………………. it was a moment to see what we currently possess in the team. Four goals are not to be sniffed at, along with a clean sheet.

It would be so easy to just concentrate on the cracker from Xhaka but there was much more than that. In the first half I was getting worried about Lucas Perez… he was anonymous and I don’t think I heard his name mentioned once from the commentators, however, in the second half he became more involved and scored a superb individual goal, and in the process demonstrating what he can bring to our attacking format, he really should have got a hat-trick last night but that will come I’m sure as he settles into English football.

Rob Holding had another solid game and he is going to be excellent CB back-up, and he got a card for his 21st birthday. Gabriel next to him was also solid after a short period injured. Akpom and Jeff both played well, I was impressed with Maitland-Miles and if Bellerin were to be tempted away to Barca then we have a ready made replacement in the youngster.

The Ox, despite scoring a good goal, still didn’t impress me… he needs to be let go, for his sake and the sake of the club. However, having said that, he did play well through the middle of the midfield, but if that’s the place for him then we have a surplus.

I was surprised that Martinez got to play instead of Ospina but he filled in well, making a couple of good saves. The youngsters who came on as subs didn’t let the side down and overall, kept the balance of our dominance.

So overall, a good night out for the Gunners, and already this season we have doubled the goals scored in the League Cup compared to last season. Wenger really needs to consider whether Xhaka can be left out of the first team.

One side note: I wasn’t happy with Lansbury the way he played against us, he seemed to have a mission to damage as many Arsenal players as possible…. he should have got at least three yellow cards. And the ego by the name of Lord Nik…. well, it was the usual Nik Bendtner…. at least he got a standing ovation from the away support when he was subbed.

League Cup….. third team

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So it’s back to the League Cup…. which doesn’t have a sponsor this season so it’s called the EFL Cup. Tonight we play Forest…. they’ve only beaten the Gunners once in our last 13 meetings in all competitions , D4 L8 so hopes should be high, in fact, they haven’t won against a Premier League side since beating Man City in 1993.

But remember, we got knocked out of the competition last season by Championship side Sheffield Wednesday 3-0……….. so some caution necessary with team selection, which will probably be a mix of 1st team players and youngsters. Expect Ospina in goal, Gibbs and Chambers to get a game, Giroud needs a run out and Perez will probably get some game time too. The rest I’m not sure of, Rob Holding, Akpom and perhaps a couple of youngsters. Ozil, Sanchez, Cazorla, Coquelin, Kochielny, Mustafi and Walcott to be rested.

The League cup doesn’t warrant a long pre match….. so that’s your fucking lot mates.

Expect a few goals.

Hull v Arsenal: Norfolks Pre-Match

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After the triviality of the mid-week Champions League game it’s back to the bread and butter of the Premiership.  A Saturday 3 pm kick-off should suit the team pretty well, plenty of recovery time from the last match and sufficient before the next.

Even as an away fixture Hull City shouldn’t present to much of a problem…should it?  Well let’s hope not.

There can’t be too many players in dire need of a break and with the next fixture being the EFL cup, there should be no thought of resting players ahead of it.  Neither should there be any thought of playing a weakened side just because it’s “only” Hull City.

The Tigers, as their owner Assem Allam likes them to be known, field a couple of old Spuds in Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone, they at least will take the opportunity to kick as many of our lads as possible and as their usual style of defending is akin to tag-team wrestling, we should expect to win at least one penalty award.  They also have Chuba Akpom a loanee from Arsenal, but he is contractually unavailable to play against us.

Let’s move on to the more contentious matter of our manager’s team selection.  Following his heroics against PSG, it would be logical to stick with David Ospina in goal (notice I give him his full name I only do that for players who are in my good books).  However as logic is a seldom used concept in Wenger’s thought processes I expect Petr Cech to be recalled. (Full name, good books).

There seems little reason not to play the regular back four, Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustaffi, Laurent Koscienly and Nacho (first name only, a bit iffy)  who has come in for a bit of criticism following the last match, probably not the time to bring in Gibbs (surname only, out of favour).

Wenger is on record as praising the midfield partnership of Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin, as he says, they have played together fifty or sixty times. Whether or not successfully I’ll leave to your own judgement.

It goes without saying that the names of both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are already printed on the team sheet.  Which leaves us with just two more names to add.

As I’ve said before, I don’t think the Alexis Sanchez as central striker experiment is working so the alternative should be Giroud, He’s fit, at last,  has been scoring for France and needs a bit of game time to build his confidence.  With Theo nursing a ”small” knee injury (Wenger’s words [note surname only]), the way is open for a debut start for our newest signing Lucas Perez (full name, benefit of the doubt in his case).

So, I see our line-up as:-

————-P.C.————-

—-H.B.—S.M.—L.K.—-N.M.

——–M.E.————G.X.—–

—————S.C.—————

L.P.————O.G.———–A.S.

As this is for an away fixture I might be tempted to play Santi Cazorla in place of Mesut Ozil as I don’t think we get the best from the German away from the Emirates.

For the sake of brevity I’m now going to revert to surnames only.

Until the defence is a more settled and cohesive unit I feel it is wise to put two defensive minded mid-fielders in front of them, hence Elneny and Xhaka.  I don’t think Ozil plays at his best in places like Hull City and putting both him and Cazorls together is a bit of an unaffordable luxury.

I would like to see Lucas given the freedom to make runs from deep onto long passes, behind the defenders, from Xhaka.

I would also like to see a few more shots on goal, from both inside and outside the box.

We have enough talent and fire power to deal with any threat Hull City can offer, we should win the game comfortably, I believe we will.

Written by Norfolk Gooner