Arsenal: A stroll on Thursday evening



Good morning All Positives,

An evening we all expected to be an easy run out developed as planned. The Ukranian side had some ability and were fit and organised but never threatened an upset or even, unfortunately, to give our fringe players who stepped up for the evening a hard work-out. The half empty stadium  was a bit different to the riotous FC Koln riot opener last season.

I don’t think anyone in red had a poor game and because of that my eye was drawn to our younger players for most of the evening. I was pleased to see Torreira have a start and he did not disappoint. The game allowed me to see a bit more of the Uruguayan’s creative and passing side rather than his tackling and shutting down attributes. Even a cheeky free kick to test the side netting which was not expected!  In the few weeks LT  has been with us I see him a little sharper, a little more confident. Guendouzi put in a good 35 minutes as his replacement and his tackling has become cleaner and more decisive in just a few weeks. I  have no qualms about either, or even both,  starting on Sunday against Everton.

Our other young starting debutante Leno never really had enough to do to prove himself. If the German is indeed “good with his feet” we will have to wait and see.  Our keeper was a little unlucky to concede two goals in the closing stages but neither were shots that he was responsible for or could have stopped. Smith-Rowe flashed like greased mercury for 20 minutes. Our oldie new boy Lichsteiner performed wholly as expected, professional to the tips of his highly polished Swiss boots.

Four goals, all well taken, not too much sweat or drama. A solid Europa League foundation before we set off for our next fixture in Baku on the 4th. I can see our qualification for the knockout phase, and this group stage therefore being over before the end of October.

Enjoy your Friday. The weekend beckons.

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72 comments on “Arsenal: A stroll on Thursday evening

  1. Congratulations to Freddie and his team.
    As for the earlier of how Emery is doing vs Wenger, a very unfair comparison, especially at this stage.
    Emery will not achieve at this club what Wenger did through no fault of his own. We are a self sufficient club up against oilers, rival owners are maybe more desperate for PR , recognition, and acceptance than Stan, perhaps some of them oversee dodgier business practices and states than does Stan, the EPL and UEFA bottling FFP doesnt help.
    Bit Emery comes with a pretty decent pedigree, as do some of the people bought in during the last year. Raul, Sven, Burgess all have decent CVs. They deserve a chance and our support, only my opinion but am cautiously and realistically optimistic as to what the new team will bring.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Xhaka: “I’ve got a big role to play in this team. The new coach has made me one of the five captains, which is a great message from him and from the club that I can undertake responsibility. For him it’s important that I help us build up play from the back, that I play passes between the lines and that I help us to keep our balance between defence and offence.”

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  3. Ed, I bet that are still people now who’ll slag off the academy work at first opportunity.

    Definitely feel this is a very good spell, but hard to know when that started or who’s primarily responsible. Lots of people most likely.

    What a fortnight this has been for Danny Ballard by the way. Almost a clean sheet in what is apparently N Ireland’s best result at u21 level (in only 2nd game with them), 2-1 win away in Spain. Then two clean sheets in hard games, one with ten men.

    Haven’t seen any of the games, mind, but I can imagine him being prominent in all three efforts. Just strikes me as a proper defender who relishes the battle.

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  4. Rich, having seen Ballard at Emirates a couple of times I agree with your assessment of the young lad. Very promising defender. We can only hope he fulfils that promise.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rich, yes Ballard(who turns 19 tomorrow) is an up and at em CB, his is a story of great attitude, he was told he was being released by AFC when he was 15/16, a couple of months before end of the season, and he just kept working hard, and giving it his all and AFC offered him a scholarship in the end. He has since been given a pro deal, he was even the captain of our FA Youth cup finalist team last season and now plays regularly for the U23’s, he is not the most gifted of players, but you know, a bit like Pat Rice of old, he will keep at it, regardless of how he himself is doing, how the team is playing, or what the score is.

    There is a rumor, that despite only the 2 caps for Northern Ireland U21’s, that Michael O’Neill is considering calling him up to the full Northern Ireland squad, not sure if this is so they can cap him to make sure he does not change allegiance in the future, or if they think he is ready to make the step up for them.

    Over the last year Ballard has really impressed me, he seems to have surpassed Medley, at his point, and is filling out well, adding that power and strength needed if he is to step up to adult football. Something that at the moment medley seems to be struggling with, that and stamina in the tough games.

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  6. Kolasinac was back in first team training today

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  7. Passenal, good to hear opinion of someone who watched him in flesh and good on you for going to the games to support younger lads.

    Ed. His is a good story so far. Sure I heard he was so close to leaving that it was only really swung when someone dropped out of a game last minute and he stepped in and did well?

    Always harder for a young centre back to get early first team opportunities, especially at Arsenal level, so maybe a loan and a successful one at that will be crucial.

    For now though, I can be hopeful he keeps making the progress he has in last couple of years and we just might see one of our own, and a tough lad at that, come through at cb after all these years (suppose Djourou and Senderos the closest thing in last 20+ years?)

    Looks like Wenger and co may have been right by the way to give Willock the opportunities last year over DaSilva. Not that I hadn’t seen promise in Willock, but I thought DaSilva looked ahead of him at the time and more first team ready. Joe seems to be doing great this year and has clearly added to his goal threat.

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  8. As for my pregame paranoia this week. Nasty surprise Richarlison available for them. i hadn’t counted on them having a Carling cup game during his 3 game ban.

    Equally uneasy about prospect of Mina coming in for them. Feels typical somehow to see a player (potentially) return just in time for us, though I’m sure that’s mostly result of how much I focus on our games compared to other teams.

    Anyway, don’t think there is a bigger set-piece/ cross threat in the game than that guy judging on world cup. Quite simply looks unstoppable with the right ball, though good height at centre back can help contest all others…

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  9. Did a piece on “The PGMOL and The Disappearing Red Card” at http://uniteforvar.com/?p=1264

    Think I observed here or on twitter that it appears the PGMOL has instructions to not punish dangerous tackles. The data over the past 2 years is clear; the red card is an endangered species.

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  10. Weird Arsenal moment:

    So I put on Japans Tin Drum (my fav album ever)today on You Tube, and I hit “ghosts” and for some reason I look over and look at the comments. There was only one.Some forkin tool wrote ” Wenger out!”; this is one of the oddest experiences in my life with culture and football mixed.
    No worlds can explain how utterly bizarre this is to me. Those pickled pecker Wobs are bloomin everywhere! Is nothing sacred? Having listened to Japan for nearly forty years and loved AW for 22, never did I every think the Wobs and Japan would cross paths. Its like if you watched a vid of All creatures great and small of Yt and someone wrote “wenger out!” on there.
    No doubt these days if you go to some haunted house and words start appearing on the wall it wont say “get out!” it will now be “wenger out!”.
    I can just see it, some weasels sneak off and end up landing on Mars, and some tool has written Wenger out on a rock somewhere already… anyway…probably doesn’t mean anything but seemed worth sharing.

    (shakes head many times and wanders off into the gloaming mumbling about the Wobs)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Report – Greenwood and Coyle hit braces as Arsenal U18s thrash Norwich 5-1
    by jeorge bird

    U18 Premier League

    Norwich City 1 (Barkarson 40) Arsenal 5 (Greenwood 23, 44, Clarke 48, Coyle 54, 90)

    Sam Greenwood and Trae Coyle both hit braces as Arsenal U18s thrashed Norwich City 5-1 away today, with Harry Clarke also getting on the scoresheet.

    Coach Kwame Ampadu made three changes to his team, with Joel Lopez, Coyle and Folarin Balogun all coming into the starting lineup.

    Arsenal started brightly and took the lead midway through the first half when Greenwood got his second goal in as many games.

    Norwich then equalised through Atli Barkarson but Greenwood struck again before the break as Arsenal went into half-time in the ascendancy.

    In the second half the young Gunners seized control of the game, with Harry Clarke finding the net following impressive work from Bayli Spencer-Adams before the hugely talented Coyle hit a brace.

    In the midst of all that Matt Smith missed a penalty, but it mattered little in the grand scheme of things.

    Arsenal face West Bromwich Albion away next weekend in the Premier League Cup.

    Arsenal: Okonkwo; Daley-Campbell, Spencer-Adams, McGuinness (Alebiosu 78), Lopez; M. Smith, Clarke; Greenwood, Coyle, Cottrell (Flaherty 72); Balogun (Matthews 82). Subs not used: Hein, Martin.

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  12. From BBC live text of Utd match

    ‘My mate has a theory that the key to Sanchez’s brilliance at Arsenal was Olivier Giroud… you listening, Jose?’

    Ahem. Pretty sure it was Ozil who was the main man in terms of having a rapport with Alexis, though I remember a few good Sanchez crosses for Oli from left, including the back heel goal, and a brilliant Oli layoff for a Sanchez goal at City.

    Boy, Giroud gets a bit more credit since…around January though.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Rich I would say that one of the biggest criticisms of Alexis was that he never formed a partnership or understanding with Giroud, and when it comes to it, with Ramsey either.
    It certainly was Ozil that Alexis had an understanding with

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  14. Or Ozil had an understanding of Alexis. Not sure Alexis understood anything.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. well there is that too George

    Liked by 1 person

  16. My vague memory (already!) is of Sanchez looking for Ozil a lot and playing some good passes to him.

    There was one absolutely sublime ball to Ozil on the run, slotted away with applomb

    Think I may have even felt Sanchez looked for him too much at times, or at least that his attitude to passing to Ozil was completely different than with rest of players.

    Ozil of course played many a quality pass to Sanchez. No way have Utd got anyone to provide same quality final pass for him.

    Saw a comment- BBC maybe- praising Utd’s defence earlier, saying they had two banks of four deep and compact when out of possession, with Fellaini in between them.

    Immediately thought of Sanchez- how hard it is to imagine him dutifully being part of the second bank. That’s Mou life for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Unai Emery: “Granit Xhaka has a good mentality. He is giving us the performances to continue working continue playing and creating the future with him also in the team.”

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Carl Jenkinson is back in first team training

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Very wet throughout the morning but sun forecast to make an appearance round about KO.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. breaking into wordpress this morning

    Liked by 1 person

  21. new post up

    Liked by 1 person

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