A Swipe At Pundits And Social Media “Experts”



This is a comment from Dave on the previous post. I’ve unashamedly stolen it , thanks Dave.

This will probably come out wrong, and its a given that I’m not talking about people here, but having watched the match day show on the AFC website the other day, I was struck by the guest (not Perry G) who seemed so tactically astute ( ok I thought he was a smart alec) and seemed to know everything about the game, that I wondered why he wasn’t actually a professional etc.

Granted Im a tool, for why would I be watching this an complaining, like just cut it out, but I just dont get it.
I recall way back in the beginning of the 90s playing on some Sega Grand Prix racing game, and becoming aware of how to race the cars on certain tracks, which gear to be in at certain times etc. Yet in my own life I dont even have a drivers licence!

A) is the endless armchair expert a destroying the game, ie, how can we go back to bloody well just enjoying the game, its poetry its spectacle? Music is (imo) more enjoyable if you dont know the chords and progressions, what now with the ex professional player pundits, the AFTV media world and their endless media off spring and their dog eat dog competitors all posing as the real thing ( no culture is the real thing).
B) is there something interesting in the top heavy world of analysis, in that it will reach critical mass and people will just walk away.

As I kid I would get into a real kasi of a mood if the Gunners lost, now i can control it, but one thing I miss more and more, is that I used to really just enjoy football, really enjoy it, even if Arsenal lost, it was still magic.I recall as a teenager my mate went to the Spurs once and we had had some thrashing there and I asked him how it was went we got back and he replied “it was still magic”.
One bloke on AFTV media said he went to watch football for the threes points. Naff that. I went for every damn second to be at Highbury the atmosphere, the smell of beer and tobacco, being small in a big boys world, the noise, the hypnotising green of the grass, the glimpse of my best mates, the Arsenal. The rest was the cherry on the top.
Look Im not more righteous than the AFTV bloke but I wished we could enjoy the journey without concentrating on the false ending. Look I know its easy to shoot my arguments down etc, anyone can argue anything if the words flow, but weve lost our respect for the club, the players and its now about some folk, posing as “the peoples voice” and assuming the false authority of being the club and the voice of the team and club itself.
Sometimes silence is more interesting? We are too overdosed and its destroying Xhaka, Mesut and whoever…
Just some thoughts that’s all.


Arsenal: The murmur of success in the Land of Giants



Good afternoon or p’nawn da Positive Gooners,

A thoroughly entertaining game in Cardiff, though at times I admit I was a little ‘tense’. Three points banked in the PL nevertheless and a professional win in the sort of stadium environment we have buckled in before.

Of our lads I hardly need to enquire who would be the unanimously elected Man of the Match do I?  Alexander Lacazette was superb today throughout the 90 minutes, producing what was his best performance ever in the Arsenal shirt.A week ago the ‘Ammers own goal robbed Laca of the plaudits, Fate did not quibble today. TH Frenchman’s  movement was intelligent and crisp. He controlled the ball, rarely wasted a  lay off, and was constantly AVAILABLE for a pass from team-mates, ready to collect the ball, and turn an opponent. Cardiff did not know how to play him and never had him worked out. That his third Arsenal goal was decisive, the winner, was suitable reward for the excellence of his effort.

Other notable performances from Hector, who had a right battle with Hoillett all game, and from both central defenders who had a hard afternoon against an enormous Bluebirds line at dead ball situations. The marking went wrong once but the other 12 times we resisted the bombardment well. And Auba ? Super goal.

You may have noticed and enjoyed Torreira’s contribution after his introduction in the 71st minute. Again he is a very tidy player who, when he gets the ball, never loses or wastes it. He is blessed with a tiny turning circle. Second point though, Lucas was fouled twice, and for both fouls the Cardiff player was carded, with our Uruguayan rolling  about with commendable brio. The game was broken up, the Welsh stopped in their tracks for a minute each time, while our player recovered. Is this a little of the black art, the Latin art,  that is required in the closing stages of games ?

I suspect the Xhaka fan club may not have had an easy afternoon with the Swiss accident prone, and Emery and the “passing-out-from-the-back” programme may need a little more, actually a lot, lot more, work. I shall take the points without embarrassment as the better football side won.

Of Cardiff they will struggle. I did not see one player who looked above decent Championship standard. The Welsh side have heart in spades, but no art.  Great support  from both sets of fans.

Enjoy the remainder of your Sunday.


Arsenal: Over the Bluebirds



@LaboGoon gives a bore da pawb to Arsenal far and near

Good day Positivistas…

Arsenal and Unai Emery finally got some reward last week in a game that weren’t too pleasing on the eye yet entertaining in equal measure. And it’s off the back of that emotional cocktail that we visit the land of Aaron James Ramsey’s fathers to play Cardiff City this afternoon.

Despite the glamour of scoring three goals vs West Ham, there was still cause for concern at how disjointed our defense looked in our willingness to commit men forward. It is still early days in Unai’s reign so we should expect a few kinks and just have to trust the process because what he is trying to do is ‘teach them how to fish’ – so to speak.

Not able to get in behind opposition defenses seems to be is an obvious concern for Neil Warnock with his sides lack of goals. After three games the Bluebirds are the only Premier League side yet to score, averaging less than two shots on target per game. So with them looking more and more like clean-sheet fodder, god speed our defense have themselves a rare day off.

That doesn’t necessarily mean we will be romping it at the other end… because whilst Cardiff aren’t scoring, they aren’t exactly conceding either – shipped just two goals in the three games. So if we are to have any joy our middle to front players will have to make sure at least one end of the pitch see some action.

It’s not only Cardiff going into this game goalless, Aubameyang has been kept quiet in the first three games too and will be looking to get on the scoresheet this time around, along with Lacazette who is yet to open his account too. We are all rubbing his hands hoping our frontline strikers get scoring soon.

Heading into the game last weekend all the rage on social-media was about a training ground “bust up”. With the victory the rumour mill amongst the media and fans seem to have gotten more calm; besides Reiss Nelson adding sauerkrauts to his diet and fruit juice banned from London Colney… it was a rather slow news week at the Emirates.

Today should be one of those where we expect one team to do all the attacking work and the other all defending, but strangers things has happened. Over the last 12 months Arsenal didn’t had much joy on their travels against teams we were expected to beat, and with that a perception grew that we are susceptible when away crowds get real noisy to rally behind their team. So while we can expect the Bluebird faithful to crank it up, this is something Unai would like to nip the bud very quickly because following the FIFA week are travelling up north to Newcastle. With Rafa already giving both Chelsea and Man City a scare… we wouldn’t want him to have any ideas.

Good luck to all watching the game and if all goes well Arsenal will put on a worthy team performance to silence all critics.


Arsenal: Nothing so stable as change



Good morning Positives,

After two defeats in games in which we faced difficult opponents yesterday was a game I certainly had marked down as three points to the Arsenal and so it eventually worked out. The eventually being relevant as right up to the time-added-on+ the ‘Ammers were still in the game and could have snatched the equaliser. I was surprised at the 61% v 39% possession in our favour, it looked more even to me. If we were  a bit unlucky not to earn a point at the Bridge so our claret and blue visitors will feel aggrieved that all their efforts were for nought.

Of the game itself the content of the post game comments on here was accurate. I also thought it was our worst display of the three games.  Defensively we were shaky and better finishing from Arnautovic could/should have embarrassed us further. The  right hand side of our football team in the first half worked well going forward. If the move broke down however, with Hector upfield, there was no cover behind him and the ‘Ammers raced in on our goal. Mustafi and Sokratis were confronted with 3-4 charging opponents and the tackles and clearances looked  desperate. On the other side of the pitch Nacho did not suffer the same problems. In the final third during the first half our passing was also poor, with good ball wasted. It was difficult to pick put anyone who was better or worse than anyone else, it was just below average.

If the first half was unsatisfactory the second was better. Laca’s introduction gave a definite  target for the ball being passed forward and he and PEA combined far better.  We seemed to get a better measure of Anderson and Antoine and, slowly, a solid grip on midfield. Our new Uruguayan’s entry on 56 minutes I thought was important in winning that midfield battle. He is very tidy.  As it was the first time I had seen Torreira live I was impressed. But he is sooooo short – He really is Alan Ball/Billy Bremner size !! When our second goal came, while it was as ugly as sin, it was deserved.

After that WH scrambled to get back into it, with pressure but no real killer punch in their attacks. The introduction of Chicarito, with his blue rinse, made the work of or back two that little bit easier.  The Arsenal defence did enough to fend them off. The third goal was a little cherry on Danny’s cake, the reward for effort.

Of the Ammers I thought Antoine did well, and despite  some wayward finishing Arnautovic’s goal was a peach of a shot. Jack was anonymous. If I had not been looking  for him I would not have noticed him. A hard Autumn beckons for Manuel Pelligrini.

So three much needed points in the bag and AFC are on the road for two interesting games in Cardiff and on Tyneside.

Fear not for the future, weep not for the past – and enjoy your Sunday…




Arsenal: It is Saturday, 3 p.m. and the football’s on



@LaboGoon rings the bell and we are all aboard

Good day one and all.

Arsenal host West Ham United at the Emirates this afternoon, with both sides still looking for their first Premier League points.

It goes without saying that Unai Emery didn’t got off to the ideal start, but that does come with the strong caveat that the opening fixtures haven’t been ideal either.

The fixtures are about to take a turn for the better though, with the Hammers today and thereafter away trips to Cardiff and Newcastle. Three fixtures that on paper don’t look particularly daunting, so will likely tell us far more about Unai and what he has in mind.

After the discomfort of the past two weeks playing West Ham in front of a vociferous Emirates crowd is perhaps just the tonic we need. They’re a side that failed to turn up in their opening games, conceding 6 goals at the one end of the pitch and scored just 1 at the other – from the penalty spot. So Manuel Pellegrini must be under the cosh a bit because there has been no positives despite spending over £100m during the transfer window, on top of signing Jack Wilshere for free, who say he got a point to prove.

So going into this game we are the obvious favourites given our squad and quality, but things aren’t always that simple. We still have work to do on utilizing Unai’s tactics to the best of our abilities and cannot afford to make any mistakes, especially in these games that do provide some of the easier points to fight for.

While we were second best in the two previous games, there has been some positives to take from defeat, especially at Chelsea last week Saturday. There was a particular spell where we had them at sixes-and-sevens and created clear-cut chances at will, but… had it not been for the lack of a finishing touch we would have returned home with the points.

Hopefully our forwards have their scoring boots on today, notably one Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Although he missed some sitters last week I can imagine he must be licking his chops looking at our run of fixtures. This is a man that scored 120 goals in 144 Bundesliga matches, last season he contributed to an Arsenal goal or assist every 75 minutes. So we got ourselves one hell of a player who just need to open his account this season to burst into life.

What the next few games also provide is an opportunity for our defenders to wrap their heads around this playing out from the back thing. Once we got that sorted, I suspect this team will really kick on!

If West Ham are to cause an upset today, Fabianski and his defenders will need to step up and give a good showing. However, I’m going to stick my neck out here and say our amazing attack may just be a bit too overwhelming for them to cope with…. especially in front of the Emirates faithful.


Arsenal: The game of three halves


Good Morning Positive Arsenal fans,

A bit grey and blustery up on the Norfolk coast this morning, the Autumn beckons.

Our two stiff opening games are complete and I am satisfied with the performances. I had no complaints about the City defeat but I am a little disappointed that yesterday, after investing so much in the match, we did not collect the point we deserved.

Of the game itself it was the classic three halfer, or possibly more. The first phase saw Chels tear us smoothly into strips and what opportunities we created we squandered. At 2-0 it looked as through a dreadful afternoon was on the cards. Then phase two and finally we hit the target and broke our PL scoring duck, which caused the home side to wobble and we tore into them. The home crowd were silenced for the only time in the afternoon. Finally a second half where we wee pushed back and pushed back, to CFC’s credit s they were pretty good. We resisted stoutly, but the addition of Hazard gave them just that little extra spark as we were tiring. At 3-2 we had another, final chance of redemption, but Laca  could just not pick up the rebound as Kepa spilled Ramsey’s shot – fine margins, fine margins.

Of our good performances I was massively impressed yet again with Matteo. He has  earned his starting place and his energy and willingness to be involved in everything is exactly what we need. I thought Nacho had a good game too considering it is ages since he kicked a ball, Torreira too and Cech pulled off a string of important saves. Hector ran and ran and ran. I offer the young Spaniard an encouraging arm around the shoulder.

Of mild controversy  during the game on social media, I thought Emry’s substitutions were spot on. To have gone to 10 men would have been terminal, and the baying Stamford Bridge mob were all over Xhaka. I cannot recall Ozil being withdrawn for tactical reasons but we needed more physical presence so Aaron’s arrival was right and referring back to my “fine margins” chance at the end the Welshman could, on another day, have been decisive.

What is gone is gone however and the important work this week will be toward sharpening out goal scoring weapons for the arrival of the ‘Ammers  on Saturday. If our opening two games have been fixtures we anticipated might yield few if any points (well I did anyway) Pelligrini’s misfiring rabble must be the Premier League meat we feed on and build our  strength.

There is always work to do. Enjoy Sunday.


Arsenal vs Chelsea: Unai’s rites of passage tour goes on the road


@LaboGoon initiates the faithful

Maybe all new managers of top Premier League teams going through some sort of initiation ritual wouldn’t be such a bad thing at all:

Big game to the League’s most expensive team – check
Big game away from home – check
Having Tony Adams, Sam Allardyce and Tim Sherwood doing their best impression of the “Britain’s Got Talent” judging panel – check

“Go out into the woods son, go out into the woods”

Good day one and all…

The PL roller-coaster returned with a bang last weekend and has already been a source of despair as we saw our top 6 rivals all won their opening games and we, well, you know – so we can ill afford giving them a 6 point head start at the end of this weekend. While on the flip-side we will have played two of our toughest opponents, it still will not make things less stressful going forward.

Arsenal take the short trip to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea in another of these high profile fixtures that we always have circled on our calendars. With both clubs having new coaches Unai Emery could not have asked for a more difficult start than playing the juggernaut that is Man City, whilst Maurizio Sarri’s side strolled to a 3-0 win in what clearly looked like mismatch vs relegation candidates Huddersfield.

There certainly was a lot to like about us in defeat last Sunday, but what Arsenal also need is for Unai to channel his Sevilla self not just the PSG version, because we are nowhere near being the league’s wealthiest side.

We had 3 shots on target while on the other end of the pitch Man City had 8 out of 17 shots on target, and with Chelsea another of the usually high scoring teams we need a bit more caution, stability and sensibility in defense if we want to answer Unai’s call of putting in an improved performance:

“Our players need to improve in the biggest games.”

With Sarriball in full effect last weekend and Eden Hazard back, the Blues will look to seize control of midfield, but I think we will be better prepared by not taking the quality in their ranks for granted.

Up front I wouldn’t mind seeing Lacazette given the nod as I feel him and Auba partnering up in attack will be fruitful. 🍎 When he came onto the field last Sunday we immediately had the Man City defense on the back foot.

Team news: Nacho Monreal and Lucas Torreira is available for selection so we can expect changes to the line-up.

Good luck to our boys, coach and all Gooners for today. Given the varying fortunes of these two sides last weekend…… I feel we could see a classic here today.