Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Arteta's selections confuse everyone including the players

 By 1970s Gooner 

For some reason only known to himself Mikel Arteta selected  a back line which rendered the whole team and its style of play incapable of functioning.

Partey was playing at right back. White was moved sideways as a right centre back. Gabriel remained where he was but inexcusably Kiwior was selected at left back with Tierney on the bench!!!

These selections had even more serious implications for the efficiency of the team moving forward as well as in its defensive capability. 

 Kiwior as a left back was nervy and kept passing the ball back to Gabriel rather than forward to Trossard. This meant the Trossard was out of the game completely and the team became very unbalanced.

Additionally the other defensive players stopped passing the ball to Kiwior! All our efforts to go forward were directed towards Saka. Forest realising this had three players blocking him.

Xhaka also tended to stay back not venturing forward so as to provide cover on the left side.

On the other side Partey was not bad as a right back but he wasn't a White. White has a great and very effective relationship with Saka. This was totally absent today. 

And as a consequence it also rendered Odergaard much less effective on the right side as the Forest defence only had to deal with two players, Saka and Odergaard, rather than three.

Add to all this Jesus's worst game of the season and his inability to hold the ball or even provide any kind of goal threat. So the team was even more unbalanced.

I won't go on as I will get even more depressed but I think you get the message.

I hope Arteta gets it too....

Friday, May 05, 2023

Should Kiwior, Zinchenko and Partey start vs Newcastle?

 By 1970s Gooner

I wouldn't get too excited over the demolition of Chelsea the other night. Chelsea performed at league 2 level and really Arsenal actually failed to produce their best.

And when Chelsea made the substitutions that should have started from the beginning, they scored and looked dangerous. 

Kiwior didn't impress me as much as he did with a lot of other Arsenal commentators. He only had a dismal Aubameyang to deal with most of the time and of course a way below Chelsea team. 

He also allowed a high ball to bounce behind him rather than heading it away. Just as he did in Arsenal's game against Sporting when they scored!

Which brings me to next Sunday's game. If he is not so strong on high balls how is he going to cope when Newcastle target their crosses on his side? I do think that Holding is a much more experienced defender to cope with the type of threats that Newcastle will pose. But why does the back of my mind somehow tells me that Arteta will insist with Kiwior?

The other player who is becoming a liability lately is Zinchenko who I like a lot when he is on his game as he provides a much better control of games from his inverted role. But he has been off it in the crucial games for the run in and been responsible for conceding goals.

So I would start Tierney as a left back on Sunday who can provide a solid base on the left. 

The dilemma for Arteta is who to start in central midfield. Jorginho did very well against Chelsea but I don't think he can repeat that against a much stronger, in midfield, Newcastle. 

Partey on the other hand looks as though he goes to too many parties lately because he has been awful in recent games. Even when he came on against Chelsea he only made two interventions and both of them resulted in Chelsea getting possession. The second was a needless foul outside out area.

Still he will probably get the nod as he can be a real game changer if he is on his game and Arteta will probably be working on him in training to help him get to that level.

I would also start Trossard again as he did offer a different approach than Martinelli who was ineffective when he came on last Tuesday. 


White Holding Gabriel Tierney 

Odergaard Partey Xhaka 

Saka Jesus Trossard 

Sunday's game will be a difficult one with Newcastle being strong and on form and Arsenal being below par.

We will have to perform at our stunning best like we did in the first 20 minutes of the Liverpool and West Ham games for the 90+ minutes of course to claim the three points.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Arsenal's brilliant football can bring the title home

 By 1970s Gooner

Watching Arsenal in the last two games reminded me of the Wenger teams who were so good they would go up 2 0 in the first 20 or so minutes and then start taking liberties, passing it back and forth between themselves and show boating which annoyed me no end. They would then concede a goal and would have to work hard to keep the lead.

The difference with this Arsenal team is that they showed that they can't keep the lead. One would have thought that they would have learned their lesson at Liverpool but no they go and repeat the same mistake at West Ham. 

Arteta has to also look at himself, in my opinion, who obviously didn't press the point home enough after the Liverpool performance but more importantly during his in game management for the West Ham game.

So my prediction is that we are likely to see a different mentality for the up coming Southampton game where we are likely to again dominate the ball, create and hopefully score goals early in the game. And if this happens we should not let up and carry on applying the screw until the game is well beyond the opposition.

This will allow us to close the goal difference gap to Man City but more importantly set us up for the game of the season next Wednesday. It will also transfer the pressure to Man City who will be seven points behind and will know that any slip up in Wednesday's game will give Arsenal a big boost, transferring the advantage for the title to our side of North London.

Arsenal have been playing brilliant football in the last nine games where we won seven on the trot and threw away two goal leads for the last two. But the slip ups were not due to us going off the boil, feeling the pressure or indeed playing badly. We were just too complacent. 

Once we cut that out we will surprise everyone and go on to win the Premier League.

Sunday, April 09, 2023

Arsenal will bounce back but we need better management of games

 By 1970s Gooner

Xhaka should have a good look at himself. We were coasting, 2 0 up at Anfield and the opponents and the home supporters were subdued.

Up pops Xhaka to instigate a mild handbags confrontation with Alexander Arnold and manages to jee up the local partisan crowd as well as the Liverpool players. 

Reminded me of last season when Arteta had the confrontation with Klopp at 0 0 and then we let in four goals! We never learn...

One minute after Xhaka's madness they score and we go in at half time 2 1. It obviously is anybody's game after that. They are fired up, they have nothing to loose and they throw the kitchen sink at us. 

Worryingly we fail to manage the game, keep our passing game intact and hold them at bay. Arteta also makes the wrong substitutions and Ramsdale becomes man of the match, a disappointing distinction for a title chasing team.

Mikel took Jesus out replacing him with Trossard who offered nothing in keeping the ball. Jesus would have been much more adept at doing that and he wasn't that tired.

He also took out Odegaard instead of Xhaka who was tired. But Odergaard is much better at taking the ball out of defence.

But the worse substitution was the one he made AFTER they equalised. Tierney for Zinchenko. This should have been the first substitution. I am sure Alexander Arnold would not have gone passed Tierney, had he been on, so easily for the cross that led to the equaliser.

Now the margin for future errors is miniscule. 

But we will bounce back as we have done before this season leading to the 7 match winning run up to today.

The main target should be to be ahead of Man City on points, assuming they win their game in hand, when we come to play them on the 26th April.

If we avoid defeat in that game then the title will surely be ours.

Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Arsenal's remaining challenges on the road to the title

 By 1970's Gooner

There are only 9 games left which if navigated without too many bumps we could be out on the streets outside the Emirates on the 28th May and at Islington Town Hall a few days later!

But I wish it were that simple. 

In my eyes we have a much more difficult run in than Man City. We have had 7 wins out of our last 7 games but these wins can be considered as games you would be expected to win anyway. And our 8 point gap isn't that big really when you consider that Man City have a game in hand and a home game against us having already beaten us in the league and the FA Cup this season. If for example City win their game in hand and against us then the gap will only be 2 points and 'Squeaky bum time' begins to tick. And then its anybody's game.

Don't misunderstand me, I am not a doomsday merchant, but we need to be pragmatic and realistic enough to understand that the effort that this youngish Arsenal team will need to put in will be by far more challenging than what they have faced up to now this season.

Let's look at the 9 games.

Liverpool away: Not at their best to say the least, the defence and their midfield way below what it used to be. But they will be playing at home, a ground where Arsenal have not won since Arteta's playing days. And they will be looking for a reaction after their heavy defeat at the Etihad (they will also be playing tonight at Chelsea). 

It is imperative that Arsenal bring back Saliba, if possible, and of course Saka. I say this because we will have to be at our best to claim the win. If we do win then psychologically the Arsenal players mentality will be propelled skywards and onwards towards a successful run in. This is a pivotal game alright.

West Ham away: Another tricky game at the hostile atmosphere of the London Stadium and a team fighting for their survival in the Premier League. City will play West Ham at home on a date to be decided.

Southampton home: As above but we are playing at home. City play Soton away.

Man City away: If we are above City on points going into this game and manage to win or even draw then I believe we will go on to win the title. City will have to navigate CL midweek games against Bayern Munich during the run in and an FA Cup semi final (albeit against Sheffield Utd) 3 days before the Arsenal game.

Chelsea home: Tricky game now that Potter has been sacked and a new manager due to come in soon which will likely give a boost to the Chelsea players. But we are playing at home. So will City against Chelsea. 

Newcastle away: Another very tricky game for me facing a Newcastle team in a hostile environment which has become much more effective with the return to fitness of Isaak and Wilson and playing more expansive football as we recently witnessed against Man Utd. This may mean of course that there may be more open spaces for us to exploit. City have already beaten Newcastle a few weeks ago at the Etihad.

Brighton home: We know how they play and we put 4 past them in the reverse fixture. City also have Brighton at home on a date to be decided.

Nottingham Forest: Will be fighting for their lives and have a good record at home. 

Wolves home: The last game of our season. They may be fighting relegation or they may be already safe. Nevertheless lets hope that we are already champions by then.....

City's remaining games are more or less similar in difficulty but they have already played and beaten Liverpool and I feel we have to do the same. 

City are however involved in three competitions (the PL title, the FA Cup and the CL) which will mean a much heavier fixture load and the tiredness that may result as well as the lure of winning the CL which may affect focus.

Arsenal on the other hand can focus on only one target. THE PREMIER LEAGUE


Thursday, March 09, 2023

Vieira doubtful for the Sporting game

 By 1970s Gooner

Arteta confirmed during last night's press conference in Lisbon that Fabio Vieira had indeed travelled with the squad.

What Martinelli confirmed in his own answers in the same conference was that his best friend was ill and couldn't be present there. And that's why Martinelli took his place.

This makes Vieira's participation for tonight's game doubtful. 

In trying to guess what Arteta will do tonight we only have to look at what he has done in all the previous games in this competition. He has gone strong with his selections. 

The fact that Tierney is absent will probably force him to select Zinchenko as a left inverted back to cover, but more importantly in my mind, to gain control of the midfield.

Especially if he rests Odergaard and plays ESR in the number 10 position.

Martinelli will most probably start as a number 9 flanked by Nelson and yes Saka.

And since left footed Kiwior looks likely to start (according to repots from Poland) he will be flanked by a right footed player in Saliba.

So my prediction for the starting 11 is as follows.


Tomiyasou  Saliba Quior Zinchenko

Georgino  ESR  Xhaka 

Saka   Martinelli Nelson

Thursday, March 02, 2023

200 low blocks

 By 1970s Gooner 

Everyone keeps pointing out the difficult games remaining in the run in. Games like Man City and Liverpool away for example even Chelsea at home if they can get their act together.

But in my opinion it's the supposedly not so difficult games that can cause you most harm. Games like Everton and Southampton away as well as Newcastle and Brentford at home have cost us dearly (9 points dropped).

Of course the reason for this is that these teams tend to play a low block packing their midfield with defensively minded players and doubling up on our wide players. You really need a particular mind set and a way of playing to get round these blocks and win the points.

The better teams tend to play a more open game which creates more spaces for us to operate in and play our own game.

Our remaining games contain more of the low block variety. Games such as Newcastle, Fulham, Forest and W. Ham away and Bournemouth, Palace, Wolves and Southampton at home. 

Zinchenko and come to that Jesus, when he returns, will prove vital in carrying us through these games with the experience they have gained with City. Where nearly every game is played against a low block.

Zinchenko in particular is dictating play from his inverted position and an important element of his play is that almost all his passes are not side ways but forward. 

They are aimed in the half spaces where Xhaka or Odergaard can receive and turn facing the opposition goal. Or even directly to Saka or Martinelli. 

His passing is not always 100% successful due to the difficulty of threading the ball through a packed midfield. But he shows the way and more often than not to victory.

He has after all gained his know how having faced 200 low blocks in his previous life....according to Arteta.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Play like that against Leicester and you're out of the title race

 By 1970s Gooner 

We have been used to seeing this Arsenal team start games on the front foot pressing from the top right from the first minute. And showing the positiveness and determination to take the game to the opponent. 

This attitude was missing away against Everton where we failed to deal with their energy and new found confidence from their coach's first game in charge.

We regained it against Brentford and in the first half against City but resurfaced again against Villa. 

We started the game nervously and without the necessary concentration. Our passing again was harried and imprecise which resulted in Zinchenko loosing the ball and Villa scoring.

Again for Villa's second goal there was no pressing when Martinez passed the ball to one of his defenders. He had all the time in the world to move forward and pass the ball to a midfielder and he had no one marking him as he effortlessly moved up the field and lo and behold two passes later they were scoring...

Where were we? What were we thinking? What a shambles first half. We have no chance of winning the League or even finishing in the top four if we keep repeating this kind of performance.

Arteta should leave aside all this nonsense of ' showing resilience' and 'character' and he should go deeply in his post match analysis of this game and get to the bottom of this first half shambolic performance. Because if it is not corrected Leicester will thump us real hard. They had a terrific first half against Utd and it was only Rashford's finishing that changed the game. 

Note that we don't seem to have that at the moment.

Friday, February 10, 2023

The two problems that need to be corrected against Brentford

 By 1970's Gooner 

Arsenal had 70% possession in the Everton game but never really looked in control through out. Right from the kick off our passing was laboured and imprecise which was quite unlike in any of Arsenal's games this season. 

Of course Everton contributed to that but you would have expected that Arteta would have prepared the players for it. 

One statistic that stood out for me and it was indeed very noticeable during the game was the awful defending of the 7 corners that Everton won.

In only one did we get the first header! This meant that we were on the back foot most of the time trying to clear the ball from inside the area rather from the edges of the area. And of course we conceded from a corner kick....

This is worrying for me.

If I'm not mistaken this was only the second goal conceded by Arsenal this season as a result of a dead ball situation.

So the issues that need to be corrected are the intensity and quality of passing which would go a long way towards controlling the game and of course defending corners, free kicks and long throws.

Brentford, having studied our performance against Everton, would undoubtedly have been training all week to hit us where they consider we are weak.

Let's show our quality and hit them with another 3 goals as we did back in late August at their ground.

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Balogun's hat trick propels him to the top of the goal scorers table!

 By 1970's Gooner 

I keep telling you. This boy is a born goalscorer. In tonight's game against Lorient he has bagged a hat trick. And he had also missed two glorious chances to add to his tally.

The first came from a soft penalty awarded in the 44th minute for bringing down a Reims player when a corner was taken. Balogun struck it hard in the middle of ex Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone's goal. 

Lorient had already gone 2 0 up and it looked that Reims had a difficult game on their hands. 

Balogun's second and Reims's third came in the 64th minute when he steered home a deflected cross which went in off Vito's outstretched hands.

And the third and best of all was a volleyd shot in the 68th minute with his left foot which arrowed in on the far corner.  

This is I think his first hat trick in top flight football. It also takes him to the top of the League's scorers chart with 14 goals, one ahead of Mbape who is in action later tonight.