Monthly Archives: August 2017

August 27th – Liverpool 4 Arsenal 0

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Really?

Multiple choice question to start. How would you describe the Arsenal performance today?

  1. Insipid
  2. Abject
  3. Spineless
  4. Embarrassing

Answer -> All of the above

It started with the team selection and then went south from there. In retrospect last week was not so bad after all. At least at Stoke we played. This week we were entirely absent.

The funny thing is that Bad – or Worse – Beck had a chance to put us 1-0 up but failed to even hit the target. I’m so sick of this guy. How can you start him ahead of Cigarette? And if you want to rest our new signing barely 2 games into a season then at least start Giroud instead.

There is just too much to cover; too many depths to plunge. And I’m too depressed. The futility of watching an unbalanced team that’s unprepared for the predictable approach of Liverpool is shocking. Or maybe the fault is with me and my expectation. After all this time, it’s maybe time not to be shocked. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

As with previous games the causal play of Xhaka set up their first goal – along with Bellends weakness. That’s two games in a row where Xhaka lost possession too easily. The combination of him and Ramsey provides no defensive cover. Yet when we replace Ramsey with our Coq we then leave it to Bellend to make a(nother) schoolboy error to seal the game (unless you’re Newcastle playing at home to us and being 4-0 down). Truly pathetic. How does anyone do that?

Yet we kept him and WorseBeck on the field the entire game. If only you could sub out an entire team. The mental fragility was there for us all to see. At least when we were crushed at ManU 8-2 we knew we had some truly shit players on the field. Today though we had our full team at our disposal. We had no excuses. Yet we were not up for the game nor did we even come close to looking like a team. I doubt we had a shot on target and I doubt there was any period where we actually tested them in any way. There was no cohesion. There was no desire. There was no effort.

How can this be? This is not just at the feet of AW. How can players cave in like this? Where is their desire? Pride? Enthusiasm? I have no clue at this point. It’s one of the few times in my life where I’m greeting the International break with open arms. I will enjoy a two week break from the trauma of watching our team.

Rather than ripping through each of our players I’d prefer to single out the one player who performed – Peter Cech. Without him in goal we’d have lost by a bunch more.

But really, Bellend? Sorry to harp on about this. But when will he be dropped? If we can drop the Bosnian Tank why can’t we drop our Spanish Metrosexual?

I felt a little sorry for Holding. I know he made a couple of important mistakes but he had very little protection in front of him. That should not be an explanatory factor. He has to know which foot Mane prefers to shot with and he can’t’ loose the ball to easily. I still prefer him to Mustafi. I still feel he has potential. But, given that we’ve seen him make the same mistakes multiple times, then maybe I’m insane.

So as drained as I am after watching this crushing non-performance it does beg a few question. Beyond that is, the issue of what was AW thinking and why did it take him so long to change our tactics. Do we believe today was an aberration? Or a fair representation of what to expect this year? My suspicion is that any team built on Xhaka and Ramsey will come up short against the top teams.

As such, just maybe, we should not just cash out on Ox for £35 but also bank the money for Alexis. That way we’d have a war chest of £100 so that next season we can restock this team with, dare I say it, a new manager. Let’s not waste the money. I do love Alexis. But he’s wasted on this team. By himself he can’t get us to be contenders. He can’t get us into the Champions League. In which case, why waste a year of his career and waste that money. If we can’t get Lemar this year, then wait another year. But get the money first.

We should sell Theo and get any pounds we can. And if someone wants Bellend or WorseBeck, we should snap their hand off. I like Cigarrette and the Tank. I like Cech. But  who else would you build this team around? Monreal has a couple more years left; likewise Koz. Where is the future of this team? I suspect in the distant past.

Today was utterly inexcusable. We’re barely two weeks into a new season. How can the team be so unprepared? How can WorseBeck miss that chance that would have changed the entire course of the game. Where is the accountability for that performance? And not just from WorseBeck.

Here’s the thing, as good as Liverpool were we made them look far better. They will have tougher games against West Brom and Watford than they did against us. Shit, they most probably had a harder game against Crystal Palace. It’s not so much that at we got outplayed. We just did not play.

I’m exhausted by the ineptitude of this team. I have grown so used to the February/March meltdown that I had also got used to watching the exciting football we produce at the start of the season. Now even that has been taken away from me.

Post the 8-2 ManU loss we went panic shopping as the transfer window closed. This time I fear AW will not do what’s needed. He needs to sell Ox and Mustafi; neither of which are worth £35. And then buy a central defender and a defensive midfield player. If we’re not going to do that. If we not going to build a spine for this team then sell Alexis. Set the boy free. Set his dogs free.

OK, now I’m off to dig a large whole in the back garden and bury myself until this season is over. And only after 3 games – that’s some kind of new record.

-LB7

August 19th – Stoke 1 Arsenal 0

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Ah, what a fine way to resume my commentary. After the wonders of the opening game and our powers of recovery today we came crashing down to earth.

This is not one to blame on Stoke. In all honesty – and mores the shame – I thought they were pretty tepid. The goal was well taken but it required 3 or four defensive mistakes for them to have the opportunity.

But let’s wait on that thought. I really should have posted comments on the Leicester game. I had my chance but was fearful my glee would somehow influence todays game. Never again. From now on I commit to always post after matches reviews; except when I don’t. There you have my commitment in writing. Or not.

Last week every move AW made worked perfectly. But this week? OMFG someone needs to bop him around his perfectly manicured hair. You can possibly think that if you need a goal and had to choose between Cigarette and Badbeck that the latter would be the right call. This boy had multiple chances to score today and fluffed his lines. I like him; we are close personal friends though I should note for the record it’s entirely platonic. I have, until now, rebuffed all his advances. I have high ethical standards and I would not want any physical attachment to corrupt my view on Arsenal games. But how the fuck can you keep him on the pitch and not Cigarette? But then how could you also leave Bellend on the pitch. I would love to know what’s happened to him in the last 12 months. Or maybe his early form was the unrepresentative period. Today he also had chances and could not take them. But worse than that as an ex-defender his tackling was, how do I say? Like a fucking pussy. Again, for clarity, I have nothing against pussys (cats, morons) – we here at BB&B are dog people – but really how weak can one ex-defender be. In the first half being out muscled in your own box? And always being outmuscled by the Stoke 6 ft+ defenders/wing-backs. He pulls out of tackles. Maybe it’s because he’s worried about dislodging his hair band. I hear that could leave him in hospitals for weeks.

So, why would AW leave two shit players (at least, shit on the day) on the pitch. And then take of the Bosnian/Serbian/Yugoslavian/Balkan Monster? Makes no sense.

Here’s the thing. We can be a team that competes for the league with either of these players in our team. I know we have Alexis to come back (for one year) that should consign DW23 to the bench. Though someone will have to carefully direct him to said bench as he’s very likely to miss it. But I fear Bellend might retain his spot. Someone needs to sit him down and discuss with him whether he wants to be a man – a professional football player – or a metro-sexual, sensitive cat person. In the meantime, he should not be starting.

To wrap-up the substitutes comments. Theo is a waste of space on the wing. There really I little point in him these days. He’s outstanding and a real threat in pre-season but come the hour you can be sure he’ll fluff his lines. He might not of today, because, like last week he was anonymous. At least OB1 tried to move things along. Of course, it forced AR8 back in a more defensive role which is exactly where he’s not best suited. He’s the rare player who makes late runs into the box. And when we need a goal we put him in a more defensive role? Makes no sense.

To continue in whining mode, what happened to Xhaka today? Specifically at the start of the second half. We had to suffer through his obligatory easy giveaways in the first half. But at the start of the second half not only does he under hit a pass to Ozil but then, like a bull in a china shop, pursues the ball and immediately pulls himself and AR8 out of position. It was that lack of defensive cover that exposed our back three. That is where this goal was created. All care of Xhaka. Of course Mustafi helped it along with a little guidance from Monreal. Mustafi has to close down Berohino and prevent that pass. But given that we’d demonstrated in the first half how incapable we were of scoring (thanks DW23) this was the classic Arsenal trying to win the ball back in the wrong area of the field by over-committing and then opening us up for that counterattack.

Too many players in this team are dead weight. The right hand side had both the two B’s – Bellend and Badbeck. But we also had Mustafi. I know he’ll not play when the BFG is back or when Koz finishes his suspension. But he’s passing is plain awful. Sure, he’s fully committed but that tackle in the second half on the edge of our box was reckless. Another ref could easily have sent him off – which, given the result and the 3 match ban – would have been ideal.

Think of this though, how dislocated is the transfer market when Mustafi cost us £35m and we then sell to the same team (Valencia) BigEars for only £10m? I’d take BigEars any day of the week and then invest the £25m in either a right-wingback, buying out Theo’s contract or, my strong preference, buying a small Caribbean island and appointing myself Ruler, Overlord and Mighty King of said small Caribbean Island. Along with my own Sherpa, cook, housecleaner (i.e. my wife but minus my useless children – luckily none of them can read so they will be entirely unaware of my secret plans; if you’re unfortunate enough to know them please tell squeal on me).

Thankfully we’re only two games in. It’s unlikely we can be this unlucky the entire season. There were two penalties we should have been awarded. And a clear goal from Cigarette; a perfect finish – the type BadBeck could only dream of assuming he did not miss the bed when going to lay down.   So on a normal day we’d have gotten at least a point. And we have Alexis to come back.

But we can’t continue to give up the first goal. And next we go head up to Anfield. Sure, we can lose this one as well. But over the next few games we’ll see whether we have learnt anything about how to play. We’ve been on a strong run so you can’t go overboard on this lose. It’s just so disappointing to give up 3 points to suck a lackluster team. And to do it so feebly.

On a more positive note, I thought Ozil glided and orchestrated our team today. He was pure class today and schooled Fletcher on a number of occasions. Ramsey put in a strong performance and was unlucky not to score. I still like the look of our new French Cigarette. As long as we don’t have BadBeck making the same runs and encroaching on his space, I’m sure he’ll score a bunch of goals. The Ox looked great going forward – but not so defensively. Monreal was solid in defense but is not a center-half. And the Bosnian Beast was more human today but still a strong addition.

So what happen after this game? We still have a few unmet needs. This squad is good but not good enough. There are still too many players who should never be in the starting eleven. Come of the bench (if you’ve not missed it) would be OK. So, that means we need a wing-back and a defensive midfield player. And now that BigEars has sadly gone, possibly, another defender. Given that the BFG is gone in a year I assume it will be a German defender. Without that we’ll be below our required level of Nazis in the team to remain in Europe. We should snap up Lemar and pass on Gotze (even though he’s a Kraut). We also have to dump Debuchy, Gibbs, Jenkinson and Perez. I’d also vote for consigning Theo to after match interviews and promoting Nelson. So, good-bye it is to BigEars. It’s rare you come across such an ugly looking player; you’ll be missed.

Apologizes for the long rant today. I can’t cry today – it’s too early in the season and it’s important to pace out the disappointment we’re inevitably going to feel in February. I’m surprised I’m not angrier. But I fear there’s more trouble ahead of us unless we strengthen this team. We are close but not at the same level as Sp*rs, Manchester*2. Next week we’ll find out how we stack up against the Cutinho missing lot; we just can’t cave in up there. Sure, it’s only game three but it will again demonstrate something about the soul of this team.

-LB7

 

 

 

Aug 5th – The worst of the worst

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This summer has been somewhat challenging. Not because SMERSH/Spectre have succeeded in occupying both Downing Street and the White House at the same time. Not because it’s Florida in Iceland and Morocco in London. Not even because PSG, a team owned and operated by a country, have raided their piggy-bank to waste the GDP of the four poorest countries in the world on a single player.

No, it’s worse than that. I have come to the realization that my hatred and contempt for Sp*rs might be diminishing. This got me to thinking (hm, unlikely I know). Which teams in England do I hate the most? In the past that was a simple answer. It would be:

  • Sp*rs
  • Sp*rs Reserve Team
  • Sp*rs Ladies team (see #1)

But not so any more. How did this come to be? How can this be possible? Will the world now come to a crushing end? After much therapy it seemed only proper that I analyzed the situation to see what the rationale for this horrid state of affairs could be.

So, who would win the Cu*t Premiership League? Here’s how the table looked come the end of the season:

Missing the cut for qualification to the Cu*ts Champions League is Liverpool. Their manager should have been our next manager – once our glorious leader surpasses the reign of Elizabeth II. Their fans are pompous; they still hark back to the ‘70’s and ‘80s when they genuinely dominated. And they think they are way better than they actually are. How I miss the days of Brendon Rogers. He was so wonderfully inept that alone would have kept them out of the top 5.

That team in #4 spot. How could they drop 3 spots?  Because they are now the mini-me of Arsenal except removed 15 years. How can you hate a team that wants to be just like you? Look at their ownership; compare Levy to Dein? Hard to see much difference. Then look at the manager. He’s a mini-Wenger in training. If he stays there 15+ years he’ll be the real thing. They have invigorated their youth policy and he’s prompted younger players. The average age of the team is 12 ½. Their ground is too small so they are spending billions to expand the stadium to the size of Ashburton Grove + 1. Even their transfer policy sounds like ours of 10 years ago where we could not afford to pay players nor sign new ones because of the crushing debt of the new stadium. Even their excuses sound word for word what Fiszman, Gazidis and AW would say about how they only wanted to add someone of real quality and how there’s so little value in the market. They are also on the cusp of running into the wages cap issue whereby their best players – in a year or two – will start to get poached because they’ll be able to double or triple their wages; Walker is but the first example. Not quite Clichy but more a Nasri. And then there’s their style of play now. High press, technical and very watchable. A team populated with some good players and some big noses. Add all this together and you can see they’ve modelled themselves on their superior local neighbor; they are now our younger brother trying to finally grow up. The by-product of which is that it makes them much harder to detest. They have a decent team playing good football with a manger who’s smart and pending new stadium. Of course, their fans are still complete wankers. But you can’t have everything. And none of the above means anyone actually likes them

Deciding between #2 and #3 is like deciding between being punched in the face or kicked in the balls. Who really cares? Both these teams are completely plastic. Prior to their infusion of money no-one, aside from a small number of loyal fans, gave two shits. Both teams had moments of success in the ‘60s and ‘70s. And both teams subsequently got related. Each were taken over by billionaires. Then, all of a sudden, they have hordes of loyal fans who knew nothing of these no-name, no-history teams. Man City, have demonstrated the willingness to waste more money on more players than any other team in England. it’s where English players go to retire. i.e. Delph. Or Sterling. Look at the dross they sign from Spain. Navas? They have two entire teams in their squad. But they have no class. And when both sugar-daddys move one to other distractions, both clubs will revert back to their prior no-name status.

Chelski grab the #2 place purely based on the acidic combination of Abramovich, Terry and DarVader. And it’s the latter that differentiates them. The most dreary team to win the league (prior to Conte, that is); the most toxic manager of all time and the worst advert for the Premier league.

But taking the #1 spot this year (and last) has to be ManU. The team that sold their soul to DarVader. The team that spends more money on overrated players and still manages to tarnish their reputation by playing the most boring football known to man. As irritating at Ferguson was his teams knew how to play attacking football. They buy Pogba, Henrick and Bailey and still fail to get in the top 4. So far they added Lukaku etc for another £150m. And, that fucking manager; the biggest dick in the entire premier league. He’s now spent in excess of £350m on his team. And yet they are like his old Chelski team. Devoid of entertainment and based around the fear of losing. This club has lost any respect it had built over the last 60 years. Their manager is the devil; he is the antithesis of what we expect from the beautiful game. How could DarVader have grown up in the Barca system under the tutelage of Robson and with Cruyff still in the club.

So as much we have a rivalry with Sp*rs and are therefore contractually required to hate them, for the long-term good of football I find myself funneling the bulk of my anger and vitriol at the despicable red devils in the north. If only DarVaders fate could match that of Joffrey Baratheon; then the north could be saved by Jon Snow. Then, finally, the natural order can be reestablished and we can go back to hating those cu*ts at WHL.

-LB7

August 3rd – Pre-Season Ramblings Part II

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Due to the overwhelming demand and ecstatic reaction to Part I of this fascinating analysis I have been compelled, in order to reduce civil unrest, to post Part II of this trilogy. Except this trilogy will consist of just two parts. So, as promised, let the drivel continue.

So let’s start with an apology. I was so quick to focus on the Charity/Community/Pointless Cup that I neglected to predict that we would be in the position yesterday to raise aloft the Emirates Cup. How they must be celebrating on the streets of Dubai – though they most probably don’t have streets there just 100 story hotels and 100 degree temperatures.

Which is a perfect segway into one of my favourite topics. FIFA. The organization that makes you pine for the return of the Mafia. If you put FIFA alongside the English FA it would make ask why it is that you can never find a suicide bomber when you need one.

So after the departure of Sepp Fatter and his French cohort Fattini, some might have thought the corruption had been exorcised from this shameful organization. However, so no great surprise the corruption that remains FIFA.

How funny is it to see 6 Arab states (rightly) complain about Qatar being the hosts for the FIFA world cup. They obviously woke up one morning and realized that this was not such a wonderful nation. A few years after having received the obligatory bribes and having gloriously voted for them. Was it because of the sweltering heat? Was it because there is absolutely zero interest in football in this country. Was it because in the long litany of corrupt and absurd FIFA decisions the most egregious mind numbingly corrupt of all decisions? Was it because it because the choice was based on the lie that the competition would be held in the summer rather than causing all the European leagues to rearrange their fixtures to accommodate a winter WC games? Amazingly, it was not of the above (abbreviated) reasons. No, it was because of honest to goodness politics. Of course, we all know that FIFA is above the dirty, smelly drudgery of politics – just like they are with money and corruption. Chuck Blazer must be turning in his grave, if, that is he’s in the ground yet and there’s a coffin large enough to allow him to rotate. Rant over.

What’s happened to the transfer window? How comes, on a relative basis, that there’s so little activity? Aside that is from the insane Neymar transfer. This both links back to corruption and forward to our needs in this window. The common thread is Qatar. Is it possible on planet earth to value let alone pay this much for one player?  And a player that is not that wonderful. And you can be sure he won’t deliver. Just look how he performed in the Brazil WC when the pressure was on. If Ibra could not bring a CL trophy PSG then Neymar certainly won’t. And where exactly is this money coming from? It’s the Qatar Sovereign Fund. Aren’t they supposed to earn a return on their investment? I don’t understand how EUFA and FIFA can stand by and helplessly watch. It’s funny to remember who the shirts sponsors of Barca are though. Speaking of Barca, it will distort everything else because Barca will now have a spare $200m to spend. Not that they need to. But they will. Will that mean the end of Hector for us and Courtinho for Liverpool? Then the ripple effect will start.

Closer to home, it’s good to see that we got Cigarette in early along with the Bosnia tank. We do that every now and then (remember Vermallen?). However, we both need more i.e. Lemur. And we need to flog off some of the refuse. Gibbs has been a fine servant but there’s little need for him now. It’s a shame he never took his opportunity when injuries and loss of form of Monreal opened the door. But at least he was given a chance. Unlike Perez. He’s outdone Campbell (Joel, that is) in getting shown the door when nearly all the fans thought he was a strong addition. He was our Spanish Podolski – albeit without the attitude but with the same rocket left foot. Rumour has it that he was not a AW signing. But, who knows the truth?

It’s also time to say good-bye again to Carl. He’s like the right-back that refuses to leave. I’m sure if we stopped paying him he’d still stay. It’s rare you find someone who actually loves the club. Shame he was short on the talent side. But then, if it was solely based on love of the club I would make fine full-back – but, given my sweet left foot it would have to be at the expense of Monreal. And I could help with the need to keep an English core. The more I think about the more sense it makes for me to reach out to AW. Let’s face it, I’d neither be a burden on the transfer fee nor wages. I’d tick so many boxes. Apart from a few pounds there’s not much difference between me and Santos.

Jack the lad is in a hole. It’s not clear he’ll be around much longer. But, like our Lexus, I hope we sell him overseas. I’d hate to see him in the Premier League. That assumes Jack can come through his recuperation without another injury. Maybe he was work with Santi on combined their various ligaments to make the perfect midfield player.

That’s the obituary for 5 players. OK, so I can’t add but that’s only because I don’t actually want us to loose Chambers (yet). And, of course, most of them are English. Go figure. Given a choice the one player I would actually pay to get rid of would be Ob1. He could easily be previous years Theo of Ox. He has that wonderful ability to underperform; to have big performances in little games. Anyways, these departures will free up some wages and bring in a little transfer money. And on the subject of money….

More TV money only helps the clubs the next level down. The top teams are maxed out already they don’t need more money; they need more players. And the players don’t want to go and sit on the bench – they want to play (well, the good ones anyway). The end result being that the second tier teams are getting lifted up. This all makes it more competitive and actually harder for the top teams to maintain their position. Which also impacts their potential revenue stream. Which means teams need to diversify away from tv revenues and get into world wide marketing. That’s the only way – apart from being funded by Russian or Middle Eastern billionaires – of surviving the mad rush to the top of the league. And, if the TV revenues reverse direction then the fun will begin. If and when the movie gets played in reverse and we’ll see the destruction of a number of clubs. While it’s not likely, at some point, the TV revenues have to at least reach an equilibrium. Then it will be just the ego-driven megalomaniacs that are seeking to sink hundreds of millions to satisfy their egos.

The great Untold Arsenal website talks about prior winners not competing in the champions league – Chelsea and Leicester. Unfortunately, none of them has to play in the Europa Cup otherwise known as the NoHopa cup.

Phew. All my reviewing done for one pre-season. One useless game to come this weekend and then onto a Friday night season opener. What moron at the FA thought this was a good idea? What the hell am I supposed to do for the entire weekend once this game is done on Friday?

-LB7