Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Yes there was a bias against Arsenal but is it justified?

By 1970's Gooner

What do us Arsenal supporters expect from the media and ex player pundits when they see a match lost 3-1 by Arsenal at home with a possession statistic of 75% and 30 attempts at goal!

We've all heard that story before haven't we? Dominate possession, the opponents park the bus and then do us on the counter attack usually through a defensive mistake.

Even we were and still are extremely critical of our players, especially Mustafi and Koscienly, after the Man Utd debacle let alone the media and MOTD who make their money by highlighting these faults and sometimes using hyperbole to transmit them to the mostly neutral masses.

It is a fact that we were terrible in defence and one would have thought that Wenger would have prepared the players for exactly this sort of thing happening. So for my money Wenger should get some of the blame.

In addition it seemed that we were not prepared to face, from first whistle, the full court press on our defenders. They were not mentally tuned in to deal with it. They were under the impression that Utd would sit back  from the first minute and play their waiting game.

Still you would have thought that Arsenal's players could pass their way out of it! Instead they were passing to the opponents!

Were the media (and pundits) failed imo is that they did not spend enough time to analyse the fantastic attacking display by Arsenal and how two terrible decisions by an inept referee and assistants changed the course of the game.

How would the game have panned out if the decision on the clear foul on Welbeck was given? It would have been 2 2 of course with lots of time left to snatch a winner (for both teams).

The media would then have been more eulogistic and even euphoric towards Arsenal coming back from 2 0 down so impressively....

Which brings me to the referee (and his inept assistants). They were lauded on BT for their fantastic refereeing!!!!! They brushed aside the two clear penalty incidents as though they were a minor element in the game....

This and Clattenburg's recent statements of devising a game plan before the game and sticking to it smells to me.

May be the referee for Arsenal's game did not want to award a penalty for the same reasons.

You may say that he did give a red card to Pogba. But that was right in front of him, he did have a clear view so he couldn't just ignore it and it was a clear red card after all.

Still we should focus on the positives. We have a fantastic capacity for attacking play which blew Utd away and would have blown Man City away too. We played with intensity, beautiful movement and Lacazette is an amazing forward.

Can you sort out the defence Mr Wenger?

Monday, October 30, 2017

What's happened to Mustafi?

By 1970's Gooner

I am worried about the game at Man City. I am not worried about them, their performance and form are all there for all to see. They will play the full attacking game and put pressure on the ball when they haven't got it.

I am worried about two things. One is the tactics that Wenger should employ to nullify their threats and the other is Mertesacker.

In previous seasons, in similar games, Wenger would ask his players to play their open attacking game and then get slaughtered. There have been two deviations form this.

The away win at Man City a few years back which set us on a winning run but was soon abandoned thereafter.

The other was this season's away draw at Chelsea where a beautiful balance was struck between defence and attack. We restricted Chelsea quite adequately and were unlucky not to win the game.

Can Wenger though play the same way against Man City? Remember in the Chelsea game both Ozil and Sanchez did not start (Sanchez came on as a sub for Welbeck).

I think Wenger will start both of them but I simply do not see Ozil carrying his defensive duties when we are not in possession.

My other main worry is Mertesacker.

He was awful against Swansea. He was too slow, got caught in possession and of course with his lack of pace was vulnerable to speedy attackers taking him on.

He was also at fault, along with Xhaka, for Everton's first goal.

Which brings me on to Mustafi. Where is he? Wrenger told the press last week that he was close to being available for selection after overcoming his injury. But he was not even on the bench against Swansea, Holding was!

Now has Mustafi returning on the 18th of November!

It's not that I rate Mustafi highly, he is at best an average defender who needs to improve his game. But a fit Mustafi would have got in ahead of Mertesacker.

Still I was saying the same thing before the FA Cup final and Mertesacker was probably man of the match!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

‘One nil to the Arsenal’ form George Graham to Arsene Wenger?

By 1970's Gooner

It was of course very refreshing and encouraging to see the way Arsenal deployed themselves against Chelsea. Enthusiasm, running, commitment but above all being as good off the ball as on it.

In previous encounters with the bigger teams Arsene would line up with the same old gang ho tactics. We will play our game whatever, was his motto. That's why we usually got thumped 5s and 6s. The only other occasion he changed his tactics to good effect was for the away 2 0 win at Man City a few years back.

The other reason for this performance at Chelsea was that dozy Ozil was not on the team sheet. He presence and style of play does not make for the type of tactics employed at Chelsea.

He holds onto the ball and slides passes through. His contribution can only be maximised in an Arsenal that dominates the play and needs to break down a defence.

But when we face the strong teams, who put pressure and do not leave you any space, he becomes largely ineffective. He also does not contribute when the team is off the ball and has to win it back. 

The big question is : Will Wenger now continue with this formation AND personnel ?

This team has shown that it can do the business when off the ball. It can hold positions, mark tightly at the back and across the field and be as dirty as required to stop the opponent from playing their game.

But it also has an extra attribute. It can do it in style. It has players who can be elegant on the ball. It can play a tight game but can also create chances, good chances to win these games. They could have scored against Chelsea on several occasions (the most obvious one was Laca's wild miss..)

In the George Graham era ( I am a 1970's Gooner after all) we would go to Highbury and we knew the players would be up for it, fighting for every ball when they were out of possession. And we would more often than not get a goal at the other end.

But this team can do this job stylishly, with skill and elegance.

'One nil to the Arsenal' can be our way back to the future.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Will Wenger announce Sanchez calf injury still persists?

By 1970's Gooner

It's a bit strange that Sanchez developed a cold just at the time when he was due to fly back to begin his pre season. This conveniently meant he would not be ready to start his fitness comeback for the start of the season.

He then conveniently developed a calf injury which Wenger expected to side line him for the games against Leicester and Stoke.

Sounds strange too that Coutinho developed a convenient injury which ruled him out of Liverpool's opening games against Watford and Palace. Now apparently he is ill....

I think both Wenger and Klopp are insulting our intelligence levels.

Really? They both asked to move away and both have developed these phantom injuries. At least Diego Costa was honest enough to let everyone know that he is raring to go but with a new team...

My thinking is that Sanchez and Coutinho are not likely to start next weekend. They will want to make sure that they receive no injuries by not playing, otherwise it may jeopardise their transfer, if it materialises of course.

They are likely to do this under instructions from the interested clubs putting in bids for them and of course from their agents.

Wenger's statement that Sanchez may return against Liverpool may come back to haunt him.

Sanchez is likely to return after the window shuts.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Arsene's unbalanced midfield needs rethinking

By 1970's Gooner

Arsene's teams in the last 10 years are unbalanced. Xhaka is not a holding midfielder neither is Ramsey. When the ball is lost in midfield there is no real barrier to stop the on coming attack. Ramsey is already too forward and Xhaka more often than not is unable to provide the defensive shield needed.

In the past there was a Gilberto an Edu or a Vieira. Now there is nothing of the sort. Look at Matic. He wins the ball and plays it simple to a team mate. This releases Pogba to be more forward thinking. Xhaka releases Ramsey but he is no Matic...

That's why Man Utd have every chance of winning the League but Wenger's Arsenal do not.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Bookies really slash the odds for Lacazette to Arsenal

By 1970's Gooner

It's beginning to look like Wenger has got his finger out and really zoomed right on to one of his main targets, Lacazette.

This he has done once he realised that Mbappe would not have joined in a million years. May be he should have realised that at the beginning and saved us and his time.

The bookies have now slashed the odds subsequent to Lyon president's comments: 

“Alexandre should have left for Atletico, but that could not be done,” Aulas said.

“He wants to leave. We will discuss it in the coming weeks. If so, offers will be heard, provided they match the value of the player.

“We have not received any concrete offers for Lacazette up to now but that could happen at any moment.”

As to who might replace Lacazette the Lyon president added: “The case would obviously be the arrival of a player capable of scoring 25 to 30 goals per year. It will be a French international or a player of a very large European club.”

Skybet have now made Arsenal very strong favourites at 4/11 on to sign before the end of the transfer window, he is 11/4 to remain with Lyon.

Dortmund are second favourites behind the Gunners at 12/1, with Liverpool third in the running at 16/1.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Is Wenger going to do a Wenger?

By 1970's Gooner

Pre season begins on the 3rd of July and not all of the first team squad will be there as many have taken part in various tournaments (or are injured).

Nevertheless Arsene Wenger has only signed one player so far (Sead kolasinac), on a free. And he has apparently been busy putting in bids for various players which is a marked improvement on previous seasons where his strategy was to wait till the last throws of the transfer window and try and get some bargains.

However no other tangible movement has taken place yet and this is worrying especially when, in comparison, Manchester City, United and Liverpool have signed and are signing players and Chelsea is getting near too.

We also have to take into account that Wenger has three times as much work to do on the transfer front as other managers which is bound to slow him down even further.

Firstly he has to make sure that Ozil, the Ox and Sanchez's futures are at the Emirates which is by no means an easy feat, especially for the latter player.

Secondly he has to get in players, either to replace any of the above who may be leaving and also bring in  a new centre forward that was so glaringly missing last season. This has to be a marquee signing as it will give the message both to the fans and to other key players that we are back in business.

Thirdly he has to get rid of all the dead wood that is lying around (or players wanting to leave) and eating at the available money left for transfers and salaries. Players like Jenkinson, Debuchy, Ospina, Gibbs and Perez.

So you can see that I am getting worried that Wenger may do a Wenger and try and do everything himself and thus get really bogged down with all these players to shift and bring in.

Don't believe that the recent recruitments on the contractual end will actually be of that much help. He calls the shots, don't be fooled, and more importantly he has to make the decisions on the transfers and only then the support staff will kick into action.

And we all know that decision making on transfers is not his forte and procrastination tends to be the norm. Remember all those signings he has been making on the last day of the windows?

In one occasion it was six players... And do you remember how desperately short we were at the back for the first game of last season? If he had acted quicker and got in reinforcements we may have even got a draw against Liverpool (instead of shipping four) and actually made the top 4.....

This is going to be, probably, the most important transfer window of the last decade as we have to get Arsenal back on track challenging for the title and playing in the CL again thus returning to the elite of the Premier League and European football.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A way to solve the defensive crisis and keep the three at the back formation

By 1970's Gooner

The central defenders crisis which has fallen upon Arsenal has made choosing the formation according to the players left standing. But should it be so?

Lets start with the formation.

I believe the three at the back belatedly employed by Wenger is the most appropriate formation.

It gives more defensive stability with the wing backs bombing up and down the line offering support when in offence and providing more cover at the back when we don't have the ball.

Equally important is the fact that the attacking players, especially dozy Ozil, are relieved of their defensive duties and can concentrate on their more creative aspects of their game.

It's no wonder that the team has let in only 6 goals in their last 9 games. This is a title winning ratio. Apart from the figures, the team looks more stable and balanced between defence and attack which is very important.

So in my mind we have to carry on with the three at the back formation. It's the only way we can beat Chelsea.

But you might say all well and good but we now haven't got the central defenders to do it.

I say we may have.

If Mustafi can get over his concussion problems then the problem is solved of course. But with the new FA rules on the matter it looks that he will probably not make it as he is still feeling dizzy when running.

And I would not suggest that Mertesacker starts. He practically has not played for the whole season and even admits that he is not sure he can do it.

A possible line up at the back will include both the Ox and Bellerin.

The Ox as right wing back and Gibbs as left wing back.

The three at the back will be Bellerin at the right, Monreal in the middle and Holding on the left.

I am convinced that this formation with this personnel will provide the best chance for Arsenal and Wenger to lift the Cup on Saturday.

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:


                  Gabriel                Koscienly                   Holding

Ox                Xhaka              Coquelin              Monreal

                            Ozil               Sanchez


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:


Bellerin  Koscienly  Gabriel  Monreal

Coquelin  Xhaka

Ox Iwobi  Sanchez


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.