Arsenal and the early lunch

@LaboGoon at the head of an orderly queue 

Good day one and all.

Arsenal is travelling to the London Stadium this afternoon to take on West Ham United; after a mini break from Premier League action last weekend as the FA Cup took centerstage.

Ah… West Ham. That 3-1 win against them at the Ems in the reverse fixture started so many good things. Unai Emery’s first win as Arsenal coach. The first in the 22 game unbeaten run. Players previously jeered getting cheered as they seemingly were finally got coached. Gooners full of joy as they sing and danced, “yea, we got our Arsenal back, wooooo”.

But we know what they say about good things right…

Without getting into detail I’ll just say the last two days has been fun and we got our Arsenal twitter and blog-sphere back. Phew!

The Hammers is a bit of a conundrum. History tells they have won just once in the last 23 meetings (in all competitions) between these two teams, yet we never expect them to be pushovers. Which I think is an acknowledge of the quality they always had over the years, they just haven’t always play to their strengths. This is where Manuel Pellegrini is sage.

Following a slow start to the campaign the Hammers are showing reasonably fine form despite a lack of points to show for it. Their summer recruit Felipe Anderson has been one of their standout performers and Arnautovic can single handedly turn games for his team. Throw the experience of Samir Nasri in there and you got a trio that can have a real go at any team that appear to be defensively suspect, especially in front of their own fans.

The Gunners did well to get some confidence back by starting the year with back-to-back wins after a heavy defeat at Anfield, but we know we can’t stop now if we have serious designs on getting back a Champions League spot and the riches it brings, so we need to be leaving our hearts out there as we near the business end of the season. Unai had a few problems in recent weeks most notably defensive injuries, but has been handed a major boost as six players resumed full training and now for the first time this season he has a full compliment of defensive players, bar Rob Holding of course, to select from. Being without a PL away clean sheet all season and an away win in four games (2D 2L), hopefully the right corners will soon get turned.

I suspect Unai’s greatest section headache will be whether to start Ramsey, who has shown good form and confidence, and Özil who we will need battle read with matches against Chelsea, Mancity and Manutd on the horizon.

West Ham are playing good football and look easy on the eye, but they are not a soft touch so we will have to be on top of our game if we want to return to the Emirates with all the points.

This could be a very anxious game of football for both sets of fans as both teams won’t want today to be their first defeat of the new year. However, with both sides possessing players that pose an attacking threat, it would be a surprise to see either keeping a clean sheet and this game could keep up on the edge of seats till the final minutes.

All the makings of a lunchtime classic.

Comment navigation

Newer Comments →

147 comments on “Arsenal and the early lunch

  1. I’m no manager but.
    Hector, Papa Kos, Monreal
    Ramsey Xhaka
    Aubameyang. Lacazette
    Would have walked top 4.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ok, this might not be popular post, but I just ask to consider this: Ive just watched one of the main voices at aftv. If you stand back and really listen to what he has to say, spreading his gaslighting- propaganda, you can see perhaps one element of what really wrong with the club ,and to a degree society at large?
    A misunderstanding of economics(always gross numbers), the constant belief in a scapegoat, and the constant shifting of this prism to find a new one,the inability to understand the very nature of the game, the inability to understand how it is to actually play football, the intrusion of a ego that seems fuelled by greed, ignorance and intolerance, the ego that is only ever right, and anyone who has another perspective will be shouted out by dog eat dog attitudes-and football only has one element of that in its structure,(it still remains a sport) but now its bubbled to the surface in the same way starlets and non actors take over the golden globes and leave those who dedicated their lives and achieved something with it (for us!) in the shadows. Its the same in Art.Literature, I dont know, but have got similar cases. Tv’s in a strange place too, but I dont watch it anymore, or only occasionally, or through You Tube. That doesnt make me righteous, it just means Im intolerant of celebrity dancing factor tv. See Im full of prejudice too.
    The call to stop the revenue of the club shows how non-understanding these people can be(and has whats called deconstructionism, in it, to those who dont know, its the idea that a system has an element that will rise and destroy from within), and also democracy still means ( while we have it before we have Captialist dictatorship foisted on us), means people can buy what they want. And in any case those pointing the finger are the same, consumers, go look in their wardrobes etc.
    Wengers successes came mostly from not buying superstars, like the cheque book clubs. He revolutionised things, by understanding humanity, players, their psychological make-up and the notion of how to make a team work as a unit,some players didnt fit in, mostly it did, nice and smooth all things considered. And as always, many of the most vocal critics and nastiest of all remain oblivious to their part in this all. And they are a part of it. Instead of spoilt-brat banners what about more undying support? Banners that uplift and show unity? Not leaving the ground early, what about using the platform you have to actually do something to lift the team, rather than the endless posing as experts.
    They pose as the peoples voices. What a load of kack. .Will of the people. Bullshit. The will of bullies. I dont like bullies whether they are right or left. Bullies feel very inadequate and have a child-like view on life, but its hidden in aggression and this poses as authoritarianism and this seems a planetary Fetische at the moment .
    Even aftv’s reasoning on why Wenger departed is false. They see themselves as “the Arsenal” and they arent. Nobody owns the Arsenal nobody is the biggest or the best or most loyal fan. Kindergarten ideas. Everyone from the most consuming, to the old to the youngest to the least consuming, are all Arsenal. And the weird thing is so is everything else part of it, the Spuds the corner shop and the weather. No? Then whats in isolation?
    They react with such drama, as if its the end of the world. Sensationalism, jealousy to money earnt etc and think they can get out there and do better. Go on then. Ironically these people make a lot of money from Arsenal, is that ethically right? They talk of being a place for fans, but as long as long as you are like them, with the same opinion. And if you dont you get bawled out, not reformed by intelligent argument, but bawled out. Look everyone gets fucked off by losing but, my word theres some really serious shite going on in the word at the moment.
    Apparently the clubs a mess. A mess? When was the last time the Spuds or Liverpool won the league? When did the Spuds last win the FAC? I can go on, but its just relative. If the clubs a mess then why are the fans not part of the problem? Customers!? If anyone thinks they are a customer then perhaps its time to go to a therapist.
    It also wasnt a “regime”. My word, to have that perspective shows a paranoia and an inferiority complex. Im bored as I wrote last week about shambles this and regime that.Its just gaslighting. Im from a working class background, but Im not fazed by the false authorities, as everywhere (in all classes)there are systems of ridiculous hierarchies.

    Perhaps I should get out of the kitchen? Perhaps I was in the kitchen like others before they turned up. Perhaps Im related to people who built the kitchen. Maybe extending the kitchen on the green belt just for a quick fix of ecstasy that destroys the environment and ourselves is a damn stupid idea?
    Yes, all thing change, and its hard to see outcomes. But my word theres few places where you can see that unity and support really do create and atmosphere for growth.

    So I apologise for this, its not aimed at you guys. I know the counter arguments but sometimes other voices need to be heard to?That to me is the point of PA. Maybe Im wrong, how can I know, Im not able to see into the future about how this all works out. But neither can they, as the departure of AW shows, something they were a major part in instigated. Im not saying aftv should bugger off, in some ways its important, but they and other like them shouldnt delude themselves they are the Arsenal. Just like this is through my prism, and is also flawed.


    Liked by 2 people

  3. Couldn’t agree more George.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Has the Arseblog bloke got funding/connections with the Daily fail? Or other such shite? Started the Kroenke bashing full on. Agenda set by masters?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Despite all he did for the club, don’t think all was especially rosy in the garden in Wengers last couple years, at least in the league. Seemed to me like expensive players were sometimes underperforming, especially away, the style had lost direction, the defence had regular brain farts, the side at times looked unbalanced, of course not always helped by key players injured, lack of confidence, confusion, consistency was a problem, we lost to lesser sides, and there was Charlie Austin and his merry band of cloggers and journeymen. There was also January and February, and sometimes, March. And the PGMOL, though won’t be blaming them for today!
    Wenger seemed to favour some players, Emery others, sometimes different players
    Don’t see a lots changed to be honest, except we are told there is no money , at least until the summer. Our defending is still seriously substandard, especially away, up with the worst in the prem league. West Ham under pellegrini seem to have improved defending, why haven’t we under Emery in the same time frame.?
    I have always believed Emery needs time to get things right , he has stepped into a difficult situation that some allegedly wouldn’t touch, still do, but I do not see any real improvement from this time last year. Maybe improvement is not linear and has an up and down element, a few golfer friends of mine would certainly say so.
    Have no idea what is going on with Ozil, or why UE started this game with no recognised creatives. There may be any number of things going on we know nothing about.
    Emery will certainly be given a summer transfer window, and rightly so,but I would expect some pretty serious improvement by this time next year, and far more importantly, I strongly suspect those he reports to might also.
    In the mean time, all we can do is back the manager and those who wear the shirt, despite frustrations like today, frustrations that admittedly can look from the outside as self inflicted.
    As I posted earlier, this could be a tough , maybe at times, painful season. We are losing one player most of us on here rate, who knows, could lose more in the summer. Up against mature, settled squads with resources, some with the ability to get penalties almost at will atm, and with a legacy manager gone, was it ever going to be anything other than difficult?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Unai Emery was always going to be asked about Mesut Ozil’s omission from our squad for Saturday’s game at West Ham United – especially after we dropped points.

    Read on for his answers to those press conference questions, plus Unai’s assessment of our performance.

    on the performance…
    I think the result is a bad one. We lost a great opportunity to take three points and get closer to Chelsea and the other top-four teams. But we lost. We wanted to do a better match but we couldn’t control the match like we wanted to. Looking at the chances in the 90 minutes for them and us, I think maybe the result is not what we deserved. In the gameplan, in the control, we need to improve our ideas. We could not do that. We didn’t concede a lot of chances but we conceded metres on the pitch and these metres gave them a lot of corners. From one corner, they scored, and then the match changed. We needed to attack more and better but today, defensively we needed to work well. We created chances but it wasn’t enough to win. Maybe in the first 20 minutes when we created some chances, that was the moment where we thought we could win the match, but then after it was difficult because we didn’t impose all the things we wanted.

    on Mesut Ozil’s absence…
    We had enough players to win today and impose our gameplan, and impose our tactical quality against them. We also respect them and they have good players. With their supporters here, they feel stronger. Maybe for the bench, some attacking players could have helped. But I think we had enough with these players.

    on why he didn’t use Ozil…
    We decided that the players here were the best for this match. We’ve won with him, we’ve lost with him. No one player makes the difference between winning and losing the game.

    on understanding the interest in Ozil not being in squad…
    Yes, but I can say he’s working with us normally this week. Like I said to you, we’ve won and lost with him. Today the players who were here are the players who deserved to be in this match. We could have won or lost, like we can with him. We continue working with every player because they are all important, but today the decision was to come with these players.

    Copyright 2019 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well said marky. He has an agenda set by paymasters.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dave: my phone won’t let me like your post but I really liked it! And long live this place too. For the first time for years I felt unexcited by the game today. It felt so dreary.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. newcastle so far doing us a favor, its 1-1 at CFC early second half

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Right you are, George. Couldn’t agree more.

    Well on earth is Emery is trying to say Eduardo. Barca have lost with Messi, does that mean you don’t play him? Come on Emery. Just sell Ozil and be done with it, because this is embarrassing.
    Play your best players for the most part and play a settled team. There is next to no cohesion in the team…looked like a bunch of strangers today. And these extremely early changes every match. What on earth happens if we get an injury? Pick the right team from jump.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. well pauln71 I would think that Emery was never going to admit he got it wrong. For me having 3 fullbacks on the bench and not being able to find a place in the squad for Ozil is bewildering. Can only assume that Emery really doesn’t see Ozil as having a place in his Arsenal team.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. our next 4 fixtures

    Chelsea (H) Saturday 19th

    Man Utd (H) Friday 25th in the FA Cup

    Cardiff (H) Tuesday 29th

    Man City (A) Sunday February 3rd

    Liked by 1 person

  13. No hiding place for Arsenal – the battle restarts at 5.30 on Saturday. Thank Gawd it is Chelsea.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I wonder whether it is “under the bus” time for one or two of the lads ? I’m not a fan of punishing players but shooting one or two mind put a rocket up the arse of a few others. Players aside I presume whoever is responsible for coaching involving our defensive activity has been polishing up their CV over the past few weeks. Is Bouldy still there ?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. anicol I do wonder if, as it seems to me, Emery really does not rate Ramsey or Ozil, should AFC do everything we can to get both out of the club this Month. Are having them here, but not part of the team, a major distraction to the team, is it something that has put doubt in the players minds, with the players thinking both should be starting for us, and so when they don’t, they have doubts as to what Emery is doing. Both Ramsey and Ozil seem to be rated by their team mates, and well liked by them too, so when they see them sidelined so much it has them wondering, questioning. And I always feel you don’t want to have your players thinking or questioning.
    I could be way off, but if it is the case, then they just have to be moved on sooner rather than later.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. anicol if you were in charge of our defensive coaching would you admit it on a CV. banned smiley thingy

    Liked by 2 people

  17. A5
    Great optimism
    But could anyone convince the gaffer to play your best eleven from the start and don’t priorities defence.
    Give Ozil the free role to create chances for Auba n Laca.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Highly aggravating – CFC yet again dragging their rock over the line. Well ahead of us in that regard.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Maybe Emery is in a sulk because they won’t pay for Banega

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Andy

    No chucking of Xhaka under the bus here from me, but you reckon he was looking to head to a teammate for the goal?

    Looked like it, and obviously a really bad call if so.

    Maybe an illustration of situations where defensive teams will tend to do better, through repetition, practice, amount of focus on defending, or just being in a defensive mode mentally a lot of time.

    I took it for granted that even if attack slipped a bit immediately after Wenger there was near guarantee of improvement on defensive basics and focus. Not been case.

    Funnily enough, don’t feel like i’ve seen shot of Bouldy for a while. No doubt have but just hasn’t registered.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I don’t think there is any sense in getting Ramsey out of the club, even if we could, this month. Similar with Ozil if anyone could/would take him on his contract. Plenty of games to play this season and unless they were replaced immediately by new recruits they’d be no point.
    If Ozil and UE are at daggers, of which I’m
    far from convinced in spite of all the bollocks being spouted by the blissfully ignorant, there might be a chance in the Summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Xhaka’s form has been dodgy for a few weeks Rich, he looks in need of a refreshing break with the opportunity to carefully reflect.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. my point on getting them out of the club, is that having them here but not fully using them might be causing doubt in the players and if it is, then we need to get them out.

    for me the best option would actually be to have both in our starting 11 week in week out for the rest of the season.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. well anicol on the chances of Ozil and Emery being at daggers, all we do know is that in recent weeks Emery has said he has been leaving Ozil, not only out of the starting eleven but out of the match day squad for “tactical reasons”, that might not mean they are at daggers, but it suggests that Ozil does not fit into the way Emery wants his team to play.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I vaguely remember we had an equivalent session of self flagellation a few weeks back after Southampton and Ozil was brought back for the Brighton game. It did not seem the right opponent, away from home and he produced a lot less than I hoped for. He put in a great ball at home in a home game but it has been a grim year for Mesut, injuries included. I appreciate our German is seen as the answer, especially after a poor effort like today, but I can understand UE going the other way.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. AFC now 6pts off CFC in 4th, we play them next Saturday.

    Man Utd who play Spurs away tomorrow are currently only 3pts behind us.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. anicol I can understand UE not starting Ozil today, but to pick 3 fullbacks in the subs meaning no place for him in the 18 seems to me to be far too conservative and needless. We started with 3 CB’s, so to have 3 fullbacks on the bench, and only 2 attack minded players was odd tactical reasons.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Quite telling from a Mr Patrick Timmons on Twitter :

    “Arsenal’s record with Holding this season: 12 wins, 4 draws, 0 defeats. 0.9 goals conceded per game.

    Arsenal’s record without Holding this season: 9 wins, 1 draw, 6 defeats. 1.4 goals conceded per game.

    He’s not the finished article, but we miss him massively. Get well soon!”

    Liked by 1 person

  29. mandy we have 3 clean sheets in our 22 games,

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Unless Mesut being a bit crafty on social media, I’m not convinced about some big acrimonious rift to this point.

    Any time he’s not playing there’s the clamour and journalists et al saying it has reached crisis point, can’t continue, etc, and then typically Mesut posts something without a trace of rancour or anything.

    My impression of him is that he’s a sensitive, emotional guy, and he’s also got an agent who is not shy of going guns blazing when required…so it doesn’t seem to fit for me that there is some big falling out behind scenes.

    My best guess is that, yeah, Emery isn’t sold on him, but efforts to try sort it out are being badly hampered by fitness issues. If we take the fitness updates as true, and I do, we’d have a much clearer picture at this point had Mesut been available for all the games he has missed.

    Where Mesut’s head is, I haven’t a clue- other than those posts of his. Again, a guess, but most likely seems he is playing it by ear and giving it a year. That’s even more likely if he has had a lot of injury issues in recent months.

    I don’t see many of biggest clubs being after him at moment, nor anyone willing to match those wages if they are the reported 350 per week. So again, wait and see seems very likely to be his stance.

    I believe he truly likes club and signed contract with full intention of playing his remaining peak years here, and with hope of them being very good years.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Eduardo, bewildering is about right.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Think it doesn’t help bad feeling these days after a poor performance/ result that it has effect of severely knocking your anticipation or enjoyment of other matches- i.e. those of rivals. Chelsea game was just pure background noise/material for me, even at 1-1 and then with chance of Newc nicking equaliser late on

    This for those who tend to watch an alarming amount of football most weekends of course. Think for early years of Prem/Sky it only tended to be two games per week on television, with most of action at Saturday 3pm. So it’s a massive change. And then the Internet impact!

    Goes even further with me as it temporarily wipes out most of good feeling and hope I have for youth team/prospects as well. Not very logical- apart from some calculation of ‘shit, Ainsley and Iwobi two star youth players, and going pretty well with 1st team development, no mean feat…but does that bring joy if we’re not where we want to be as team? etc’- but it does.

    Anyway, it always returns in time. Maybe I’ll have rediscovered some football appetite for Spurs Utd tommorow, and will no doubt be eagerly awaiting fa youth cup game against Spuds this week.

    I am at that point now though where for time being I’m not looking at table until we gain at least some ground.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. “If only Mesut had played … he would have sorted Declan Rice out”

    Make your mind up about which players you want to abuse – the defenders, the midfield or the attack

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Ffs, just seen Mo Salah on MOTD, even swung an air kick to make it look more convincing!

    Liked by 2 people

  35. mandy is it 4 penalties in his last 4 games

    Liked by 1 person

  36. 4 pens in 4 for him (3 won himself). Only 2 less than we have had in last 60 prem games.

    I mean, it could happen legitimately. Randomness in game, luck, he is a very skilful player. Do we have any superb dribblers? But still…

    4 in 360 minutes versus (hang on, calculator time) 6 in 5400. Hmmm. They won’t stay 1 a game till end, but could be high; we may well stay about one every ten.


    Liked by 2 people

  37. Impressive Eduardo, almost reminds me of Vardy about three seasons ago, and we know how that ended.
    Hope Lacca is watching and learning from his technique, in the full knowledge he definitely, certainly won’t get booked for diving if he tries to copy Salah.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. https://www.instagram.com/p/Brk7r-TFdtC/

    Anyway, a bit of cheer, and change from talking about pelanties

    If I’ve linked it right, this poor quality vid has a bit of skill which reminds me of one of my favourite English skill merchants in my time.

    I don’t have strong memories watching him play, so admiration of skills mostly based on a few clips. Could hardly get my head around how you could get past a player like this. Based on clips again, Brazilian great Garrincha prob the ultimate exponent of this sort of thing

    Come on then, who could beat/ torment players like this?

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Rich, even when we had skilful dribblers, we got a max of 6-7 pens in the league in a season, usually much less than that, but 4 in 4!
    Refs should either stop rewarding this diving , or the FA should or just admit any contact in the box constitutes a penalty, meaning any contact elsewhere on the pitch is also a foul, however that works, or if they are really open and honest ,just admit certain teams and players get special treatment , for whatever reason, perhaps not giving a state sponsored team a cakewalk is sufficient reason?

    Liked by 1 person

  40. rich who is the kid in the clip with the fancy footwork

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Kido Taylor Hart is name I think. Played and scored early on for u18s this year but not scholar yet.

    Jeorge Bird mentioned him scoring today so I had a look.

    Few lovely bits of skill in the vids. In strange way some of the best bits in youth games remind me of (rose-tinted) good stuff from earlier era.

    Probably all to do with relentless speed of modern top level game, or parked buses which don’t leave time and space needed for many types of skill nor produce games with great ebb and flow.

    Or maybe we just haven’t had great dribblers for a while!

    I thought it was pure Waddle by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Mandy

    Interesting you went straight to Laca. He’s had a fair few good shouts turned down. Not sure he’s got one yet.

    It’s an unsatisfactory thing alright to not get them when, consistently, predictably, a defender has a really good grab of player or even gets them in a proper hold, with the pundit reaction little or nothing (‘bit unlucky’, maybe); while others can, consistently, predictably, get them when there’s a touch and they fling themselves over dramatically, with comms maybe saying bit theatric but pen nonetheless.

    In an it evens out world that’s acceptable-ish, and even bound to happen- win some, lose some; some soft ones given; strong ones not given- but if it’s not an evens out world….aaargh

    Bloody unsatisfactory and tough to take. In addition to that ,though, there’s something half-maddening about it…the way the decisions go so far to dictating perception of what happened.

    Dislike it all we want, but only that very few- hello- will hold on to the grievance of the ignored calls, while it’s right down there in the record books when a pen given, and most likely scored from

    Liked by 1 person

  43. was it for the U16’s he scored for today, as it was Greenwood and Cottrell that scored for the U18’s

    talking of the U18’s, they have a massive game v spurs in the FA youth cup on Thursday, spurs are 2pts ahead of us in the league, and beat us earlier in the season in the league, they have a very good side, I really hope we go with all our best U18’s in the game, such as Saka, Amaechi and John-Jules, who are regulars for our U23’s of late. On Monday our U23’s play Man City, so we might have a better idea if they will be involved in the cup game, if they play v City I doubt they will play v Spurs

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Hurting old Laca’s scoring stats as well.

    He scored 11 pens for Lyon year before joining us, and missed three. Quite likely he earned a number of them himself.

    Well, he knows for sure now. This aint France, boy, we aint liverpool, and you aint Salah.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Must be u16’s. Don’t think he has played for 18’s since first weeks of season.

    Really hope we go full strength,too, for Spurs. Hunch is we probably won’t though. Saka in particular if he happens to be near first team reckoning at moment.

    Think that’s how it went with Nelson not being used in youth cup last year (unless i got dates wrong again).

    Good morale booster if we can beat them, and think chance must be decent so long as we have best players available.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. New post up

    Liked by 1 person

Comment navigation

Newer Comments →

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: