Torreira, the hero we’ve been waiting for

by & filed under News Review.

As expected, Arsenal didn’t have fun when Huddersfield came to town on Saturday for a rare 3 o’clock kickoff. David Wagner’s side were the metaphorical come down are a heavy session of hippie crack, factored in with the natural fatigue that occurs after an intense run of games (physical/mental) and you start to see that those three points were amongst the most important or our mini-marathon run.

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‘Hippie crack’ story a painfully sad read

by & filed under News Review.

Ok, I know we had some fun with that Fortnite story that the media took a little too seriously this week. But The Sun ran with a Nick Parker special about Arsenal players inhaling ‘hippie crack’ in an epically pathetic hit piece designed to convince normal folk that Arsenal players have been engaging in peak Libertines mid-noughties style drug deviance.

TL;DR

The players went to a club. Got shitfaced. Passed nitrous oxide-filled balloons around for a cheap and very lame high.

The only thing we should be getting angry about is that they were dim enough to do something so subpar in front of security cameras.

I’ve never heard of this referred to as hippie crack. If anyone at a festival,party, or drug cave called it that, they’d be escorted from the event for false advertising. It’s like calling a Jaffa Cake ‘devils cyanide, or labeling a park swing ‘LOONTOWNS DEATH SPIRAL.’ It’s not a real drug. It’s like sniffing pens at school. It’s prepared with a chefs frosting gun ffs. Painfully middle class.

Sure, elite athletes shouldn’t do anything that resembles recreational fun, but in the grand scheme of things to worry about, I’d be more concerned about 5000 hours of Fortnite. And I’d hazard a guess that scientifically speaking, it’s the booze that’s the issue for a sports star. How many broken homes happen because Mum came down in the morning to 20 empty canisters and a stream of flaccid balloons around the living room? Not many.

To put a number on it, 8 people died from doing this in 2016. 8 too many, no doubt. 88,000 died from booze related illness. 259 people died from taking selfies. 1700 in traffic accidents. 9 people from jumping into water (seriously). This ‘hippie crack’ is so lame, Prince Harry does it and it’s not a scandal.

However, inhaling balloons for a cheap 10-second head rush isn’t the take away your average Joe… ‘crack party with Lacazette’ is… Just note this: we’ve outrun every team in the league and we’re 20 games unbeaten. It’s not a big deal.

On another note, what is it with nightclubs releasing that sort of stuff? Unbelievable breach of privacy.

In other news, Rob Holding looks likely to miss the rest of the season. Such a shame. He was really making a statement in defence. I have my doubts Sven will make moves in January. We have Monreal coming back into the mix, Emery has proven to be flexible with his backline, and there’s a lot of belief in Mavrapanos.

Aaron Ramsey also picked up a knock, which is a shame considering the good form he’s shown over the last two games (though Emery said it was minor). It is not unusual for bad fitness strategies to show up in December. Let’s hope the last two can be attributed to luck. Big questions over whether Burgess is going to be able to own the ear of Emery over his imported fitness coach. Julen Masach. If we’re going to have a good run, it really does have to go the Austrailian’s way.

There’s a piece doing the rounds in Germany about Sven and his diamond ways. He’s obviously very pleased with Guendouzi, who dropped unreal numbers against United (didn’t someone say he was no better than Denilson? Lol). He also talks in-depth about how he’s founded multiple firms that analyse data. Interestingly he highlights the dangers of spewing out insights based on isolated numbers, like distance run. He alluded to the idea that a player might be running about a lot because he’s making bad decisions all game (a hint at an issue with one of our players?). Muppets with stats really is a thing online, this week, Arsenal fans are peddling Mustafi over VVD. The audacity is quite something. Anyway, it’s incredible we have a scout of his prestige at Arsenal. I’d link the pirated copy, but that might not be legal, so I implore you to sign up to the site to read or go find the illegal shit.

Talking of MG, Emery had a scolding tip about what he should do about the bigger boys pulling his hair.

‘I think the best thing is that he cuts his hair before the next match, then the problem is finished,” Arsenal’s manager said. Just as Fellaini did. I have not told him that to his face, though. I respect a lot the players; their hair and their hair colour.’

BIG lol. Getting slapped down by a man who is rocking Shockwaves wet look gel in 2018. Gotta sting.

Our German power sniper is still in a weird place with his injury.

“On Friday we make the decision,”

“He had a backache and now he is working with one physio. Today he was on a pitch running and touching the ball. We are going to look when he can come with us.”

Odd how Emery is describing the injury, but whatever. We haven’t missed him. If he’s back, bonus, if he’s not, well, the party goes on!

Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments!


Two Points Dropped In Old Trafford Brawl

by & filed under News Review.

Arsenal didn’t go to Old Trafford to play a football match, they went to fight a war. Jose Mourinho had no other way to compete. He’s built a £350m Stoke, a bland execution of hard pressing blended with brazen thuggery. This time though, we were their equal. For every clipped set of heels, we had a shoulder barge. For every elbow, we had a crunched shin. The game wasn’t high on technical wonderment, it was more a brutal showcase of the darker side of the English game. Though it has to be said, United made over 120 more passes than Spurs did at the weekend, and Arsenal roughly the same amount.

Though it was enjoyable to watch us go toe-to-toe, in the end, we walked away with the feeling that we fucked a great opportunity. That was two points lost. Familiar shabby defending and some not-so-familiar missed chances cost us in a game that finished a 2-2 draw.

Arsenal shouldn’t be conceding leads as quickly as we have been. We went 1-0 up from a corner. Mustafi managed to break free from a penalty box tangle and powered a strong header into the slick grass, De Gea fumbled the catch and Herrera on the line volleyed the clearance instead of heading it away, allowing the ball to creep half a yard deeper past the goal line. The ref looked at his wrist and saw that tech had decided the goal would stand. You have to say, Mustafi is an absolute menace from corners.

In a re-run of the weekend game against Spurs, 4 minutes later, we conceded. This time, from a freekick. Rojo surprised everyone and clipped a shot across Leno, the German pushed the ball wide, but he didn’t put it behind the goal. Herrera pounced on the second ball (was offside as well), the cross made its way through a huddle of aqua blue shirts, finding Martial who smashed the ball in from close range.

It was the same story in the second half after Emery introduced Mikhi and Lacazette. The Frenchman timed a great run into the box, he struck his shot into two United defenders and the ball somehow slinked past De Gea. Then, immediately from the restart, we struggled with a long ball, Sokratis misjudging the flight, Kolasinac and Leno were caught in no man’s land allowing Lingaard to zip in and take United level again.

The game turned into a slugfest as both sets of players tired. It was brutal. Violent tackle after violent tackle. I have no idea how Torreira survived, he was crunched over and over again, but never gave up. We had the better of the chances. Auba was denied by De Gea’s dropped leg when he struck from a Kola cut back. Lacazette headed the ball out of De Gea’s hand and struck into the empty net, I thought that was legal, but the ref didn’t. Then there was a moment right at the end when Mikhi came from an offside position to volley in from an impossibly tight angle.

It wasn’t to be. United will be feeling luckier than us today, but the 20 game unbeaten run goes on and we can say that we preserve the progress momentum heading into the Huddersfield game this weekend.

Thoughts:

Iwobi: I think I was bang on when I called out his recent performances. He had a really poor game after being subbed at half time versus Spurs. His close control is Hleb like, but his overall decision making isn’t decisive enough and when it is, it isn’t often right. 72% pass completion isn’t great in a massive game at United.

Guendouzi: He stepped in for Xhaka at Old Trafford. I feel like he’s being judged through a 26 year old international lens when he’s a teenager. Though his start was shaky, he really grew into the game. He doesn’t ever give up, he’s always looking for the ball and he can drive forward with clever dribbles, or quick short passes. He delivered an incredible 87% pass completion rate (25 of his of his 65 successful passes made in the final third, 10 more than anyone else). He also made 7 ball recoveries. Just think about that. I was really impressed. Once his nerves subsided, he really made an impact on the game. Fellaini pulling his hair was the height of embarrassing… interesting that MG was also the most fouled (6). United clearly targeting the new boy.

Torreira: A mini man mountain. He is everything you want at the heart of your team. He’s focused, never complains and he’ll go to war with anyone. Each game he grows. To play next to a teenager and still look excellent is quite the achievement (90% pass completion / 10 ball recoveries). My worry is he’s playing all the games and we don’t really have anyone else in the squad to fill in for what he does. He’s integral to our mentality, maybe AMN could step in when he needs a rest? I ADORE this guy.

Leno: You have to call it out, he’s made two errors in two games. I think he could have done better with that free kick. The strike was surprising, but not fierce enough not to put it behind the goal. All players make mistakes, let’s hope missteps in big games isn’t a thing

Holding: Absolutely gutted Rob Baresi picked up an injury because if it’s a nasty one, we don’t have Kos now because he’s broken again. Not an ideal time to lose your best passer out of the back.

Kola: He’s a chance making machine. Absolutely devastating down the left. He created some fantastic chances this evening that should have counted towards goals. His defensive side needs some work, but his power and pace driving into the oppositions box has proved deadly when he’s played. He created three chances yesterday, 5 against Spurs. That’s not bad for a wing back.

Laca/Auba: I love these two. Auba was dying by the end of the game, but it’s great to know you’re always in the game with them on the pitch. I love them both. I’m especially enjoying the more creative side of Auba coming through. He’s starting to show he’s more than just a goalscorer. His pressing from the front was really solid. Lacazette is another warrior. What he delivers with his pressing is underrated. He’s also more attuned to the rough and tumble of the league this year. How he managed to score from two players swamping him is something else.

Mikhi: He started poorly, but I thought he grew into the game and had some excellent moments. With the real Mesut Ozil MIA at the minute, we need an experienced creative in the team. If he can give us Dortmund Mikhi, we’re in good shape. I feel like there’s some form in there somewhere, hopefully, Emery and the coaches can release him.

Warrior Mentality: It was interesting to hear Emery talk about how he was a coward of a player and he doesn’t allow it in his players. The team is motivated, they relish the fight and we are not to be fucked with. I think we’ve seen a lot of evidence that suggests the signings of Papa, Torreira and Lichtsteiner have been very smart. They are brawlers. They bring out the nasty in everyone. You want to go to war with those guys on your team.

We might not have the best squad in the league, but with smart preparation, fighting spirit and a lot of belief… there’s no reason we can’t secure top 4.

Onwards and upwards. What a fucking joy it is to love football again.