Arsenal Blitz Palace 4-1 After ALEXIT

MATCH REVIEW: Arsenal v Palace

Faithful Treated to Rapid Return of Wengerball at The Home Of Football.


The joy of playing worry-free football was made evident 6 minutes into today’s match versus Crystal Palace. A swift-moving build-up left-side of the box resulted in Alex Iwobi’s well-hit shot from 18– being parried over the bar by Palace GK Wayne Hennessey. Granit Xhaka’s ensuing top-spin corner was overhit across goal– met by Nacho Monreal (outfoxing marker James McArthur)– heading downward into an open left-side of goal from 4yds. (No questioning the exuberance of this celebratory mob!)

1-nil. And the shackles came off.

The ball moved keenly around and through Palace’s defence (Jack!). Following a pair of promising build-ups– a slide-tackled ball squirted out of the box to Monreal on the left. Taking several measured touches on an unfettered diagonal run to the goal line– Nacho cut a pass back toward the 6, where Iwobi deflected his shot at a right-angle– slotting home just right of Hennessey.

images

2-nil. Energy positively crackled and popped about the pitch.
Every wayward ball was finding an Arsenal foot. It’s what happens when things are going good.

Two-minutes later, Cech scooped up a ball that bounded to him after a lobbed cross– then uncharacteristically lined an Ederson-like offensive pass down the left flank to a streaking Iwobi; taking the ball in-stride. The move didn’t create a chance straightaway– but resulted in a possession that found Lacazette battling for a pass on the goal line with the GK and a defender. Resulting in another corner by Xhaka.

Palace MF James McArthur was already having a bad day. Monreal had scored, then assisted. Both times in McArthur’s supposed custody. It got worse. Xhaka again overhit the corner in from the right. Replays show Monreal (using judo-like moves) escaping McArthur for a third time. This time one-touching the ball back toward Kos front of goal, who, calmly bundled the ball in.

3-nil. Cool and ruthless. 13 minutes. 4 shots. 3 goals. (Arsenal would finish with 16/10 on target.)
Left to perform? A bit of artistry, leading to a predestined goal– for Alexander Lacazette. Which came shortly after.

In the minute building up– a 16-pass possession culminated with Mesut Ozil receiving a pass on the 18, touch to his left, windup and shoot(!). The rebound/clearance was captured about 30yds out and centre– leading to another dozen, 1-touch or 1-2 passes– with the brilliance of Mesut Ozil on display in all it’s splendour:

Elneny to Ozil to Xhaka to Iwobi (wide, dribble-in), to Elneny centre, squared to Ozil left (at 30), forward to Xhaka wide (at 20), returned to Ozil, diagonal to Iwobi (at 22), one-touch return diagonal to Ozil forward (at 22), square to Wilshere (at 20), one-touch return diagonal to Ozil forward (at 18)– who then flicks foot-top-of-ball behind to the lurking Lacazette who fires right-footed into the bottom-right corner from 12yds. (Gave me goose bumps!)

4-nil. A thing of beauty.
Arsenal quickly, efficiently, and to a man, wholeheartedly effected the act of ‘Alexit’ in front of an approving throng at The Emirates.

Iwobi had a 20yd rocket denied about a minute later. There were other chances too. But the energy in those first 25 minutes were exactly what the exorcist ordered. A clean break from the cursed morass of the day before. And days before that. Alexit.

Saw things today I’d not seen all season:
Ozil tracked back to our goal line and prevented a cross!
Iwobi popped around and played the role of conduit very effectively.
(Alex scored in taking three shots, and even had a defensive grass-stain on his bum!)
Xhaka played effectively in tandem with Elneny.

Also saw things we all suspected were true:
Jack was a field-general today. Playing instinctively, spraying advantageous passes to runners. Mesut looked fresh. His periphery was widened, as was the pitch– for everyone.
The wingbacks performed the length of the pitch. Hector was pretty good today.

The other guy?

MoTM. The Nacho Man.
Goal and two assists. In just 33 minutes.

 

Performances like this one?

By good-but-not-star players can happen– when a team uses the entire pitch and plays without subconscious restriction. The news so far about Monreal’s substitution at 33 minutes is ‘not bad’. Supposedly precautionary. Took a ‘kick’ to his just-healed hamstring (Please be true!). AMN filling in admirably.

The remainder of the game was less-than exciting– but solid. The defence was pretty good. (Mostly wagering myself when Zaha would be carded, and what hue. I lost that bet. Yet still, somehow, get a Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate for being a sport. 🙄 ) CP had 2-3 chances. Palace got their consolation goal late. Cech still waiting on his 200th clean sheet.

Reiss Nelson made his PL debut, coming on for Ozil (at 72′). Sead Kolasinac returning from injury, on for Iwobi (at 82′)

So? Everybody good? (So good? I nearly had a cigarette. And I’ve never smoked 🙂 )

Now that we’ve performed the Alexit ceremony?
Can we please just get the Hentrance exam completed now!

 

By jw1

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Rock & ROL on: Ramsey, Ozil, Lacazette To Attack The Eagles – Line-Up|Preview

ARSENAL V CRYSTAL PALACE PREVIEW

The Biggest Question is: Who Does NOT Start!

Aubamayang and Mkhitaryan will not start. As at the time of writing, they still belong to Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United respectively. Their transfer saga drags on and nobody dare put money on their move.

Sanchez is most unlikely to start even though he is still an Arsenal player. It is rumoured he would be earning £500,00 per week at Manchester United. A broken limb at the Emirates against Crystal Palace would scupper that. Put money on him not even sitting on the bench, especially, with the story circulating that he has bid his Arsenal colleagues farewell at their hotel lodge yesterday.

Coquelin and Walcott will not even as much as sit on the bench: they now belong to other clubs.

Giroud is still out injured. He is expected back in a week. However, there is some speculations that he might make a move away as well, possibly to Dortmund. Don’t put your money on it, though. Apparently, Welbeck hurt some muscles in training and Maitland-Niles has fallen sick. This trio won’t be starting.

Ozil is back from injury. He has been training this week, just as Koschienly and Monreal. They join Ramsey and Kolasinac who came back last week. Will Wenger risk the five returnees as starters? Folly to second guess Wenger, but I’d start the five.  The times are desperate. The fact that Crystal Palace has six of their players out injured wouldn’t slow me down. Zaha, Cabaye, Tomkins are fit. Townsend is expected back. They will give us a fight.

My predicted line up:

submit football lineup

SUBS: Ospina, Chambers, Debuchy, Elneny, Iwobi, Nelson, Nketiah.

I can’t get myself to pray for goals galore in our favour. It might get Wenger stepping off the gas with only 11 days left in this transfer window. Two early goals to calm the nerves while they pull one back in the 88th minute would give five minutes of nail biting, enough to keep us on course. COYG!!!

By Pony Eye.

Posted in Uncategorized | 40 Comments

The One Player, Other than Ozil, Arsenal Cannot Let Go this January

It hurt a bit when we found out that Coquelin had left. Clearly, he was not able to hold on to a first team place anymore; and a player of his quality should not be warming the bench at the home of football. I wish him well at his new club. Arsene is struggling to get the balance right in midfield and, despite Le Coq signing a new contract last year, the gaffer must believe that Francis is not the answer (anymore). A real shame but we have to move on.

It felt more like a relief when Theo‘s move to Everton went through. At his age he should have been leading the team forward by now but all our investment in him did not lead to the sort of player you can bank on. He is as fast as Mertesacker is slow, and he takes his chances instinctively and fearlessly, but his footballing skills set is limited and, just like the other young Saints player we bought and came with sooo much promise, he is constantly in and out of games rather than an almost constant force. A nice, clever lad who no doubt will make it big in media/PR or marketing roles after his footballing career, but I don’t think many tears will flow at the home of football now that he has left for Fat Sam’s Toffees.

Alexis‘ departure continues to be imminent according to Wenger, and I guess most of us will feel a little sadness now he appears to be following the Judas’ path. I reckon we will play better as a team without him, as Lacazette has to become our main man for the goals and the team will have to focus harder on creating chances for him. With Alexis gone this will be easier. We will of course miss his ability to crack open a defence with his shots from around the box or his quick thinking in the box. I reckon he has a couple of top seasons in him, if he can stay fit that is. I wish him well but hope he will win nothing with the Mancs.

It looks like Wenger/Arsenal are playing chess with MU re Alexis. Mkhitaryan should come in return as Wenger wants to see Alexis replaced. We are also strongly linked with Aubameyang and, as per previous post, IF both would come our way before the end of the month, we can look forward to exciting, and hopefully winning, football in 2018.

The one player we cannot afford to let ago this January is the one who has the best song: Olivier Giroud. With Alexis gone, Ollie can work himself back into the team. He is the ultimate team player who creates space and opportunities for others and takes his chances at about a goal every other game. Aubameyang (hopefully) and Lacazette can work with him, and for Mesut Ozil he is also both a great chance converter and attacking pivot to work with.

Furthermore, Ollie is our supersub and a good team needs a supersub. He also offers a lot of support in defence when set-pieces need to be dealt with, and his work rate and love for the shirt are never in doubt.

So let’s keep hold of Giroud at least till the summer.

By TotalArsenal.

Posted in Uncategorized | 33 Comments

3-5-2: Aubemeyang and Lacazette up top | Jack-Mkhitaryan-Kola-Rambo-Ozil Midfield: Sexy or What?

Hard Times for Gooners across the world. It is easy to feel more than a bit down about our team and the immediate future; the BoD and Wenger, and his supporting staff, have their work cut out to change the mood in the coming fortnight.

Luckily, we are being strongly linked with a few excellent, experienced and ready-to-tango players to replace the imminently departing Sanchez and Walcott (and the already departed Le Coq).

As one of the biggest Arsenal signings of a January transfer window once said – the one and only Andrey Arshavin: we cannot allow ourselves to indulge in melancholy. Yes, we need to get back to positivity, to hope… to fascination for all that is Arsenal. As the Human League put it in one of their fabulous songs ‘Fascination’:

Keep feeling fascination
Passion burning
Love so strong
Keep feeling fascination
Looking, learning
Moving on

Well the truth may need some
Re-arranging
Stories to be told
And, plain to see, the facts are changing
No meaning left to hold

So let’s tell some stories and re-arrange the truth. Here are some TA-facts of the situation:

  1. Like it or not, Wenger is going to stay till at least the summer;
  2. Sanchez will be sold and  we will get Mkhitaryan in return;
  3. Theo will leave for a juicy £20m and we will not need to replace him;
  4. Le Coq has gone (feel a bit sad about that, good lad he was);
  5. We are going to stick with three at the back but put five in midfield and two up top;
  6. Welbz and Giroud will be kept as back up;
  7. We will sign Aubemeyang;
  8. Kolasinac will move in central defence and eat PL players for fun;
  9. Mesut will sign a new contract and get a statue next to DB10;
  10. Nacho and Koz will be fully fit soon and play the rest of the season…

Yes fellow Gooners, these ten facts will come to fruition and our team will look like this:

submit football lineup

How sexy is this, hey? We will smother our opponents in their own half with the midfield heavy weights of Jack, Rambo, Kola-the-beast-in-the-middle, Mkhitaryan and Ozil. Up-front we have the athletes of Laca and Aubemeyang running defences ragged and pouncing on the multiple opportunities delivered on a silver plate by Mesut, Jack etc. There will be little defending to be done and Nacho, Mustafi and Koz will be waiting for our bamboozled, and half-eaten opponents anyway.

Ah that feels a lot better.

cosmos

Feel free to add your very own fascinating rearrangements of facts! 🙂

By TotalArsenal

Posted in Uncategorized | 38 Comments

The Brain: The One Player Arsenal Should Sign Up

ENOUGH OF MURKY WATERS: (TRAPPED IN THE THRIFT-CULTURE OF THE EMIRATE YEARS).

Arsenal fell into Bournemouth’s trap. We were harried into hurrying our game without any plan or purpose. Bournemouth came at us with all they had and we couldn’t dance away from their flurry or keep them at bay with straight left jabs or put them down with stunning right counters. We did not have the brains, nor the punch, nor the skills, nor the stamina, nor the self-conviction. Of course, we lost.

Arsenal without Ozil is a team without a brain. Without Sanchez it has no punch. Sanchez is as good as gone. I don’t even want him anymore. But find a new punch we must. As for Ozil, we should quickly give him what he wants which very much includes quality players around him – but not Welbeck, neither Walcott nor Iwobi.

If recruitment were like a trolley dash in a supermarket, I would have rattled out about a dozen names we should immediately sell or retire or loan out. In parallel to that would be a dash in and a dash out, with quality that is befitting of our status as the second richest club in the world according to a recent survey, or, if you prefer one that has stood up to scrutiny over a number of years, the sixth richest one. Not in any doubt is that we are financial footballing royalty. Mark that the footballing royalty is qualified by the word “financial”. I take great pains not to be misunderstood.

It’s tiring, this hide and seek game of Alexis and no Alexis, of Lemar and no Lemar, of Ozil and no Ozil, of Malcolm and no Malcolm. It exhausts me (I represent the fandom), it exhausts the players, exhausts everybody. The whole drama has become an epic of penny wise pound foolish.

There are only 15 matches left in the season and we are 8 pts adrift of 4th place. The 4th place “trophy” that used to rile us has become our wildest dream. What a fall. Yet, only a few years back, we were told by the management that we had reached a position where we could compete for all top honours. It was not intended to deceive. They were convinced of the truth of it having failed to recognize that they had become trapped in the thrift-culture of their recent past. Resplendent in the garb of royalty but stewed in the culture of peasantry they kept rolling over budgets of subsistence. And I (representing the fandom) am left to suffer the contradictions.

We must jolt ourselves out of our stupor starting from this week. We should let Sanchez go even for just the sake of the club’s pride. If you don’t want me, I don’t want you. That’s how proud we should be if we are to be conquerors. The vibes from Ozil are different. He is asking for a pay packet that is commensurate with his quality. He is also demanding that we put quality players around him as that is the way he can thrive, the way the team can thrive. It is us, the club, who should put pen to paper and sign his dotted lines. We have the muscles to do that. Only our small timer mentality is what we need to free ourselves of. We should beat off all competitors and get Ozil to stay with us. Get into the vast and rich market and take whom we want. If there is need to fire sale any dead woods, so be it. There is always a lot to gain traveling light.

Can we claw back the 8 pts plus needed to get into the Champions League place? First, we have to put our house in order. Now! It’s our only home. Thereafter we take it one game at a time (OGAAT).

A Gooner never says die!

By Pony Eye.

Posted in Uncategorized | 24 Comments

Alexis’ Last Game, Ozil or Iwobi, Jack to Juice the Cherries? Line-up|Preview

AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal

The Cherries and Eddie Howe bring a football smile to my face. There is something really lovely about them. This is only their third season in the top league and last season Bournemouth finished a very, very respectable ninth. Eddie Howe lets his boys play proper passing football and they all work for the team. It is the system of football and team culture, rather than a collection of quality players, that make the difference at AFC Bournemouth; and this, my friends, is a sign of an excellent football manager. He is  a real gent in front of the cameras and clearly lives for the game.

It is also at Dean Court where Super Jack regained his confidence and game rhythm, and Howe really was the right manager for him to make this happen. For this we should be very thankful.

Despite all this respect we have for the Cherries and their manager (and possibly ours in the far future), we need to be focussed on just one thing: going home with all three points. We are desperate for a good run and a win today will reconnect us with the top five/four. Arsenal (22 games, 39 points) are at least five points behind fourth place (Pool, on 44 points, are playing Citeh later today).

With all the transfer window shenanigans going on this month and that substantial risk of getting (too) far behind the top four, it feels like today’s match is both critical and pivotal for the team and manager. It will be a test of character and pride in the shirt, no doubt.

We all know that Arsene and the team are struggling to get the balance right between defending and attacking. We let too many in and have been far too nice to the nets of the opposing teams. With Mustafi back in defence we now have a better chance of keeping it clean at the back, although we will still be without Nacho and Koz… but it is up front where we have real concerns. Lacazette has not scored for a while and the TEAM has to work a lot harder to bring him into scoring positions. The fab Frenchman could not work any harder for the team and now it is time to realise that Alex, not Alexis, is our main goal-threat. Wenger had this to say about Lacazette on Arsenal.com:

“Everybody goes through that spell. Alexandre Lacazette is a real team player and if he continues to give to the team what he’s giving at the moment, the team will give it back to him. At some stage, he will score very quickly. But because he’s not used to that, at the moment it’s a bit difficult for him to bear that, but I’m not worried about it, honestly.”

I reckon, we need ‘the team to give it back to him’ right here and now, and a tactical adjustment is required. Unfortunately, we have both too many good players (Giroud, Rambo) injured and back up players hopelessly out of form (Welbeck, Walcott and Iwobi); so Wenger has only a few options right now. I expect this to be Alexis’ last game in the mighty red and white, as Wenger has no option but to play him today and then to sell him for good money and go and get a replacement in time.

This is the predicted line-up:

submit football lineup

Ozil is a doubt and hopefully he plays. If not, it will have to be Iwobi. Time for some determined cherry-picking and to take back three points to the home of football. Sorry nice man Eddie.

By TotalArsenal.

Posted in Uncategorized | 120 Comments

Sanchez or Ozil: Who Would You Choose?

This saga has consummated much of the first half of this season and has probably decimated team spirit inside the Arsenal dressing room, not to mention team performance on the pitch from time to time. 

We are now entering the middle of the January transfer window and every Arsenal fan can be forgiving for wondering quietly whether or not either Sanchez or Ozil, or both, will stay or go. As this unfortunate debacle goes on, Arsene Wenger and Arsenal only have themselves to blame for it. With 18-24 months to go, if you cannot convince your two superstars to renew their contract, then be decisive and either pay what they want or ship them out (with 12 months remaining), and get quality replacements. You’ve gotta get maximum value for these players, and in today’s crazy market, these two players alone could have easily netted us over a cool £100 million. Alas, we fell asleep at the wheel, and this is where it has pathetically gotten us. 

But it is what it is, so what exactly do we do now and who do we want to see stay at the Emirates when the window closes? 

For me, Alexis Sanchez is a tremendous player with vast ability, passion, and dedication, but he is also a “gentle” mercenary (unlike Emmanuel Adebayor or Samir Nasri), unfortunately. The weird part is, I don’t actually blame him or fault him one bit. Had Arsenal addressed the team needs and surrounded Sanchez and Ozil with hardworking and quality players, we would have already won the league a couple of times by now. At 28-29 and in the final year of his contract, why should he work hard and run himself to the ground every match day when his teammates are reluctant to follow his example?

Watching Arsenal players press the opposing team is at times quite laughable, especially in midfield. Our idea of pressing the ball is to stay about 10 yards away from the ball carrier and keep backing down until we are inside or on the edge of our penalty area. Or have only one or two players do the pressing while everyone else stays far back resting and watching.  Sanchez, I think, is fed up with our work ethic as a team, our lack of discipline in critical moments, our inability to address long ago identified defensive frailties, and our refusal to meet his wage demands or at least come close to it.

I understand all that and if he wants to go and we all know he no longer wants to be a part of Arsenal, then let’s sell him to City quickly and get some decent money (£35-40 million) for him. He will get his customary “dream move” to City, play with a bunch of superstars, be coached by a superstar Manager, win plenty of silverware, and make serious money while at it. His mind was made up long ago and his heart is elsewhere. He only started playing well again this past couple of months because he wants to get out of town this January transfer window and is putting himself on the shopping window. It might be detrimental to the team spirit and performance if he is again forced to stay and, more than likely, I fear that he will put in average performances for a player of his quality. He is not going to the World Cup, therefore, he’s got nothing to worry about.

 

Ozil’s situation is a bit different, I feel. I believe he does love Arsenal and wants to stay but first needs certain guarantees and monetary compensation before re-signing. If he doesn’t get them, he will not re-sign and simply walk away in June. As they say, he’s got us by the balls. However, unlike Sanchez, Ozil’s got a World Cup to worry about and therefore, he will want to remain sharp and in form. He will want to shut the doubters up. He is a consummate professional and really cares about his beautiful craft. Besides, despite what all the haters say about him, Ozil is a truly gifted and extremely intelligent football player, and does do his part. Yes, it may look lethargic at times or look like he is not putting in a shift defensively on a regular basis but that is not his forte. That is not why he is on the team. His job is to be a facilitator and a creator.

If this team was able to convert just half the number of unbelievably easy chances Ozil creates during any given match, we would all be having a different conversation right now. There are many times when Ozil would bamboozle an entire defence with a simple-looking pass but extremely difficult to execute and I found myself wondering: “How the hell did he see and make that pass and make it look so simple? How did he know that the defenders wouldn’t be able to intercept that pass? Has he got eyes everywhere?” This Arsenal team is built around him, I think, and it would a great loss for us if he were to leave now or in the Summer. I like to compare Ozil to a super-gorgeous, high class, high maintenance girlfriend. You know the type of person she is before deciding to court and date her. Once she becomes your girlfriend, you know exactly what is required of you to keep her around. If you don’t fulfil her every wish/need, she will simply leave your for another lover. No bad feeling. Plain simple. Arsenal have got their “trophy girlfriend” but it remains to be seen whether they can keep “her”.

I truly love both Sanchez and Ozil and would be sad to see either go. But if I had to choose one over the other, I would choose Ozil every day of the week. Somehow, this current Arsenal team just does not look the same without Mesut Ozil playing. I really hope he does stay and renew his contract in the coming months.

Please Arsenal, pay Ozil what he wants now, sign hardworking quality players (especially in defence), replace Sanchez, sell Walcott, Debuchy, Akpom, and a few others and let’s move forward.

Thank you.

 Written by: Gino92

Posted in Uncategorized | 32 Comments