The U23 Goalkeepers: Who Is The Next David Seaman?

With the majority of our better U23’s out on loan and with the heart of that squad playing elsewhere but at the same time gaining invaluable experience, we have had to endure some quite disappointing results at the under 23 level, which when you look at it logically is understandable given the mishmash of U18’s, rejects from other clubs given a chance and general long shots that make up Steve Bould’s squad. Bould has actually, in my opinion, taken a lot of unfair flak for the teams results up until winning 6-0 at Blackburn. He’s had to turn a sows ear into a silk purse with a collection of players who have had virtually no pre-season, who are in the main new to each other, the club and are really at quite varying levels in quality.

The soul of Bould’s squad are scattered across the Championship, League One and Two whilst in their place are a selection of players who a year ago were playing U16’s alongside some more experienced players harvested from other academies who are mostly filling in while the 16 and 17 year olds grow. It seems to be a new policy to me and I’ll touch on that later in this series of rambles.

I don’t get to see the reserves, U23’s or ‘Stiffs’ much these days, the slog to Borehamwood isn’t really a realistic option for me which is a shame as I loved popping into Highbury in the middle of my shift to take in a Combination match or maybe an evening game in the Southern Junior Floodlit Cup, it was a joy way back when. Therefore most of my knowledge is second hand, but you can still access the odd reserve game on You Tube and then there is the peerless Jeorge Bird and a few notable Twitterers who I access from time to time for info.

Looking at the present squad, the rump so to speak, it’s difficult to really pick out any players who I think may make it to our senior squad or even for that matter stay in the Premier League with another club, but I’m willing to give it a try so that Total can take a well earned break and attend to his sporran and tartan clogs.


Let me look at the goalkeepers to start with:

We have a clutch of goalkeepers at Arsenal at this time, which makes it all the more mysterious why Bould went into a game recently without a sub goalkeeper. Bould is an experienced coach, he isn’t an idiot, so we can only guess why that was and the reason will probably remain in-house as it should, but I reckon that it was possibly injury related or disciplinary?

I don’t currently see anyone who can step up as the new Emi Martinez and that probably explains why Arsenal doggedly pursued the Brentford goalkeeper and latterly brought in the Icelandic goal minder Runarsson. Both were recommended to the club by our goalkeeping coach who has worked with them both in the past but time will tell if his judgement was sound or not?

I guess that the long serving Matt Macey might have been harbouring, post Emi Martinez uprooting for the West Midlands, some ambitions of becoming the No.2 to Leno this season, but it seems that our goalkeeping coach and the others on the coaching staff doubted that he’s really up to it – those same self coaches who were comfortable with selling Martinez to Leeds last winter if the Elland Road outfit had come up with the required fee, thought to be £10m, so let’s park that thought….

After Macey is Dejan Iliev our Macedonian goal minder, but I suspect that at 25 and after numerous loans that his future lays away from North London. Iliev is among that group of aspiring keepers who are in a kind of a twilight zone, clubs’ need back ups in case of injury but despite the injury to Leno last season those opportunities arise very rarely and so you are stuck in a routine of training, playing the odd game in the U23’s, going out on loan or if you’re really lucky getting a seat on the subs bench in a League Cup tie or a dead rubber in the Europa. Ultimately you are not thought to be good enough to get the 1st team gig and eventually you’ll leave to join a lesser club and be left wondering why you wasted so many years in the forlorn hope of becoming the next David Seaman?

I think that James Hillson and Karl Hein fall into the above although Hein is I understand thought to be the best of that bunch.

The one who could make it and who is the most naturally talented is in my opinion Arthur Okonkwo, but he’s had quite a troubled last 18 months with losing the entirety of last season due to health issues and recently I’ve read that he’s had some disciplinary matters so, it true, that’s not great. Young Arthur has not had a good time of things so I reckon that the club will give him time to recover his equilibrium as he has undoubted talent.

After Arthur my knowledge is sketchy, Tom Smith is on loan with Dover Athletic and there is Hubert Graczyk and Ovid Ejeheri, both 2nd years and Remy Michell a 1st year.
Schoolboy goalkeepers are Alex Kovacevic and James Telfer who I believe both made the subs bench in the U18’s last season.

If any of you know anymore than me about these youngsters then I’d be delighted to be enlightened…

Onwards and Upwards.

By Allezkev

WARREN STRATFORD~RARE~TAXI~Child Driving while Adults Drink in Backseat |  #1992015752
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Arsenal v Villa Preview/ Lineup: 3-4-3 and Probably Mikel’s Strongest 11

Aston Villa Football Club was formed in March 1874, by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Handsworth which is now part of Birmingham. The four founders of Aston Villa were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood. Aston Villa’s first match was against the local Aston Brook St Mary’s Rugby team. As a condition of the match, the Villa side had to agree to play the first half under Rugby rules and the second half under Association rules After moving to the Wellington Road ground in 1876, Villa soon established themselves as one of the best teams in the Midlands, winning their first honour, the Birmingham Senior Cup in 1880, under the captaincy of Scotsman George Ramsay.

They have played at their home ground, Villa Park, since 1897. Aston Villa was one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888 and of the Premier League in 1992. Villa are one of only five English clubs to have won the European Cup, in 1981–82. They have also won the Football League First Division seven times, the FA Cup seven times, the League Cup five times, and the UEFA Super Cup once.

Villa has a fierce local rivalry with Birmingham City and the Second City derby between the teams has been played since 1879. The club’s traditional kit colours are claret shirts with sky blue sleeves, white shorts and sky blue socks. Their traditional club badge is of a rampant lion. The club is currently owned by the NSWE group, a company owned by the Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris and the American billionaire Wes Edens.

Wembley is considered to be the spiritual home of English football, but Villa Park is a close second. Aston Villa’s home since 1897, the ground sits in the shadow of the Jacobean stately home Aston Hall and has evolved over the years into a magnificent all-seated arena with a capacity of more than 42,000.  Villa’s home ground is no stranger to major events, either, having hosted matches at both the 1966 World Cup and the European Championships in 1996. It is one of a select few that has staged international fixtures over three different centuries, the first senior international taking place in 1899. In addition, it was a regular venue for FA Cup semi-finals before they were moved to Wembley. Villa Park also hosted the last-ever European Cup Winners’ Cup Final between Italian side Lazio and Spanish club Real Mallorca in 1999, as well as the 2012 FA Community Shield match when Chelsea faced Manchester City.

Arsenal v Aston Villa EPL Home Games
  WDLGFGA
112-Apr-93  101
206-Nov-93  112
326-Dec-94 1 00
421-Oct-95  102
528-Dec-96 1 22
626-Oct-97 1 00
716-May-991  10
811-Sep-991  31
914-Oct-001  10
1009-Dec-011  32
1130-Nov-021  31
1227-Aug-031  20
1316-Oct-041  31
1401-Apr-061  50
1519-Aug-06 1 11
1601-Mar-08 1 11
1715-Nov-08  102
1827-Dec-091  30
1915-May-11  112
2024-Mar-121  30
2123-Feb-131  21
2217-Aug-13  113
2301-Feb-151  50
2415-May-161  40
2522-Sep-191  32
2608-Nov-20     
Total14564824

Villa has only beaten Arsenal away on six occasions in the Premier League and it’s difficult to predict that trend changing, although they have been playing some nice football this season – including inflicting Liverpool with a 7-2 thrashing at Villa Park.

Arsenal v Aston Villa Home Games
  WDLGFGA
Division 133121810876
Premier14564824
Total471724156100

GunnerN5

TA Predicted Line-up: 3-4-3 and probably Mikel’s strongest-11

COME ON YOU RIP-ROARING GUNNERS

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Has Arteta Finally Found Our New Ramsey?

Like many others I was very impressed with Joe Willock’s performance against Molde. He seemed to play in a free role behind the attackers and he added real penetration and ‘coordinated chaos’ – yes it’s an oxymoron – in the opponent’s box. His sheer athletic, physical presence and ability to penetrate a tight defence with his dribbling and ball-control skills led to not one but two, more or less forced, own goals; and he also scored a goal himself from the edge of the box late on that was pure class.

We all know Arsenal have been missing a scoring midfielder for quite a while. The last one was Ramsey who could be great once he was fully fit and had a few games under his belt. Unfortunately, Aaron was too injury-prone for us to be able to count on him and he hesitated too long with signing a new deal. These days he warms the Juve bench in a zebra shirt and his career is petering out, as is the case with so many of our recent midfield super talents. A sad story but that is for a future post.

Under Areta the team is gradually evolving to a much more disciplined and balanced team, and I think more change (and possibly some setbacks/bad results) is to come. Partey’s signing offers the manager great opportunities to make us both defensively sound and more effective and dominant in attack. As our favourite currently inactive Taxi-Driver-Kev has said: Partey could be Arsenal’s ‘Van Dijk signing’. Yes, the one who allows us to make a paradigm-jump. First signs are good, very good. The question is where should the Ghanaian giant play to have the biggest impact?

I have little doubt that Xhaka will retain his left-sided deeper role in midfield for most of our games. Granit is so like Mikel was in his footballing days, but both need a proper box-to-box midfielder next to shine properly. I reckon left-footed Xhaka and right-footed Partey will make a formidable couple, and Elneny is ideal as back-up and regular replacement for either of the two. All three will get plenty of games as long as we are playing the cup competitions or playing two leagues games in a week. It is great to have now a luxury of three excellent midfielders for these two key positions. I also rate Ceballos as a fourth option but am less enthusiastic about his play compared to other BKers. But there is plenty of time for him to develop further, of course, and I love Ceballos’ workrate and enthusiasm.

So Thomas for me should play mostly in a box to box role and thus help us to push up the team closer to the box of the opponent. This is vital for our ability to connect with the attack and create much more chances through our passing and runs into the box. Partey can pick great passes and can regain the ball in no time when turnovers occur. Alternatively, he can occasionally sit back and allow Granit to push up and dictate our attacking game with his sharp diagonal passes and lobs over the top. We would be more unpredictable than we are currently, and our attackers would become less isolated. Much more than adding an Ozil-like creator to the team, I believe that being able to push up 20-30 yards into the opposition’s half is paramount for creating more chances and thus scoring more goals.

But there is one more benefit of playing two of Xhaka-Partey-Elneny at the base of midfield, and I really hope this is Mikel’s next evolutionary step: we can play a player in the hole, the Nr10, area. An area I am sure that Ramsey – who I never really saw as a proper B2B midfielder – would have been playing under Arteta had he signed the Gunners’ contract.

What Arteta seems to want in such a position is a KdB sort of type, with freedom to move round but also play a very disciplined game in terms of positioning, workrate, defensive duties etc. The Aouar rumours were strong and we are just eight weeks away from the next transfer window…

But I don’t think we need to buy for this position as yet. We have options: Saka, Willian, ESR, Ceballos and even Martinelli, once he is fit, could be awesome in front of the DM/B2B midfielders and behind the attackers. All these players have great potential and Willian would be a safe pair of hands with his PL and CL winning experience.

But now that Willock has put in some very strong performances albeit against lesser opposition, let’s see more of him in the ‘nr10’ role in Arteta-ball. No doubt Joe will have setbacks again as he is only 21 and that is a very big role to play well in game after game, so let’s be patient. But Willock was instrumental in our recent UEFA-League wins and he keeps producing assists and scoring goals which is so rare for Arsenal midfielders. Maybe now is the time to allow him to play some PL games in front of and behind the big boys.

By TotalArsenal.

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Arsenal Player Ratings: Four Players Wanted It; The Rest Went Through The Motions

Arsenal 4 – 1 Molde

It was a typical UEFA Cup encounter in which Arsenal initially struggled to dominate the game in the attacking third but then gradually our quality started to shine through, and in the end it was an easy win for the good guys.

Arsenal equalise against Molde in the Europa League Group B game through Kristoffer Haugen's own goal

Player Ratings:

The ones that went through the motions…

Leno: 5 – uninspired performance in which Bernd had not much to do. He lacked calm and simply was not at the horses. Threw in his own windows for the only goal we conceded. Not impressed.

Kola: 5 – plenty of effort and energy but offered very little quality in the attacking third.

Luiz: 6.5 – relatively easy game for Luiz with a few fine long balls over the top.

Mustafi: 6 – went through the motions and tried to aid the attack.

Maitland-Niles: 5.5 – went through the motions and did not do anything wrong. But there was also little to be excited about.

Xhaka: 6 – see Mustafi.

Ceballos: 6.5 – a few nice passes and forward moves but nothing to write home about.

Willian 6.5 – put in a shift and there were some nice movements with the ball and passes.

Soares 5 – did not see much of him in the 30 minutes he played.

The ones that took the game by the scruff of the neck…

Pepe 7 – started off poorly with some ugly crosses and passes but got better in the second half (and last part of the first half). A good assist and classy goal. There is much more in Pepe but will we get to see it this season? Mikel might be losing his patience with him…

Eddie 7 – unlucky not to score but he gave it his all (offsite goal should have stood) and had his work cut out in the centre of attack. Loved his movement and eagerness to get in the right positions.

Joe 8 – was the creative force in attack, forced two own goals and scored a beauty once a gain. The boy is becoming a man.

Saka 7 – sublime assist for Pepe’s goal and made the difference in the last half hour (together with Pepe and Joe).

(Tierney and Elneny did not play long enough to score them).

By TotalArsenal.

Posted in Uncategorized | 25 Comments

Arsenal v Molde Preview/ Lineup and Why Arsenal Goalkeepers Always Wash Their New Shirts

Arsenal v Molde FC November 5th 2020

Let’s all take a sad walk back down memory lane.

The year is 1925 and Arsenal were looking for a replacement for the sacked manager Leslie Knighton, Arsenal chairman Sir Henry Norris placed this advertisement in the Athletic News:

“Arsenal football club is open to receive applications for the position of TEAM MANAGER. He must be experienced and possess the highest qualifications for the post, both as to ability and personal character. Gentlemen whose sole ability to build up a good side depends on the payment of heavy and exorbitant transfer fees need not apply”

In response to this advertisement along came Herbert Chapman – who was to know the effect of that avert and the subsequent hiring of Chapman would have on the course of Arsenal’ history.”

Did you know that on April 23rd 1927 it was Herbert Chapman that led us out at Wembley Stadium for our first ever FA Cup Final? The 1927 final was also the very first time that community singing was introduced in a final and it produced one of the biggest (91,206) organised choirs of the time. There was some doubt as to whether the crowd would join in but the response was so enthusiastic that it immediately became part of the FA Cup Final’s ritual. T.P. Ratcliff, who became famous as”The Man in White” was the song leader and the Northern Command Tattoos were conducted by Aldershot Tidworth. The tradition of signing “Abide with me” continues to this day but supporters also sign their own clubs war songs. The song sheet in 1927 included, Pack up Your Troubles, All Through the Night, Tipperary and Drink to Me Only.

Chapman led out the Arsenal to play Cardiff City, his team that day consisted of – Dan Lewis, Tom Parker, Andy Kennedy, Alf Baker, Jack Butler, Bob John, Joe Hulme, Charlie Buchan, Jimmy Brain, Billy Blyth and Sid Hoar.

Unfortunately Arsenal became the first and only club to let England’s most celebrated trophy to be spirited away to another country. Hugh Freguson Cardiff’s centre-forward scored the only goal of the game in the seventy third minute – in a game that was largely dominated by Arsenal – Oh Boy! does that have a familiar ring to it?

In was a sad moment for our goalkeeper Dan Lewis (who was also a Welsh international)

as the shot by Hughie Ferguson was straight at him – he dived down to make what should have been a comfortable save, however he fumbled the ball as he gathered it, and it slipped between his body and the crook of his elbow he turned around and tried in vain to reclaim the ball but only succeeded in knocking it with his elbow into the back of the net.

On receiving his losers’ medal from King George V, a disgusted Lewis reportedly cried “This is not for me,” before flinging it as far as he could into the Wembley crowd.

Lewis blamed his brand new jersey for the error, saying the wool was too greasy for him to grip the ball properly; since then, according to club legend, no Arsenal goalkeeper has played in a new jersey before it is washed first.

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

We are far too strong for Molde and I expect that with so many games on our fixture list we will field a team of mostly youngsters supplemented by a few senior players.

Given the date I’m sure that the game will be a real “fire cracker”

I’ll leave it to our esteemed friend Mr. BK himself to predict our squad.

GunnerN5

Most of the Sunday team will get a rest as to play again coming Sunday, possibly with Luiz and Xhaka being reintegrated into the team. So the team picks itself more or less. Let’s hope the boys are fired up from the start and work hard for a good win (TA).

Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!!!

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Manchester United 0:1 Arsenal FC – the good, the bad and the ugly

As an homage to Sergio Leone’s epic western I should keep the sequence in the order above, but if I end this post on a negative note you might disregard the positives from the beginning and will consider me a killjoy or call me Pessimist Pete (if you ever wondered what the first letter in PB stood for). So let’s start with the sad parts and work towards the good.

While Arsenal fans are rightfully happy after an away win against a strong and high prestige opponent, independent supporters didn’t particularly enjoy the game. Gary Lineker tweeted it to be „dreadfully dull”. It might have to do with the amount of shots on goal (2-2) and the key passes (MU: 8, Arsenal:5). These figures are indeed low, especially compared to Everton-Liverpool (11:14) or Fulham:-Crystal Palace (15:11), but far from being the worst as Brighton-WBA (4:5), Liverpool-West Ham (6:1), Tottenham-Brighton (6:4).

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ElwiUnMWMAsDjQn?format=png

Rob Holding said in the interview that „we could have won by three or four”. And while I love the guy I don’t agree with him. We had about 3 half-decent chances. Saka might have hit the target with his header, but that was not a foolproof goalscoring opportunity – probably not for even Giroud himself. Similarly, Willan wasn’t unlucky that the bar saved de Gea, rather lucky that he managed to hit the target with his weaker foot. Furthermore, Auba’s curl from outside the box could have gone in but only about 3 times in 10 attempts, definitely not 9 of 10. And when Bellerin was fouled inside the box he was as far from creating a goal-scoring opportunity as one can get in the penalty area. I’m not saying that a 0:0 draw would have been more fair though; my point is that despite our midfield dominance (which didn’t materialize in possession stats) and defensive stability we couldn’t translate our superiority into clear chances, thus we weren’t particularly unlucky that we needed a penalty to break the deadlock.

Let’s move to the independent area. Modern football doesn’t really care about the number of shots to be enjoyable, though. We had many ’almost’ and ’soooo close’ moments, while Manchester didn’t. So our win is completely justified. Mike Dean was refereeing in a decent manner. And our opponent wasn’t particularly bad either. They are a bunch of skilled players trying to pursue a sub-optimal strategy. We were lucky only from the perspective that MU had Martial suspended, and OGS experimented with the formation (and I don’t see scary when Fred and McTominay playing in midfield together), while we – despite our long injury list – didn’t really have to make compromises from our best XI.

I am probably hopeless for wanting to see games like our 4:1 win against Liverpool (2015) or any of our 5:2 wins against Tottenham, but my enthusiasm is at bay if the keys to victory are „controlled hostility” and „smothering the opponent”. Nevertheless this was a fixture where we haven’t won for the last 14 games, so I don’t mind making a compromise here. But I hope that our scoring statistics will improve, as we scored 4 goals in the last 5 PL games losing 3.

And the good part: Arteta also experimented, but not with the formation, rather with players. And he succeeded; both the last minute inclusion of Holding and the equally improbable and unforeseeable pairing of the forgotten Elneny with the new guy Partey proved to be masterstrokes. However – as it was correctly pointed out by many in the blog, this performance was particularly strong from the team effort point of view. We didn’t have any weak contribution on Sunday night, and we had quite a few really strong ones. I won’t go into details, as TA and others have already been singing their hymns, especially on Partey and Elneny. (I don’t remember the last time when Adrian Clarke awarded split Main Man prizes before this weekend.)

But I cannot overlook the process that transformed a shaky error-prone defense into the best record in the PL. There are several reasons behind that – probably asking for a dedicated post – but the here are my key explaining factors:

  1. Changing formation to 3-4-3 with 3CBs and 2 wingbacks
  2. New Players of the highest quality (Tierney, Gabriel, possibly Mari, Saliba and Soares)
  3. Extreme pressing from the top, notably Lacazette and Nketiah
  4. Emerging leaders such as Luiz (short term) and Gabriel (hopefully long run)
  5. Removing Steve Bould from the first team coaching staff…

We are paying the price for the 5-defender line-up resulting in fewer chances, less goals and some boring games, but this is a price many of us were willing to pay. Arsenal now has a solid, reliable, talented (and mostly young) defence, and a lot of capable and experienced players – along with gifted and success-hungry youngsters – in midfield and attack. Now Arteta needs to find the best formations and tactics to maximize the chances and goals. He might need a creative midfielder, but we probably have the right players, just need to find the best way to utilize them.

By PB.

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Arsenal Player Ratings: There Can Only Be One MOTM. He Was Stellar!

Man United 0 – 1 Arsenal

Player Ratings:

Leno: 7 Not much to do but had presence and held the high balls well. Distribution could be better.

Tierney 7.5 You don’t mess with Tierney. Not faced at all by the opponents or the place.

Gabriel 8 See Tierney. Great presence and so assured. Close to MotM.

Holding 8 Wow didn’t expect him to play today. Masterful in the air and natural partner to Gabriel and Bellerin. A good Arsenal team needs a typical English CB. Holding is our man. Close to MotM.

Bellerin 7.5 Not as effective as Tierney or Saka but he got us the penalty and he fought for every ball.

Elneny 8 Positionally very strong and fine partnership with Partey. Tried hard to speed up the game with forward passes. Possibly his best game in red and white. Close to MotM.

PARTEY 9 MOTM First game at Old Toilet and he made the team play the Vieira way. We bossed the midfield and this was because of his physicality, intelligence of reading the game and superb passing. There were many good players but Partey was simply stellar.

Saka 7.5 Provided that extra attacking threat, especially in the first half. The boy is becoming a man.

Auba 7.5 Took the pen and scored the goal so extra point for that. Still finding his form.

Laca 7. 5 Worked hard for the team.

Willian 8 His best performance in red and white. Much tighter with the ball than Pepe. Unlucky not to score. Loved his maturity at OT.

Subs not long enough on the pitch to pass judgement.

By TotalArsenal.

Posted in Uncategorized | 40 Comments

Arsenal v MU Preview and Lineup: 4-3-3 with Willian in Midfield and SLA in Attack

Arsenal v Manchester United – November 01. 2020 – A bit of history.

See the source image

With the end of WW11, the impending resumption of football led to the managerial appointment of Matt Busby, who demanded an unprecedented level of control over team selection, player transfers and training sessions. Busby led the team to second-place league finishes in 1947, 1948 and 1949, and to FA Cup victory in 1948. In 1952, the club won the First Division, its first league title for 41 years. They then won back-to-back league titles in 1956 and 1957; the squad, who had an average age of 22, were nicknamed “the Busby Babes” by the media, a testament to Busby’s faith in his youth players. In 1957, Manchester United became the first English team to compete in the European Cup, despite objections from The Football League, who had denied Chelsea the same opportunity the previous season. En route to the semi-final, which they lost to Real Madrid, the team recorded a 10–0 victory over Belgian champions Anderlecht, which remains the club’s biggest victory on record.

The following season, on the way home from a European Cup quarter-final victory against Red Star Belgrade, the aircraft carrying the Manchester United players, officials and journalists crashed while attempting to take off after refuelling in Munich, Germany. The Munich air disaster of 6 February 1958 claimed 23 lives, including those of eight players – Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Billy Whelan – and injured several more.

A stone tablet, inscribed with the image of a football pitch and several names. It is surrounded by a stone border in the shape of a football stadium. Above the tablet is a wooden carving of two men holding a large wreath.

A plaque at Old Trafford in memory of those who died in the Munich air disaster, including players’ names.

Assistant manager Jimmy Murphy took over as manager while Busby recovered from his injuries and the club’s makeshift side reached the FA Cup final, which they lost to Bolton Wanderers. In recognition of the team’s tragedy, UEFA invited the club to compete in the 1958–59 European Cup alongside eventual League champions Wolverhampton Wanderers. Despite approval from The Football Association, The Football League determined that the club should not enter the competition, since it had not qualified.

 Busby rebuilt the team through the 1960s by signing players such as Denis Law and Pat Crerand, who combined with the next generation of youth players – including George Best – to win the FA Cup in 1963. The following season, they finished second in the league, then won the title in 1965 and 1967. In 1968, Manchester United became the first English (and second British) club to win the European Cup, beating Benfica 4–1 in the final with a team that contained three European Footballers of the Year: Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best. They then represented Europe in the 1968 Intercontinental Cup against Estudiantes of Argentina, but lost the tie after losing the first leg in Buenos Aires, before a 1–1 draw at Old Trafford three weeks later. Busby resigned as manager in 1969 before being replaced by the reserve team coach, former Manchester United player Wilf McGuinness.

Arsenal v Man U – EPL Away Games
GPDateWDLGFGA
124-Mar-93 1 00
219-Sep-93  101
322-Mar-95  103
420-Mar-96  101
516-Nov-96  101
614-Mar-981  10
717-Feb-99 1 11
824-Jan-00 1 11
925-Feb-01  116
1008-May-021  10
1107-Dec-02  102
1221-Sep-03 1 00
1324-Oct-04  102
1409-Apr-06  102
1517-Sep-061  10
1613-Apr-08  112
1716-May-09 1 00
1829-Aug-09  112
1913-Dec-10  101
2028-Aug-11  128
2103-Nov-12  112
2210-Nov-13  101
2317-May-15 1 11
2428-Feb-16  123
2519-Nov-16 1 11
2628-Apr-18  112
2705-Dec-18 1 22
2830-Sep-19 1 11
2901-N ov-20     
Totals39161946
Arsenal v Man U – All Away League Games
GPLeagueWDLGFGA
10Division 2136824
63Division 112173461120
28Premier39161946
Totals16295688190

Our away record against Man U is perhaps the worst against any other club, in our history we have played them away on101 occasions and only have 16 victories – the last being a 0-1 victory on Sept 06, 2006.To look on the bright side we have drawn the last two games – so maybe just maybe a victory is on the cards.

GunnerN5

Predicted Line-up by TotalArsenal:

It looks like Arteta has moved to 4-3-3 and with so many CBs out of contention it would make sense to go with four at the back, including FBs. I cannot see Mustafi starting his third game in seven days after his long injury layoff, and if Luiz is indeed injured then it would not surprise me if Saliba will start. If the latter is the case then there is extra good reason to play with four at the back and ask Bel to stay deeper than usual.

The midfield should see both Xhaka and Partey start and the third player could be either Elneny, Ceballos or Willian. I am going for the Brazilian’s experience in big matches.

In attack I expect Auba and Laca to start and Saka to be the third attacker. Saka and Auba will change sites a lot and I expect Laca to play a lot in midfield to help out Partey and Co.

I expect Tierney to bomb forward a lot and Xhaka to cover for him. The same may be the case on the right side, but it is more likely that Bellerin will be instructed to stay back as much as is needed and allow Willian to link up with the attackers, possibly playing most of his time in the ‘hole’ area.

There will be a key Vieira-esque role for Partey who will sit in front of the defence but will also be allow to bomb forward whilst probably Xhaka will cover for him. I would expect Elneny to replace WIllian after 70 minutes to tighten things up.

I have a good feeling about this game and we may finally win at the Old Toilet again. COYRRGs!!!!!

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Mature Eddie, Leader Joe, Dancing Pepe and Reiss & Roll: 8 Observations Arsenal v Dundalk

Arsenal 3 – 0 Dundalk

Nicolas Pepe

Well that was a refreshing game to watch. The Railwaymen of Dundalk lacked the power and imagination in midfield to really worry The Gunners, but they parked their carriages rather effectively in front of their semi-ancient goalkeeper and the boys had a job to do.

Eight Observations:

  1. Pepe was unchained in a much freer role and played with a smile on his face. His goal with his porcelain right foot was a beauty: a little Irish dance of a left-foot-right-foot with the ball and then he posted the stamp in the top right corner. But it was Nico’s overall involvement, movement and presence that really surprised me; and, as with him, it put a smile on my face.
  2. Runarsson started and this game will have done him good. We did not see him much in action so it is hard to have a first impression, but I liked his distribution and energy.
  3. Joe Willock was majestic throughout the game. He danced with and without the ball, mastered it in the tightest of spaces and added total unpredictability to our game. His goal was classy and composed and I liked his presence on the pitch. Here was not just a player who was prepared to do his tasks for the night, but one who took the bull by its horns. And that’s what had been missing for a while. Joe is a technical athlete with good vision and leadership, and last night we saw the proof of it.
  4. It was Reiss & Roll for Nelson who, like Pepe and Willock, felt like dancing with the ball last night. We spoke about the need for movement of our attackers as to worry defences and find the holes and opportunities, over the last few days; and Reiss was keen to make things happen alright. I loved his dribbles and team play, and he needs a few more games like this to get to his best form… and then the assists and goals will come too.
  5. Eddie scored the all important first goal and Laca will have been proud of him. He pounced on a half-opportunity and breached the Fortdalk in a flash. It was not pretty but just what was needed, as Dundalk had defended valiantly until then and strong aggression was required by the Gunners. Nketiah scored a very mature goal. He had more opportunities and will know that he should have added to his tally, but, just as with Laca in many a game, if a CF works hard for the team all game long they will sometimes be too tired or unfocused to take good chances.
  6. The wingbacks/fullbacks, Soares and Kola, were involved but did not overly impress. Kola tried hard and I always appreciate effort, but he is well below Tierney in terms of effectiveness. Soares seems to be a man of a few moments in every game and I would like to see more full-blooded performances from him. The right wingback position is there for the taking for him.
  7. I predicted Elneny to play in defence but Arteta surprised by putting Granit at the back. It was very effective and he didn’t have to break too much sweat, so well done to the Maestro(s). Elneny, supported by AMN and Mustafi, kept it tidy and organised in midfield and allowed the boys in front of him to play all night long.
  8. The last observation is on Arteta’s game plan, and I will use two quotes from fellow bloggers. First is from Allezkev: “I think that Arteta got just about everything right this evening all the way down from his initial selections, his tactics and down to his substitutions and taking guys off that he might need at Old Toilet this Sunday. I’m glad that he seems to be finally getting the hang of making subs, tonight was, according to Martin Keown, his 39th match as a manager so good for him… Second is from Highbury Harmony: “It’s nice to know that Arteta’s game plans are good and have attacking intent, it just took players who have been at the club for a while that know how to play the Arsenal way to execute it. I get that the level of the opponent makes a difference, but it was nice to see a total performance.”

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Arsenal v Dundalk Preview/ Lineup: Ainsley in ideal position, a midfielder in Defence, Eddie CF

Arsenal v Dundalk – October 29, 2020

The Dundalk Great Northern Railway (G.N.R.) Football Club was established in 1885 as a rugby football club.In September 1903 it switched codes to association football, setting in motion its journey to become the modern-day Dundalk Football Club. The new club, known locally as “the Railwaymen”, adopted the Dundalk Athletic Grounds (a facility near the town centre shared by several sporting codes) as its home ground. They played challenge matches at first, then became founder members of the first Dundalk and District League (DDL), formed in 1906. There are no records of the club being active between 1907–08 and 1912–13, but they re-joined the local league in 1913 for what turned out to be the final season before the outbreak of World War I. The DDL was dormant during the war, but the G.N.R. club entered both the Irish Junior Cup and Leinster Junior Cup competitions of 1913–14, 1914–15 and 1916–17.

After exiting the Irish Junior Cup in January 1917, the club appears to have been inactive again for the following two seasons. They re-formed for 1919–20, affiliated with the Leinster Football Association, and joined both the revived DDL, and the Newry and District League. They spent three seasons in the DDL, winning it twice, and also qualified to represent the district in both Junior Cup competitions each season. They reached their first final in 1920, a Leinster Junior Cup Final, losing out to Avonmore in a second replay. Looking to progress, they were elected to the Leinster Senior League for 1922–23 to replace sides that had been promoted to the nascent Free State League.They played four seasons in that division, before being elected to the Free State League on 15 June 1926 to replace Dublin club Pioneers, as the national league looked to spread to the provinces.

On 21 August 1926 they travelled to Cork to face Fordsons for their league debut, eventually finishing eighth in the 1926–27 season. By this stage, the team represented the G.N.R. works in name only, and the club’s management committee decided to make it independent of the company. In December 1927 new colours of white shirts with a crest of the town’s coat of arms were adopted, and by the end of the 1928–29 season the “G.N.R.” moniker had been phased out. With a new manager, Steve Wright, “doing everything except selling the programmes”, they finished as runners-up in both the League and the FAI Cup in 1930–31. Proof that they could compete at a national level gave the management committee confidence to press ahead, and the club was converted to a membership-based company— “Dundalk A.F.C. Limited” —on 25 January 1932.

1936 the club moved permanently to land made available by former committee member P.J. Casey on the Carrick Road, on a long-term land lease, naming the new ground “Oriel Park”. Almost 10 years to the day after Dundalk G.N.R. played their first League of Ireland match away to Fordsons, the same club (as Cork F.C.) were the first visitors to the new ground, with the home team winning 2–1.  Oriel Park’s attendance record is an estimated 18,000, set in 1982 for Dundalk’s European Cup Winners’ Cup second round tie against Tottenham Hotspur F.C. On occasions when Oriel has been unavailable due to works, matches have been moved to United Park in Drogheda or Gortakeegan in Monaghan. The ground has had an artificial playing surface since 200On occasions when Oriel has been unavailable due to works, matches have been moved to United Park in Drogheda or Gortakeegan in Monaghan. The ground has had an artificial playing surface since 2005.

Domestic records held by the club

  • Most Premier Division Titles: (8)

  • Most consecutive Top-Two League finishes: (7, 2013–2019)

  • Most points in a League season: (87, in 2018)

  * Most points in Group Stages of a European season: (4, in 2016–17 Europa League)

  • Most goals scored in a League season: (85, in 2018)

  • Largest Goal Difference in a League season: (+65, in 2018)

  • Fewest defeats in a 30+ match League season: (1, 2015)     

I can find no record of previous games between Arsenal and Dundalk, but given the huge disparity between the two teams it will be a major shock if Dundalk go home to Ireland with any points.

GunnerN5

Predicted Line-up by TotalArsenal:

With Luiz now out for a few weeks we are down to two available senior CBs for tonight’s game and I would not risk Gabriel for this one anymore, as opposed to my thoughts yesterday. We need an organiser at the back and I think Elneny is probably best suited, with Kola and Mustafi to do the dirty work on the left and right of him. To avoid these defenders to become too exposed, I reckon Partey (or Xhaka) will have to play and this may be a great opportunity to play AMN in midfield, who is a bit more defence-minded compared to Willock. Joe and Soares on the wingback positions and the attack picks itself, unless Mikel will want an experienced attacker from the start (Laca or Auba).

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