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Cesc, Saint or Snake?

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Hello all, hope you are all keeping well and safe. It’s a difficult time for everyone and football seems such an irrelevance, but life goes on, boredom sets in and we tend to retreat to safe ground. So here I am , writing an irrelevant blog about a long irrelevant player. Irony knows no bounds.

Yesterday I noticed that Arseblog had released a podcast featuring Cesc Fabregas, our former El Captain. Now under normal circumstances ,I doubt I would have bothered to listen, but these are not normal circumstances, and I dug in.

I have to be honest, and say I though it was a very good and interesting podcast. Arseblog asked all the questions he should have and Fabregas answered them all, there were the odd occasions that Arseblog attempted to get Cesc to be critical of Arsene, a bait Cesc, to his credit, refused to take, but in general, it was a fine podcast.

So the question I ask myself is did my  opinion of Cesc change? The answer is yes, it did. However, not because I learned anything new. In fact everything he said about his leaving just confirmed what I had believed to be true at the time.

To be clear, Fabregas forced his way out, and let the club, his teammates the fans and Arsene down. He was selfish and ungrateful, he was a snake!

However, what did change is how I now feel about it.

He was our captain and best player, but he was just 24 years old. He had shouldered a great deal in the final 2 or 3 years and being just 24 that is a lot to ask of anyone. I believe he thought we were not in a position, especially financially, to win the big trophies, whether he stayed or not. I genuinely believe that had he though he could have made the difference, he would have stayed. I 100% believe he loved the club and Arsene, but Barca was calling. It’s easy for any of us to say we would have remained loyal, but unless you could walk in his shoes, with his head on, I’m not so sure.

The pain I felt, and the pain most fans felt, was so extreme because the boy meant so much to the club and us. He meant so much to us because he had given us so much, and there is nothing worse than a scorned lover. Well I was a lover, I was scorned and I became bitter and hateful towards him. He got the brunt of me being unable to cope with his loss.

What he gave from the age of 16, and for 8 years was special. He was a joy to watch and a credit to himself and his profession. All that he gave, all that he was, should not be forgotten because we think he should have considered us rather than himself.

There is a debate going on twitter as to who was best at their peak, Cesc or Ozil? And it’s a close one, that’s how good he was.

I am grateful to Arseblog and Cesc for that podcast. Not because I learned anything about Cesc, but because I learned my feelings towards him were about the way I dealt with, and processed,  his leaving and not actually with him leaving.

Was he a Snake? Yes, he was. But for 8 years he was a prince, our prince. Now I’m happy to remember those glorious 8 years and accept he made a selfish choice at just 24 years old.

 

 

71 Comments

How Can Arsenal Upset Man City After Just Edging West Ham?

In this podcast,  yours truly and Blackburn George explain how Mikel Arteta has done a brilliant job improving Arsenal but it is still a work-in-progress. After just edging West Ham over last weekend the question is “how can Arsenal upset Manchester City” in their upcoming  Premier League game on Wednesday.

Remember to  Like and Subscribe to our podcasts wherever you listen and spread the word about our belief in free-flowing, attacking football by a club with integrity and class, the Arsenal-Way .

This podcast is available at Spreaker, Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Podcast and Google Podcast by searching for Uncensored Arsenal.

Click on the link below and enjoy our factual, no-nonsense point of view.

82 Comments

Arsenal Will Need Steel vs Irons

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Arsenal host West Ham United at the Emirates in a Premier League clash this afternoon; with both sides needing three points for wholly different reasons.
The Gunners, of course, are five points off fifth-placed Man United with a game in hand, while the Hammers are just above the drop zone on goal difference.
Since the turn of the year Arsenal lost just one of their 12 matches in all competitions. However, that one defeat sticks out like a sore thumb because it resulted in us getting knocked out of the Europa and along with it perhaps our best route into next season’s Champions League. Now with 11 league games to go Mikel Arteta knows that he has to prioritise if we are to edge closer to the European qualifying spots.
Be that is it may, there’s still much to be done but there are also lots to be excited about; particularly if you look at the attention to long-term development with a number of our young’uns now proper first-team players. This gives one real anticipation of what’s to come during Arteta’s reign.
We go into this game on the back of a 2-0 win at Portsmouth to advance to the FA Cup last-eight. Arteta made nine changes to play a Pompey side that hasn’t lost at their own patch all season, and the performance the boys put has helped a lot to ease most of the trauma suffered from the loss vs Olympiakos. It also keep hope alive for the Spaniard to win silverware in his maiden season. That is something no doubt at the back of his mind…however, at the forefront will be the three points on offer this afternoon.
David Moyes’ West Ham side are 16th on the table, but with just two points above 19th-placed Aston Villa are in a real bind.
They have lost each of their last five away matches and won just three on the road all season. With games against Wolves, Spurs and Chelsea following today’s, they could be in a real spot of bother as far as the battle for survival is concerned.
It’s not like they’re gutless though. A fortnight ago they put in a plucky display against Liverpool at Anfield; was leading 2-1 with 20 or so minutes to go, but just couldn’t hold on as the Reds scored the winning goal in the last 10 minutes. They followed that up with a more controlled performance at home to Southampton to run out 3-1 winners – their first win since New Year’s Day. And it’s on the back of that they’re coming to the Emirates.
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last seven league matches at home and have beaten the Hammers in eight of their previous nine league encounters. So whether that win against the Saints will give Moyes’ side enough of a bounce will be telling this afternoon.
Team news
Arsenal’s win at Pompey came at a cost of Lucas Torreira suffering a fractured ankle; meaning he is not expected back anytime soon.
Kieran Tierney is back fit and will be assessed ahead the match.
January loan-signing Pablo Mari was imposing at Fratton Park and could be handed his first league start.
Prediction
West Ham’s result last weekend brought some welcome-relief for the London Stadium faithful but it’s on their travels they’re suffering. And while they may give Arsenal a good run for their money today, I just can’t see them doing enough to put an end to the Gunners’ unbeaten league run in 2020.
  • @LaboGoon
39 Comments

Serious “Danger Ahead” For Arsenal after Olympiacos

In this podcast, yours truly and Blackburn George explain how Arsenal’s disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Europa League and dropping out of Europe could have grave consequences for the football club. In summary serious “Danger Ahead”.

Remember to  Like and Subscribe to our podcasts wherever you listen and spread the word about our belief in free-flowing, attacking football by a club with integrity and class, the Arsenal-Way .

This podcast is available at Spreaker, Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Podcast and Google Podcast by searching for Uncensored Arsenal.

Click on the link below and enjoy our factual, no-nonsense point of view.

65 Comments

Arsenal v Portsmouth: FA Cup match preview

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Arsenal will be looking to put the disappointment of the Europa League exit behind them as they now turn attention to the FA Cup, playing Portsmouth at Fratton Park in a last-16 encounter.

The Gunners have done well since Mikel Arteta’s arrival, recently turning promising performances that previously got us draws into decent results. So the task now is to move on from the Olympiakos setback and continue that progression on the domestic front.

Arsenal, of course, the most successful club in FA Cup history, are favourites to beat the League One side but with the added importance of this now our only shot at silverware, Arteta will certainly try to go all the way. First, we need to get pass Pompey and history suggest we should do just that as they haven’t beaten the Gunners in any competition since March 1958.

However, Portsmouth will be up for this game and their captain Tom Naylor has also warned that the Fratton Park faithful brings a certain atmosphere we might not be used to.

Well, while that remain matter of opinion a quick glance at their wiki page tells that they are on a decent run on their own patch; a 19-match unbeaten streak all season, including 10 wins from their 10 games (all competitions). That certainly gives their fans something to crow about.

They come into this match on the back of a 3-0 win to move within three off the top-two on the League One table, with a match in hand over second-placed Rotherham United. In five home games last month they scored 14 goals with only three in reply. So if anything, we do have to keep our wits about us.

Team news

Arteta may have initially been tempted to make wholesale changes, but the Europa result means that he is more likely to name a stronger side.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who instead of given the night off, could play some part, with Eddie Nkeitah still favoured to lead the attack with Gabriel Martinelli up top with him.

Granit Xhaka played each minute of each game since the turn of the year and do need a breather, with Lucas Torreira given a start.

Shkodran Mustafi is an injury doubt, so this is a good opportunity to hand Pablo Mari, who have build up his fitness with the u23’s, his debut.

Prediction

Portsmouth are on an incredible run, especially in home comforts, and will certainly fancy themselves. So this will be no easy game for Arsenal following the trauma from Thursday night.

However, Arteta has since done a great job putting his arm around the shoulders of our players, to lift their spirits. So now it is for them to reciprocate that faith he got in them.

With this a potential banana skin we could be in for an entertaining night, with the Gunners doing just enough to hand Pompey their first home defeat of the season. COYG!

— @LaboGoon

46 Comments

A Nightmare Result And Performance.

Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg

Good morning to anyone with the stomach to be reading blogs today.

That was a deflating game and result on every level. No one, player or coach came out of that well, with the exception of the much maligned Shkodran Mustafi. Ironic eh? That’s not to say all the players were bad, some were ok without being good, but some were well below what we expect of them. The fact that the team and players did not play well, opens the door for hindsight experts to be critical of Arteta’s team selection, However, when I saw the team I thought that it was the strongest line up he could have put out and I was happy that he was fielding a team to make sure we progressed in what was a massively important competition for the club.

We started off slow, I suspect looking to control the ball and dominate possession in an attempt play a low risk game. Clearly that was not the result. The play was ponderous and risk averse, in short, boring, right up until the moment that they scored. They scored from a corner that was defended so badly, it beggars belief. After that we picked up the pace and dominated play. That’s not to say we played well, just a bit quicker.

Pepe, who has been in and out of the team under Arteta has shown some improvement in recent weeks, but last night he had a shocker. His decision making was as bad as I’ve seen it, he dawdled on the ball, often receiving it and just stopping still, giving the opposition an eternity to get into position and also crowd him out. I lost count of the number of times Ozil overlapped him and got into good space in their left-back position, just for Pepe to ignore the easy pass to him, dally on the ball or set off on a dribble into traffic. He has the quickest feet and the slowest brain, He dazzles with some dribbles, but the end result is so poor he may as well dribble down the tunnel with the ball. He is clearly very skilled on the ball, but I fear no amount of coaching will quicken his brain waves. Ozil himself was ineffective. I wondered why he spent so much time deep and wide on the right, rather in the central 10 position, I suspect it was so he could make the fore mentioned runs, but whatever it was, it didn’t work.

In the fullback positions while Saka had his moments, Hector did not, it was telling that he was the first to be hooked. It seems to me that Mikel is from the Arsene school of substitutions, in that he likes the players that start to make the adjustments required, rather than him tinker, of course the hindsight experts are given a open goal if this doesn’t work, and last night it didn’t work at all.

The end of the game literally couldn’t have been worse. Aubameyang had produced a late moment of magic  that should have seen us progress but a series of calamities saw us find a way to shoot our collective feet off. A reluctance to clear the ball, culminated in Leno gifting a corner in the 120th minute, a corner we conceded from , with Luiz appearing to just leave the ball . What a F. up. Then, to top it all, in the 2 minutes of added time, Aubameyang missed the sitter of all sitters.

It was a night to forget, all the recent positive vibes were drained away, and we are left , once again, in an emotional slump. Any European football next year looks a long shot, let alone Champions League. Arteta has a big job to lift these players over the coming weeks. We can help by putting this setback behind us as quickly as possible. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but swallow it we must.

 

 

34 Comments

Arsenal v Olympiakos Europa League

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Arsenal host Olympiakos at the Emirates Stadium this evening for the second leg of their last-32 Europa League tie, with the hosts holding a 1-0 advantage thanks to Alexandre Lacazette’s late strike in the first leg.

The Gunners will be in high-spirits following a run of positive results, more so after three wins on-the-bounce from the last three to now have extended our unbeaten run to 10-matches across all competitions since the turn of the year.

Mikel Arteta can certainly be pleased with how the players have responded to him to have a defined playing style. But he will also be well aware that the hard work only starts now as we head towards the business end of this campaign.

With the Europa still our best route to secure qualification for next season’s Champions League we may go with a strong lineup, especially with a relatively favourable FA Cup tie at League One side Portsmouth on Monday night, to not risk leaving things to chance against the Greek Super League’s finest.

Pedro Martins has already did a lot of tough talking to put the home side on notice and is very confident about his teams chances to overturn the 1-0 deficit: “This is Olympiakos and you will see that in London. I believe in this team […]. I believe we can win at Arsenal.”

Following their loss to Arsenal last Thursday, their only defeat from their last 19 matches in all competitions, they beat PAOK in a top-of-the-table league match over the weekend, to make it four wins from their last five matches in all competitions, and it’s on the back of that they head into London.

However, the visitors got a rep for being poor travellers outside Greece; having lost 10 of their last 11 abroad in European competition, excluding qualifiers. So they will have to do something special if they want to turn this tie around. That being said; the last time they visited the Emirates was on the 29 September 2015 and they ran out 3-2 winners. A similar result would see them advance to the last-16 at our expense.

Team News

Arsenal’s win against Everton came at a cost with Sead Kolašinac forced off the field with a shoulder injury that could keep him out for quite some time. Kieran Tierney is back in training though, but only expected to make his return on Monday night at Fratton Park.

Lacazette stayed on the bench on Sunday against the Toffees, so he should be fresh to lead the attack.

Lucas Torreira and Mesut Özil, who didn’t make the flight to Greece, are both available for selection, as is Sokratis who picked up a knock late in that match.

Prediction

The Gunners will be looking to keep the current momentum going in front of the Emirates faithful and will certainly feel upbeat after last week’s result. Although a slim lead, it will allow them some comfort to dictate the pace of the game, sit a bit deeper than usual to allow the Greeks coming at them, which in turn will give them chances on the break. Certainly a game Granit Xhaka can thrive in with those stunning lobs over the top. Ergo I predict a hard-fought close win for the home side. COYG!

@LaboGoon