Monthly Archives: March 2019

March 10th – Arsenal 2 Manchester United 0

Published / by bradybergkampandbeyond / Leave a Comment

…And we’re back. Back in the top four. Back to winning big games. Back to keeping clean sheets. And back to being given penalties and back to scoring them.

Where to start? OMG, that was so enjoyable. It felt a little like last week. We came out and dominated, we were aggressive and created a number of chances that we managed to spurn. But then they also repaid the compliment. Lukaku hit the bar when it was easier to score and, Fred hit the post and in-between Shaw created multiple chances for them.

Again, Leno was outstanding today. Two weeks running now he’s literally saved us. Today was even more impressive. His positioning and reading of the game helped nullify one Lukaku breakaway in the second half. He movement off his line in the first half block Lukaku. His distribution was better. And overall, his calmness stabilized our defense.

Sokratis was brilliant again. He and Kosclieny form a solid partnership. Kosclieny always looking one tackle away from another injury. But between them they nullified ManU. But Sokratis demonstrated controlled aggression throughout the game, read the game perfectly and imposed his character on the game.

The team selection, again, surprised me – like last week. But, again, OneEye got it spot on. I could not believe he played both Ozil and Ramsey. And he dropped Ob1. And Mickeytarrien (though he could be injured). And Guendouzi. And he played Maitland-Niles and Kolinsac. And he played both Cigarette and Aubameyang. And he reverted the shape of the team to a back three. But it worked perfectly. In the first 20 minutes ManU had no response to our onslaught.

Cigarette should have at least gotten onto one of Kolinsac’s crosses. We should have troubled De Gea more than we did. It took a spectacular and speculative shot from Xhaka to beat him. But we deserved it. With Ramsey playing deeper alongside Xhaka we restricted their ability to play through the middle. And our wingbacks provided cover for the back three. Down both flanks we out played them. We dominated possession and controlled the game in the first half. Ozil was involved and Ramsey worked so hard to track Pogba that Pogba was barely in the game.

The second half was a little bit more subdued than the frenetic pace of the first half. Man U had more possession but they created few outright chances because of the organization and physicality of our defense. Whether it was Xhaka diving into tackles in our box or Kosclieny throwing himself into block shots, they are put their bodies on the line – including Leno.

Maitland-Niles was a brave choice. He started the game with inconsistent distribution and took time to find the pace of the game. But as the game wore on, while still giving the ball away or losing the ball too much, he grew in his defensive duties. He had a testing time with Shaw, Rashford and Martial. But his recovery pace and concentration saw him, especially in the second half, win all the important tackles. By the end of the game he was completely wiped-out and desperate for the final whistle. He is a strange bird this one. He simultaneously shows calmness and maturity and yet makes some shit passes and gives away possession too easily. But he was a much better choice than our German Kamikaze meathead who, thankfully, stayed on the bench the entire game – his perfect position.

Both forwards squandered too many chances today. Cigarette though adds so much more to our overall game though. He works much harder and links up play much better. But each of them is going through a dry patch. It’s amazing we keep winning without any real goal contributions from them. Cigarette had another gilt-edge chance right after our second goal after the ball bounced over Lindelof but he somehow managed to miss the target. Too often the two of them would pass up the chance to shot in order to pass to the other. They have to be more selfish; they have to stop trying to be so intricate inside the box and just shoot.

Kolinsac is such an effective wing-back and yet a crummy full-back. With Monreal behind him, Kolinsac can dominate and create down the left. Throughout the game he bullied Young and set up numerous chances. Xhaka was able to continuously feed him the ball. Ramsey and Ozil linked up well with him. Most of our breakout came down that side. He even defended every now and then.

Of course, Man U are hobbled by injuries. But for a club and team who’ve spent, literally, billions of dollars on their players, they deserve no sympathy. They certainly had enough quality players on the pitch to mount a serious challenge and they had enough chances. Thankfully though they fell to Lukaku. But we outplayed them for too long. And they were too slow to react to our tactics. Thank you Ole!.

And thank you Lee Mason for the penalty. That’s some kind of Arsenal record – two penalties in two premier league games. Both in the same area of the box and neither of them seemed like penalties. We’ve, of course, seen them given against us way to often so it’s nice to see them go our way. And this time Aubameyang managed to actually score. From that point on I was way more relaxed. I thought Man U had one goal in them but not two. We continued to create chances and failed to convert them.

Ignoring the NoHopaCup, that’s 4 points from two top 6 games. We deserved six and should have had six but I’ll take 4 and would have taken that gratefully before these two games. In both games we played with energy and drive. And each was based on a different tactical set up. One was a defensive masterclass whereas today we were more expansive and attacking. And that is a credit to OneEye. I’ve been quite critical of him in the past few months and have doubted his suitability. I still remain skeptical but I’ve certainly been more impressed over the last month or so. His selections have been braver and his tactics more varied. I have little doubt that with the wonderful AW we would not have gained these results.

Here we sit in the top four with just 8 games left. Of course, we have ample experience to find a variety of ways to through away this advantage. I’m just grateful that we’re even in this position. Through the ebb and flow of the season I would not have predicted we’d be in this position. I believe we have fewer challenging games required to secure Champions League football via the premier league than through the NoHopaCup. I did not see the Rennes game but did see all the usual dramatic, bleating from Arsenal fans after a loss. We were one nil up and had a man sent off. We then lost. Go figure! Sure, we could have managed the game better and only lost by one goal but shit happens. Our fans are like petulant children (I think I have a few of those) who go into meltdown with one poor game. We just have to win by two goals and keep a clean sheet. It’s not like we’re playing Barcelona (shame it’s not PSG or Real Madrid). You need to be able to come back and win these games if you want to progress. So, let’s see if we can win with eleven men. We had a great reaction to Thursdays game. But that game was a shit reaction to the Sunday game. Let’s hope we don’t have the same reaction to this result.  

We know that European referees just love to give out yellow and red cards. The very best European refs are better than ours in England but the average European ref is even worse than ours (except for Mike Dean). Let’s hope we get home field advantage this Thursday. And then we’re onto another (and final) stupid fucking international break.

Did I ever mention how I hate FIFA? This is the worst time of the year to introduce these breaks just as the season is coming to a climax. After 30 games (with other breaks) it’s just starting to get exciting and yet we have to hit pause. Pretty soon FIFA would have expanded the World Cup to +150 teams so all these qualification and friendly games will be completely irrelevant. But they still schedule them in order to fill their coffers with yet more money. It’s all about their money.

With eight games left the top four has some interesting permutations. Chelsea are inconsistent and it’s not clear they have the mental fortitude to get into the top 4. Manchester United, even after todays’ loss, have clearly regained their mojo and will surely find their way into the top 4. If only they could have retained Mourinho for longer.

But in terms of pressure, you have to imagine that the Rental Boys are starting to sweat. As they get ready to move into their redecorated home they have to be considering the nightmare situation unfolding. As they lose to Burnley and now Southampton, with upcoming games against Liverpool and then Man City, they are in danger of not making the top 4. If we can hold steady for eight more games we just might be able to send Sp*rs into a financial meltdown situation. It’s too early to get too optimistic. But if they can lose a few more games and fail to qualify the financial impact ($70mm+) combined with the debt burden of their redecoration could impair their ability to both retain Erickson and Ali while also failing to attract any new players. If the gods are kind to us we could see everything implode under the financial weight of their debt and then see Pottechino leave under too much pressure. Oh what a wonderful dream this would be. I would even sacrifice our position in the top 4 to Chelski if that assured us that Sp*rs were locked out of the top 4. Happy days indeed.

A great day today and a wonderful weekend of results. Once we get past Thursday (one way or the other) we’ll enter suspended animation for a couple of weeks but we can sustain ourselves with the awareness of the pure panic that must now be running through the management and ownership at Sp*rs. We managed to navigate our way through our new stadium. Let’s hope they fail epically.

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March 2nd – Sp*rs 1 Arsenal 1

Published / by bradybergkampandbeyond / Leave a Comment

Football is a team game. And when you have Mustafa on your team you’re generally fucked. We should have taken all three points today. We were the better team. But we also had Mustafa who just had to have one of his panic, bonehead moments. Of course, Aubameyang did not help either.

The team selection was surprising but it worked. We played a controlled, counter-attack game. They rarely dominated or threatened our goal. In the second half it was just the one shot from the penalty. We shut them down and should have taken all three points. Before the game I was fearful of how we might be pulled apart and how unlikely it would be for the rental boys to lose three straight games. I would have accepted gleefully a point before the game. But now it feels much more like 2 points dropped. In watching the game I could see us grow in confidence and composure. There were too many of our players were playing too well. Too many of them actually turned up for a big game. How very un-Arsenal of them.

Leno made a brilliant double save in the first half and even if his distribution was somewhat wayward. Sokratis and Kosclieny were impervious today but my favorite player was Monreal. He was physical, defensively aggressive, creative going forward and generally impenetrable. What a pleasure it. Is to see him play as a regular left-back and how we’ve missed him this season.

Someone somewhere has made disparaging comments about both Ob1 and Mickeytarrien. Obviously that retard knows nothing about football. Today Ob1, as well as he played, was surpassed by Mickeytarrien. Both were more dominant in the first half. Ob1 in particular started strong. He took Trippier to the cleaners on a number of occasions. I’m sure having Monreal behind him helped. Nonetheless this was a more assured performance, in a big game, than we’ve seen in a while. And MickeyTarrien was excellent. He seemed to cover the entire pitch. And his distribution was excellent. Today he looked as good as he did when he first played for ManU. On todays performance (and mid-week) we can now claim that we got the better of that Sanchez trade. In the last few weeks, on his return from injury, we’re finally getting to see that creative player who can also work back and defend. These two were brilliant today.

Unfortunately, the chances to win the game fell to Cigarette and Aubameyang. Also season they’ve been so effective. But today, on the big stage in the big game they both let us down. Cigarette should have had two goals today. In the first two minutes and then later on when he shinned the ball wide. When he left the pitch you could see how self-aware he was at being taken off. Not upset with OneEye but disappointed with himself. And he should be. But at least he set up the Ramsey goal. We’ve seen this from him in the last few games – those missed chances have been hidden but the overall number of opportunities we’ve had to score in those games. But in these big games there are fewer chances. And as for Aubameyang. What a sit penalty. Even after our mental German that was the game for us right there. A shit penalty followed by a wasted chance when Ob1 cut the ball back. And, in a prior play, down the right hand side he managed to cross the ball behind the rejuvenated Ozil as he’d run into the box. Our two ace strikers letting us down; what a re the odds on that. Sp*rs have to consider themselves very lucky. From what we saw today they will have to rediscover themselves to stay in the top 4. We though are outside it now care of our gormless German.  We need to beat ManU without Torreira. It’s hard to see how our two aces can play this badly again.

How good was Ramsey’s goal? And how important was he with his work rate? We will miss him once he jumps to Juventus. Talking about box-to-box. He defined it today. As much as I love Ozil he just does not and cannot work that hard. The composure with which he sat Lorris on his arse was awesome. His link up play with both wing-backs was excellent and his ability to shut down their distribution was so important.

Guendouzi was interesting today. Funny how he only played 45 minutes. He’ll be playing more now with Torreira’s 3 match ban. He made some great tackles and with Xhaka provided the necessary defensive cover; they stopped Erickson and Son. But sometimes Guendouzi would be careless with his passing out of the back and exposure us to the counter-attack. He’s so young though that he’ll surely learn from these mistakes. But no-one would have guessed over the summer that he’d be starting in games such as these.

The referring was different today; in general, he allowed for a more physical game. Talyor gave two penalties that were not penalties. The linesman did not flag for the offside immediately before the penalty. But actually, Taylor allowed for a quite physical game in the first 80 minutes. That benefitted Sp*rs who were more physical in the challenges. Then, at the end we saw the normal Christmas handouts of yellow cards culminating in the red for Torreira. This will prove costly for us as we now lose him for the visit of ManU and two other games. Given all the other challenges in the game – the Rose one on Leno, Sissoko challenges and other Rose ones this one did not standout as any more reckless.

Today was two points dropped. But don’t tell me, any longer, that Sp*rs are a better team than us. Sure, they might be in the (non)Champions League and ahead of us in the table. But this season (in the PL only) we got the better of them. And today they had no game whereas we did. We were superior on the day and deserved to win. Replace Mustafa with any one of their defenders and we would have had all three points. So hopefully our short-term inferiority complex has been addressed.

The last five games have seen us revert to our improved early season performances. Today was a performance we would surely not have gotten under the great AW. We would not have been as tactically astute and as defensively solid (minus one dimwit German). That bodes well for OneEye. As critical as I’ve rightly been of him today we looked the better of the two managers. He got more out of his, arguably, less talented players that Pocahontas.  The substitutions were effective and we played the better football. Now we just need to buy ourselves another center-half and/or get Holding back into the team. And if we can drop our brainless German somewhere into the deep sea in the transfer window we’ll all be happier. Don’t ask for any money in return. Include a few burgers and beer. Just see if some poor soul will take him off our hands. Maybe if we leave him outside our Stadium early on a Thursday morning the dustbin men will pick him up from us and dispose of him. Of course our two great strikers were also responsible for the lack of three points but they have earned the right to have poor games. NotMusafa makes bonehead plays every single game. When insurance companies right up policies and try and define the word liability they specifically reference NotMustHave.

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