83 Comments

Bon Voyage To The Real Mr. Arsenal

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So here we are , the great man leaves us at the end of this so far disappointing season. It’s very much in the hand of or players how the last act plays out, but ultimately even winning the Europa League will be no more a happy ending to what will forever be remembered as beautiful journey.

For twenty two years we have had the absolute privilege of watching a visionary transform Arsenal before our very eyes. We have seen the best of the best football and witnessed team after team, built and rebuilt, all trying to play the beautiful game in the most beautiful of ways. Of course it’s not always worked. We have had disappointments and calamities along the way, but even then, those teams were sent out to play entertaining and expansive football, that they often failed doesn’t really matter. The point is they tried. WERE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

Twenty two years of press conferences when we could witness the wit, class and brilliance of a man that quite frankly I found to be an inspiration, and I say without shame, a hero.

Arsenal will go on and Positively Arsenal will do what we have always done, support the manager and his staff and the players. If Arsene has taught us anything ,its that the club come first. I for one am going to celebrate that we had the man lead us for twenty two years. I will not be bleating about how unfair the end was, because it matters not . He will be gone and everything he has done for us will help us in the future.

His like will never been seen again, but we saw it, we have it and no one tan take it  away from us. the man is INVINCIBLE.

 

I was going to add some more tweets and comments from the comments section, but they are on my TL for twitter and in the comments section of the previous blog.

All the best people, keep your peckers up.

284 Comments

Arsenal: Sunday Tyne – below the line

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Good Afternoon fellow Positives,

Sadly, for you, words do not fail me after that excruciatingly disappointing result from the SJP. Be assured though – you do not suffer alone. We have not won a point since the turn of the year  on the road in the PL. Trust me every dropped point is a nail in my hand. I would however admit, looking back over those painful mostly Sunday afternoons, that we have not actually deserved to earn a point with some poor efforts.

I have not seen the stats for today’s game but I assume we had 75%-80% of the possession. And yet we lost, again, as we did in games in which almost exactly the same possession format developed,  at Bournemouth, at Swansea, Watford, we play well, get in front. We have better players than them, technically, probably fitter and more intelligent. We are confident, in control and then, and then, AND THEN – we fall apart and  lose.

I have read on here, and I have some sympathy, that these calamities are the defence’s fault, that they should defend better. Looking at the first Toon goal today, though not the second, I have sympathy there. It seems Rafa paid more attention to Shane long’s goal last week than Mustafi did. There is a lack of concentration at the back, I accept that. The notion however  that we must win games, in fact the only way to win games, is by keeping a clean sheet, i.e. relying on a defence that we know is gash,  seems wrong headed.

What distressed me more though is the lack of quality that we showed at the other end, in our attacking and allegedly creative play.  We had oodles of possession throughout, yet barely tested the Toon goal-minder Dubravka. In the final 25 minutes with Toon ahead I don’t think he had to make a serious save. What is the point of having “stellar creatives” (*Copyright Mandy) if we never get a shot or header on target ?

What to do ? Away from the Ems we are not a team at the moment.

We had no “Number 10” today, or  if we did I did not see him. We have Ozil, Rambo and Jack at the club, yet young Joe Willock had the job given to him, and he had no chance. He was eaten alive in midfield, in my opinion. Our creative output and goal threat, when it was badly needed,  was negligible today. And if we cannot score goals then on the road we are f*****.

Having got that rant out of the way well done to Mo Elneny today, another AFC Man of the Match performance for the Egyptian. 95 hard minutes in Moscow and he still looked like a Spring lamb today.

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Enjoy your Sunday.

 

 

 

50 Comments

Arsenal vs Newcastle preview: A right bobby dazzla gannin’ doon Rafa’s Toon

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@LaboGoon proceeds in a North Easterly direction in an orderly manner

Good morning all. Arsenal is travelling up North to take on Newcastle. Our away record may not be anything to speak of but we do go into today’s game in good spirit after safely navigating our ship 3 Europa games away (fingers crossed) from CL qualification, and off the back of a 7 game unbeaten run in all competitions.

The last time we played the Magpies, back in December, they were low in confidence, in the midst of a mid-season slump. They have pulled themselves together since and is currently on a 3 game winning streak and more importantly they are scoring goals – 6 of them in their last 3 games. To give us pause for concern.

The host doesn’t need to do much to be safe from the relegation trapdoor, however I don’t think they will leave it up to chance. Rafa will start this game with a point and at the very least that will be how he would want to keep it, by setting up a virtual trench on the edge of their box, to leave his boys with a chance to nick all 3 points right at the death. So I suspect this could be one of those where we’ll bite our fingers through out.

In recent weeks, despite our unbeaten run, we’ve got some criticism for particularly the manner of our wins vs Stoke, So’ton and the 2-2 draw vs CSKA. When looking at the bigger picture, and to echo to words of some from this PA community, one have to accept that we will not always play ‘champagne football’. Ergo there should be a degree of satisfaction in getting the job done even if you don’t hit the highs. Making it so important for supporters to keep on cheering to help drag our team over the line.

One team news: as the game in Moscow took a bit out of the players so we can expect at least the spine of that matchday 11 getting a good, well-earned rest before diving in head first into another congested schedule. Notable absentees could be Aaron, Kosc, Monreal and I think perhaps Jack too. Granit Xhaka and Pierre Aubameyang – who look like someone who will be a big hit for us next season – will be back, providing the experience in what could be a weakened side.

The atmosphere at St James’ Park is known to be one of the absolute best in the PL so we will be upon against it and I hope the away support to get drowned out too much. But hopefully the players will show great resilience to edge it.

Good luck the our team and all supporters watching the game from wherever. Fingers crossed for Harry Kane to be on the right side of the scoring sheet today. COYG!

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104 Comments

Arsenal and the Moscow Mangle

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Good Morning Positive Friends,

Quite a night wasn’t it ?Having watched the wheels come off various other clubs allegedly commanding first leg leads this week I think we all knew we were in for a tricky night in Moscow. I did not anticipate quite how tricky it might be. I went through the full range of emotions, all the way from from stupefied, dribbling terror to ecstatic, loud purring over the 94 minutes.  I remind myself that whirl of highs and lows is why I watch football, winning raises the spirits on  the grimmest day, and even when we lose there is a still a buzz of being involved.

Of the game itself ? Based on the final scoreline 2-2 and 6-3 on aggregate a casual observer might expect it was a dull match with a predictable result. Not a bit of it. Few Arsenal fans doubted CSK had “goals” in them and a fairer result from the first leg might have been 8-3. They had nothing to lose and they set about us as expected from the start. They have in Golovin one of the best young players in Europe. I suspect Arsene will have been making discreet enquiries last night about his plans. Around the young Russian  their support players were none too shabby either, and for all the fuss about the combined age of their back three ( 178 birthdays between them or some such nonsense) they kept us at arms’ length for long periods and it was only with Danny’s goal that we really opened them up finally.

Of our lads a super game from Mo, worked his socks off in the first half when we were under pressure, had a useful spell in the centre back line,  and still had enough gas in the tanks to play decisive through balls for both goals. Mo’s regular first team involvement in recent weeks has bright him on as players. His confidence is sky high and that contributes to the sureness of his touch and the accuracy of his passing.

Of our other lads Danny’s goal fest proceeds and his finish was top, top class. Rambo was another who worked hard when the home side wee in the ascendant, not to mention coping with a monster gash on the calf. And finally of notable performers who caught my eye step forward Callum Chambers, the right man who entered at the right time to do the job required.

Of things that did not go so well ? As we have seen before the back 3-4-5 do seen to develop the heebie-jeebies when they are attached early on in games. When their composure is rattle it takes them a while to get it back. Nevertheless when the game was in the balance from 50th minute and for the next 20 minutes Kosc, Mustafi, Nacho and Hector did stand up and see off the Muscovite horde. And finally Jack ? Who knows – as I read elsewhere this morning for a 26 year old he seems to have the physique of a much older sportsman. Plenty of games still this season for JW to re-kindle what was a good season until recently but somehow, on and off the pitch, he seems to have lost his way.

That is me done. The draw is at midday UK time fir the semi finals so no doubt we shall meet later to discuss the next opponent. Enjoy Friday.

 

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132 Comments

Russia !?!

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Arsenal tip up in Moscow taking a 4-1 advantage form the first leg. Well in a normal week you might conclude that should be enough, but this week in Europe seems anything but normal.

With Mkhitaryan out for the foreseeable and Xhaka tucked up in bed with a sniffle I think the team will be

Cech

Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal

ElNeny, Ramsey Wilshere

Welbeck, Lacazette, Ozil.

I don’t have much more light to shed for you ,so talk among yourselves, after all, that is what the site is here for.

Enjoy the game.

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175 Comments

Arsenal: Dancing and singin’ in the rain

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Good Afternoon Fellow Positives,

If you like your action end to end and of about 96 minutes  duration you will have enjoyed that game as much as  did. It is good to squirm on the edge of my seat, in a nice way,  until Mr Marriner thankfully put an even contest beyond doubt.

Of our brave lads it is a while since he has earned the accolade, or deserved the award to be honest, but Danny was on top form today and his three key interventions ensured we took the thee points. His downward clip to PEA for the opener was exquisite, a fortnight ago Danny would not have managed it. It has been a slow process returning from injury to recover that extra half yard of pace and split second of mental sharpness. Trying to find game time in such a talented squad must be frustrating, but today the Mancunian was very, very good.

stream_img.jpgOf our other lads Xhaka and Mo worked well in midfield, tidy and combative. Cech chipped in with a couple of decisive 2nd half saves, and Hector and Reiss Nelson worked well together to stymie Tadic and Bertrand. I would have liked to see Reiss be a bit braver in taking open the opposition with the ball at his feet but a good hour nevertheless. Rob Holding came off the bench and contributed a useful 20 minutes at a time we were wobbling. The young defender  is not averse to hoofing the ball hard and a long way – Shkodran please note.

For the Saints I thought James Ward-Prowse and Holberg stood out. If their current employers do suffer relegation I cannot see either of them will be playing Championship football next season. If Saints had managed to get a point this afternoon it would have been deserved – but keep that quiet – strictly between us.

High jinks at the end. I thought Stephens unlucky to get a straight red. No idea what Mo’s card was for, according to the commentator “raising his hands” (?)

The bigger picture is of course that apart from an enjoyable run out against the Saints we rested a few key players, and set out for Moscow with a run ofstraight wins which does no-one’s confidence any harm. Life is too long to say anything definitely; always say perhaps.

Enjoy your Sunday.

 

 

 

54 Comments

Arsenal vs Saints.

06-HughesGood morning one and all.
Arsenal welcome Southampton to the Emirates this afternoon. When these teams met at St Mary’s back in December, the Saints made things really difficult after going a goal up 3 minutes in. They nearly held on for the 1-0 victory but for erstwhile Arsenal pin-up Giroud emerging from the bench to rescue a point right at the death. That now seems like a lifetime ago.
Over the last 5 or so years the visitors established themselves as a proper mid-table side, having more than just odd good game in them. However this season their annual yard sale finally caught up with them as they find themselves in the midst of the relegation scrap.
So with 4 PL wins overall (2 each home and away) and just one victory in their last 18 PL fixtures (D9, L8)… they will need to come up with something special if they want to climb away from the relegation trap-door. Sooner rather than later.
If I’m going to stick my neck out, I’ll say there will be no reprieve for them from their anguish. Arsenal come into the game off the back of 5 successive victories (15 GF, 2 GA), looking to have shaken off those jitters that had blighted us as there is currently a real air of self-confidence.
Now I know we are prioritising Europa but it’s also important to ride on this wave of momentum and be weary to not let our performance and intensity levels drop. Media reports around the club are currently better, albeit just, than it has been at any time all season, expert fans and certain “legends” are making themselves look more foolish each passing day and that’s how we should keep it. The last thing we need now is vitriolic nonsense as we take the scenic route to Lyon.
Caveat: respect your opponent and mother football won’t show your ass up.
On team news: with Koscielny having a yoga date, Mkhi and Ospina on sick leave and a short turnaround… I don’t doubt the Boss will look to strike a careful balance between freshness and rhythm in support of Auba.
We might see the same approach as the Stoke game. Saints had a week’s rest and will likely be very energetic from the off. Keep them at arms length in the first half and like a predator lying in wait, pick them off in the second.
Anyhoo. To all those ignoring Ian Wright’s plea and going to the game, do enjoy yourselves because through a difficult season the Emirates has always been kind. Everyone else watching from around the globe, never quit having the team’s back.
@LaboGoon