Chelsea disgrace themselves | Arsenal finally move for DM

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WE'RE BACK!

WE’RE BACK!

I understand that Jose Mourinho has this thing where he makes all the attention in the press about himself so the players don’t feel the pressure of critique, but the his behaviour of late has really brought his reputation further into the gutter than it already was.

Firstly, the attack on the wife of Rafa Benitez and the fat comments aimed at another manager were pretty grotesque. However, that sort of carry on isn’t even comparable to the carry on with their physio Eva Carneiro.

So here’s how it goes.

  • She enters the pitch to treat Eden Hazard for an injury
  • Eden Hazard is feigning injury
  • Mourinho is furious and critiques her for being naive
  • Mourinho then removes her from the bench moving forward

She’s basically had a massive part of her role removed because she wasn’t aware that Hazard was cheating on the pitch.

It’s beyond parody. You almost can’t believe that even a club like Chelsea could accept this sort of behaviour.

Sex in this matter shouldn’t matter, but for me, she’s one of most inspiring female female figures in men’s football. Roughing it in an industry not known for being progressive in anything. For her to be cast aside (along with a male counterpart) is quite unbelievable.

Not to mention, likely cause for legal recourse. Being effectively demoted for doing your footballing equivalent of civic duty.

Will the manager be lambasted for this? Will the club face intense criticism for this? I hope so. It’s just a horrendous way to treat a person trying to do their job.

Ok, so what about Arsenal? Well, I’ll tell you what’s horrendous. The nightmares I’ve been having about Arteta pinning our midfield against Chelsea when Coquelin picks up a cruciate injury in the next two games.

FEAR NOT. Arsenal have a plan and it’s Polish. Grzegorz Krychowiak; who has a name so hard to spell it should be banned, is in the firing line of the club. He has a €30m buyout clause that we could easily activate. Hopefully we make that happen. Why it took an opening day loss to ramp up interest is beyond me. However, from reports I’ve had on him, he’s pretty damn good. He’s also Polish. Those guys are fighters on the pitch. We need as many of them as we can get. The team looks a bit timid at the moment.

Tomorrow, I’ll be reporting from Spain. MoneySupermarket have sent me there to report on the importance of travel insurance. They know I’m a total liability and I absolutely adore the intricacies of insurance policies. Anyway, I’ll be there to see Bilbao vs Barca. Pretty exciting away game!

Finally, check out this from Chuba Akpom. Second in two… this one from the bench. Really love this kid, reckon he could be amazing. Reminds me of Anelka the way he glides…

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Arsenal: Those performances are Wenger standard

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Football. You miserable beast.

What a day on Sunday. Met up with my Arsenal family. Had some good time beers. Headed to the game brimming with positivity.

Then, boom.

Over.

Realities of the season kicked in.

Now, I want to temper this with a dose of reality. I think that was a blip. I don’t think that’s representative of who Arsenal are. I’d imagine we’ll go on a long run of winning games now.

What the game did represent is that nagging feeling that Wenger has lost his ability to keep a team focused for a whole season. I know Chelsea were poor. But I just felt that sort of game is always in Wenger’s repertoire. Players shouldn’t be heading into a game with a focus so weak. You just didn’t get that feeling of invincibility looking at that line up.

You kind of feel Mourinho instills a level of fear that means players dare not drop their work rate or standards. I’m not sure I felt an urgency against West Ham. A few stray passes and it fell to pieces. The customary…

‘We’ll bounce back’ headline in The Evening Standard.

I mean, you have to counter that by saying that Petr Cech probably won’t drop clangers like that again. But I don’t think anyone who has watched Wenger teams over the last ten years could say there were any doubts that we’d not play like that again.

People highlighting that West Ham were playing competitive games before us. I mean, sure, against awful teams. I just don’t think there’s an excuse for that sort of performance in front of a buzzing home crowd. West Ham were better than us. That’s not acceptable.

I also think some other points that have been bandied around made sense.

Our midfield needs more balance. You can’t have everyone trying to Ozil. What was amazing about that line up is the lack of chances created. We needed more direct in there.

Our striking issues are pretty glaring. I appreciate there was early season rust, but when you’re not hitting the target from 8 yards, it really does push the point that we’re struggling.

Like I said, I still expect us to challenge this season, I just worry that when it comes to the crunch, we’ll always fold.

Fingers crossed that performance kicks the manager into adding a couple more before the start of the season.

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West Ham 2 – 0 Arsenal. Arrogant Arsenal ruin Christmas

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WE'RE BACK!

WE’RE BACK!

Yesterday was like Christmas when you know Santa has got you an n64. You wake up early jump out of bed and fall straight into a tank of jellyfish. Never mind you say ‘at least it’s Christmas and I’ve got that n64!’. You run downstairs to find Santa microwaving your dog and the Christmas tree on fire. To top it all off he’s brought you a dreamcast instead.

There’s one word to describe that performance, ‘arrogant’. Arsenal were injury-free, brimming with confidence off the back of a victory against the Champions and buoyed by the signing of a world class goalkeeper. We turned up thinking we deserved a victory, not remembering that victories are earned.

We always beat West Ham at home – I said it myself – Giroud always scores against them, this is Chamberlain’s year, good luck conceding against Cech etc etc. Most of us were probably thinking things like this pre-match, even if we weren’t saying it. The problem is, most of the players were thinking along the same lines as well.

Now before I get assaulted by the ‘perspective brigade’, who are able to watch football without it arousing any emotion in them at all, I will say; it was just one game, one bad performance and I still expect us to compete for the league.

However the problem with yesterday was the lack of preparation both physically and mentally. West Ham were awesome yesterday but outside of the first 10 minutes we looked a yard of the pace.

In terms of mental preparation, we played liked we thought we deserved to win. Like we did against Monaco last year, and against Villa on the opening day two years ago and repeat ad infinitum.

The manager acknowledged after the game we played with a bit of fear without the apparent ability to critically analyse why this still keeps happening.

Alan Shearer, for his many many faults, said on Match of the Day that whichever of the top four teams Mourinho managed would win the league. I hate to say it but he’s right. He instills the right kind of confidence in his teams; not so much ‘we deserve to win’, more of the ‘we cannot lose’.

Now I’m not for one second saying I want Mourinho anywhere near this club. However losing the complacent streak appears to be one more signpost on the manager’s road to recovery.

The atmosphere was incredible at the Emirates yesterday. It was baking hot, West Ham were playing a foetus in midfield and they got two yellow cards in the first 10 minutes. Confidence reigned supreme. We looked electric in the first 10 minutes, buzzing around the West Ham defence like a swarm of migrants (as our Prime Minister might say). Ozil was pulling the strings, Chamberlain and Ramsey were fired up.

However, ever so subtly, mistakes started to creep in. The misplaced passes were getting more frequent, balls were bouncing off Giroud like he was a cathode ray oscilloscope (I failed Physics) and the good will of the crowd started to ebb. Then West Ham got a free kick in our half, floated in a perfect free kick for their fella to head into the net.

Cech was in no man’s land but was it all his fault? The defence had pushed up so high that the “corridor of uncertainty” which commentators like to talk about was as large as the Suez Canal. We should have been much deeper. If we had the ball would have been easily cleared.

Nonetheless it was still only 1-0 and you felt we could recover in the second half. Unfortunately the players came out with pretty much the same attitude they had displayed in the first half. Lots of dicking around on the edge of the box, then float the ball in for a defender to easily clear.

Cech was certainly at fault for West Ham’s second. No doubt he was caught flat-footed and should have done better to reach the ball. However there are questions again around the pressure coming from midfield. Zarate was allowed enough time to turn, take a selfie and shoot. Cech probably wasn’t used to that at Chelsea to be fair to him.

We still had a good 30 minutes to make a mends. Arsene made some strange substitutions, for some reason playing Chamberlain at right back where he repeatedly gave the ball away, and leaving Ramsey and Giroud on, both of whom had stinkers. I understand the rationale behind bringing Sanchez on – he’s one of our best players – but he clearly was nowhere near fit and his performance showed that.

We had a few chances before the end of the game but West Ham were organised and defended heroically when they needed to. They deservedly left with all three points.

As I said, it’s important to have perspective. This was just one game. Apparently there were some fisticuffs between fans outside the stadium afterwards. All I’d say to that is – get over yourself, football isn’t that important. However this result was bad. Yes it was a terrible performance, but it was also a sign that whatever was going on in pre-season, the players weren’t ready mentally or physically for the first game.

Also it’s games like this that make the difference between first and third. Have you ever looked back through all the fixtures at the end of the season and said to yourself, ‘if only we’d one that game, and that game we would have been champions’? Yes it’s a bit of childish wish thinking but, in order to be champions, Arsenal can only lose one, possibly two games against teams outside the top four at home. That’s how small the margins are.

Lets end with some player ratings….

Cech – David Ospina didn’t die for this

Debuchy – was fairly solid, still looked rusty

Monreal – More like nonreal (ly)

Koscielny – our best player. I haven’t seen the replays but think he may have been at fault for the first goal

Mertesacker – fairly solid, helped a lot by Kos. Cant really be blamed for the second

Coquelin – looked tired, not one of his better games

Ramsey – played like Steven Gerrard circa 2015 rather than Steven Gerrard circa 2005

Cazorla – Slowed. Down. Everything

Ozil – Great for the first 10 minutes then went for a beer

Chamberlain – I love the kid but he’s not a right back

Giroud – Couldn’t even do the things he usually does well, well

Subs

Walcott – improved our performance 3.2%

Sanchez – Needs a few more days on the beach

Honourable mentions go to Payet who looks like a quality player and Jeinny for combining transfer rumours with being really fit. Thanks for that.

You can follow me on twitter @aldo_doel  if you like. Enjoy your Mondays! x