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Aaron Ramsey-Legend-Midfield Maestro.

Today we have a guest post from Fins, now he forgot to include the cipher so you will have to decode it yourself. 

Ramsey celebrating victory against the big money team, Man. Utd, that he turned down to join The Arsenal, in his last game for The Arsenal against Utd.

 

I thought I’d sing my praises whilst he is still an Arsenal player.

Because he is leaving in the same manner with which he has represented The Arsenal and the values of the club all these years: like a hero.

 

Roy of The Rovers ain’t got nuffink on Rambo.

 

Those ineffable values that no one ever mentions.

You remember,and unlike other places here at PA people appear to have the footballs to be able to say it:

 

“To have a (first) touch of class.”

 

Which brings me back to Ramsey. Current player of the season, voted during the 2017/18 season when he played in central midfield.

FA Cup hero and legend, twice over, when playing from central midfield.

 

Therefore given his history I found the lack of footy chat online (but not in reality) about the best British midfielder not being selected to play in central midfield this season save for during a coach’s predictable season saving manoeuvre (Blackpool doesn’t count!) to be a strange yet acutely intriguing story. Predictable if you’ve been watching the quality on the pitch, which is why i was able to predict the selections we saw for these crucial games in advance during our discussions on the end of season form on Positively Arsenal. But as per the disingenuous comments from the Big Blaggers, a surprising series of selections if you have been avoiding the subject all season long.

 

This article is not a comment on Arsenal fans but a reflection on the online content generated by the Sports Communications (PR) experts(?).

 

You read correctly: Best British Midfielder, and has been for a time. I like to discuss the footy, so if you think Aaron Ramsey is not the best British midfielder of his generation then please tell me: who is? (Sterling is a forward).

 

And why hasn’t the best British midfielder been acknowledged as the best British midfielder?

Because he is Welsh? Or because he plays for The Arsenal. I refer you all to Gareth Bale. Thanks!

You’d have thought the professional storytellers, the Sports Communications gurus would’ve wanted to communicate or regurgitate or however it is they compose such musings on the sport. On the football? On the season as it has unfolded. There have been efforts. Sure. Weak, transparent efforts such as the following:

“I blame Venga for everything including not disciplining Ramsey”.

Such ignoble drivel ignores his consistent form in midfield in recent years save for a spell coinciding with his adjusting to his role for Wales, playing slightly further up the pitch with less defensive responsibility for his national team on a regular basis. He struggled with the continuous adjusting but not for too long as you all remember when you voted him as your player of the season last season playing from central midfield. I’m sure those who did can remember why. For I am not a cunning linguist.

The esteemed Blaggers & selfless podcastateers have avoided discussing what the larger proportion of Arsenal fans have been talking about specifically from mid-season: The starting elevens since the Liverpool Home game onwards. And the pressures on the coach from upstairs. Match day became an exercise in checking the starting eleven an hour before kick off because  watching their club force out one of the top talents in the league when there was no need is not what the Arsenal fans were hoping for when buying their season tickets last Summer.

When Ramsey wasn’t even starting or playing more frequently whilst Miki was out injured then it wasn’t the position or the football that was the problem that was keeping the highly respected football player off the football pitch.

The coach had a misguided preference of where to play Ramsey that he has now corrected. Hopefully for the rest of the season. This is not a critique of the coach, just an observation. He played Mustafi at RB which made me happy, and Mustafi had a decent game there, away at Spurs, until the penalty. Will he start at RB if Unai starts with four at the back for the Home fixtures?  I’m happy it’s not my call to make!

As you can all recall Liverpool under Klopp targeted the unprotected Ramsey early on in their recent visits, which is why his absence in the home match this season and thereafter became the ongoing topic for people that like to discuss the footy. The evaporating credibility of the blaggers may have been avoiding the subject but the opposing managers were paying attention!

There is enough evidence to support the appreciation that the Arsenal fans spent the winter wondering what was happening with the fan favourite, a player who is often the opponent’s key concern, the player they voted as player of the season just last year. Alongside the Ozil story, which alas is more then just a story about the worst year of injuries in Ozil’s career. A story linked to Ramsey’s. But this topic wasn’t  on the 24/7 menu over the Winter. Which is remarkable and therefore I hope no precious souls are offended if I remark upon it.

It appears that the selfless blaggers’ briefings didn’t include the footy. Only now in the last week have the self appointed voices of the fans dared to question Raul Sanllehi after the most recent debacle in the news. For The Arsenal football club fans our concerns have been related to the football and the impact that this management consultant has had on the football pitch over the course of the season.

From these un-credible sources we’ve also been treated to the nonsense that the player who just won the MOTD and Adrian Clarke MOTM award playing in midfield against the in form Utd has had to adapt to playing in midfield this year under the new coach. Which is why he hasn’t been selected in midfield. The position from which he was voted the fans player of the season last year! And from where he scored two FA Cup winning goals in the two greatest FA Cup triumphs of the most successful club in the history of the cup. Disingenuous tripe proffered in order to explain this belated second coming which normal everyday fans like you or me could predict as the season came to a crunch.

So we have seen and heard unambiguously toxic content from the Arsenal Blaggers, at best, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t laugh at the clowns pumping out this shite! Especially after the coach has been observed correcting his previous errors with this player. It’s also fair to say that the Arsenal fans do deserve better than this drivel:

The Arsenal fans deserve better!

It was possible during the discussions on the arsenal’s end of season prospects over the last few months on PA for me to speculate that the coach would return his best players to his starting eleven for the recent key fixtures, and that there’d be less rotation around the Utd game. It was possible to predict as he had to win these games to try and salvage his season and therefore it meant that he would be ignoring any pressures from elsewhere.

Early on against Rennes in the recent game we saw a classic Ramsey move. First he releases Lacazette with a long pass over the top, as the Arsenal win back possession from a panicked clearance quick play and movement from his teammates finds him space to feed an attack which he himself then follows up at the byline with magical feet to find the amazing Aubameyang.

With Ramsey’s legs starting to go after playing all the games over the last two weeks late on against rennes he simply stood still yet still created the move in partnership with Miki, who feeds Kolasinac who crosses for Aubameyang to score the winning goal. And that’s how an all round attacking box to box midfielder plays, like a midfielder. It’s not hard to see what Sven’s plan was with all of his signings combining with the key figure to knit the squads style and identity together.

Giles Grimaldi’s freshly severed head was recently stuck upon Raul’s resplendent trident now hoisted above Highbury House, joining Sven’s rotting yet still smiling face (Leno also earning the plaudits alongside his other signings as described above), next to the still gagged stump that used to be known as Ivan.

Staggeringly those who spent so long attacking the identity of the club previously for years and years and years have been schtum. No billboard adverts etc. Sports Communications eh?

Only this week have they dared to question the people failing to hide in the shadows who are now running the club. After Monchi, dropped his load, his suitcase at the airport, and ran as fast as he could in the other direction.

It is no wonder that Sven’s decomposing face retains that smirk.

The rebuilt team from the last two years is essentially Sven’s team which makes the forcing out of the two key players knitting the former great cup winning squad with the emerging squad an act that football fans won’t appreciate. By their silence the online Arsenal Billy Big Blaggers have given their sanction to further churn to come in the playing squad next season and the drop off in quality that will occur when Rambo goes. It will take some years for a home grown player to ever attain a similar status. If we are lucky. And Sven’s players don’t come wrapped with the same blubber beloved of Jabba Sanllehi. Neymar. Paulinho. Etc.

It’s been a fascinating account left on the record for all to see this past twelve to eighteen months of the divergence between the content from those who make money talking around the football 24/7, and the actual football that we’ve been watching on the football pitch. You all remember how all the blaggers expressed their embarrassing confirmation bias in the summer that Emery was going to be a gegenpressing fiend (which Klopp is not in the PL, as no team can do that in the PL…), even though the football on the pitch during pre-season was showing us something completely different.

I haven’t even mentioned Bellerin’s take down of AFTV Media. I give thanks to the always impressive young man who is far more mature then the previous Barca graduate  and who also expresses and admirably upholds those Arsenal values as turkey’s like the Billy Big Blaggers won’t be voting for Xmas anytime soon. Ozil this season is getting the same treatment from the Blaggers that Bellerin got from AFTV Media. Let’s hope Raul doesn’t have Hector in his sights too!

This PR driven coverage of the football and the footballer Aaron Ramsey reminds me of those people who blamed last season’s poor defensive form on, and I quote, “poor defensive coaching” and not upon having a one legged Koscielny and my favourite back up RB as the starting CBs. I refer the reader to the 18/19 GA column as objective data, no need to hear my precious opinions. You’re welcome!

Fortunately as an Arsenal supporting sports physio informed us during the summer on the Bergkamp Wonderland podcast, Koscielny would come back strong after a break from his chronic injury problems (once he’d gone through his pre-season in December). Probably to return better in form then when playing through all those pain killing injections last season. A great example that not all opinions or content online is rubbish, which therefore also allows us to apply forensic consideration to some of this edited content on events this season, specifically the Ramsey and Ozil stories, the big swerve around Raul’s spike fetish, on how to quantify the content that, for example, omits the career of Mertesacker at the Arsenal whilst telling us that Arsenal haven’t bought any good defenders in the last ten years. If Koscielny hadn’t got injured then both the triple cup winning CB heros would also have won the World Cup during their time at the Arsenal (that is not an opinion!).

Fortunately as the stories surrounding some pundits recently helps to highlight: for a fair few their primary job is in the employ of sporting agencies and super agents. Just like Michael Vaughan former England captain, now a Sports Communication rep and pundit in that order. Hardly a controversial consideration.

If David Pearce can make a reputation as a fine writer with work such as The Damned United, unlike say your Barnay Ronay’s out there, reflecting upon the role of agents and dodgy wonga in the game, unlike say your Barnay Ronay’s out there, then yes it is entirely reasonable to reflect upon the impact the agents and agencies have upon online media just as they have been shown to do on the BBC/Sky/BT couch or upon the back pages of the discredited rags.

 

-Q: What is the difference between a Takeover and a Handover?

A: Ask Ivan Gazidas!

 

In spite of the reams of gibberish that surrounds the sport it is still: a sport. With players like Ramsey, and many others.

 

All of this is to simply say thanks to George and everyone who has been helping him to keep this blog going.

 

Was it really a “great” cup winning team?

How can we quantify the squad which won three FA Cups in four years whilst finishing 2nd and 3rd? And how can we appreciate the importance of Ozil and Ramsey to this achievement alongside other key players in the squad and their specific importance at this moment as handover figures after the huge squad rebuild in 2017/18?

Here is the list explaining this achievement below. The greatness of the squad just passed is self-explanatory if you refer to the only two squads to have matched this achievement or come close to it.

Mertesacker, Cazorla gone, Koscielny waning. Raul has a lot to live up to which is probably why he’s been paying people so much wonga to focus on last season when the defensive numbers just weren’t there, and to run down the previous cup winning squad. I don’t deny anyone the right to be an expert in Sports Communications. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions. And this is the Record:

 

2018 Chelsea    Manchester 1–0

2017 Arsenal    Chelsea 2–1

2016 Manchester United   Crystal Palace 2–1 aet

2015 Arsenal Aston Villa 4–0

2014 Arsenal Hull City 3–2 aet

2013 Wigan Athletic Manchester City 1–0

2012 Chelsea Liverpool 2–1

2011 Manchester City Stoke City 1-0

2010 Chelsea Portsmouth 1-0

2009 Chelsea Everton 2-1

2008 Portsmouth Cardiff City 1-0

2007 Chelsea Manchester United 1-0

2006 Liverpool West Ham United 3-3 aet

2005 Arsenal Manchester United 0-0 aet

2004 Manchester United Millwall 3-0

2003 Arsenal Southampton 1-0

2002 Arsenal Chelsea 2-0

2001 Liverpool Arsenal 2-1

2000 Chelsea Aston Villa 1-0

1999 Manchester United Newcastle United 2-0

1998 Arsenal Newcastle United 2-0

1997 Chelsea Middlesbrough 2-0

1996 Manchester United Liverpool 1-0

1995 Everton Manchester United 1-0

1994 Manchester United Chelsea 4-0

1993 – replay Arsenal Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 aet

1992 Liverpool Sunderland 2-0

1991 Tottenham Hotspur Nottingham Forest 2-1 aet

1990 – replay Manchester United Crystal Palace 1-0

58 Comments

Arsenal Start the End Of Season Fun Run

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A fantastic result last night and a good performance to boot. The United and Rennes results have given us the platform for and end of season run that could be real fun.

Now I’ve been critical of Emery , at some points this season the football was dire and our best two players were nowhere to be seen, but it would be mean spirited of me not to congratulate our head coach for recent results. What seemed obvious to me, that Ozil and Ramsey should start together where possible, now seems obvious to most others, including Unai.

Our playing style has changed, we have gone from artistery to endevour, but recent results, and the way the players appear to be onboard with it, suggests that it’s a good thing. Ok, it’s not as easy on the eye, but if results are better, then that change is justified. It’s not as if it’s ugly football.

The problem many of us have is that there are people that can’t let Arsene go. Credit can’t be given to Emery without they disparage Arsene in doing so. We are told that a mess was left, but we then see our best team is made up of entirely Arsene Wenger signings. Then a defence of Arsene is seen to be an attack on Emery. Our respect and admiration for Arsene, Aaron and Mesut is formed from years of evidence, yet we are expected to turn on them and show equal respect and admiration for complete strangers. Well that’s not how it works for me. The new players and coach will get it over a period, if they earn it. It’s not something that comes with a contract of employment.

It would be great, if as a fanbase, we could all move on and get behind the new head coach and players but the same poisonous halfwits that went out of their way to make it almost impossible for Wenger and his players to progress, are now making it impossible for there to be any real unity moving forward.

The run in could and should be exciting and enjoyable, but unless we leave the past behind, both the good times and the not so good, it will just be a bunch of fans sniping at one and other from long dug trenches, that should have been vacated by now.

Emery and the players need support and we must give it. They are doing well now, any perceived mistakes should be put down to adapting and learning. We are definitely on the up. We can’t go back so arguing about the past is fruitless and disruptive.

So let’s just hope our best players play their best football for what remains of the season.

See you again soon.

 

 

81 Comments

Arsenal vs Rennes: Home Form Should Do It!

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A few days ago a chap calling himself  @arseblagger posted this:-

Now I have to say this fine fellow is easily the smartest and most entertaining of tweeters, so it’s no surprise that once again he has been proven right.  I recommend that we all stop following everyone but him, he’s pure genius.

Anyway, as he predicted, after Thursday night we could be looking at a sea change in our spirits and prospects for the rest of the season.

The display at the weekend and our home form in general gives us a good chance of going through despite the two goal disadvantage from the first leg.

There was great news on Tuesday when we learned that Lacazette had had is ban reduced to two games and is eligible to play. Also Mkhitaryan could be fit to play, although Papa will miss out following his red card at Rennes.

Predicting who and how Emery will line up is a pointless endeavour, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Torreira is available so whether we will see both, or even one, of Ozil and Ramsey is unsure. Personally I would find a place for both of our best players but I’m not the head coach.

It should be a great night as we will have to go for it.  I, for one, am looking forward to the game.

Being an Arsenal fan is a bit like being a surfer, one moment you are riding on the crest of a wave and the next you are flapping about struggling for breath. It’s a weird old season.

Ok, that’s it, I’m off to twitter to read the musings of the wonderful @arseblagger .

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Emery Played A Blinder.

D1UXZukWsAEv4y8

 

 

 

I think today we got a glimpse of pure Emeryball, effort and commitment first, artistry and style second,or even third. We will have to get used to it and in fairness, if we get three points, that won’t be a chore. For those that think winning is everything, Yipee, we one. Now you can stop reading.

Emery had a clear game plan, the players executed it and we got all three point. That in itself is great. We started well and United started very sluggishly. However, we could have been one down very early if Lukaku had not done an Ozil bounce ,onto the bar, when he should have been sliding it home.

We then got a gift when David de Gea stood and watched Xhaka’s strike go in the middle of the goal. It may have looked like a terrible error from the United stopper but in fairness to him I think it was just a freak shot. Xhaka struck the ball well from about 35  yards, The ball was flying straight ,and him being a left footer,  de Gea would have expected any swerve to go to his left. However, Granit had struck across the ball and it veered violently to his right at the death, leaving the keeper flat footed and looking rather silly. Unlucky for him, but great for us. As in some 80% of PL games, the first goal defines the outcome and this proved to be the case.

For the last hour of the game it was and even game but with United having most of the big chances, fortunately , they missed them. After halftime I thought we were organized and solid and Emery had great tactics in that he left 3 up front, which kept them honest and left us with a threat. Our manager has to be complimented for this as it would have been easy to introduce a defensive minded midfielder and try to shut the game down. But he didn’t and it was a brave for the second time today, the first time being when he started both Ozil and Ramsey. They both had very good games by the way.

Now, for the penalty. Many say it was soft,but given how Lacazette does everything to stay on his feet, even when he should go down, I’m in no doubt it was a penalty. Lacazette won the penalty and was down to take penalties, but he gave it to his friend and strike partner , Aubameyang, who dispatched it. A great bit of class from Lacazette but I’m not sure how well it would have gone down if Aubameyang had missed.

This was a fine result and sets up up well for the run in. But it was hardly us battering them. We could just of easily have lost, given the chances both team created. It was workman like with fine individual performances from many players,Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil and Lacazette all did very well. Oh , and Leno, he had a stormer.

Perhaps United were a bit off their game? Or perhaps we were good enough to knock them off their game? It’s always a good idea to look at the overall performance and seperate it from the score.

All that said, Emery got just about everything right today and we got 3 points against the runaway train.

Enjoy the win and the rest of the week.

 

 

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Arsenal Looking To Derail The Ole Runaway Train !

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With only nine more Premier League games to go the clock is ticking…
Good day one and all.
Arsenal welcome the resuscitated Manchester United at the Emirates who are continuing their mid-season turnaround under Ole Gunnar Solskjær with 15 wins in 18 games (D2, L1) across all competitions.
Both teams were involved in European action midweek against French opposition, but as far as results are concerned fortunes couldn’t be more contrasting. It was a night to forget for Unai Emery and the Gunners as their match against Rennes ended in 3-1 defeat, while United who won by the same scoreline for a win that would make Houdini proud as they completed an unlikely comeback from a 2-0 first leg deficit to beat PSG in their own backyard. They may still have to come down from their high having put down a marker for things to come.
However, focus now switches back to domestic matters and both coaches designs to deliver a place in next season’s Champions League.
Arsenal are on a 14 match unbeaten league run at the Emirates (W12, D2), including eight consecutive wins. Ironically our last defeat in all competitions at home has been against Manutd in the FA Cup. I doubt playing at home will be much of an advantage because under OGS Manutd got a 100% success rate in away games (all competitions) – played 9, win 9 with a return of 23 GF and 3 GA.
The defeat against Rennes should not dampen any spirits, we were in control till we were reduced to 10 men. In our last league outing last Saturday at Spurs we did well and by all accounts should’ve won that match. Now we are left with a bit more to do for an immediate turnaround; and with the firepower we got we should be more than capable of doing it. However we will need to keep our heads at the back because for the visitors Lukaku and Rashford are on a purple patch.
We will be without Torreira who begins a 3 game ban, but the biggest decision to be make will be who misses out between Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Özil, as there has been a reluctance to start them both. Ramsey was one of the stand out players last Saturday and Özil has been in fine form since his reintroduction to the squad. Maybe playing a more natural right back wouldn’t hurt as well.
A win today will put Arsenal in a good position as we won’t be playing another ‘top-six’ rival In the run-in, but Manutd’s away form can’t be ignored, which lends itself to this being a highly entertaining and season-defining classical six-point encounter.
Time for everyone to pull their socks as high as possible and push this Gunners side to line.
@LaboGoon
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Arsenal give us a night to forget

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*People of a sensitive nature should look away now as this blog may contain scenes of graphic violence and bad language *

Good evening positive people! Well I say good evening, but it’s hardly that. That my good friends was a poor result.

It all started so swimmingly well with Iwobi crossing in a ball to Aubameyang, who was some 5 yards out from goal, that was so far away from him it when in the far corner. Happy days. For the next 30 minutes or so we looked in complete control. Ozil playing some cute ball, one of which put Aubameyang clean through for a one on one, only for him to be wrongly flagged offside. It looked like it would be an easy night with a comfortable result, and then……………………….

Papa , with two yellow cards in seven minutes was given his marching orders. Personally I think the second card was a rank bad decision, he looked to have been fouled rather than committed a foul. Regardless, we were down to ten men and under pressure because form the resulting free kick they scored when the ball rebounded off the wall and was smashed home. We were under pressure from then until half time, a chance for us to regroup and make necessary changes.

Then the oddness started. We made no changes and Mikhitaryan continued at right back. The switch of play to that side was causing us all sorts of problems.

When the change came it was more oddness. Iwobi, who had been having a good game , was replaced by Guendouzi, who proceeded to be rather poor. He was being pulled out of position, bypassed, giving the ball away and jogging back into position. Poor.

Then Ozil, another of our better performers was replaced by Ramsey. A like for like that did nothing to fix the obvious problems on the falk, particularly the right side. Mesut was still creating and also helping out tracking back.

Now, it gets even odder , the next change is to take off Aubameyang and replace him with Sead. Immediately meaning we had no threat in behind or on the break.

I thought Mikhtaryan and Aubameyang were poor all evening and as I’ve said, young Matteo had a stinker. The defending was poor and our shape was weird. The two more goals they scored after the break were the least they could have expected.

Not one of Emery’s best nights, for me he got it all wrong after the sending off.

So we go into the home leg two goals behind. A big ask but not by any means an impossible task. However, we will have to be much much better.

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Arsenal vs Rennes (Whoever they are?)

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Hello again you positive Gooners.

From what I can gather there is a collective cloud of gloom hovering over the Arsenal fanbase today. It has nothing to do with the team or the club but the results in the Champions League, by Spurs and United, have not done the mood much good at all. Now we will have to console ourselves with a game in the second tier of European football, away at Rennes.

My in depth knowledge of French football leaves my not knowing a damned thing about them or any of their players. So if you want to know anything about them I suggest you read a blog written by someone who is prepared to pretend to have some knowledge of such things.

Given we have a “must win” game coming up against United on Sunday the team selection will be interesting . We will see just how important this competition is to Mr. Emery.

Looks like everyone that would be expected to be fit is indeed fit. So no worries on the front.

Lets hope we can carry on with our recent upturn in performances and come away with some sort of lead , making the home tie a comfortable affair

Enjoy the game.