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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Don't believe the papers! Formation, line up and prediction for the derby

By 1970's Gooner

Everybody is expecting Arsenal to loose the game against Spurs tomorrow . This is typical of the flimsy and shallow journalists who have imited knowledge of football and always go with the trend.

Like when they were asked to predict who will finish in the top 4. They always choose the four who are at that time ahead of the others.

Or predicting the team sitting at the top as the likely PL winner at the end of the season.

Or predicting the current bottom 3 to go down only to change it when the bottom 3 actually change names.

They cannot in fact analyse thoroughly and make a bold prediction based on their supposedly deep knowledge of the game.

The papers have also decided to be pro Spurs because they want and need an exciting run in for the title so their papers can increase sales and keep them at their jobs.

So I would not advise you to loose hope or faith about this game. Consider the following:

- The Arsenal players always raise their game for this encounter. They have done so too against Man City in the semi final. Note: Everyone was predicting a Man City win last week, remember?

The papers were also predicting against us for last season's derby but we were about to prove them horribly wrong when Coquelin got himself sent off. 

- This is a derby game and by definition the chances of winning and loosing are evened out.

- The three man defence and the two central midfielders in a 3 4 2 1 system has helped solidify Arsenal's defence and provide a basis for more offensive players to do their job.

It also means that dozy Ozil can be a bit more forward thus not so much needing to do defensive work concentrating on the more creative aspects of his game.

This is the line up:

                                                 Cech

                  Gabriel                Koscienly                   Holding

Ox                Xhaka              Coquelin              Monreal

                            Ozil               Sanchez

                                             Giroud


I have chosen Coquelin and Giroud ahead of Ramsey and Welbeck to start as they have a more muscular approach to their game something that will be needed tomorrow.

Prediction: I predict a riot!











Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The young U-23s gunners that shone last night ready for the first team

By 1970's Gooner

I was captivated by the quality of football that both teams served during this highly entertaining Emirates game against PL2 title chasing Man City. The game was played at a fast pace, was end to end and all players gave their all.

Arsenal had a good mixture of more seasoned players like Holding, Jenkinson and dare I say it, Sanogo who were ably supported by Sheaf (who started at centre half next to Holding), new acquisition Bramall (at left back), Jeff Reine-Adelaide who was paired up with Ainsley Maitland-Niles in midfield and with Malen, Nelson and Chris Willock lined up behind Sanogo in attack. Huddard was in goal.


Arsene Wenger's presence in the stands must have given all the Arsenal players a huge incentive to show their skills and stake a claim for furthering their careers at the Emirates.

I was very impressed in particular with two Arsenal players and one from the opponents.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was a rock in central midfield and duly bossed it. He chased the ball with commitment and won nearly all his duels.



I think he will be the next one to follow Iwobi for more regular starts for the first eleven.

The other young gunner that showed great promise was Reiss Nelson who made a brilliant assist for the Arsenal's first goal and also scored the second.



He has a lot of pace and runs all day, attributes which he combines with a high technical ability and skill.

I was also very impressed with City's young French striker Thierry Ambrose who bagged a brace with relative ease. He reminded me of a young Thierry Henry (and not because they have the same name) in the way he made his runs away from the defender and his coolness in finishing.


I think we will hear a lot about this youngster in the years to come.

It had been reported that Arsenal were keen on another City youngster playing last night, 16 year old Sancho, but that forced City to offer him a three-year contract and a bumper pay rise which was signed earlier this month.

I think Wenger will do a lot better in pursuing Ambrose instead. 







Monday, March 13, 2017

The three criteria for supporting Wenger's stay at Arsenal

By 1970's Gooner

I have been very critical of the team's performance over the last few years just as many, many other fans have been.

The same story repeating itself. Many small technical players, afraid of tough challenges, no leaders on the pitch and playing tiki taka football in a light Barca version, but lacking a Xavi, an Iniesta or indeed a Messi to pull it off.

Beginning the season on a high then reaching a dead end by midseason, getting knocked out of the League Cup the CL and more often than not the FA Cup. And then when the pressure is eased we see a late flourish to get the 4th spot.

Obviously Wenger's teams in the last 10 years lacked mental fortitude as indicated by disastrous defeats at home when the title challenge was getting hot. Defeats such as against Swansea last season and Watford this...


When Wenger was given a three year contract I was hoping that he will set things right, buy the right players and use the three years to build and hone a title winning team. He has instead continued doing those same things that he did before.

The most important however is not only Wenger's approach. It is the Board's.

They set the targets for the manager and if they show him that they are very happy with finishing in the CL positions every year and nothing else then you shouldn't really expect a different outcome....

Its like offering your employees bonuses not necessarily to be top performers but to achieve just above average results. What do you think they will do?

So it's not only Wenger that has to change his ways but crucially the Board.

Here are the three criteria therefore that should keep Wenger at the helm:

- Achieve a CL spot (so that we can attract top players)
- Win the FA Cup

If the above are achieved then

- The Board at the end of the season announces that for another renewal of Wenger's contract the title or a real challenge for the title has to be delivered. They should also make available the funds needed to achieve this.

I personally doubt if any of the above will be achieved. Fourth spot is more achievable but there is a real contest between 5 teams for the three spots available and on current form it looks like touch and go.

To win the FA Cup is even more difficult with Man City, Spurs and one of Chelsea or Man Utd the other competitors. Just looking at our results against the top 5 will tell you that we have performed abysmally against the big teams. This is not likely to change in my opinion. Remember the team lacks mental fortitude...

And lastly do you really believe that the Board or Wenger will change their ways?



Monday, February 06, 2017

Wenger's succession turning into a sorry mess

By 1970s Gooner

Can you tell me if you know of any club which has allowed their manager's contract to run into its last year without having announced who his successor will be?

Can you tell me if you know of any club which is waiting into the dying embers of a manger's contract to find out if HE has decided to carry on or not?

You know the answer of course.

The fact that Wenger is not letting anyone know what he will do until the end of the season is bound to end up in disaster.

Image result for Arsene Wenger

What if he decides to leave, as it increasingly looks like judging by the recent awful performances and results?

The Board will then have a month or so to find a successor!!! Gross negligence and incompetence of course.

You can say that surely they are not sitting with their hands tied. They must have identified and began talks with a few possible successors, surely.

Don't be so sure.

I tell you they are not likely to find any successors at this juncture as the future successors themselves are not sure if indeed Wenger is actually leaving the Arsenal! So why allow themselves to be dragged along a merry go round and end up with nothing in the end.

We all know that the Board are begging Wenger to stay. But this policy is highly risky. Results may turn even more sour, 4th place not accomplished with the fans demonstrating outside the Emirates wanting Wenger Out.

Wenger may then decide to walk. What will those impeciles at the Board do then?

This indecision is affecting the players too. Ozil and I think Sanchez are waiting to see if Wenger will stay before they decide to sign an extension to their contracts. New players to be signed may also want to know who the manager will be.

Of course Wenger may decide to stay.

That may be a disaster too.....










Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Arsenal's tiredness to be dealt with and transition counter attacking the new way

By 1970's Gooner

I was very pleased and encouraged by the Arsenal players' performance against Crystal Palace. They moved the ball about very quickly, hunted the opponents all over the pitch and counter attacked with pace and venom (hence the scorpion kick...).

The urgency shown was something that was distinctly missing from previous recent performances with the known negative results.

However this will be difficult to replicate against Bournemouth as this game comes only 50  hours since the final whistle of the Palace game.

I watched the Sunderland vs Liverpool game and it was obvious that Liverpool looked tired and off the pace which allowed Sunderland to gain a good foothold in the game.

Consider the following:

The Arsenal players looked tired against Everton on the Tuesday after having played Stoke three days before on a Saturday (a game which came four days after the away Basle game).

They again looked even more tired, especially in the second half against Man City, a game played five days later on a Sunday.

Taking this into account I would expect that for a game coming after about a day and a half since the last one that jadedness will be a major factor affecting the players performance.

Arsene Wenger will therefore have to introduce fresh legs but at the same time keeping the core important players so as to avoid disrupting the rhythm of the team.

Lets start with the undroppables.

In defence Cech, Koscienly, Monreal (as Gibbs is injured and not ready yet) and Bellerin.

The major decision here is whether to keep Gabriel or bring Mustafi in. I think Wenger will play Gabriel so as to keep the same defence, who have not conceded in 2 games, together but also to make sure that Mustafi is fully recovered from his hamstring.

In midfield Xhaka with his excellent performance against Palace should keep his place. Elneny is away and I fully expect that Coquelin will come in.

Iwobi will definitely keep his place as Ozil is still ill but also because he was instrumental in moving the ball in transition quickly and accurately to the on running forward players. He also scored. Funny that I am not worried about Ozil's absence....

On the wing I don't see Walcott making a comeback as he has been out for a few weeks and in any case I don't think he has been declared fit yet.

Sanchez is undroppable full stop and so is Giroud. There is therefore only one other place left and this will be between Ramsey, the Ox and Perez. The latter two have a better chance to start as they are faster and more fit than Ramsey who is only coming back from an injury.

The boss will want to select a pacy winger as our counter attacking has been a feature that has worked well recently. Perez did well vs Palace but he is very one footed and since he cannot play on the left, as Sanchez operates so well from there, I can't see him starting. The Ox will also bring fresh legs in the team.

This is the probable starting 11:

Cech

Bellerin  Koscienly  Gabriel  Monreal

Coquelin  Xhaka

Ox Iwobi  Sanchez

Giroud


Prediction: Bournemouth 0  Arsenal 1
















Arsenal 18 year old set to leave for transfer abroad

By 1970's Gooner

Usually it's the 30 and over players that are more willing to try their fortunes abroad but on this occasion Arsenal Academy youngster Ben Sheaf is set to move to Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus.





It is not yet clear if this is going to be on loan terms or an outright acquisition by the Cypriot club who currently sit 5th 10 points behind the leaders. The most probable will be a loan deal.

Omonia's manager is none other than John Carver the ex Newcastle coach and manager who managed to keep the North East club up in his last season.

And the Director of Football is Nicos Dabizas, yes the defender Dennis Bergkamp waltzed round to score THAT GOAL (which I consider much better than Giroud's scorpion kick).

The deal is not yet done so we will keep you informed.



Monday, December 19, 2016

It was interesting to practice 10 Vs 11 against City

By 1970's Gooner

It's not very often that a team gets the chance to practice, in real life conditions, a 10 against 11. It of course happens when a player is sent off and then the rest of the players have to play that extra hard and with determination to get a result.

Arsenal were indeed playing with 10 men against the 11 of City. But this was from the beginning of the match, for dozy Ozil was (not) at it again. He went missing as he often does in the big games. He doesn't fight, is not determined, does not mark, does not tackle and his passing is inaccurate.

Mezut Ozil is Arsenal's engine and like for every machinery if that engine is for whatever reason short circuited then the rest do not and cannot work.

This is what happens when Ozil is not at the races as the rest of the players are not that creative to take up that role. Xhaka and Coquelin are mainly defensive players. Walcott and Iwobi are wide players and Cazorla who would have offered some creativeness is of course missing.

He is missing because Wenger selected him to play against Ludogorets at the Emirates, a tie that we were odds on favourites to win. It was a mistake of course taking into account his injury record.

The other player that could have offered some creativity is Ramsey but he has been burnt out due to the curious decision by Wenger to start him in the first game of the season after his heroics in the Euros. For some reason he rested Koscienly and Giroud but not Ramsey....

The absence of Ozil in the City game meant that the only creative player left on the pitch was Sanchez who was finding himself coming back to play the role of playmaker.

Ozil has no divine right to start let alone not being substituted. He has been letting the team down more often than not this season and his attitude is unacceptable.

Wenger should have taken him off when he put the Ox on and kept Iwobi on. Iwobi could have moved in the number 10 role instead. He would have had a much bigger impact on the game for the remaining minutes than what Ozil offered for three quarters of the game.

But no, Ozil is irreplaceable! Well he isn't.

And if he doesn't want to sign a new contract then he can hop off to China.









Thursday, December 15, 2016

The three improvements Wenger needs to bring about to win against Man City

By 1970's Gooner

Arsene Wenger did not rest the key players for the midweek game against Basle in the CL. The performance was very good and the result meant that we toped our group (which didn't help in the end).

However the team which was already showing signs of tiredness even before that game got even more jaded.

Almost the same players that played against West Ham on the Saturday traveled to Basle for the Tuesday game and then on to the home Saturday game against Stoke. Three days later those same players were lining up against Everton at Goodison Park.

The performances prior to the Everton game were beginning to show some tiredness and some slack play. Yet the results were of course as expected. The opponents were not after all that good as to worry us tremendously.

Everton away was a different game of course. Although we didn't play that well in the first 20 minutes we got a deflected goal. But we did not kick on from there and in my opinion tiredness coupled with overconfidence resulted in a below par performance.

Could Mustafi have prevented those two goals? Nobody knows. Wenger said it wasn't Gabriel's fault. Whose was it then? It was the whole team's because no one closed down the cross for the first goal and no one played that well to prevent Everton's overall drive in the second half.

Wenger had a bad game too. His substitutions were ineffective and inappropriate. He made two subs on 71, Iwobi and Giroud for Walcott and the Ox. He was going for the game but it was obvious the subs were not affecting the game enough and Everton were overrunning us in midfield.

His next substitution should have been a defensive one in order to safeguard a point. He should have taken dozy Ozil off and put Elneny on to make sure that 'if you can't win a game then at least do not loose it'.

He didn't.

Now he has to get his finger out as well as the players. He has to re energise them, give them belief and a game plan to beat City. A victory which will send a statement across the land that Arsenal are up for it and gunning for the title.

Otherwise let someone else take it on.







Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Sanchez drags his luggage from the plane. Forget him for at least 2 weeks

By 1970's Gooner

Alexis Sanchez ever the optimist considers that the injury he has suffered during training with the Chile national squad is a minor one and will only keep him out of the game against Colombia. He expects to play next Tuesday against Uruguay.

Sanchez was driven from the clinic straight to the airport where he literally had to drag his luggage out of the plane because he was advised to stay behind and begin treatment. 

The ultrasound was performed immediately after Sanchez felt the pain and the doctors said that, although it is a mild strain, in this type of lesions, you have to wait 24 hours to determine the recovery time, because the tear evolves.

It is not clear how long this tear takes to heal but it could take at least 2 maybe 3 weeks. This is the view of the more conservative doctors that passed their opinion on his injury in Chile who maintain that if he does play next Tuesday then there is the possibility of aggravating the injury further.

Arsene Wenger will be hoping that Sanchez sits out both games but even if this advice is followed I doubt if he will risk him in the upcoming games against United and PSG. 

Wenger will remember last season prior to the Norwich game that he was considering not starting him as he was in the grey zone. He did start him and of course picked up a strain which kept him out for a very long time.

He will not want to repeat the same mistake.

So even if Sanchez does not play for Chile it looks as though he will not be risked when he returns.










Sanchez drags his luggage from the plane. Forget him for at least 2 weeks

By 1970's Gooner

Alexis Sanchez ever the optimist considers that the injury he has suffered during training with the Chile national squad is a minor one and will only keep him out of the game against Colombia. He expects to play next Tuesday against Uruguay.


Sanchez was driven from the clinic straight to the airport where he literally had to drag his luggage out of the plane because he was advised to stay behind and begin treatment. 

The ultrasound was performed immediately after Sanchez felt the pain and the doctors said that, although it is a mild strain, in this type of lesions, you have to wait 24 hours to determine the recovery time, because the tear evolves.

It is not clear how long this tear takes to heal but it could take at least 2 maybe 3 weeks. This is the view of the more conservative doctors that passed their opinion on his injury in Chile who maintain that if he does play next Tuesday then there is the possibility of aggravating the injury further.

Arsene Wenger will be hoping that Sanchez sits out both games but even if this advice is followed I doubt if he will risk him in the upcoming games against United and PSG. 

Wenger will remember last season prior to the Norwich game that he was considering not starting him as he was in the grey zone. He did start him and of course picked up a strain which kept him out for a very long time.

He will not want to repeat the same mistake.

So even if Sanchez does not play for Chile it looks as though he will not be risked when he returns.