93 Comments

Liverpool Away , No Problem.

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Good day one and all.
The Premier League clash of the weekend sees Liverpool host Arsenal at their Anfield Stadium in what could turn out being a cracker of a match.
Both teams come into this game on the back of two wins from their opening fixtures. Despite neither side looking in particular good nick, getting two from two is nothing to scoff at – the other 18 PL sides would take that in a heartbeat. The caveat however has always been that today’s game will be the yardstick.
Playing the European champions on their own patch would be a challenging task though, for any side – god knows we had our struggles there longer than we care to remember. Our last three visits alone saw us getting smashed by an aggregate score of 12-2. However, we did a bit of freshening up over the summer. So if we put on an encouraging performance and take points off of the Reds, our players and even the sceptics could feel hopeful that this particular *away match* may lead us to turning a corner – another heavy defeat, well, the rest of the season may be like déjà vu.
The Reds are currently on a 24 game unbeaten run at home in all competitions, that includes winning their last eight PL games on the bounce. They have scored 19 goals in their last six at Anfield (all competitions). So we may have to adopt an initial watchful approach to try negate their free-flowing attack play.
There are the lingering questions about our defense though. Can we defend deep, can we too be well-organized and tough to break down? Do we have the needed pragmatism to make Liverpool doubt themselves? This may be a cause for concern and deciding factor in whether to stick of twist.
Can Arsenal’s summer recruits rise to the occasion?
In recent trips up north in pursuit to go toe-to-toe with Jurgen Klopp’s side, we became unstuck by their gegenpressing. David Luiz, who was brought in specifically for his experience to tighten up our defense, will need to show that he can indeed provide the mettle needed for these fixtures. Both him and Sokratis can expect a busy evening, so they will have to hold their conjoint nerve to follow the game attentively, instead of rushing into things.
Dani Ceballos is a player I’m excited about. Okay, the hype around him is a bit extra and some use it to malign other players but that is not his doing. He’s still rough on the edges but did excel in his first start last weekend. He knows how to nick a ball in midfield and do have an eye for a pass. With more game time he’ll learn to release the ball a bit earlier, which would be something given the quality we have up top.
Our record signing Nicolas Pépé is here and is expected to make his first start. The glimpses we caught in his two cameos got our attention and it looks like we got ourselves a special un here. A front three of him, Lacazette and Aubameyang being served up for special days like these is what I’m here for. It’s long overdue that managers from the top-six clubs ahead of games against us think to themselves: “that Arsenal front three can cause us real problems”. You have to get the ball to them though. So hopefully Dani and Xhaka, who is back fit, can get on the ball comfortably to make those threaded passes to give our attacking threats enough space and service. I sure hope Unai Emery start those three together.
It’s been a while since the Anfield faithful saw their team lose at home – not since 23 April 2017. If we want to end their unbeaten run it will take a collective effort from back to front. We are in high spirits and I can’t see us going there to roll over.
Turn in a professional performance and leave it all out out there on the pitch… and we can all look forward to the rest of the season with renewed optimism.
@LaboGoon
125 Comments

Arsenal Players > Arsenal Performance

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A lot like last week, many of our players had good games and yet the team played some turgid stuff. We dominated possession and yet made few chances. I’ve long said that scores mask performances and this is yet another example. I can’t think of a single Arsenal player that wasn’t decent, but our team play was laboured and uninspiring.

We eventually won the game when Ceballos stuck our a foot and the ball fell in Aubameyang’s path, he then did his Aubameyang thing and scored a brilliant goal. Just like last week we relied on a moment of individual genius rather than cohesive team play.

Again, I feel mean spirited, given we won and have 6 points from our opening 2 games, but eventually, results will reflect performances.

I thought Ceballos was excellent and Luiz added much. Pepe looked like he could add a lot but ultimately fluffed his best line when he played a really poor ball behind Aubameyang , when a decent ball into his path would have been a tap in.

I have to give Mike Dean a mention as he was at his incompetent worst. He allowed Burnley players free hits after the ball had gone and punished us for the mildest infringement at every opportunity.

Now don’t get me wrong, we have been the better team in both games and deserved the points, but only bod just.

66 Comments

Will We See Some Swagger vs Burnley?

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during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on August 25, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.

Good day and all.
Arsenal got their Premier League campaign underway with a winning start against Newcastle last Sunday. This afternoon we are going at it again… hosting Burnley at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners weren’t at their best up Upon Tyne eh; had a hairy moment or two but being the first game and all the Magpies just couldn’t find the back of the net. Likewise we could’ve scored one or two more but for unfamiliarity within a matchday XI, blended with youth and experience, and an initial touch in the attacking third not quite there yet.
My point is I don’t think we ought to read too much into the performance of a side missing quite a few expected to be the backbone of this seasons campaign, but rather take comforts of an away clean sheet and not showing the defensive underbelly so often derided for.
Burnley endured a run of poor results on the back of a European jaunt at the start of their PL campaign last season. However, this time they got off to a perfect start with an impressive 3-0 victory against Southampton at Turf Moor. A win they will take great confidence from building up to today, if one takes into account they scored 15 goals in a five game pre-season winning run prior to that. While they would like to maintain that momentum, Sean Dyche wouldn’t mistake them for Brazil 1970 as he is well aware that the Clarets doesn’t have a pretty head-to-head record against the Gunners.
Since bringing his side up to the PL he is yet to win a single point against us – in fact the last time Burnley beat Arsenal was over four decades ago. They also got a recurring trend of shipping goals at the Emirates; while conceding on average one goal/game at Turf Moor, they leak three on average at the Ems. One player that would be licking his chops for this fixture is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Since signing for the Gunners he has faced them three times, scoring a brace in each match.
With that in mind it’s unlikely that the Clarets will “have a go”, but rather opt to be well organised wanting to make things difficult for us with two banks of four, while patiently waiting to play it long or over the top whenever possible.
One of our drawbacks last term was that too often we allowed the opposition to play in our half, which in turn let them grow into games. This is something we need to minimise because the Clarets are a side that if you give them a bit, they can turn it into imposing bursts that will make you doubt yourselves. Ergo we should try put them on the backfoot from the onset and not leave things too late.
Unai Emery got himself a headache this week with Lacazette, David Luiz, Ceballos, Torreira, Pépé and even Özil and Kolasinac all reported to be available for selection, while there’s concerns over the fitness of Xhaka who suffers with back pains.
Whomever gets the nod, all eyes will be on our shimmering attack to see if give a good account of themselves ahead of tougher opponents in our next two league games.
Both sides will want to maintain their winning starts so this could be a tricky encounter, considering Arsenal will make quite a few changes and Burnley, well, Sean Dyche must be thinking “they have to crack some time”.
With the cheer that followed our transfer window starting to simmer down the Emirates faithful are anticipating a good campaign with better football compared to last season. So fingers crossed to Gunners give us all much to happy about.
@LaboGoon
98 Comments

Poor Game, Great Start!

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A hard fought 1-0 win has us leaving our first away game with all 3 points and a clean sheet. I know, A CLEAN SHEET, imagine that?

Given how many of our better players were unavailable ,for one reason or another, and given our poor away form in recent years, that was a very good result.

I have watched the game twice now and I have to say that no one had a bad game, and some had quite a good game. Of course the usual suspects (at least in Mustafi’s absence) Xhaka and Mkhitaryan came in for their customary stick on twitter, but I thought that although Xhaka looked a little loose in the initial 20 minutes, he was top notch in the rest of the game. Also Mkhitaryan did some really good stuff, but having done it he mostly messed up the final ball. For me this indicates that he is either short on confidence,or he is trying to hard, perhaps fearing for his place in the team,or at the club even.It’s a shame, because he is a very talented player.

The problem is, that given no one had bad games, and the opposition were poor, why were we not much better as a team.? Normally it’s a struggle because some of the players are having an off day, but no one did, and our team play was turgid.

I think the young lads all did ok, none of them did enough to make me think they will force their way into our best 11, but they don’t have to do that, all they have to do is let no one down when they come in, and they didn’t let themselves or anyone else down.

The team will look altogether different when Lacazette, Ozil, Pepe and Luiz are in it, so there is much to look forward to.

It would be rude to not acknowledge that Emery got a result with a much depleted squad, so well done him.

 

54 Comments

A New Start in Newcastle.

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Good day one and all…
Following a three-month furlough the wait for the 2019/20 Premier League campaign is finally over, with the mandatory promise of being better than the year before. Some of the usual suspects has already been in action as we saw both Man City and Liverpool picking up where they left off, and what can I say about our neighbours… Meh!
The headline act of the weekend of course is at the Tyneside’s St James’ Park where Newcastle United are hosting Arsenal for our season opener.
This the start to Unai Emery’s second season with the Gunners, expectations will be raised following an initial campaign that promised much but ended in a flurry. The lack of pleasing enterprise gave cause for concern but the club had a busy summer to try shake things up. We said goodbye to a few favourites and welcomed a fair share of new players.
Amongst the fresh faces many are excited to see is the 24 year-old Ivorian Nicolas Pépé. His 22 Ligue 1 goals last season, only Kylian Mbappe scored more, helped Lille OSC to second place, their best finish since winning the title back in 2010/11. If he can come close to hitting half that number in his debut season, it would help greatly to ease the scoring burden off Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. Another player many are eager to see is the youngster Dani Ceballos, it is hoped that he will inject some much-needed nous into our midfield.
Over at the Tyneside things hasn’t exactly been quiet eh. Steve Bruce is now standing in the spot of Toon favourite Rafael Benitez, whose departure was met with impending gloom. And he wasn’t the only high-profile exit as Ayoze Pérez and Salomón Rondón, who between them scored 23 of the Magpies’ 42 league goals last season, followed him out the SJP’s gates. These players were replaced by a 22 year-old Brazilian who scored 7 goals in the Bundesliga last season, he will be partnered by an aging and usually-crocked Andy Carroll. Who wants to be a Geordie?
It’s tricky to gauge what to expect today. The atmosphere at St. James’ Park is likely to be cold with large sections of their crowd not very pleased with their owner letting go of Rafa. Bruce will have his work cut out trying to win over the Toon army, while walking a tightrope.
Arsenal didn’t had an easy preparation building up to the start of the campaign. Few of those expected to play starring roles arrived quite late in window, some had to shake off knocks this past week while others have a cloud of uncertainty hanging over their futures with the club, and of course we don’t know how the safety concerns of both Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac , who were central in our pre-season’s prep, are effecting our squad who seem to be very close to them.
I guess today will just be about getting the first match out of way and of course taking all 3 points back with us to London.
Positivistas… the slate is clean, the canvas is blank and I think we can all agree that at the least we had a decent transfer window. I for am always looking forward to see how things shape up because going into any new campaign with pessimism just wouldn’t be helpful. So let’s get behind the boys, especially those youngsters who came up from the academy because god knows they will need it.
LET’S GO GUNNERS!
@LaboGoon
92 Comments

The Greatest Transfer Window Ever !

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At 5 P.M. yesterday I was quite pleased with our transfer window, Despite the upsetting news that Iwobi had been sold to Everton, I thought we had mad a decent fist of slightly improving the squad. Then the more twitter posts and blogs I read, the more confused I became. People were celebrating like we had won the Champions League. Claiming it was a 10/10 window ,the best window ever, Raul “the Don Raul” (ffs) had done madness.

I wondered what I had missed. As far as I could see, the only real improvement over last years squad would be if Pepe proves to be greater than the sum of Danny and Iwobi. We have lost Ramsey, the best box to box midfielder in the league, and lost our captain,the best center back we’ve had since Sol.

Let me stress, I think it was a decent window, I think it gives us enough to get top 4, but great window? The best ever? Madness? Have a word with yourselves.

Then I saw a post from Eddy and I realised that people were looking at the window with no balance whatsoever.

 

“Nicolas Pépé from LOSC Lille, Outstanding Winger with goals and assists or is it the guy who flopped at the ACON

William Saliba from AS Saint-Étienne, best young CB in Europe or is it the guy who is not yet ready for the BPL as he hasn’t 20 games in France under his belt

Kieran Tierney from Celtic FC, the rightful heir to Cole, Winterburn and Sansom, or is it an injury plagued guy from a one horse league that is about the level of League 1.

David Luiz from Chelsea FC, the experienced ball playing central defender we’ve needed for a decade, or is it sideshow bob, the cheating, diving disruption that CFC were only too glad to get rid of despite being under a transfer ban

Gabriel Martinelli from Ituano Futebol Clube the hottest young property in Brazil, or is it an untried callow youth from the 4th tier of Brazilian football

Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid, the star of the wonderful Spain U21 team, or is it the 23 year old who has failed totally to hold down a place in the worst Real Madrid side for a decade.”

God help these new players if they are not the world beaters they have been built up to be by fans desperate to justify their fascination with winning the transfer window.

We love a new player, right up until the gloss wears off and he becomes deadwood.

92 Comments

Super Fans or Super Chumps?

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In the last few years we have seen the rise of what’s know seen as the super fan but I think really they should be called a“pseudo superfan”. The whole notion of a super fan seems a total fallacy.

These people aren’t superfans, relativity shows us that they are a cog in the workings like anyone else. The idea of the superfan means (in their minds false identity) that they know the club the best, they love it more than anyone else, their opinion on the workings of the club is the most accurate and valid as to its direction and embodiment of values. They think they are the only ones who can dictate its policy and Politik, they think they are the Arsenal, and because they go to more games and spend money on replica kits that they could never wear any other way, means they are “the one”. Well sorry pseudo Leos, the Matrix was wrong about that too. Everyone is/be The Arsenal. To think you are the ‘one’ is a psychotic state and misunderstanding life, and how the whole interplay in sport (and life) works .

These people in one sense are the biggest parasites: Arsenal can survive without them, but they cant survive without Arsenal. They think they are the first, or the real thing but others came before them, travelling up and down and over seas and back again. Others stood on the North bank when there was no cover and at the clock end, when it really was the clock end, and stood in the west stand and stood in the side embankments ( always a top view of the game I thought). Others were at the Manor Ground, others at the Sportsman ground at Plumstead common, others at the Invicta Ground, and the terraces still exist in peoples back yards of that stadium as a testament, years before any idea of Invincibility (which is an odd one as they were eventually) and the social media enabling of the pseudo superfan.
And then the ghosts of the old boys who booted the ball around in the yards down at the Arsenal itself. Seemingly gone, but its not so.

All is just an experiment of what can be, all is just and opinion, that doesn’t ever cover the whole phenomena of what anything can be, how can it? How can it ever incorporate ever nuance or element of what makes the whole. Arsenal is now a global brand of entertainment, that cant be ignored, but screaming out loud, demanding from the club something back ( what kind of attitude is it that thinks a football fan its a customer???) because they think they hold some kind of authority is misplaced in its understanding of the game, and the relationship between club and supporter. Yes its more than that, but only because we attach our emotions and lives into it but there is no clause that says we get dividends.Surely we have to take emotional responsibility for this?
Some supporters don’t want to shout and scream and have a melt down because we’ve lost, although we’ve all been there, but to do it professionally stinks of more insincerity.What next, awards? Best fan? Best meltdown? Most money spent? Best transfer elaboration?
I like to think that social media started off as some kind of nice idea that could bring people together (how quaint and naive of me), now its a politikal tool for manipulation, perhaps its the same with the pseudo superfan? Seems that way to me. Those who have the way do not have the way?

What frightens me though is the power these people can wield to manipulate other people, vulnerable people- and as we have seen, and see daily, its easy to bullshit and lie and get away with it. Its bad enough with the established media outlets doing it.

The greater the sensation, the more pretending to be in the know, the more clicks. More clicks the more money and pseudo authority, and on it goes (fins concise statement sums it up the best for me, see his other posts).What right do any of these people have to Diktate? None. Fascism (authoritarianism) stinks and is really tedious and insane. Yes, they have the right of democracy and being in a liberal society to express themselves, I agree, but what about the ethics that enable democracy and liberty to survive? These are being exploited and ab-used everyday. They would deny this, but they don’t seem aware of their actions and the outcomes or what they are even doing. Theres a real lack of responsibility, all lost in “me me me me me”. And I want. Well you cant always get what you want.

So this leads us back to the ethical questions of the superfan selling their own merchandise. Is this valid or not? What if its directly undermining the players or club? Of course it can seem cool (sick) or on the spot but all things have a consequence, even if that seems uncool or old fashioned. Plus what if certain blogs & vlogs have adopted a tabloid and WR Hearst ideal: ” when in doubt ,make it up”? Seems then they are more use to the opposition fans/teams than us? What kind of supporter undermines the club? I don’t think anyone’s holy, but deliberately leading people up the garden path is something else, what place does it have in football?

And don’t forget this, for one to be on the idea of top, this needs others to be on the idea of bottom, otherwise all this doesn’t ever hang together. That’s why sportsman(person)ship is so important.

But all that comes spouting forth from the pseudo superfan are just opinions, not absolute statements. Opinions caught up in flux, lost in tomorrows winds, but we are always dealing with a legacy of some sort…what will be the legacy that has to be cleared up from the pseudo superfan?

Mills

For gf60.