Arsenal: The Green Shoots of April


Good Morning Positivistas,

What a gorgeous Spring morning. Little lambs gambolling happily and noisily in the field, scurrying packs of ducklings on the river bank. Hullo clouds, Hullo sky.

As you can probably tell it is my last day before the annual retreat to the Hebrides – and my mood is rather good.

And to send me northward we were treated to a sumptuous footballing display last night against the ‘Ammers. 3-0 may have been the official score but if it had been 5-6-7-0 then the visitors could have had no serious complaint. As Shankly quipped “they were lucky to get nil”. The unusual thing about our three goals was they all went in the same spot, low to Randolph’s right.

We saw on Sunday confidence seeping back into our players against Citeh. No sudden upswing, just a little more assured, less hesitant. The recent domestic and European misfortunes had clearly dented their belief in themselves. Last night that improvement moved on a further pace. Ozil had his best game, in terms of influence and involvement for three months. It was Mesut’s snap shot that undid what had been, up to then a good night for Randolph.

The recent boo boys target Sanchez had a very good evening, working like clockwork with the German maestro and chipping in two of the sweetest balls to Danny and Hector that I have seen this season. We saw Granit last night also hitting some sweet passes, again the Swiss played (to my eye) like man with a weight lifted from his shoulders. Much praise has been aimed at the Elneny and Xhaka combination last night. A little early to say yet but two tall, long legged central midfield players ( neither of whom is the new Vieira), both comfortable on the ball, certainly did for the ‘Ammers.

Going forward therefore we were totally dominant then but spare a thought for the lads at the back. Andy Carroll has a reputation for success against Arsenal, with his biff-bash-bang style unsettling even the smooth Koscielny in seasons gone past. With Kosc out and our third string keeper in last night Oor Andy must have fancied his chances. But no – not at all. Last night the pony tailed one received just as much stick as he handed out, courtesy of Gabriel. It seemed to me every time Carroll was in the air or challenging for the ball that Gabriel was all over him. At one point in fact he was through the back of him. It is good to know that an opposition striker went home with a few bruises for once. Martinez had one serious save to make all night. Says it all.

For the team from the London Stadium, soon to be the Vodafone Stadium apparently, a fifth defeat on the trot. Bilic tight lipped, relegation looms. What a shambles that enterprise is turning into.

Poor night for Martin Atkinson. Evidently he had set out not to award a penalty no matter what and resolutely stuck to his guns. Let the cameras roll.

For those of you who cannot stomach the MSM I can save you the bother and we are now “officially” back in the hunt for a Champions League place, as though we were ever out of it ? Liverpool and Citeh obliged us last night. With games in hand and the confidence flowing I rather fancy the game at Selhurst Park to be a opportunity for reeling them in some more rather than an obstacle.

Enjoy your Thursday.

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75 comments on “Arsenal: The Green Shoots of April

  1. Rich, no it is Wenger dithering or being tight, nothing to do with financial inducements to Agents


  2. Urgh. Are we all at stage we can admit that git Alli is a very good player yet?

    Think we need him and Kane to move on before normal Spurs service can resume.

    Shame is they seem to like it there and aren’t likely to be in the hurry foreign lads of similar quality would be to get bigger bucks and a move.

    Might have to be patient for a bit.



  3. Sadly, no St Totts day this season.
    Still one out of twenty one is a statistical blip that can and will be reversed
    Alli is a,good player, but one indulged to the extreme by officials, cannot imagine our players getting away with what he does

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Be almost permanently suspended and vilified as a diver and cheat if he played for us

    Liked by 1 person

  5. no results going Arsenal’s way today


  6. We seem to have had a few weekends like that Ed…..ok last maybe mid week was not so bad

    Liked by 1 person

  7. AndyNic, is such a modest moderator.

    Being of a curious nature, I had to check-up on the Harvey family of distillers! It would seem that the current owners of Bruichladdich, had a Welcome to the Harvey family. I have to assume that AndyNic, is as sober as a judge and not a disciple of Isaac Walton?
    The whisky tasting and the fishing, is set in May of each year.

    It would seem that the Harveys’ that built the distillery, were ahead of their time, and subsequently the owners failed to agree. Consequently, the remaining Harveys sold out to a friend for £8,000, who then promptly sold it for £23,000.

    Back to the football.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I wouldn’t worry boys and girls. Spurs’ Indian summer will soon come to an abrupt end. They have a stadium to build and the costs keeps rising every day, from what I have read. Like any stadium-building club they will have to sell their best assets to keep their bankers happy. They will have a short summer to enjoy getting one over us for the first time in 20 years. Normal service will resume soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. we want our Arsenal back


  10. shotta its laughable the hype there is over spurs, they have not won anything yet, they might finish above us, and if we win the fa cup will it matter much to us if they finish above us in the league,


  11. Spurs are enjoying a perfect series of things going in their favour…..in some cases, to an unusual extent. In my experience, such things do not last , so can only agree Shotta.
    But, sadly, the WOB and media will get their way on this matter this season.


  12. Just reading the thick Chelsea fan one who once wore the shirt, but probably cannot remember it is predicting years of doom, trials and tribulations for Arsenal

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Graham’s Arsenal teams finished below Spurs in 1987, 1990, 1993 and were well behind them in (on way to finishing 12th) when he was sacked in 1995


  14. Spurs look like a team high on confidence. No wonder, decent coach, some excellent players, …….then, constant praise from the media, the knowledge that they can foul with impunity, like Leicester last year, they know that if they jump into a defender in the penalty area, they often get a spot kick…..they are reaching levels of Leicester last year and Liverpool the year before on penalties given…..then an unfeasible lack of red cards in recent years, despite some pretty thuggish play.
    Not all teams get this.
    It seems Spurs are this years plucky underdogs, a neat little ploy to make this league seem more competitive than it actually is, but pretty convinced Leicester are a one off…..the next winners will be a series of Utd, Chelsea, City……and Liverpool if they can somehow slot them in. We might join them if some oiler buys us of course, but Stan doesn’t usually sell, and the club have bought into self sustainability, cannot see them sacrificing that . But while Wenger is here, and the club stick to their values, we will consistently see the sort of thing Atkinson provided midweek…..complete tilting of games.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. As you’re all starved for proper football until Monday, here are some truly great (sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter) memories of two of our great legends…Rocky and Wrighty. Enjoy.


  16. Gotta laugh. Some chump at the Mirror wrote a ‘story’ about Mourinho bidding for Ozil this Summer, and supplied details of how Mou was unhappy with Real madrid chiefs for selling Mesut and how the deal to us was against Mourinho’s wishes

    Only prob was Mourinho wasn’t manager at the time having left months before.

    Didn’t recognise the journalist’s name, so maybe he’s some new hotshot trying to make his mark, or a work experience kid who has been stitched up.

    Where’s big John Cross when you need him, to show how it’s done?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Mandy

    Had a moment of doubt watching Atkinson yesterday. Another absolute howler when he gave a yellow which had to be red. Middlesboro Burnley- type of game I expect them to be absolutely normal in.

    So what if he’s just a human being who makes some rotten decisions? But then you quickly remember it can’t be that because we’ve never benefitted from one of his poor decisions, but suffer from them every time he does our games.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. He is certainly a very poor ref Rich, but he certainly does not appear to like us.
    He lets way too much go in general, wonder if he does the same in European or international games, if he did, I suspect he would be demoted quickly.
    I just get a funny feeling we are going to get to the cup final, with him as ref, I would not trust him against either Spurs or Chelsea,,being the type of teams that get away with enough as it is.
    He is a terrible ref for us, certainly in his performances, and sometimes….Chelsea…with results, just makes you wonder why we see so much of him….think the Italians had a word for it

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Mandy

    Unless they’ve changed protocol, we should be safe from Atkinson in final if we make it.

    Checked after you mentioned it the other day and he’s done an FA cup final already. Far as i know, they don’t do more than one.

    Riley likes to keep pool so small and overuses his favourites so much that you wouldn’t put it past him to break with tradition, I suppose.

    Anyway, semi first, and he may well get that!

    Looked up our refs for Spurs games the other day. 15 since Riley came in. Dean, Atkinson, Oliver and Clatt have done 13 of those!

    Other two were by Webb and Dowd. Guess the argument is that those four are the best and therefore the best suited to a tough task.

    If that’s the (innocent) case,though, it means those four keep getting excellent reviews for those games…and those of us who think they tend to be shit and perform badly are just…wrong.

    As I speak, Utd player gets protection (red for opposition) from ref for a challenge for what looked less than many a Utd challenge this year and nothing like as bad as Mclean’s the other day

    Liked by 3 people

  20. afcstuff‏ @afcstuff 41m41 minutes ago

    Takuma Asano played 90 minutes & scored twice as Stuttgart beat rivals Karlsruher 2-0 today. #afc


  21. Hope so Rich,,assuming we get to the final of course.

    Quite unbelievable, yet again, every single top four rival has won this weekend…..no pressure tomorrow boys !

    Liked by 1 person

  22. szczesny with his 14th clean sheet of the league season for Roma

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Stand to be corrected, but Think Szcz is very much in the running for the golden glove….in a country that is pretty good on keepers

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Arsenal would suffer ‘big damage’ if Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left
    • Arsène Wenger issues warning over player’s contract expiring next summer
    • ‘We must keep them all: Ramsey, Gibbs, Chamberlain, Wilshere,’ manager says

    Paul Doyle@Paul_Doyle

    Sunday 9 April 2017 22.30 BST

    Arsène Wenger has said it is essential that Arsenal secure Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to a new contract because letting the 23-year-old leave would do “big damage” to the club.

    Oxlade-Chamberlain is one of several Arsenal players whose contracts expire in the summer of 2018 but no significant progress has been made towards a new agreement with the England midfielder, Arsenal’s priority seemingly being to persuade Alex Sánchez and Mesut Özil to remain at the Emirates Stadium.

    “I personally think it’s vital that Chamberlain stays at Arsenal,” Wenger said. “We bought him when he was very young and built him up. He has a great mentality and a good football brain and it would be big damage for us to lose this kind of player.”

    With Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere also approaching the final year of their existing deals, Wenger conceded that satisfying everyone’s demands this summer will be difficult but he expects a deal to be reached with Oxlade‑Chamberlain before the player enters the final six months of his contract and becomes entitled to enter negotiations with other clubs. “It will be done this year,” the manager said.

    Wenger stressed he wants Arsenal to retain the club’s top young British players, as he believes a homegrown core to be an important quality to his squad.

    “We have to keep them all. Ramsey, Chamberlain, Wilshere, Gibbs. All these players we have to make decisions and manage to keep them together,” he said.
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: ‘England omission was kick up backside’
    Read more

    Other Premier League clubs are monitoring the situations of those players, with Liverpool known to be among the admirers of Oxlade-Chamberlain, in particular. Wenger is adamant that Arsenal should hold on to the player for whom they paid £12m to Southampton in 2011, just before Oxlade-Chamberlain’s 18th birthday. Despite the manager’s declared fondness for him, Oxlade-Chamberlain is not a definite member of Wenger’s preferred starting lineup, with half of his 24 Premier League appearances so far this season being as a substitute. Even the player’s best position is unclear, although his most recent outings have been as a deep-lying central midfielder rather than as a winger.

    Oxlade-Chamberlain performed badly in that position in the 3-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion last month and then underwhelmed in the same role for England against Lithuania, and injury made him miss Arsenal’s past two matches, during which Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka formed a strong partnership in central midfield. With the injured Santi Cazorla scheduled to return to action next season and Wilshere due to return on loan from Bournemouth, competition in central midfield is strong at Arsenal even before any potential summer recruits are factored in. All the same, Wenger says he foresees Oxlade-Chamberlain’s long-term future being in the middle and at Arsenal.

    “That’s always what I’ve had in mind,” he said. “I’ve played him there a few years ago and I think he did well. He’s offensive and you can feel as well that he’s a guy who can get out of pressure because of his dribbling skill. And he has penetrating skills and in midfield that is important. I find as well that sometimes on the flank he is out of the way. In the middle he’s more focused, he needs to be involved in the game.”

    Wenger admitted that Oxlade-Chamberlain needs to improve the defensive aspects of the role. “Because he has not enough experience in that position. He’s a player who likes to take the ball and go at people. He can lose balls but defensively he is strong in the challenge. He has that kind of robustness to deal with the body-to-body that is very important in the Premier League.”


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