Monthly Archives: January 2021

January 26th – Southampton 1 Arsenal 3

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Now that’s a result. Fuck the F. A. Cup. Give me three points any day.

It’s amazing what a few – important changes – can do for this team. It’s the removal of WEEP (Willian, Eddie, Elneny and Pepe). We’ll not quite, more WEE. Consigned to the bench were Willian, Eddie and Elneny. Phew. I was not too happy to see the last member – Pepe – in the team. I was hoping for Martinez.

We started so brightly. Aggressive, fast movement, quick passing. So different from Saturday. And then our pressing of them (in contrast to them pressing us on Saturday) lead to a perfect through ball from Xhaka to Cigarette. Instead of giving us an immediate 1-0 lead, he extinguished our hopes. And then, naturally, P of WEEP, went to sleep for a corner and instead of leading 1-0 we’re 1-0 down.

I’m immediately into trashing P; can’t even bare to say his name. And then, he wakes up and care of Xhaka again (I think) gets us level. Finally Pepe comes alive. Phew. We needed that. Overall this was not his worse performance. And maybe I have to finally concede that Willian is the worse of the two.

Anyway, enough negativity. This was a game to enjoy. There were so many good performances. Let’s start with our Portuguese pigmy – Cedric. Poor boy has to fill in for Tesco Tierney. But unlike in the F A Cup, he was more dynamic and help create down our left. Ultimately, he capped it with a cross field ball to Saka to set up the final goal.

In-between, the wonderful Saka took advantage of yet more pressing to receive the ball from Cigarette run round their tree shaped GK. How impressive was Saka today? This boy shows not limits to what he can do. They hacked at him all game but could not stop him.

Smith Rowe darted around, full of energy and chasing. His passing and link up play speed up this team and help open up the opposition. It was not his best game but he and Saka change this team – for the better.

Cigarette redeemed himself with that pass to Saka and then capped it of with his goal. He was so sheepish after that miss. He knows he needed to put that one away. It really could have been costly for us. If we had lost he would have shouldered the blame. Thankfully, we dominated Southampton and thoroughly deserved this win. So aside from that miss, he worked so hard, constant running and excellent link up play. Everything that Eddie can’t give us.

Xhaka was excellent today. Great passing, great position. And worked really well with Partey. In fact Xhaka gave the ball away less often than Partey. Partey was caught on the ball in dangerous positions a couple of times. He’ll learn. I remember Viera committing the same mistakes. But what a difference the midfield is with Partey. He is strong, dominant and intelligent in his play. And unlike Elneny, he passes the ball forward – quickly.

Aside from Cedric, Bellerin was very solid and Holding was excellent. David Luis was reverted to his kamikaze style at the end – trying to gift them a goal. Luckily we had Holding to clean up. Holding really is holding up our defense. Holding is robing attackers of the ball. And behind them we had Leno to clean up and save us at crucial times.

OK, we were not perfect today. But we were more like we were against West Brom than Palace. And less like we were against Southampton twice before. At our place and on Saturday. Why. Because most of WEEP were on the bench.

A word for the referee. C*nt. What a shit dick this c*unt was. How did he book Xhaka and then let their center halfs butcher Cigarette? Not that I mind them kicking Willian when he finally. Made his appearance. But how was that not a yellow. He have a yellow to Bellerin for breathing on them. But they kicked Elneny right in front of him. And, how was that not a penalty on Cigarette? Anyway, Kevin Friend. You are a right royal prat. And you are surely one of the ugliest refs in the league (and there is mighty stuff competition). Let’s hope we don’t see him again.

OK, that’s it. Short but sweet. As the actress said to the bishop. And a minutes silence for poor Frank. Barely 17 months and he’s shown the door. He must have wished he was managing over here. The poor guy had no transfer window last year and got them into the Champions League. Someone signed a bunch of duds and he gets sacked.

So, great result, great game. And we have some mighty fine players. And a bunch of tossers on our bench. Long may WEE stay there.

-LB7

January 23rd – Southampton 1 Arsenal 0

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F. A. Cup. Who needs it. We’ve won it enough. Let’s give someone else a chance I say. We’re so nonchalant about it we’ll even score for the opposition. That’s how unimportant it is to us. And it’s not like we’ll be able to attend the final in person anyway.

Oh, hold on, It’s the one thing we’ve won recently. Bugger.

But if every F A Cup game is like this then I’m glad we lost. It’ was boring, tepid, dreary and depressing. It was like watching the worst parts of the Emery era combined with the dark period in Arteta’s reign.

It demonstrated again how close we were to relegation. A team with the four losers used to be our normal state. And that state was losing. And today we reverted to that. Willian, Eddie , Elneny and Pepe. WEEP. And, boy, did we weep. I was in tears. It was agony.

Most of the game was spent who was worse Willian or Pepe. My view has been Pepe because of the extreme money we spent to acquire a player who should be playing in Spain. A player who once every 5 games (or maybe it’s 10) will do something astonishingly good. But beyond that, he’s so easy to push off the ball. He’s so weak in his movement. There was one point where Bellerin passed the ball right through to him on the right. He was one on won and tried to cut back in and slipped over. I remember seeing highlights of his time in France when he looked to electric. Here he looks outclassed; out of his depth.

Willian is embarrassing. His movements are minimal. Minimal energy. Passing is off target and contributes basically nothing. We acquired this one for nothing but have to pay upwards of £200,000 per week. But, hopefully, we can off-load him to someone in Russia, Turkey or China. But we’re stuck with him for 2 ½ years more. I know we filtered around in different positions but, really, he looks disinterested and clueless. People used to criticize Ozil for his poor body language; Willian is lucky there are no fans around to abuse him (Willian not Ozil).

So which one is worse? I still think Pepe is. But only just. But when you combine these two with the members of the WEEP team, you end up with the slow, sideways, clueless performance we saw today. Thankfully WEEP do not play every game. Hopefully WEEP never play for us again. But imagine where we’d be without Smith Rowe and Saka.

Personally, I would have left them in for the entire game. I would not have risk Partey or Saka for this game. Today proved why we need to manage their time carefully. Even in their short period on the pitch they impacted the game and created a few chances. Unfortunately, two fell to Eddie. Oh poor Eddie. He’s not cut out for this. At some point we’ll sell him to a Championship team. Until then he’ll remain an unused substitute or will come on in the 85th minute.

And then there’s Elneny. If Partey makes everyone around him better – which he does – then Elneny is the anti-Partey. He will bring everyone down to his level. In the early stages of the NoHopeCup, against truly awful teams (sorry Ireland) he can give the impression of being a creative player. But against real opposition all he can do is pass sideways and backwards. And today he handed them their first and only goal. How we could try and play out from deep in our right hand corner with the players we had on the pitch is beyond me – and that’ on Arteta not the donkey that is Elneny. And once he’d given the ball away you can see Bellerin arguing with him. And then he proceeded to lose his man just at Gabriel decided to help them out.

Southampton had more energy, running, closing down and aggression than us. They also fouled more continuously. The referee today was a complete tosser. He barely called any of their fouls. They understand how to break up play. And when they had the ball they moved it forward much quicker. It was only when Partey joined the midfield did we win tackles and also move the ball forward quickly. Only then did we look even slightly dangerous.

Tuesday will be different. WEEP won’t be playing. But it will still be difficult. Hasselhoff has that team well drilled. Physical and speedy. He is like a mini-Klopp. A charmless Klopp. What’s less charming than a German – an Austrian.

I felt slightly sorry today for two people (aside from myself). Holding should not have had to play. We should be saving his legs for more important games. I thought he was fine again today but exposed by the lack of availability of players to pass to in midfield.

The other one? AMN. How much he feel not being able to get any playing time after his sterling efforts at the end of last season. He’s barely played now. He has to see Willian and Pepe get playing time ahead of him. And Cedric played left back today. He was crap. He can’t cross the ball and therefore adds no threat down the left. It’s not his fault. Put him on the right – as we ended up doing – and you can see the improvement (even if he did overhit every cross today). So what’s AMN supposed to do? I think he’ll have to hand in a transfer request at some point. He’s wasting his time. Until we solve WEEP he will be blocked. This was where SR could have been.

This team has made great progress over the last month. But today just demonstrated what we knew. That the squad is poorly balanced. There are still too many duds that cost too much money. Unfortunately we can only blame the current regime for Willian. And that is worrying. Pepe we can blame on others. And maybe we can sell him in the summer for £20m. Maybe then AMN could see some playing time. But, if I was him, I’d want to move on and play. And currently there are too many duds ahead of him. How could he not play today? I don’t understand that. When was the last time he actually played?

So we again saw how dependent we are on our starting 11. An injury to Tierney or Saka or Partey would decimate this team. At least we now have a backup GK. Even if he is Australian. And maybe Arteta can look at himself and realize he got it wrong today. He should have changed it up quicker. He should have pulled WEEP off. Or maybe he knew he had to give them time and the game was lost. But there’s no way WEEP can be let loose for a PL game. Then we would be back to square one.

And let’s see what we learn for Tuesday’s game. Will we expect their high press? Will we vary our approach or will we allow them to pressure us to give the ball away cheaply. Hopefully we’ll have improved creativity and movement. But we also need to be prepared for a more physical encounter. And at least we won’t have to wake up early to suffer as we did this morning.

  • LB7

January 18th – Arsenal 3 Newcastle 0

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Let the Partey begin. Did you miss me while I was away? Did you hang my picture on the wall. Finally, I decided to exercise my fingers and share in my wisdom and intellect. OK, now we’re done with that. Let’s review my “quiet period”. Not on a personal level (but while you’re asking, thank you, the sex change went fine that you very much.).

From the trauma of Burnley and Everton through the rebirth versus Chelski onto the excellence at West Brom, this team has been through quite a few transitions. And our manager has had to withstand an onslaught of ill-informed criticism.  Within a few losses the morons were out claiming he was not up to the task. I’m sure these are the same retards that chased AW out of our club. Thankfully we’ve been able to stabilize the club and start to look like a football team again.

It took less time to crack their defense than it did in the F A Cup. All we had to do was discover the real Aubameyang. After missing what was essentially an open goal in the first half he was able to recover his touch to score the all in important first goal. This time he genuinely attacked the statuesque defender. Whereas in the first half he dithered on the ball and generally was too slow of thinking in his decision, this time, once Partey feed him the ball, he turned all Henry-esque for us. And once that went in you knew Newcastle would have little to respond with. Their best player – as in the cup match – was Carroll; both as an attacked and defender.

How stupid were they though? Two corners to tee up for Carrol and neither could get past our first man. And when they had free kicks, instead of throwing it up there for might Carroll they played everything short. Haven’t they see what this guy has down to us in the past in the air? They must have been watching some excellent porn programs instead.

How good was Partey today? He made Xhaka look like a star. Parteys’ calmness and position brought out the best from Xhaka. With time – and fitness – this man (Partey obviously) will become the central engine on this team. His first touch (as witnessed in the lead up to the first goal) is soft and simple. He has vision and turns up field given the chance. And he can defend. Imagine that. He sits deep allowing Xhaka to wander off to the left. And he brings balance to the team.

Ahead of him we have the pubescent Smith Rowe. When this boy hits puberty he will be some player. He runs and works in ways our soon to depart Ozil never has. His vision and touch is delicate. And he sees the game in front of him. He set up that second goal – even if Aubameyang delayed getting him the ball – by challenging the defender. He links up so well with Saka. He intelligently moves into space and has a fine, delicate touch pass.

Saka is just a beast. Not at his best today. But, arguably, he is the one responsible for the reprise of Arsenal and the saving of Arteta. Over the last few months he has become the talisman for this team. Not Aubameyang. Not Cigarette.

Todays second half performance was driven by Saka and Smith-Rowe with some help from Partey. Cigarette has rediscovered his game. His touch to Partey initiated that move. His overall touch has returned. He was unlucky not to score at the start of the second half. But he is so much better in the center than Aubameyang. Again, the pubescent, retarded Arsenal fans who claimed he should be played through the middle are morons. He should be on the wing because he can’t link up play like Cigarette. Of course, he knows how to score. Though after that missed open goal in the first half I began to wonder.

Holding is now being paid more and not being thought of as excess to requirements. He’s seen of Kolinsac (phew). That pass to Luiz for the Sp*rs goal last year still gives me nightmares. Holding is now the first defender on the team sheet. I truly hope he can avoid injuries for a while. He is relatively young and still developing. He’s not the quickest but he’s road-tested, physical and smart. You have to be to play alongside David Luiz. The man who can slow any passing move down to a crawl. OK, he’s not made the kind of moronic mistakes he made last year and generally we’ve been solid when he plays. I don’t mind the money we’ve paid him. And I’d like him to stick around for another year. But Mari and Gabriel – when both return to fitness – should be playing alongside Holding.

And then off to the left is Tesco Tierney. A real left-back. Not since Cole, Winterburn and Sansom have we seen a left back of this quality. He energizes the entire team. And when Martinelli plays in front of him they will rip up the opposition.

So that’s an interesting backbone for a team – Leno, Holding, Tierney, Partey, Smith Rowe and Saka. Obviously because of the youth – and the lack of experience in the PL – Smith Rowe will wane and go through some combination of injuries or lose of form. Then, again, we’ll see his importance in this team. His movement and link-up play – as witnessed when he and Saka link up – is unmatched by anyone else. If he stays fit, watch how many assists he racks up. Finding a backup or alternative to SR will be vital. It might be tough to find someone to being second fiddle to a 20 year old and it seems crazy to spend in excess of £40 on a backup. But we need someone else. It’s not Willian and it’s not Ceballos. Of course with a player like Partey anchoring the team, maybe Ceballos can play further up the pitch.

I still have no illusions that this team can qualify for the Champions League. I don’t even think we’ll make the NoHopa Cup. And I doubt we can win another cup this year. But, given where we were post Burnley we can’t be too upset. As long as we see progress and development. As long as Edu finds another midfield player for Partey to fill out our depth. We can’t rely on Xhaka, Elneny and Ceballos. And please, please don’t mention Willock. We need to off-load him like we did Ob1. Except this time I’d take £4 let alone £40m.

I feel sorry for Maitland-Niles though. It seems like he does not quite fit into this team. Even today Cedric came into the right hand side with Bellerin missing. The poor guy had to fill in on the left for Tierney but then does not get the chance to play on the right hand side. I hope it’s because he’ll be playing in the F A Cup this week. And hopefully we’ll only use Partey for 60 minutes. We need him if we do want to climb the table. But at least we can stop looking down the table and worrying about our worst possible nightmare situation. And BTW., how much better was Cedric than Bellerin? I wonder why he played today and not Hector. But he was reliable and worked hard. And created that final goal. I think that was his first PL start.

Another clean sheet. That’s four in a row. Even if 2 of those were against abject Newcastle. They truly look like relegation material. I’m not sure that Leno had a single save to make today. I can remember one dive for a shot from Carrol that went wide. He deserved a nice, easy game after saving our bacon against mighty Palace.

This is one weird season. Liverpool drawing at home to West Brom (let along losing at Villa). Sp*rs drawing to Fulham. The two Manchester teams dropping points. Fatigue is clearly an issue here. If I were a betting man my money would go on Man City. There are the only team – other than Arsenal – that I enjoy watching. Liverpool seem to have lost their rhythm. The pace of their game has vaporized. Maybe injuries will ultimately determine the winner. On that basis Liverpool have got not shot. They lose players to injuries like Republicans lose elections.

And, finally, Ozil moves on. We save a little money. More importantly we don’t have to listen to those daft conversations about why we don’t play him. It was nothing to do with China. It was because he’s a player that does not fit into our style of play. Watch how hard SR worked today to come back and defend. Ozil is from a different era – one that has passed him by. Like Dele Ali, you can’t just be “creative” but you have to defend. Or, in Ozil’s case, learn how to head a ball. He was wonderful for a few years. Then Gazidis threw our check book at him because after the Sanchez fiasco we could not tolerate the embarrassment of losing yet another high profile player. Thankfully Gazidis is gone. And now Ozil heads out leaving behind some great memories of his early years. Now if you could only take Mustafi with you.

Finally, this team is taking shape. The combination of youth and experience. Sokratis will leave soon as well. Maybe Mustafi. Then we’ll only have a couple dubious players (yes, Willian, that’s you I’m referring to). But with a decent set of defenders at last it’s time to find Partey his permanent partner (and no, that’s not you Joe Willock).

So, 2021 welcome. It’s been a rocky start. Jan 6th was desperate. Today was up-lifting. And Jan 20th will, hopefully, be the dawn and rebirth of civilization.

-LB7