Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Note to Emery: The biggest mistake you can make is to repeat it.

By 1970's Gooner

The obvious strategy for Emery and Arsenal is of course to not prioritise one of the two routes to CL status for next season. Not unless one becomes out of reach.

You can say that for both options Arsenal's fate is in its hands. There are 4 PL games and 3 Europa league games left so the task in terms of number of games is about the same. But which of the two is the harder to win? I would say, marginally, the Europa league due to its higher degree of difficulty and its knock out character (for the semis).

So if your chances are split then you don't prioritise either competition AND you play each game selecting your best available team. Rotation will be a big mistake as you can end up with nothing. Especially if your second string are not good enough....

Rotating in the PL has proven to be almost fatal for Emery. He got away with it at Watford where playing with a player more for most of the game we were under the kosh and were very lucky to hold on.

But of course if you are lucky one time there is no guarantee that your luck will be repeated. And so the home Crystal Palace game proved to be a step too far for Emery.

He of course made the same selection mistakes at Everton previously (esp playing Guendouzi and Elneny) and the one nil score line was kind to us.

So the only viable strategy for Arsenal will be to play the best team for every game barring injuries and suspensions.

Considering the PL, Emery has to also play an attacking formation with the two forwards of Lacazette and Aubameyang starting and another creative midfielder behind them. 

This is because his recent rotationally influenced dreadful selections have resulted in us loosing very valuable points and now we have to recover them with only a few games left. Especially as the other competitors keep slipping up.


        Socratis  Koscienly Monreal

Maitland Niles  Torreira Xhaka  Kolacinac


   Aubameyang  Lacazette

Note to Emery: 

The biggest mistake you can make is to repeat it.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Change of players or change of attitude against Watford?

By 1970's Gooner

This game against Watford is the most crucial game for Arsenal in the race for the CL spots.

Loose it and to all intends and purposes you are out of the race for the top four. This is because the dreadful away form that all media and pundits are correctly talking about will become the norm of what to expect from Arsenal for the rest of the remaining games. And the remaining games contain another 3 away fixtures (Wolves, Leicester and Burnley)….

Beat Watford and the mood changes, the media and the pundits change their tune and more importantly the players begin to believe that they can win away. And they can carry this belief  forward.

This is why Emery should choose to play to Arsenal's strengths and not overdo the attention he gives to combating Watford's threats and physical approach.

Arsenal's strength lies in attacking play and controlling the game from midfield. Just as they try and do at home games. Changing the personnel (as he is thinking of doing) and the style of play for the away games will not work and evidently has not worked up to now.

This is why he has to select his best 11 and go all out for the win at Watford. He should treat it like a Cup final.

This means that both Lacazette AND Aubameyang have to start tonight up front.

Torreira and Xhaka (or Guendouzi) can play in front of the defence. Ramsey a bit further up with Ozil rested.

Unfortunately Mustafi will have to come in alongside Koscienly and Monreal with Maitland Niles and Kolasinac as wing backs.


Mustafi  Koscienly   Monreal

Maitland Niles  Torreira Xhaka Kolacinac


Aubameyang  Lacazette

Friday, March 29, 2019

What my 'computer' predicts for the top 4 places

By 1970's Gooner

We are due to return to the much awaited final run in for the Premier League with the title winner left to be decided, the three relegation places to be confirmed and of course the remaining third and fourth CL places hotly contested by four teams. 

Everyone including journalists are voicing and writing their opinion about who they think will finish in the 3rd and 4th places. But this is backed mainly by their intuition. They have not really sat down to put to paper their predictions nor have they really backed up these predictions with any structured justification.

Lets make it clear. The 'computer' I refer to in the title of this post is my personal thinking as to the likely outcomes of the games involving those chasing a top four placing but structured to follow some guidelines.

I have made therefore some, what I consider, realistic guiding assumptions regarding the outcome of each team's remaining games. 

These are as follows:

- Any games against the top two will be lost.

This affects Spurs the hardest as they have to play both Liverpool and Man City away. Also Man Utd play at home to Man City and Chelsea play at Liverpool.

- Any games between the current 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th teams will be drawn.

This only affects Chelsea and Man Utd who play each other 
at Utd.

- All end of season fixtures are expected to be won by the four 
competitors as I expect all opponents will be on the beach by 
then, with relegation already decided and other safe teams 


Spurs apart, from playing the top two away from home, have 

probably the easiest run in with 5 of their other 6 games being 
at home against opponents they are very capable of beating. 
These include Crystal Palace, Huddersfield, Brighton, 
West Ham and Everton with only indifferent Bournemouth 

Predictions :

1.Liverpool (A)          0
2.Crystal Palace (H)  3
3.Huddersfield (H)    3
4.Man City (A)          0
5.Brighton (H)           3
6.West Ham (H)        3
7.Bournemouth (A)   3
8.Everton (H)             3

Total                        18
Current points        61
Final points             79

Man Utd

I expect Man Utd to pick up a point from its two home fixtures 
against Man City and Chelsea. 

They have a Wolves game away just five days before Wolves play 
their FA Cup semifinal. I expect Wolves will not have their full 
wits for this fixture and Utd will win it.  

Utd play against West Ham at home after their first CL game 
against Barcelona and I expect them to win this game as 
I consider West Ham will be indifferent. However Utd play 
Everton away after their 2nd CL leg against Barcelona. 

I expect them to draw this fixture due to tiredness 
and disappointment from getting knocked out of the competition.


Watford (H)       3
Wolves (A)         3
West Ham (H)   3
Everton (A)        1
Man City (H)     0
Chelsea (H)        1
Huddsfield (A)   3
Cardiff (H)         3

Total                    17
Current points   58
Final points        75


Apart from having to play Liverpool and Man Utd away, Chelsea 
have a very easy and winnable fixture list with 4 of the remaining 
6 fixtures at home ( Brighton, West Ham, Burnley and Watford) 
and away at Cardiff and Leicester (last game). 

However they go into the remaining fixtures 3 points away from 
4th spot leaving them with a lot to catch up.


Cardiff (A)       3
Brighton (H)    3
West Ham (H) 3
Liverpool (A)  0
Burnley (H)     3
Man Utd (A)   1
Watford (H)    3
Leicester (A)   3

Total                  19
Current points  57
Final points       76


Arsenal as you may know do not have to play any of the other top 
five clubs around them. But 5 of their 8 games are away, which is 
worrying as our away form, although better than last season, 
is not ideal. 

I would consider that the Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Brighton 
home games are very winnable. 

However, and to take into account that our away form is not 
great, I have not allowed an away win apart from the last 
game of the season at Burnley where I would expect that 
they will be safe by then (I expect that the current 
bottom 3, Cardiff, Huddersfield and Fulham will 
be relegated before the last game).

I have however taken into account our recent upturn in form 
which would allow us to at least draw the Everton, Watford, 
Wolves and Leicester away games. The Watford game in 
particular will be played a few days after our tough away 
game at Napoli.

However if we can master wins in some of those away games 
then I predict we will be home and dry. 

And of course momentum will be key. If we beat Newcastle 
and then carry this form in the next game, which is away 
at Everton, then the route to finishing in the top four will be wide 

Newcastle (H)         3                  
Everton (A)            1                    
Watford (A)           1
Crystal Palace(H)  3
Wolves (A)             1
Leicester (A)          1
Brighton (H)          3
Burnley (A)            3

Total                      16
Current points      60
Final points           76

So the final standings are as follows:

Spurs      79points    3rd
Arsenal   76 points   4th           
Chelsea   76 points   4th
Man Utd 75 points   6th

Arsenal and Chelsea look like ending up with the same number 
of points and the final placings will be decided on goal difference. 
Currently Arsenal are ahead with 24 difference and Chelsea 
7 behind with 17. This factor may indeed prove decisive.

Unfortunately Spurs end up 3rd. 

I hope I am wrong and we finish above them.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The two Arsenal defensive stats that will surprise you

By 1970's Gooner

It seems that last week's results all went for Arsenal. And this hasn't happened for a long, long time.

First was Spurs doing a Spursy and collapsing in the second half at Southampton, loosing a game which they fully dominated in the first half. In fact so unexpected was their capitulation that I was off my arm chair celebrating like any Southampton fan.

Then it was Arsenal's turn to move to just one point from them by duly beating and ending Man Utd's recent unbeaten run.

And of course Chelsea also duly obliged with what looks like a very damaging defeat at Everton keeping them at a 3 point distance from Arsenal with the same number of games.

There are however two more stats that will give hope to all Arsenal fans. These relate to defensive performance, an area where we all feel we need to vastly improve in the coming season if we are to challenge for honours.

The first concerns number of goals conceded by Arsenal from set play situations. 

In fact most journalists and TV commentators are always berating Arsenal's ineffectiveness in this area. They tend to believe the myths they create without doing any research.

In fact if you look for the data you will find that Arsenal has the BEST record out of all Premier League teams this season! We have conceded only 4 goals from such situations and the next best team is Liverpool at 6 and then Man City, Spurs, Brighton and Leicester with 7!

Have a look yourselves:

Goals conceded from set plays:

Arsenal 4
Liverpool 6
Man City  7
Spurs 7
Brighton 7
Leicester 7
Southampton 8
Bournemouth 8
Fulham 8
Man Utd 9


And the next time we defend a corner don't be so alarmed!

The next piece of data concerns the overall goals conceded column. It is a fact that since Koscienly and Socratis returned to the first team our defensive performance has improved no end. 

Arsenal's goals conceded in the last 10 PL games has been bettered only by Man City. We stand at 0.7 goals conceded per game versus 0.5 by Man City. Liverpool and Man Utd are at 0.8. 

Our ratio since the start of the season stands at 1.3 per game and the ratio in the 10 games previous to our last 10 stands at 1.7 per game which shows the very significant recent improvement.

Goals conceded per game in last 10 PL games:

Man City 0.5
Arsenal    0.7
Liverpool 0.8
Man Utd   0.8
Spurs        1.1
Chelsea     1.7

So in conclusion the team is finding form and momentum at the right time now that the run in is gathering pace. And this momentum is in the one area of the pitch that we really needed to improve.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

When will Kroenke sell?

By 1970's Gooner

Arsenal's self sustaining financial model requires that a large proportion of any surpluses created can be reinvested back into the club. It therefore minimises the chances of injection of capital by the owner unless of course he opts to do so. Which of course does not look likely.

This would have been less of a worry in past times, when the large benefactors, pumping enormous financial resources into a team irrespective of its financial status, did not exist. It was then a much more level playing field.

It isn't now and therefore under the current owner our expectations for winning titles must be tethered somewhat otherwise our stress and anxiety levels will reach breaking points.

However if Kroenke decides to sell then I believe Arsenal will be ready to attract a major benefactor who will make available the significant resources to allow us to compete on an equal footing.

And I say this by looking at the financial position Arsenal is at right now. Kroenke is an investor and not a benefactor. He is not likely to keep his shares in Arsenal for longer than necessary. When no more significant financial growth can be squeezed out of Arsenal he will sell and move on.

And this moment will arrive sooner than we think because if you analyse Arsenal's accounts any profits that have been made in the last few years have come mainly from selling of players and not so much from internal recurring operational generation of funds (gate receipts, commercial revenues, TV money).

In fact the major substantial increase in the value of Arsenal and its shares has come from the creation of the Emirates and the subsequent paying off of the related debt.

So how much more can Kroenke make out of Arsenal? Not a lot more I say.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Where have Arsenal's number 10s gone?

By 1970's Gooner

What has been glaringly obvious is that Arsenal's defence has been its Achilles heel not just this season but at least during the last 10 years of Wenger's reign. Wenger was incapable of correcting it either through new additions or by allowing others more adept than him to coach the defenders.

Emery has also done nothing of significance as yet, as Arsenal's defensive record is as bad as Wenger's! Its even starting to get worse but this may be due to injuries of key defenders.

Nevertheless the next transfer window should surely concentrate on getting at least two high quality defenders to give the team a strong backbone and a base on which to build a title winning team.

But another area that is crying out for reinforcements is in the creative position of a number 10. Please don't tell me that Ozil can play that role. He has failed miserably to justify the hype which followed him on his transfer to Arsenal (except perhaps in his first season) and of course he has failed to provide value for the exorbitant wages of 350,000 per week.

This season in particular he has been at best an average player not influencing games (with the exception against Leicester) and hiding in the big games. Surely Arsenal should get rid of him in any way they can. 

And they should keep Ramsey who can play that role with distinction. Alas he has been allowed to leave at the end of the season.

Which begs the question: Where have Arsenal's number 10s gone?

If its not Ramsey nor Ozil who will it be? 

Denis Suarez is coming in this transfer window. But he is a winger who likes to come infield and influence play. 

You may say that a change of system to a 4 3 3 may be appropriate but doesn't any team need at least one creative midfielder to pull the strings?

What I am trying to say is that the next transfer window for Arsenal will have to include defenders AND creative players.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Options for replacing Xhaka and the real danger for Arsenal Vs Utd

By 1970's Gooner

Xhaka has received his customary one match ban and now he will miss the upcoming clash against Man Utd. What are the options available?

Let's look at Ramsey because due to his incredible performance against Spurs he has shown that he may merit a starting birth in the team. 

He had a wonderful second half against Spurs and that was because he was played at the number 10 position behind the front two of Aubameyang and Lacazette in a 3 4 1 2 formation. 

This allowed him to utilise the space between the two Arsenal midfielders and the front two which suits him very well, dropping back to assist the midfield and venturing forward providing support and assists.

He will not however be preferred to play alongside the Uruguay terrier against Utd as he is not to be trusted to be disciplined enough to stay put and form a compact duet with Torreira. 

In any case if he is to really help the team, Emery may opt to either start with the formation and players that finished the game or indeed keep him on the bench and bring him on later on to affect the game, as he did against Spurs.

I think it will be the latter.

Ainsley Maitland Niles and Elneny are other options and I would love to see AMN start in midfield as I consider that to be his real position in the team. 

But Emery will most likely opt for Guendouzi. He has shown that big games do not fuss him and displays the capability to both defend and play more creatively with his forward passes. He has of course played in that position for Arsenal and played quite well when he came on a sub against Spurs.

Now Emery has a dilemma as to which formation and players will he choose to play against Utd. 

Does he start as he begun the second half against Spurs i.e in a 3 4 1 2 formation with Ramsey behind the front two (assuming of course that Mustafi will be fit enough to play as he went off on 71 and was replaced with Guendouzi)?

Or does he start with the formation that started the game i.e 3 4 3 with Ramsey on the bench and switch later to 3 4 1 2 if and when the need arises.

I would expect that Emery will keep the same formation of 3 4 3 he started the NLD as the system worked quite well, with a goal scored and enough chances created to close the game even from the first half. Both Mkhitaryan and Iwobi had a good game both in attacking positions and defending when off the ball.

He may however opt to start with Lacazette instead of Mkhitaryan as Laca can be so much more effective and providing a much bigger goal threat than the Armenian as he proved so with Arsenal's third goal on Sunday.

My preferred 11 for the Utd game will be :


Mustafi Socrates Holding

Bellerin  Guendouzi Torreira Kolasinac 

Iwobi Aubameyang Lacazette

Although Utd are not playing well lately and players will be missing through injury this game could prove to be a real banana skin for Arsenal.

Firstly we go into this fixture on a high bordering however to arrogance. Most papers who were not giving us a chance against Spurs are now tipping us to roll Utd over just by turning up for the game. Most blogs and other analysts are also creating, what in my mind is, a false atmosphere and optimism. 

Even Paul Merson is predicting a win for Arsenal. Now this should make us come back to earth and the players need to sit up and shake themselves away from this mind set. Because there is every possibility the Arsenal players will be getting overconfident. And this is a recipe for disaster. I am sure Mourinho will be getting his players up for this game showing them all the pundits predictions.

Secondly may I remind you how we all felt going into the Wolves game after that wonderful and invigorating performance against Liverpool at the Emirates. We were way below our best, the performance was flat and ended up with a draw when every one was predicting a very comfortable win....

What I mean to say is that we are not likely to repeat that performance we displayed against Spurs. We are playing away and it is not the NLD with all the hallibaloo that accompanies it and so much extra riding on the game.