Giroud Technique Sweeps Up The Greek




Kaliméra Positivistas,

Another good start to a Thursday with the glow of a memorable victory last night warming my cockles (?).

For twenty minutes the home side made a battle of it and stuck to their pre-game promise to try and take the contest to us. They created a couple of half chances during the period but failed to hit the target or test Cech. With no top, top striker they were not equipped last night to hurt. How very different from the Bavarians.

Commendable performance from Mr Rizzoli who faced down the intimidating atmosphere from the first whistle, as well as spotting a bit of work in the finest traditions of Greek theatre from Fortounis. If ever a yellow card was justly deserved for diving that was it. It set a good marker down for what the official would, and would not, tolerate. The possible high point of Olympiakos assault was the yellow picked up by Aaron which set off the jitters with more than 70 minutes to go at that stage. I was tense, I admit.

By the 20th minute we began go roll forward, retain possession, pick out accurate passes. The Flamster rattled the bar, defying his legion of critics who curse him crossing the half way line. Then Mesut got out his protractors and set square, railed the ball through to the Welshman, on to Olivier’s sharp head and the group was burst wide open. I see a lot of criticism of the keeper Roberto in the media this morning and that Giroud’s effort was a poor header to let in ? Looked all right to me.

And another goal in or around the 29th minute ! Have you see how many goals we score recently at or around that stage of the football match ? There is some physical/psychological dynamic at work there – it will take wiser minds than I to discern it.

We negotiated the deadly 10 minute pre half time period when we have a weekly wobble with no ill effects. We roared out in the second half, and by 49 minutes, with lovely work from Campbell the contest was tilted in our direction, the Olympiakos boat on the point of capsize. Just one smart save required from Cech around the hour mark and that was about that. After the somewhat harsh penalty award the home side played out the tie, as deflated as the crowd. An evening that started with such promise for them turned to ashes. They kept their discipline though to the final whistle and will be a tricky opponent for any English/Spanish/German club in the Thursday night Cup.

No Man of the Match last night, super team performance, from the back to the front. Professional, efficient and with flashes of excellence and art. As Olivier picked up his first hat-trick, the first of many in an Arsenal shirt I am sure, he earns the opening picture today.

Finally a little excerpt for your delectation that I picked up and retained from the mainstream media on Tuesday;

Asked this week for their predictions concerning the final round of CL group games the football experts of the responded thus;

Times writers predict which English sides will be knocked out this week.

Oliver Kay One. Arsenal.

Matt Hughes One. Arsenal.

Matt Dickinson One. Arsenal.

James Ducker Two. Arsenal and Manchester United.

Rory Smith One. Arsenal.

Tony Cascarino Two. Arsenal and Manchester United


Don’t give up the day job lads.


Enjoy your Thursday.

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97 comments on “Giroud Technique Sweeps Up The Greek

  1. Nicely summarised Andy N – but can you do it after a cold wet night in Stoke? Well, yes he can actually! On song and on point – as are so many of the comments that follow, especially Ranteta on Joel Campbell – a main post in its own right.

    Enjoyed the Telegraph’s “Apology” and agree with Andy N, I think it is (relatively) sincere. You have to wonder for how many others in the media the pennies are finally dropping. For AFC to do what they did in Greece with 7 (S.E.V.E.N) first teamers injured v a side having won previous 6 (S.I. – you get my drift) was as astonishing as the margin of victory, framed as it was by a clean sheet worthy of last summer’s only signing.

    If we can now use this result as a springboard to carry us through to January, we will be looking very handily placed for a final push on the Premier League. The returning, rested injured, will only add to the sense of inevitability that 2016 is finally our year.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I can’t help but think that ZimPaul would be enjoying Joel Campbell’s contributions very much indeed.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Ray Parlor just announced that he believes Arsenal will win this season’s title.


  4. We’ve had it then …..

    Just when it was going so well …..

    Liked by 1 person


    Arsène Wenger has revealed the latest team news ahead of Sunday’s game against Aston Villa at Villa Park:

    on team news…
    We came back Thursday morning, so we will see the players today. We have no injuries after the game.

    on Alexis and Mikel Arteta…
    [They are] short-term injuries, neither will be available for Sunday. No Arteta and no Alexis – who is the shortest one. The others will be [available] after Christmas.

    on Jack Wilshere…
    If you ask me if he will be fit before the end of December, no chance.

    on Tomas Rosicky…
    He is quite positive. He is running outside but not ready yet. End of January.

    Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20151211/team-news-alexis-arteta-and-wilshere#AmXkJfGzo7LuyVK5.99


  6. Darren ‏@DarrenArsenal1 4h4 hours ago
    It all started 129 Yrs ago today. Dial Square (Arsenal) played its first game against Eastern Wanderers and won 6-0.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Arsenal U18’s have been drawn away to Swansea City U18’s in the FA Youth Cup 4th round.


  8. Rantetta thanks for the clip. I could have sworn I just saw Arsene execute a tactical instruction after just 2 minutes into the game, something that experts told us he never did. Oh, I forgot! He’s been made to “change” cos the “fans” pressurised him into reluctantly seeing things their way, the stubborn ol’ man.
    I read a comment on another blog today and it got me wondering about of some of our fans. The commenter desired to punch Arsene in the face because of the statement he made wrt winter transfer in this morning’s presser. I thought to myself, what on earth is so wrong in what Arsene said that would stimulate such a feeling and reaction from this person? How can you dislike someone so much, especially one you barely even know?


  9. That’s the point alot of the anti Arsene feeling are illogical and moronic. People who have listened to false information and half truths for so long they actually hate the most successful manager their club (which they are supposed to love) has ever had. Perverse thinking line this always has me baffled but unfortunately their are alot of stupid people out there. There are also alot of people who love themselves more than any principle and are happy as long as they have attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Bespoke data gives Arsène Wenger a tactical edge at Arsenal

    Ramsey believes he is most effective in central midfield
    Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
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    Ramsey believes he is most effective in central midfield Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
    Rory Smith
    Last updated at 12:01AM, December 11 2015
    For months, Aaron Ramsey has been trying to persuade Arsène Wenger to give him a chance in central midfield. That is where the Welshman believes he is most effective, where he feels most at home. Against Sunderland last week, the Arsenal manager finally granted his wish and, in doing so, offered a rare insight into how English football’s oldest dog has started to learn some new tricks.
    Wenger had not been persuaded by Ramsey’s protestations. Nor had his hand been entirely forced by Arsenal’s crippling injury crisis. It was not a decision reached by emotion or impulse, but one determined by cold, raw data.

    “If you look at his Expected Goals when [Ramsey] is in a central position, it is among the best in the Premier League,” Wenger said.

    Expected Goals is a term seeping into football’s lexicon. It is among the most sophisticated measures developed by a new generation of performance analysts. It quantifies, essentially, how many high-quality chances a player or team has produced in a given game.

    That Wenger is taking it into consideration as a factor in selecting his side provides proof, too, that the man responsible for kick-starting the greatest culture shift that English football has known stands, once more, as midwife to the future. Just as he changed the way the Barclays Premier League thought about nutrition, tactics and recruitment in the 1990s, the Frenchman could be about to change the way England’s elite think about data.

    Over the past five years, England’s great powers have been locked in an intellectual arms race. Premier League teams have hired fleets of analysts, all of them sifting through hundreds of millions of data points on their own players and on their opposition, looking for the slightest competitive advantage, trying to find a signal in the noise.

    The likes of Liverpool and Manchester City were early and enthusiastic adopters of analytics, particularly as a way to crack the transfer market. For all their expertise, though, there is a growing consensus that it is Arsenal — in the words of one analyst at another Premier League club — who are at the very “cutting edge”.
    That stands in stark contrast to the widely held belief that Wenger was sliding inexorably out of date. Accused of being tactically unsophisticated, wedded to old ideas. The reality, though, is somewhat different.

    For the past two years, Wenger has been working closely with Jaeson Rosenfeld, one of the world’s most innovative, most respected sports analysts, to the extent that the American is now regarded as one of the Arsenal manager’s closest confidantes. Slowly but surely, that has started to influence not just who Wenger signs, but how his team play.
    Like Liverpool and City, Arsenal are using data to identify and assess potential recruits: Gabriel, brought in for £11.2 million from Villarreal in January, was the first signing who had been initially flagged up by Wenger’s analysts.

    Where the Frenchman is streaking ahead, though, as the story of Ramsey’s move into the middle demonstrates, is in using that analysis to change what he does on the pitch.

    Expected Goals is not the only metric Wenger is using. The 66-year-old described the “unbelievable amount of data, from every single game and every single day”, he now has at his disposal. “I have to select the four or five [key] pieces of information to be efficient,” he said. “We are really advanced in the way we work.”

    What separates Arsenal from their rivals is that all that data is their own, rather than being sourced from a data provider such as Opta. This is where Rosenfeld comes in. A former consultant for McKinsey, he established his sports analytics company, StatDNA, in 2009. It quickly gained a reputation for its advanced, intelligent work.
    One study, published in 2011, examined more than 100,000 passes from the Brazilian top flight, adjusting them for where on the pitch they were played, how far the ball travelled and the amount of defensive pressure. Rosenfeld found that how many passes a player completes in a game depends more on where he is on the pitch and how hard the passes are, not how gifted a technician he is. In doing so, he discovered a way for gauging which players were best at pulling off the most difficult passes.

    That brought StatDNA to Arsenal’s attention. On the recommendation of Hendrik Almstadt — commercial director at the Emirates, now technical director at Aston Villa — in 2013 Arsenal decided to buy the company.

    Unlike all their rivals, Arsenal now gather their own, bespoke data. Much of what StatDNA does focuses on collective running — how the team play when not in possession — and that has allowed Wenger to change the way his side work without the ball. It seems reasonable to assume that their improved form in high- profile matches away from home — from victory away to Manchester City to their win over Olympiacos on Wednesday — is not unrelated. Thanks to the quality of his information, once again Wenger has an edge over his rivals. Far from being the past, the Frenchman is looking to the future.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Dial Square, Im proud to say that Im related to one of the founders of that and dear old AFC. When the Chicken FC fans go on about Woolich Arsenal etc is always a compliment as far as Im concerned as most of my Mothers side of the family worked at the Arsenal and not in Middlesex.
    Re Wenger and the people that want to punch him, they basically believe that he is the one stopping them from the orgasm of joy (PL/CL).Such is the depths of unconsciousness in a highly competitive society. All I can say is that they dont understand all the myriad of elements that are going on each micro second, which are too complex for us to perhaps ever understand.What we see sure aint what is.
    The scapegoat is the cheapest passing of self responsibility in society, all are affected sooner or later by its machinations one way or another.
    Shame that we learn so much stagnant information at school and not how the world operates. Fear, always fear causing so many problems.
    COYG!!! And hope you guys are doing well after a might fine week so far.

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Quite so Mills: more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in their philosophy.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. FH: their words rise up but there thoughts remain below, words without thoughts never to heaven go…


  14. or even their thoughts remain below…


  15. Their offence is rank…


    But on a much brighter note, this piece from Adrian Clarke on Joel Campbell is well worth reading. His words on finding acceptance from the senior players are spot on: when I was a junior player we referred to the Imrans, the Arnolds, the Le Rouxs as the heavies (forgive the pluralisations, but this is a sports blog after all) and they made or broke careers – or rather, you needed to be a special player to win their approval. And if I had been more special then perhaps I wouldn’t now be quite as comfortably read.

    If we could see all, all might seem good.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Thanks for the link FH. I like Adrian Clarke, he always has an interesting view point. Strange how some sections of the fan base/media were saying that Joel was out of depth.
    To me that was bs, just a case of becoming adjusted to the fan pressure and getting used to playing on match day with the team (rather than in training). He proved he can do great things at the WC a while back, but Wengers great on close man-management and nurturing talent. I like Wengers patience with players even if many dont.Talent and stepping up and letting it come out are two different things, but I think he knows how to talk to the lads, and thats why they respect him. I would have loved to have played under Wenger rather than Ferguson. Wenger is the teacher that lets you go out and be yourself, and keep growing,whilst Ferguson was the teacher that you had to do what he wanted or fack off. Ferguson was the equivalent of ruthless bullying consumerism.”Next” etc. To some thats the way, but not for me.
    I recall in the summer that Joel thought about going ( whether true or not I have no idea) but AW really persuaded him to stay,knowing he has a role to play and a chance to grow with us. He has a way to go but I hope his confidence stays balanced and that he also stays patient and allows himself to let out is ambition on the pitch, then who knows how far he can go?. Joel could become one of the greatest talents we’ve seen in a while at AFC.
    I hope that Theo and the OX get on the score sheet against Villa, it would be good to get them flowing again.
    We certainly have a great squad. I look forward to all those injured at the moment coming back.Oh la la!


  17. FH

    Very interesting piece by Adrian Clarke and your invaluable comments above. We are priviledged to have such insight from ex-pros who have “been there are and done it”. I am one who was skeptical of Joel. I quite enjoy some of the footage from training sessions on Arsenal player and I think his demeanour has changed of late from someone on the periphery to someone in the mainstream. This is consistent with yours and Adrian’s experiences. I hope so. He is certainly a good player to have in the squad.


  18. Spot on Mills: there is an argument that suggests Chelsea’s problems are due to their manager forcing a blueprint on fine players, rather than giving them the sense of ownership and freedom which would maybe allow them to have progressed to the next level. And I guess it may be a valid criticism of AW that at times he has over-estimated his team’s readiness to embrace that freedom responsibly, and that he might have made things easier by insisting on a more formulaic approach. There was that sense last season that he realised he needed to help his players a little more, that they were needing an obvious direction, just as right now it feels that players are ready to make that next step.

    I was given this advice many years ago when I first started teaching. ” If you trust your pupils they will let you down: if you don’t trust them they will do you down.”

    I like to think that is what is happening at Chelsea.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. FH,thats a good quote about teaching. Its seemingly a knife edge to walk along to make things work, but perhaps its actually a wide ledge if you can concentrate and stay conscious when teaching. Wengers energy and love of Arsenal and dealing with the loons then dealing with the team, and transfers and media, is way beyond anything I could ever imagine.
    I wonder how hard its been for Fabregas to play under José? I can well imagine that José can easily alienate his players. But what good is that? When people are shamed or put down they cannot step up to their full potential.Of course Im sure Wenger can be highly critical and tough when the moment arises and that fair enough. But this group of lads can sweep the board if they can hold and balance. Really November was a tough month, we could be have easily been leading the table at this point. Still ,its an exciting league this year.


  20. One comment I remember vividly about Jose quoted from an ex player of his is that before big games in the dressing room he extols his team to win the game for ‘him’.
    He also takes all the credit for every win off his players.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. dc-points to directly to the problems at Chelsea at the moment! If José gets the boot, he stil picks up 10 million, then Romans got to get somebody else in, more milllions!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thanks AA. And Santiclaus/Ianspace for comments last evening. Also edu for info re Statdna and other posts.

    FH and Mills – Superb.

    It’s such a pleasure to visit these pages.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Lucky deflection off Toure’s shot earns City the home victory over Swansea moments after Hart had been beaten at his near post.
    Hopefully Bournemouth can follow on from their victory over Chelsea.


  24. Yup. Off the back of a teammate’s back and the ball loops over the keeper.


  25. Schneidy on the bench for LVG’s red army.


  26. “Hopefully Bournemouth can follow on from their victory over Chelsea.”
    And that’s just what they did! Only saw the last 15 minutes or so but if any team was going to get another goal it was the Cherries. United did create one chance in that time. Days are numbered for Mr. van Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. That should of course be “…did NOT create one chance…”


  28. AFC Bournemouth further pick apart the emperor’s clothes.
    A win at Villa tomorrow would be delicious.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Bournemouth now above Chelsea. Until Monday anyway – I think they’ll probably get a result at Leicester, although I’m hoping for the draw.


  30. I see that FH, has found NB69’s new patch!

    There is no doubt that Dennis the Menace, taught NB69 a very valuable lesson. Do not rip-off the hand that feeds.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Wouldn’t it be just wonderful if Watford pipped Spurs to the 4th CL spot.
    (I’m just trying to overbid anicoll5 in the wishful thinking stakes.)


  32. Louis van Gaal after the game on Sky Sports: “It was a match where who scores the winning goal shall win.”


  33. if Newcastle win or draw at spurs tomorrow, Chelsea would be only 1pt off relegation place.


  34. Wishful thinking Dk ?
    I’d give you the Watford pipping Spuds to a CL place as long as our neighbours battle their way to the Europa League final, only to lose the final and the auto place in the CL that goes with it.

    The intriguing vengeance is the season’s final game at the Bridge – 15May 2016 – against Leicester – and Ranieri perhaps still on course for the Foxes to have an excellent finish – and with the possibility of sending Chelsea, Jose and Roman into the Chsmpionship

    Fantasy I know – banned smiley

    Liked by 1 person

  35. MOTD or the other highlight TV shows mightn’d show it or even deny it but AFC B were ripping Utd a new backside in the second half tonight.


  36. After that quote, eddy, LvG is clearly a deeply spiritual being.
    Or full of shit.
    One or the other.


  37. dc – it looks like you are saying that Bournemouth are AFC’s B team.


  38. dkg the only worry is that utd will sack him soon and they could still be a contender for the title this season.



    Arsenal held their final training session this morning ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League game away to Aston Villa, with a plethora of youngsters in attendance.
    Alex Iwobi, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Krystian Bielik, Chris Willock, Julio Pleguezuelo, Donyell Malen, Kaylen Hinds, Stephy Mavididi and goalkeeper Matt Macey all trained.

    One of those players, most probably Iwobi, will be on the bench at Villa Park, with Alexis Sanchez, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Tomas Rosicky, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla all still missing through injury.

    Possible team: Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Flamini, Ramsey; Walcott, Ozil, Campbell; Giroud. Subs: Ospina, Debuchy, Gabriel, Chambers, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gibbs, Iwobi.

    Posted in Uncategorized on December 12, 2015 by Jeorge Bird. Leave a comment


  40. But for Glenn Murray’s radar Bournemouth would have been almost comfortable – no bleeding idea where van Gaal is going from here – clueless thrashing about in the net of fate


  41. I’ll give you the rest, an5, but Spuds battling their way to the EL final? That’s really far out (man).


  42. The first AFCB goal went straight in from a corner.
    Swirling winds on the south coast?
    Maybe, but not so much.


  43. DK
    It’s the hope that kills them.


  44. Paddy Power ‏@paddypower 3h3 hours ago
    Richard Pryor in Brewster’s Millions was less wasteful with money than Louis van Gaal has been. #MUFC


  45. If Spurs would stop being Spursy for just half a season, they’ll never get a better chance to cement a top 4 place than this season – at Man Utd’s expense.

    For Arsenal – a title shot beckons.


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