Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

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