Arsenal: Sunday Punch, and a Seagull Brunch

@LaboGoon times his visit to Brighton for an early Sunday lunch


Good morning one and all.

Arsenal travel to the city of Brighton this afternoon to play their pride at the Amex. I can tell you one thing ….. for everyone’s sanity this is a game each of our players and the boss want to win at all cost.

Brighton has come a long way since we last played them. Currently they are playing like a team belonging in the Premier League, and not exactly with a style that one would describe as “attractive”, but what they had produced over the last few weeks is their own brand of cold, hard steel. They are in the midst of a purple patch too; unbeaten in their last 6, including 2 wins in their last 2 home fixtures and they have also scored 8 goals in their last 3 PL games. So with that bit of caution… what a time for a us to visit them eh, especially with our away form?

That said, I think the one and only thing of importance for us today is that we respond well after recent results, to get back on the proverbial bike. We need that to soften the tone of the baying mob.

Fixtures are coming thick and fast and judging from the boss’ comments winning this game is more important than getting ahead of ourselves. We need something to kick on from and a win here today would do just that. We all know the quality of our players, all they need is just something to get out of this funk and get the confidence going again on the field, especially our new boys who are still settling in to a new environment.

Team news: besides Monreal and Lacazette no new injuries, though Danny is a concern, but with Jack back I’d say we can expect a strong line-up from the available players, because now is not the time to be taking anything for granted.

Good luck to the boss and the players for today. Fingers crossed that our travelling fans have a lot to cheer about at the final whistle because boy do they need it… [whispers softly] which means all of us.


Arsenal: Sometimes just One Second


Good Friday morning Positive Arsenal fans,

A better performance last night than Sunday but the same scoreline against a set of attacking players who at this rate will tear up the Premier League record book easily. In spite of my early season scepticism, Citeh appear to be very serious contenders for the Champions League final. If there is a club or clubs out there who would have turned over our opponents in the form they were in last night then I have not seen them. I noticed all the pundits seemed to be cooing and gurgling about MC in contrast to their vituperative attacks on our players during the Carabo.

I have not checked the stats but last night I think Citeh had five serious efforts on goal and scored beautifully from three of them. We had probable five, perhaps seven, worthwhile chances, including the penalty, and yet did not trouble the scorer. In other recent games – against Palace and Everton we did to the opposition with our  first half goal-fest in each game pretty much  what the visitors did to us last night – we were home and hosed by half time. I therefore raise my footballing hat in admiration.

Having got that commendation out of the way I thought our lads did OK. Aaron looked fit again and it seems essential that if we are to put in a strong finish to the season he stays fit. Granit worked his arse off as always, Mkhi buzzed and earned his penalty. It is taking time for PEA to fit in and for us to play to his strengths but it is a positive work in progress. Hitting the back of the net though – that is what has let us down all this season. The problem has to be resolved – easily said – bloody hard to do.

In the world of strange football statistics I was informed last night was the worst sequence of three results AFC have suffered for 41 years, since February/March 1977, when we lost away at Middlesborough, Everton and at Highbury to the then very good Ipswich and the ‘appy Ammers. We then went on to lose our next two games. I survived the catastrophe 41 years ago, I suspect I shall survive it again.

So onward to Brighton for a Sunday lunchtime kick off and the chance to put two consecutive batterings by the Champions’ elect behind us. I did not see any additional injuries or fitness problems last night and Jack should be available if required. I look forward to a brisk start.

Enjoy your Friday.




Arsenal: Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!


@LaboGoon cocks an early snook at the snow

Good morning one and all.

Barely recovered from Sunday’s loss to Man City and it’s subsequent hysterics (which does have a life of it’s own) and here we go again……. hosting them at the Emirates. Hopefully our players are better at shaking things off than we are because tonight’s game is a big one.

Finishing outside top 4 last season was described as an anomaly, but should it happen again we can expect the suits not to be too chuffed as we are seen as better than that. Rightfully so.

10 points off CL qualification means each game going forward falls in that ‘must win’ category, because that is key if we want to prevent the points gap developing into an unassailable chasm. So with little room for slip-ups it is now time to throw caution to the wind.

This of course is easier said than done as Pep’s boys are beaming with confidence. In de Bruyne, Agüero, Sanè and Sterling they have four players who has been a real pain in the neck for all comers this season. So defensively we need better awareness and organisation, each minute of the game, we also need to be more clinical in our finishing than in recent times, when presented the chances to score.

There’s no denying that Mancity is by far the most dominant PL team, and sometimes in these circumstances the rest need to have a look at themselves to try other ways than the norm to negate their threat. We have seen the odd game this season when the Oilers didn’t particularly liked it when being pressed. And we have attacking players who, when able to overcome their mood swings and inconsistencies, can be as good and devastating as the best when things click. For me that provide the hope that we can beat these lubed-up chumps tonight.

We have Monreal out, which will be a big miss, however we have Mkhi back and I don’t doubt him and the rest will be determined to respond to Sunday’s disappointment.

A bit of history is on our side as Mancity hasn’t won a game at the Emirates in over 5 years – the 13th of January 2013 was a long time ago – so fingers crossed the Ems faithful help the boys keep that going a bit longer.

Can Arsenal do it on a frosty Thursday night in North London…



Life After Arsene Wenger.



The next Arsenal boss will be a head coach in a framework. I’m not looking forward to AW’s departure. But I am looking forward to a time when the club’s identity is a sort of permanent shared vision rather than the philosophy of whoever is in charge at the time.

To which I say, thank f**k that AW has been here so long, to be able to reshape the club from top to bottom. It’s not time to speculate about his future, but his biggest gift to AFC will be that identity – style of play and faith in young talent.

The consoling thing about his departure will be seeing his ethos inherited by a group of people. That would bring a sort of permanence to it, instead of passing the baton to one bloke who has his own way of doing things.

I’m thinking of Mourinho coming in at ManU and shitting over Ferguson’s legacy (yes, AF was a rule-bending, pragmatist and I can’t stand the man, but his football was generally positive), or Monk at Swansea, abandoning everything the club stood for, style-wise.

I’m also looking forward to a time when there isn’t a constant referendum on one man. If we’re bad in the future there will be a whole cast of characters to blame! Again, none of this is to say I’m looking forward to AW leaving. But I think he’s the last of a different era.

Stolen from birdkamp


Arsenal: Falling in Space


Good morning bearers of the Positive flame,

Such are the risks of contesting the final of a competition, that the prize is tantalisingly within one’s grasp, and when one’s reach is not quite sufficient to make that final fingertip contact , so the disappointment is all the more acute. Wembley for the past seven seasons has been an almost perfect ground for us, so to experience defeat was an unusual taste.

In truth we were beaten by a better Citeh side yesterday and I have no complaints.The steepest defeat I have ever seen Arsenal suffer in a final. Our opponents were worthy winners and 3-0 was a fair record of their superiority.

Of the game itself ? Neither side started particularly well in a scrappy first half as we all saw. A  moment of inexplicable defending by Mustafi allowed Aguero to pounce but after that both sides traded footballing blows. The Sky Blues probably made the better of their possession but we had chances to strike, with our best work coming down the flanks. Jack and Fernandhino were clearly excited. At half time I had no concerns.

Second half ? Well they stepped up a gear and we were comprehensively pinned down. I thought we defended solidly but when we did manage to get the ball out our midfield foursome just could not build anything with those scarps of possession, or keep the ball. I felt that where in the first half we had an ‘out’ ball to the wings after half time our attacks became much more narrow, and passes  were cut out or misplaced as we tried to thread them through a very busy midfield. Even the usually immaculate Mesut appeared unable to pick out a team mate. PEA became increasingly isolated and we were reduced to the ‘long punt’ to make any sort of impression on the Citeh back line or to involve Bravo in the game.

Most ‘UnArsenal’ but Citeh worked very hard to contain us and to control the game. They had a confidence in that second half that we lacked. The inevitable happened and we cracked under the pressure, the result of great perspiration on their part. At 2-0 it was probably over, at 3 we were holed below the waterline and sinking to defeat.

I do not intend to engage in a witch hunt against individual players, coaches or our manager. Clearly we did not play to the standard that on other days we have managed, and will manage again. I thought Sead Kolasinac played well, as did Jack and Laurent. In spite of his early howler I thought Shkodran stuck to his work and made several good last ditch tackles.

We shall dust ourselves off, clamber to our feet and move on.


Enjoy Monday.




Another Year, Another Cup Final.



Good Cup Final morning my fellow Gooners with a positive inclination.



This isn’t going to be easy today. I don’t mean the game, I mean typing this blog,as a 10 week old puppy is chewing my fingers as I speak.

We take on the might of  Abu Dhabi FC. and make no mistake “mighty” they are. They have made short work of winning the PL, and are gliding through to the quarter finals of the CL. The only blot on their landscape has been a FA Cup defeat to Wigan, in a game they dominated with 10 men and lost to a single shot on target. For us to triumph will take a monumental effort. Certainly a more difficult task than beating last years City team or Chelsea in the semis and final of our FACup last season.

I have no idea how we might line up. Do we stick with 433 or try the hybred 343/523/433 that has ElNeny with the task of deciding what the formation is in any given moment?

Will Ramsey be fit enough to start? Who plays with Aubameyang and Ozil up front? Is Jack and Danny well enough recovered to start?

Anyway, it looks a lovely sunny day in London and all we can do now is hope for the best. And By the way, our best will be good enough. I hope Arsenal.com  are sending out gifs of Mesut come about 6.30 PM





Arsenal: Thursday Night at the Fights


Good morning all Positives far and near,

A rather teeth sucking evening I admit. I had assumed the job ‘done’ at 3-0 but fair play to the Swedes who came along to their biggest game ever and gave their best, scored two and might have nicked a third.  70 seconds of poor concentration on 22/23 minutes and there was a hint of a wobble on the pitch, and the usual hysteria off it. After a few minutes of concern however the good ship Arsenal righted itself, by half time the panic was contained and we sailed on to the draw for the Round of 16 this lunchtime. Irrespective of which team we draw in the next knockout stage last night emphasised that to be sure of progressing we need to approach every game in the ‘right’ way, with no complacency that the job is already done,  with a strong team and an experienced bench.

Of our lads Sead did well, and Ospina had a good work out before Sunday. The disappointing thing was our failure to create good chances.  I am pleased that Arsene did not remove Chambers and/or Holding after their shaky first half as we had Mustafi and Nacho on the bench and it would have been an easy switch. Both our young centre backs need to  learn and they won’t learn very much if thy are substituted after 45 minutes.

I shall just call it a forgettable game and leave it there. For the visitors a marvellous night which  they thoroughly enjoyed. Was it 4,500 of their fans in the Clock End, almost a tenth of the town’s total population !?!  Oh for the simple pleasures.


Enjoy Friday !