Arsenal 2 – 1 Crystal Palace. Frustrating win made better by bird pooing in Ashley Young’s mouth

by & filed under Match report.

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Good morning! @aldo_doel here emerging from a summer hiatus to bring you more poorly researched Arsenal-based thoughts; littered with laboured analogies and childish insults. I hope you all had a lovely summer by the way.

So what could have been a frustrating day at the office, ended up being a very enjoyable one. Let’s recap some of the #arsenalpositives:

  1. Ramsey last minute winner – Check
  2. Man United lose – Check
  3. Man United fans’ awful realisation that Van Gaal doesn’t know what he’s doing– Check
  4. Bird pooing in Ashley Young’s mouth – Check

All we need today is for Mourinho to slip on a banana skin and fall into a septic tank full of jellyfish and Harry Redknapp’s dog to shop him to HMRC and we will have had a perfect weekend.

On to the game. As usual I was ridiculously optimistic beforehand, confidently calling a 5-0 win for Arsenal. I assumed Palace would be in some sort of disarray after their overgrown ball boy, shitehawk of a manager upped sticks and crawled back to his hovel to gorge himself on KFC popcorn chicken and blue nun until the next desperate chairman calls him forth to unleash his despicable brand of football onto the world. Only joking, Tony Pulis is a great guy.

I brought a friend with me to the game who has never watched any football, EVER. She predicted 2-1 and I laughed in her ignorant face.

We saw Premier League debuts for Mathew ‘Not Sagna’ Debuchy, Calum Chambers and £30m Chilean hunk Alexis Sanchez. As an aside I have to compliment Arsene Wenger on building the sexiest squad in football history – Ramsey, Giroud, Debuchy, Sanchez, Theo. Its now clear the REAL reason he let Van Persie and Nasri run down their contracts.

Arsene also opted for Sanogo up top over Giroud. I admire his persistence with the Sanogo experiment, and I am sure he will come good, but for me he is still very raw and was about as effective as a baby giraffe on stilts yesterday.

We dominated the game early on, stroking the ball around nicely while Palace remained disciplined and compact, pressing when they had to and affording us very little space. Jack had a tidy shot from outside the box which forced a save from their time wasting keeper Steven Whatshisface.

A rubbish clearance from SZCZ fell to Chamakh who struck it first time and got it on target with the pursuing scramble leading to a corner for Palace. Fair play to Chamakh, this time last season I described him as being the footballing equivalent of cold porridge. He’s evolved under Pulis’s stewardship to become a foully, cheaty sort of striker who still can’t score. Sort of like cold porridge with razor clams in it.

The resulting corner led to a standard set piece goal against us. Man marking or Zonal marking? Man marking or Zonal marking? They are about as effective as each other if everyone does their job properly. What I can’t abide is not having a man on the post as this is proven effective time and again when defending set pieces.

Luckily, we were able to reply just before half time. Santi was booted off free kick duties and new boy Sanchez floated in a beautiful ball which Kos was able to guide into the net. A fantastic header from a difficult angle.

Unfortunately the goal was not the fillip we needed and after half time there was more of the same; frustrating, turgid sideways passing and sloppy in possession from Arsenal’s players; disciplined fouling and time wasting from Palace.

We saw a number of changes which helped pick things up a bit – Monreal for the injured Gibbs, Ox and Giroud for the poor Wilshere and Sanogo. The changes improved our attacking play, as Giroud provided a much better focal point. Ox, however, was quick to join Jack and Santi’s competition “Who can play the most like Squillaci”; giving the ball away left, right and centre and generally being horrendous.

Giroud’s introduction saw Sanchez come into the game more as he provided a better outlet. Sanchez was able to cleverly thread the Frenchman through and his shot raced across the face of goal. However, we didn’t get our break through until extra time where a goal mouth scramble saw Ramsey fire the ball from close range – right place, right time. Ramsey is starting to remind me of a sexier, less hateful version of Frank Lampard in his prime. An all action midfielder with goals and assists by the bundles.

Winning a game in extra time is up there with the best feelings in football. We were tired and poor on the ball, Palace played very well and probably didn’t deserve to lose. But a win is a win – just ask Manchester United.

So what are our conclusions…

Calum Chambers

My oh my. I know everyone is already getting carried away but he put in a Man of the Match performance against a tough battling Palace side on his Premier League debut. Great on the ball, good positioning and calm under pressure. I really like this guy. We still need another CB – what with Gibbs being crocked and all – but this was an excellent signing from the Manager. As far as I’m aware no other big teams were in for him?

Ramsey and Wilshere

Ramsey looked imperious for the first 30 minutes of the game. All our play came through him, in the way all our play used to centre around Cesc Fabregas. Meanwhile, Wilshere, along with Santi, had an absolute shocker.

I should caveat what I’m about to say by acknowledging that the manager said afterwards that a lot of players were tired (and I think Jack had been ill) but I couldn’t help thinking yesterday that Ramsey is playing the role Jack was born to play. He looks like an Arsenal Captain in the making, while Jack is struggling, running into trouble far too often and demanding free kicks whenever he is tackled. I really feel this is a make or break season for Jack. He needs to deliver on the potential he showed when he burst onto the scene in 2011 and played the likes of Xavi and Iniesta off the park. He has the ability, you just feel he needs to knuckle down and focus on the basics rather than trying to do too much every time he has the ball.

Alexis Sanchez

Speaking of that… Alexis is a fantastic player but he is not yet on the same wavelength with the rest of the team. You feel he is trying to justify his price tag by looking to do something spectacular every time he has the ball. He was sloppy in the first half but grew into the game more in the second half and bagged an assist, so i guess, despite what I’ve just said, a pretty promising debut. He will come good and, by the way, that chest control late on in the second half was MAD SKILLZZZZ

Corners

Can we please clear the first man on our corners? I counted about 90 corners yesterday where we failed to do this and the one time we did, we floated the ball in for the Palace keeper to collect easily. What happened to whipping the ball into the danger zone the way Gerrard does so effectively?

Signings

We are not going to sign Cavani so lets accept our strike force as it is. We NEED another DM and a CB. Personally, I would LOVE Khedira. He is so much quality, remember him bossing the world cup semi final? But if we can’t have him, someone mobile with enough discipline to shield the back four would be nice. At Centreback, I don’t really know anyone, I haven’t played Football Manager since 2009 so I’ll trust AW and the scouts on this one. Apparently we are in for a Greek guy but I don’t know anything about him.

Ruud Gullit

Fair play to the Dutchman, he spoke so much on Match of the Day that Shearer had to sit there awkwardly grinning like he getting a lapdance in front of his grandmother.

Van Gaal

Already blaming his players. Absolutely beautiful.

Player Ratings

It’s a new season so let’s try something new: player ratings! As you know this isn’t a democracy so I really don’t care what you think of my ratings, but feel free to put yours in the comments below:

Szcz – 6

Debuchy – 6

Chambers – 8.5

Kos – 8

Gibbs – 6.5

Arteta – 7

Wilshere – 4.5

Ramsey – 7

Cazorla – 4

Sanchez – 7

Sanogo – 4

Subs

Monreal – 7

Giroud – 7.5

Ox – 5.5

Right that’s me over and out. You can follow me @aldo_doel. I’m sure I’ll be touching down with you again over the course of the season. Have a great Sunday!


Cut price superstar deal?

by & filed under News Review.

Short post today because I’m, you know, doing stuff that conflicts with Arsenal I can’t avoid.

Nik B landed a move to Wolfsburg! That’s a good step for him. From everything I’ve heard about the guy, he’s a great player, he just didn’t make it happen when it mattered, mostly down to attitude. If he straightens that out this season, he could be a very smart free transfer.
(more…)


Arsene looking for one more…

by & filed under News Review.

Happy Premier League Season Opener eve!

How exciting is this? It’s like football never went. Canny wait for tomorrow… even though I’ll be bogged down in a wedding for the game. Missing the opener. What a shocker. What a total shocker. I swear people build there weddings around football games. Almost every girlfriend I’ve ever has had a natural flair for picking football nights to do ‘nice things’… it’s simply not on.

This people, is the battle we face from now on… people trying to get between you, and your real love.

Anyway, Crystal Palace had a total mare yesterday as Tony Pulis hit the high road and left Palace the day before the opener.

For me, it’s poor form from him. I don’t know what the details are, but whatever that craic is… it’s embarrassing behaviour from a manager who should know better. What could possibly be that bad that you can in your team? I mean, where’s the fucking loyalty to the players you’ve brought in. Really weak. A sign of poor character… which, let’s be honest, we were all aware of anyway.

He’ll no doubt be the next West Ham boss. He’s not gone, like the stench of Big Sam, he’ll always find work somewhere….

Still, it’s good news for us. It’ll probably cause them problems. When a poor manager gets the can, it can act as a positive. When the man who saved you goes, you’re rudderless. It’s a bad start to the season for them. I’m sure Parish will sort it though, clearly a very good businessman.

In transfer gossip, Wenger is apparently still double keen to add at least one more face. Who that’ll be, no one knows… I think at this stage of the window, it’s all about the opportunities, rather than pushing a plan. Hopefully he goes for two players, because he needs a centre mid. He has done for two years now. It’s inconceivable we go another summer failing to address that role. Shame is, I think if Wenger is filling any gap, it’s in central defence. Which is good, but I think we could be genuine title contenders if we had a proper centre mid to compliment what we have.

The game tomorrow needs to start with a lot of pace an energy. The quicker will kill Palace the better. I don’t want to have another season of slow starts. We need to look at what Liverpool did last year and do something similar. Germany played a similar game in the world cup. Destroy teams as quickly as possible with fast direct football. Then take it easy in the second half.

That’s all I’ve got today… have a good one!

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