130 Comments

Arsenal “Entertain” Sheffield United.

Hello the remaining inhabitants of Positively Arsenal. I hope you are all well and coping with the stress of the transfer window, a trauma that appears to be dwarfing that insignificant little virus knocking about. Our poor fanbase is worrying itself to death about possible comings and goings, but the end is nigh, thank fook.

Anyway, to matters more pressing, at 2 pm on Sunday we take on Sheffield United at the home of football.

Now Arsenal are in either great shape or in a right old state, depending on which extreme side of the fence you have jumped down on. Results , of late ,have been decent although performances have been unspectacular. We are at the stage where this is about all we can hope for.

We played well against Fulham, although everyone does, but the games against West Ham and Liverpool were solid at best. I expect “solid” again on Sunday afternoon.

Sheffield have yet to score aa goal, let alone win a point, so we really should be winning this one. However, despite their lack of goals and points, they haven’t played half bad, we only overtook them in the table on the final day of the season, so on results over the distance, the teams are evenly matched. A bit of a worry is that we only managed one point against them last season.

As for our selection, your guess is s good as mine, but my best guess is Leno, Hector, Holding , Luiz, Tierney, AMN, Xhaka, Ceballos, Willian, Aubameyang and Lacazette.

Sheffield also play 3 at the back so I think it will be a rather dour affair, but if we get the points, that will sweeten it enough for now.

Enjoy the game and stay safe and well.

Pedantic George.

64 Comments

Liverpool……………Yet Again

For the second time in a matter of days Arsenal make the long trip to Anfield to face Liverpool; this time for a spot in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup. The Gunners lost to the Reds on Monday night in a Premier League clash, 3-1.

Good day one all.

In spite of improvements since Mikel Arteta’s arrival, Monday was a reminder that we still got a long way to go if we are to challenge for the Premier League title; which champions Liverpool are favourites to retain while we are hoping to get back into the top-four. I say this because in the face of defeat it is easy to lose perspective.

The last two seasons Liverpool got 97 and 99 points respectively, while Arsenal finished the last four outside the top-four. The last three seasons we averaged 63 points. It sucks but is the reality of where these teams are at the moment.

Unai Emery arrived as a quick fix to get us back to the Champions League spots, after finishing outside it in Arsène Wenger’s last two seasons, but all he did was rip the soul out of this team. Seasoned professionals were forced out, others froze out, a few others want out and most whom he signed are on their way out. That is the dung Mikel stepped into and the wreckage from which he has to start the rebuild in his first job in the hot seat. Then there are those in charge of the club who are not playing with a full deck, which force him to put on a brave face and just try to get on with it. So without a full season nor a pre-season, seems unfair to be aiming brickbats at him – in my opinion at least.

Be that as it may, Liverpool were where we are and Jurgen Klopp didn’t turn it around overnight, but it took patience, smart recruitment, trust from the fans and so much more.

Today they’re a machine, especially at home where they are practically invincible. They didn’t had it all their way the other night though, despite the 3-1 score, we caught their defense flat-footed a few times and, on another day, may have pinched a point. Alas, we live to fight another day.

Mikel has done well and really seem to enjoy these battles against the ‘big six’ in Cup games… and with Klopp expecting to make sweeping changes, who knows. Still, any trip to Anfield remains one of the toughest in English football and if we are to get the better of them, the Spaniard will be asking a lot more from his players than they showed the other night.

Team news

Mikel Arteta is expected to ring in the changes as well, however, they are not be as fancy as his German counterpart, as we are still limited due to injury concerns.

Cédric Soares and Sokratis (unless on his way out) are available, which can help ease said concerns, and this is an ideal opportunity for them to get some minutes under their belts.

Gabriel Magalhães, a surprise omission Monday, Dani Ceballos and Bukayo Saka are all expected back. Maybe Runar Alex Runarsson and William Saliba will finally make their competitive debuts.

Prediction

Arsenal have not beaten Liverpool on the road since September 2012 in all competitions but, all things considered, I wouldn’t bet against us. Cup games are refereed more evenly, which opens things a bit.

While the game may not live up that epic 5-5 showdown of last season, I doubt it will be short on entertainment. COYG!

— @LaboGoon

28 Comments

No Shame In Arsenal Losing To Liverpool But What Are The Lessons

Podcast: Arsenal losing to Liverpool is nothing to be ashamed of. They hardly ever lose at Anfield and to be honest they outplayed the gooners. But what are the lessons to be drawn by Arsenal?

Blackburn George, the Arseblagger, is his usual outspoken self; the club must is pissing down our back and pretending it is rain. Stay tuned for more.

Important: Show your support for this podcast by subscribing wherever you listen. It helps in growing our listener-ship.

Your comments are welcome.

29 Comments

Liverpool – The Biggest Test

The Reds picked up where they left off in 2019/20 with two  straight league wins, whilst the Gunners followed up victory over  them for the Community Shield with back-to-back league wins of their own.

On the back of that Arsenal make the first of two long trips to Anfield this week for their much anticipated Premier League clash against champions Liverpool.

Good day one and all.

With two meetings these last two months already, these sides should know each other pretty well by now. And although the Gunners got the better of the Reds on both occasions, some argued that neither of those games were priority for Liverpool; as they already had the league title sewn up when they visited the Emirates and that the Community Shield nothing other than a “glorified friendly”.

Be that as it may, none of those matches were at Anfield where Jurgen Klopp’s side are on unbeaten league run stretching back to April 2017. However, they didn’t look quite as invincible when they hosted Leeds on opening day. The Peacocks came from behind three times, only to be undone by a late Mo Salah penalty that handed the Reds a 4-3 win – all four goals came from set-pieces.

If opposition fans thought maybe this is the season Liverpool are there for the taking, those were quickly put to rest when they made light work of Chelsea in a 2-0 victory last Sunday.

Mikel Arteta won’t doubt his side’s chances though. In his short managerial career he is already two for two over the Merseysiders. In fact, in Arsenal’s last nine matches (all competitions) we have beaten four of last season’s top-five: Liverpool (twice), Man City, Chelsea and most recently Leicester in a Carabao clash.

It’s still early days though to say whether that is proof that Arteta is the man to lead the Gunners back into the top-four, especially ahead of a very tricky league run of five matches against last season’s top-seven. But if we can come out the other side in good shape, well, I guess we can start feeling confident of our chances.

Despite Marcelo Bielsa not cc’d on that memo, a trip to Anfield remains a daunting task for any team and we haven’t won there in a really long time. But this Arteta’s Arsenal is a resolute bunch, that come a long way from that side that lost their heads in a 2-1 defeat at Brighton. And despite our personal feelings about the politics at Colney, these boys deserve our support each time they step on that field.

Team news

There’s no new injuries as Kieran Tierney, who pulling out in the warm-up ahead of last weekend’s win over West Ham is due back. So is David Luiz who could make his first league start of the season.

Eddie Nketiah came off the bench to score the winner against the Hammers and was on the scoresheet again in midweek, but it’s unlikely that he will start ahead of Alexandre Lacazette, who was on target in both our opening two league fixtures.

Prediction

Liverpool is amongst the top three teams in Europe, so we will be up against it, but we also don’t need to sell ourselves. We are on a pretty decent run and our recent wins against them should give us all a boost.

These clashes also aren’t exactly short on entertainment, with 20 goals scored in our last three visits up north, and this one could be no different. First real hurdle for both teams this season and I’m looking forward to it. COYG!

— @LaboGoon

70 Comments

Will It Be A Cup Of Cheer?

Arsenal head to the King Power Stadium to take on Leicester City in the Carabao Cup. The winner will go on to play either Lincoln City or Liverpool next week in the quarter-finals.

Good day one all.

With two wins from their two Premier League games, both Arsenal and Leicester have met early expectations. In matches this past weekend though, the Gunners left it late to shake off a plucky West Ham side, while the Foxes came from behind in victory over Burnley.

Attention now shift to the domestic cup with the chance to continue that positive momentum ahead of testing league fixtures for both sides this weekend. However, escaping defeat at Leicester is not something Arsenal have done a lot of in recent years; having lost each of our last three trips up there in all competitions.

Even so, we have progressed past the third-round of this competition in 1 of the last 17 seasons. Mikel Arteta already won two trophies in his nine months in charge, but it remains to be seen just how seriously he will take this match, especially with a trip to Liverpool a matter of days away.

Likewise, Brendan Rodgers’ side got a difficult jaunt of their own to Man City. So if him and Mikel ring in the changes as expected, this could come down to which side got the better squad depth and how well they gel together with playing time in such short supply.

Team news

Eddie Nketiah is likely to profit from rotation, and join Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pépé in a front three.

One would assume Mesut Özil is a possible option in behind, but he hasn’t had a look in post-lockdown and that is unlikely to change.

We still got so many defenders still in the treatment room, that David Luiz could be the only one coming in. Cédric is carrying an injury and it’s unlikely Kieran Tierney, who was withdrawn 10 minutes before West Ham to mess with that particular gameplan, will be risked ahead of the Anfield trip.

In goal, new boy Runar Alex Runarsson could be in line for a swift debut.

Prediction

On paper, a bit of tricky encounter for the Gunners, considering three straight defeats from our last three trips to the KP. However, with mass rotation anticipated both sides, it should be expected for our depth to carry us through. COYG!

— @LaboGoon

38 Comments

Pretending To Be Happy After Arsenal Struggle To Defeat West Ham

Podcast: Blackburn George, the Arseblagger and yours truly, Shotta fail in our attempt at being sincerely happy after Arsenal struggle to defeat a very poor West Ham in our recent EPL game. Arsenal demonstrated a striking lack of creativity; while having far superior possession were out-shot 14:7 by a technically inferior team.

While happy for the 3 points and the performance of Saka and Xhaka in particular, we are alarmed at the lack of creativity on the pitch. Yet the club gives absolutely no explanation for the non-selection of Ozil unlike the complete satisfaction Arteta had in his performance prior to the COVID-19 suspension last season. Furthermore we are disgusted at the continuing spin and machination by the club as it disregards the interests of current and former players showing ultimately they have no care for us as fans.

No apology; we currently find very few things at the club to be happy about.

Important: Show your support for this podcast by subscribing wherever you listen. It helps in growing our listenership.

Your comments are welcome.

37 Comments

Happy Gunners vs Unhappy Hammers.

Arsenal go in search of three more points when they host West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium in a Premier League clash this afternoon; with the Hammers yet to get off the mark after being well beaten by Newcastle in their opener.

Good day one and all.

Mikel Arteta will be a reasonably happy man with the Gunners for carrying their positive momentum at the end of last season into 2020/21. He would be particularly pleased with summer recruits Willian and Gabriel Magalhães, who were both imperious on debut in an overall good team performance at Craven Cottage last Saturday.

Of course, the caveat will be “yeah, but it was only Fulham”. Well, there’s no doubt that sterner tests await and only time will tell whether Gabriel is going to give us that defensive solidity we’ve missed in recent years. But also, we can only play what is in front of us and this fixture today is another we are expected to do well in; considering we’ve beaten the Hammers in 10 of their last 11 visits to the Emirates.

David Moyes’ side bounced back from their opening day disappointment with a 3-0 win over Charlton Athletic in an EFL Cup tie in midweek. However, that would have done very little to get a fickle fanbase onside.

West Ham always seem like they are just a few bad results away from total mayhem. And with a tough fixture run against six sides that finished in last season’s top eight in their upcoming six games… if they don’t find their bearings soon, it could be a long and arduous season on the horizon.

Be that as it may, Moyes has been here before and really pulled it out of the bag at the closing stages of last season to avoid relegation. However, the Gunners are in good nick, so we can expect a very subdued approach from the visitors, who will take whatever points they can get in the next six matches.

Team news

Arsenal got no new injuries concerns from their last match. Granit Xhaka who had a bit of a scare after suffering a knock is available, so is David Luiz who sat out the opener due to neck spams.

With the new arrivals we now got a good balance to rotate players, though with a week’s rest and still so early in the season that is unlikely to happen. Which only adds to the problem of having such a big squad as it will impact the playing time of several big names.

The big news this week was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang extending his Emirates stay. Getting this done was Mikel’s number one priority heading into the off-season and with “da ting” now signed… great things is expected of our captain who has scored eight goals in his last six matches in all competitions.

Predictions

The Gunners are still on an unbeaten league run at the Emirates in 2020 and based on the current contrasting forms of these two sides, I cannot see that run ending today.

Not going to predict a score but will say that we can expect more magic from our wide men who are looking sharp. COYG!

— @LaboGoon

47 Comments

FUL v ARS: Happy Enjoyable Victory By Arsenal Without “Him”

New Podcast:  Yours truly, Shotta and Blackburn George, aka the Arseblagger, observe that it was a happy, enjoyable victory by Arsenal without “Him”. George was happy with the performance of the team and all the players who made an appearance on the pitch. Also we discuss “Him”, as well as Arteta’s appointment as manager of the 1st team and much more.

Important announcement: Show your support for this podcast by subscribing wherever you listen. It helps in growing our listenership.

Your comments are welcome.

60 Comments

A New Season And Renewed Hope.

Fresh off success in the FA Cup and Community Shield, Arsenal make the short trip to Craven Cottage as they and Fulham get the 2020/21 Premier League season underway.

Good day one and all.

The 2019/20 season will be noted as a successful one for the Gunners thanks to our Wembley endeavours. Which really is for the best because our league run, winning just four games from our opening 13 games, was one to forget as we finished in 8th-place.

Mikel Arteta arrived midway through and had varying results, however, we picked up pace at the tail end and what a feeling it must have been to finish his maiden season with silverware. That said, there are still plenty of work to do to if we are to close in on the top-four places, let alone dream of a PL title challenge any time soon.

Be that as it may, we carried some of that positive energy into this new campaign with victory over Liverpool in the Community Shield, to again show that we are over that mental block when facing the “top sides”.

That is not exactly a genre Fulham fit into; who makes their return to the Premier League courtesy of their own Wembley glee; seeing off London rivals Brentford in the play-offs final.

Scott Parker guided the Cottagers straight back to the top-flight, however, with them not the lavish spenders they were last time, he will largely rely on the same group that won them promotion. A familiar name in their ranks is Aleksandar Mitrovic, who was the Championship’s top scorer with 26 goals. He will no doubt be tasked to carry them over the finishing line to safety.

Team news

The Gunners have been busy in the transfer window as welcome Willian and Gabriel Magalhães to the Emirates, joining William Saliba who returned after spending last season on loan at Saint-Etienne. With Saliba and Willian in line to make their competitive debuts, today’s match may be too soon for Gabriel who started training just recently.

Dani Ceballos is also back for another loan spell and is set to continue the solid partnership he has formed Granit Xhaka in midfield.

There has been no official communique regarding the future of Emi Martinez, but it’s reported that he has been withdrawn from the tomorrow’s squad.

As far is injuries are concerned, David Luiz hurt his neck in training and joins Skhodran Mustafi, Pablo Mari, Gabriel Martinelli and Calum Chambers in the treatment room.

Predictions

It’s always difficult to know how teams will fare in their opening game, but Fulham have lost each of their last five matches against Arsenal, with their last victory all the way back in January 2012.

So with the Gunners’ superior head-to-head record they should be expected to make a winning start to the new campaign. COYG!

— @LaboGoon

90 Comments

Will Arsenal Finish Top-4 or Top-6?

Podcast: The start of a new season is when fans of Arsenal Football Club are most optimistic with visions of grandeur and infinite possibilities. But after coming a disappointing 8th place last year, will Arsenal finish Top-4 or Top-6 this upcoming Premier League season? If not, why not? Shotta and Blackburn George aka @Arseblagger share their usual outspoken, no-nonsense opinion.

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Your comments are welcome.