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Top-four Hokey-Pokey Goes To Wolves

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Good day one and all.
Arsenal is at the Molineux this evening wanting to get their top-four quest back on track against the Wolves pack of Nuno Espírito Santo.
The Gunners suffered a setback on Sunday as they slumped to a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace – ending a 16 match Emirates unbeaten run. The challenge now though is to get back to winning ways as a statement of intent that we haven’t given up hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
However, we will have our work cut out against Wolves who, for a promoted side, are playing with extraordinary competence and proven themselves worthy to compete against the league best – and they got a good home record to boot. They are unbeaten in their last nine games at the Molineux (all competitions). That is a run that include seven wins, some of which are fine victories over Liverpool, Leicester and United twice. Their last home defeat was against Crystal Palace on the 2nd January – imagine that. They especially seem to enjoy playing against the top-six sides as some of their earlier games this season include excellent wins against Chelsea (h) and Spurs (a), and credible draws against City (h) and Arsenal (a).
What all this mean is that Wolves will play the good stuff, something that usually will suit us but we have been struggling recently against Everton, Watford and Palace who all had a good go at us. And if you add Arsenal only having won two of our last ten away league games… there indeed is cause for concern.
We shouldn’t be too apprehensive though because the gulf between a decent team in form and a truly top class team is still quite significant. Defensive issues aside Arsenal always give themselves chances to put games to bed, our finishing just had been lacking even in games we got results in recent months.
Team news: Monreal, Torreira, Maitland-Niles and Sokratis (back from suspension) are all line to return to the matchday XI tonight, with doubts of Xhaka’s fitness Guendouzi could continue in the centre of midfield.
Going from seven changes to the line-up in one game to at least four in the next at the business end of the season with so much at stake can’t be good for team chemistry. Now I’m not taking anything away from Emery here because he deserves the benefit of the doubt for having us battling for top-four and in the last four in Europa while in transition. However, he needs to get the team settled because his tendency to tinker on a week to week basis could be a worry in the long run.
Wolves got some tricky players that has the potential to trouble and break down shaky defenses but we have to throw caution to the wind and just back our attack, because any dropped points now could inflict some serious damage to our top-four bid.
A win would see Arsenal back in 4th, above Chelsea and one point behind Spurs, with three league to go. Time to step up Gunners AND Gooners.
@LaboGoon
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40 Comments

The Great Mustafi Overreaction

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This is a comment Mills made , listen and learn. Again- Thanks Mills.

 

“If Mustafi is a pile of shite as Im told by aftv etc, then every single Arsenal defender ever, and probably every Arsenal player ever is a pile of shite? Strange logic? Non!

Truth is every player makes a mess of something sooner or later. I can list them off, or you can think of them yourselves. There’s been some big moments that went down the kasi, with big names at fault. Players are humans, not some AI bot that seems never to make a mistake. Notice in the AI of computer games they have to put flaws in the play so that somebody wins?
The history of Arsenal ( a considered process with agenda by humans) filters the subjective idea of whose a hero or villain, we then see endless highlights to remind of ourselves of good and bad moments, but these arent the full picture.

Humanity is at the key point of football, we hate the mistakes when they happen to us, but love it when it happens to “them”.
Mustafi is a good player, went through a fantastic period with us, then hit the wall and seemed to lose his confidence, which is a shame as hes a great player, and still can be.That will finish his career with us no doubt, but only because of money. Yesterday I thought , well he will be kicked out now if we lose, many players are bullied out of our club when they dont need to be. If the people who think hes shite at aftv then they should go out there and play at profi level, its a million more times harder than those people think. I got to the level below and even played with a lad who went professional and that was tough enough.
But we still need him (Mustafi) now, in this part of the season, but the mob want blood, they want to feel good, and Mustafi made them feel bad. Imagine how he feels, shamed and loathed. Must be big laughs. But the finger is pointing in the wrong direction, or at least not enough in all directions.

But why did the team give up at 1-2 down? The third goal ( poor marking) was the killer, and we had enough chances to make it three or even four. Mustafi is not the enemy or the evil one who ruined the day. The whole team are to blame and the fans too, they are also part of it all, and the typical reaction at 1-2 was to go all quiet and introverted, when the lads needed support.

aftv and people dont have the monopoly on opinions or on whats what, in my opinion.
I also wish people at aftv would stop going on about the “previous regime”. If thats was a regime then they want to get out a bit more. Closer to their understanding is probably that they cant dictate how Arsenal are run. And thank the stars for that.

Mustafi made a mistake, but so did our attacking players in missing chances and not converting, we cant have it one way and not the other? Theres no difference.

Sometimes I wonder, having watched “Our planet” recently if we football fans could also put as much thought and energy into saving ourselves psychologically and physically then our grandkids might have a better chance?

COYG!”

Mustafi is an Arsenal player, he does his best. Sometimes that may not be good enough, but no one should doubt his effort.

35 Comments

THE ARSENAL EXPERIENCE ROLLERCOASTER ROLLS ON!

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I dare not write the review because it would be very much against the spirit of Positively Arsenal,so our friend Mills has put pen to paper for today. Thank’s Mills .

First half was a bit slow for us with Palace taking the lead, on what promised to be a warm, hopeful, sunny afternoon with the Arsenal gunning for 3rd place in the table. Even at 0-1 down it still seemed possible we could win with Leno pulling off a great double save before HT.

Second half and AMN and Iwobi came on and things seemed to go out of neutral, and up a gear or two and Mesut scored, and the collective Arsenal heart got pumping again and the noise level went up a few decibels until another mistake meant 1-2 to Palace. At this point we seemed to go into a fog and wandered around the Emirates heath with King Lear.Then this was added to by Palace which seemed to drain all hope away. Bye hope.1-3 seemed a really shocking score line at this point. Nothing like a warm, sunny afternoon and feeling really frustrated and angry!

The PEA pulled one back and hope walked in again stage left, but Mr.Moss decided otherwise with some eccentric reffing, and Palace wasted a bit of time at the end and the Arsenal couldnt grab the equaliser.

I havent gone into the details as you were there, tortured either by watching it or listening in and therefore know what went on, if not Im sure you will see it later.Plus isnt that the point of the forum to the chew the fat deposit and its dirty details? After 41 years of supporting Arsenal I still wished I could be morel level-headed, but Im stuck in my early conditioning, sure is hard sometimes to be mature.
Oh well on we go, Wolves up next. It feels kacki now, but theres a good chance we will bounce back, and maybe Chelsea will slip up too. Got to love hope, its all we have?

COYG!

61 Comments

Can Arsenal Keep The Eagles Grounded ?

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Where has the time gone – just 4 more weeks left in the 2018/19 Premier League campaign.
Good day Positivistas.
The Emirates is where it’s at this afternoon as the Eagles swoop in for a visit to face Unai Emery and his Gunners side.
Arsenal have been producing fine performances recently and following progression to the Europa semifinals on Thursday evening, confidence will be high as they now turn focus to Crystal Palace with hopes of extending their winning run to 11 at home to remain in a good position in the race to secure a top-four finish.
However, we will need to get pass Roy Hodgson’s side who have developed quite the knack to make life difficult for whoever host them, especially the second half of this season. They lost just one of their last five games (W3, D1) and scored 26 of their 40 goals on the road. A lot of which is down to being good playing on the break in away games whereas at home they tend to be a bit conservative.
Now a lot has been said about the Gunners’ Emirates form where they got 44 of their 66 points. Only PL title challengers Man City and Liverpool boasts better home records this campaign but here’s the rub… the Eagles burst Pep’s bubble at the Etihad and it took a late a winner for Klopp’s side to ensure they keep all three points at Anfield. So we can expect Roy to again take the reins of off his players and ‘have a go’.
When these two teams met in the reverse fixture back in October at Selhurst Park they played out a 2-2 draw – the Eagles were awarded two penalties. It was a result that ironically saw Arsenal missed the chance to move up the 3rd on the league table. So today we have to make sure the opportunity doesn’t pass us by again as a win will see us leapfrog the lot into 3rd.
The Gunners will be in good spirits, having won six and conceded just one goal in their last seven games in all competitions, but they know they need to do better upfront with a few easy chances fluffed in that run. And with this run-in we got we have to be sharper because we cannot afford any slip-ups.
Aaron Ramsey (injured) and Sokratis (suspended) will be missing out and with Wolves away on Wednesday night, we can expect to see rotation from the side that took to the pitch at Napoli.
We are on a good run of form and know that only a win will do in the quest for Champions League qualification, so I tip the home side for a win. We need to stay switched on at the back though, the Palace attackers has a habit of falling over at the slightest of touches in and around the box.
Lets go!!!
@LaboGoon
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25 Comments

We’ve Got A Semi.

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Well how best to sum that game up? Perhaps that we played well without anyone playing outstandingly well? That’s not to say they all didn’t perform well, they did. It was a good set up and well executed.

If I take my tinted glasses off I would say that they had a stinker. But that’s not our problem.

Once Lacazette scored it was game over. Napoli had 70% possession and their goal threat was woeful. 20 shots with only 2 on target.

I’m not a fan of having 30% possession, but I can live with it if we keep clean sheets and win.

I think if we had kept a midfield 3 of Ramsey Torreira and Xhaka on the field we would have had much better control than we did. But we lost Ramsey ,I just hope it’s not the last we see of him.  His replacement, Mkhitaryan, was not at his best, or anywhere near it. Then Xhaka was removed and ElNeny, tidy as he is, is a step down.

On the positive side, AMN had a very impressive game.if we are going to persevere with a back 3, I think he and Hector are ample going into next season. I know he is supposed to be a midfielder, but you take your chance where and when it comes. I love the kid.

What is outstanding, is we have kept another clean sheet away from home, the upturn is coming just at the right time for us,i’m more confident of a top 4 finish now than at any time of the season. All in all it was a decent defensive performance.

With Aaron out for at least a few weeks it gives Ozil a clear run for what could prove to be a great end of the season.

Have a good night positives.

43 Comments

The Italian Job

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Good day one and all.
Arsenal is in Italy this evening to play Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo in the second leg of their Europa League encounter, holding a two goal lead as they look to reach their second consecutive semi-final in this competition.
The Gunners’ away form has been uninspiring making the first leg 2-0 not seem like much, but taking into account that we kept the Italian side from scoring what could have been a crucial away goal, gives us an advantage because as things stand the hosts need to beat us by at least three goals to progress in normal time.  Of course if they win the tie 2 – 0 after extra time the game will go to a penalty shoot-out.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side will remain hopeful though that they can get a positive result as they’re unbeaten in five European fixtures in Naples this season (W4, D1), with an aggregate score of 10-2, the last a 3-0 win over RB Salzburg.
Arsenal have mixed fortunes playing on Italian soil. They won five of their last nine matches, their most recent a 2 – 0 win over AC Milan in last season’s Europa Round of 16.
Both teams go into the game on the backs of league victories. Napoli a 3 – 1 over Chievo Verona and Arsenal a rather timid 1 – 0 win at Watford. I’m not entirely sure if we should read too much into our performance on Monday night. We took the lead early in the 10th minute and the Hornets lost Troy Deeney soon after, meaning, with the quick turnaround to our game tonight we didn’t really have to go full tilt, but instead pace ourselves. So a review of that match ought to be looked at as ‘job done’ because at this late stage of the season it is more about getting the right result than aesthetics.
Needless to say Arsenal weren’t the most pleasing on the eye in recent weeks but did win five of our last six games in all competitions, outscoring the opposition 10 – 1, and to get over the line tonight we could do with another decent defensive display.
The onus will be on Napoli to do it all if they are to turn this around, while Arsenal can afford to just sit back, soak up that vibrant Italian atmosphere and slow the game down while lying in wait to hit them on the counter. The Gunners just need to have one goal in them to open the hosts up, two goals … well … then they will have to put five past an Arsenal defence that has been resolute of late.
There has been concerns for Unai Emery on Laurent Koscielny and Lucas Torreira after Watford took bits out of them, but he did travel with a strong side to Italy, including Big Papa Sokratis who sat out Monday’s match due to league suspension. So it’s very unlikely the boss will leave this one up to chance and pick a much stronger side than the one that took the field against Rennes in our last Europa away match.
With Napoli being compelled to go for goals I don’t see this going to a penalty shoot out, because by playing offence they should play in our hands to open the game up and give us scoring opportunities. Our most important task will be to keep our heads and not risk getting anybody send off.
Now the only question is: can Arsenal do it on a Thursday night in Naples?
@LaboGoon
40 Comments

A Win Is A WIN……I Suppose.

 

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Let’s start with the positives, this being Positively Arsenal and all. We won away from home, got 3 very valuable points and we are in the top 4. Fantastic, Marvelous.

Aubameyang did wonderfully well on 10 minutes to close down Foster and was brave to hang out a leg and get the goal. It was real Emery stuff. So that was great as well.

Troy Deeney, almost immediately decided to show five foot five Torreira, what a hard man he is. He deliberately elbowed him and was rightly sent off. That was more than fantastic, Deeney is a prick.

Mesut came on for the second half and exerted a little bit more control, but it was just a little bit.

That’s about it for positives because ,truth be told, that was a woeful game from Arsenal. In fact that might be me being kind, dreadful is more like it. I mean 83 minutes against 19 men and we were by no means the dominant team. Well I say 11 vs 10, but I thought Iwobi and  Mkhitaryan barely added up to a man between them.

I’m going to say no more because the sooner this game is forgotten ,the better.