Fixture fear: Overcome your insecurities right now

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Happy good morning my pretties.

Slumped out of bed this morning and tweaked my hamstring. Nothing says, ‘you fat bastard get down the gym’ quite like needing a warm up to support your own body weight.

Also had passport dramas this morning. I need two passports. TWO. Double the workload and I failed first time. But fear not, my dad delivered me to the airport 20mins early and didn’t even lose his temper at my flapping.

So we have some time to Le Grove and chill.

Arsenal are in good shape. Sitting pretty at the top of the league. Focus has now switched to our tough run in. I know there are some beastly games in there on paper, but I think when you look at them with this seasons fresh ‘WHAT IS HAPPENING’ eyes, they’re not that bad.

We’re all worried about Liverpool away. Heading to the Kop. Playing against the charismatic German we’d all have liked to have had stroking our Arsenal curls in a post Wenger era. But look, as a side, they’ve been utter shite under him bar one result against Southampton (ok, ok, and City). Nothing has really changed, crap results, underwhelming individual performances and no semblance of a vision yet.

I think the worrying game for me is the Stoke one. There’s no better case study for money in the league than those boys. Power, pace, organization, brutality and some absolute class. Stokelona as they call them on the continent (pretty sure they don’t, actually). They are going to be a problem, mainly because they are a mental block that now has real quality. The on-story of that game is if we lose, we then have Chelsea at home.

Now, Chelsea on paper have been shite this season. We have been great. Is there any reason this pattern should fail to continue? They should fear us. Creaking defence, fragile confidence and general sluggish play. This shouldn’t be tough, but we know it’ll be a ‘show us you’re champs’ game. But look, Hiddink has been a mega failure in his last 4 jobs, he looks like he should be reading storybooks to kids in Victorian films about the meaning of Christmas. I don’t fear Chelsea under him. Well, not right now.

February for me looks pretty good. Rest assured, Leicester will be dead and buried and I reckon Claudio will be under job pressure. Southampton at home will be revenge for us and look, if we’re having issues with Bournemouth away, then what’s the fucking point? We have a tricky game against Barcelona and possibly a rematch with a Mourinho United as our last game.

I see maybe a couple of draws in there, but I’m pretty confident. We just need to pray we don’t pick up anymore injuries and we have to hope there’s no more news of the dreaded ‘setback’ that we seem to get every other injury.

The run in is all about freshness. Who has it. Who doesn’t. Who managed fitness the best? Great news for us is the way we manage mid season freshness is breaking our players early on. The old ‘NoVenger’ 3 week hamstring rest has proven quite the strategy over the past few seasons. Coq, Ramsey, Chambo, Theo and Sanchez should be flying! They’ve had their midseason break.

So basically, I don’t have the fear like many others. My main fear is the switch off. The lack of drive kicking us over the line. Wenger not having it in him to motivate his players to the end.

… this for me is where leaders used to take over. Who is our Adams? Who is our Sol Campbell kicking Paddy up the arse? Who is willing to slam Chambo up against the wall when he makes a dunce mistake? Who is there, ready and willing to make the dressing room a scary place to be when someone steps out of line?

We’ll find out in due course… but hey, isn’t it exciting! (And marvelous that Spurs dropped two points. The dark horses this season.)

I’m about to hit my flight back to NYC. Can’t wait to spend the next two months pretending I get Super Bowl! See you on the other side!


644 Responses to “Fixture fear: Overcome your insecurities right now”

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  1. Bob

    If ozil did shoot more but didn’t score & missed more clear cut goal scoring assists or passes would u still argue he should shoot more? Is it not possible the reason he has so many assists & creates so many goal scoring opportunities is because his team mate is actually in a better more advanced goal scoring position??? U don’t shoot if a pass is on for a team mate in a better position with a better view on goal simples! And please de bruyne is a basic bitch compared to ozil atm, come back when de bruyne is 26 & if he can boast the same stats as ozil, then I will take it back but atm he is too young & as shown nothing to be anywhere near ozil,

  2. Joe


    Was just going to bring that up. How many shots do we take as a whole from
    Distance when it’s available. It’s definitely been trained into them not
    To shoot

  3. Joe

    Rather pep at Arsenal. But no chance of Wenger leaving any time soon. All the top manager getting signed up and we will be stuck with Wenger.

  4. Leedsgunner

    Özil a shirker on responsibility? Are we serious?

    I would rather say he knows what he’s responsibility is better than anyone on the team — that is to create goal scoring opportunities for his team mates to capitalise from so that in the end the team achieves the right result — that is three points on the board, the win on the night in a cup competition, a trophy in the cabinet.

    It is sad that some vilify a player for being unselfish and sticking to what he is best at. Özil should praised for being a consummate professional and not berated just because his teammates aren’t as good as him.

    The onus should not be on him to do what other’s are being paid to do (ie. score goals). Others should rather raise their game to where Mesut is at.

  5. Nasri's Mouth

    In other news the U21s are equal top of their league, but with 2 games in hand.

    Looking good for promotion back to league 1.

  6. underrated Coq

    ” This season I can’t remember shouting “arrghhh, why didn’t you shoot??!!” at him or the TV when he should have done that though. ”

    Yeah, fair point. He’s more often going for goal inside the 18 yard than compared to previous seasons. I think he has the ability to extend it to beyond that, shots from outside the box.

  7. GoonerDNA

    You lot talking about Ozil the guy that will probably break the assist record in a season!!!

    If others around him are more likely to score then I say pass more Ozil, pass more.

  8. Emiratesstroller

    The interesting point about the proposed transfer of Elneny is that it is actually uncontroversial.

    He is a low budget transfer designed to cover either DMF or CMF positions. He is an experienced player having played at a decent club for three seasons and is not Champions League Cup tied.

    The worst case scenario is that he will understudy for either Coquelin or Cazorla whilst they are out injured. The best case is that he emerges as a top
    class player in which case at £5 million a bargain.

    In the short term it will hopefully shore up the defensive resources of our
    overstretched midfield as well as alleviating the risk of having to play either Flamini or Arteta in that role beyond the Sunderland game this weekend.

    Hopefully Coquelin will return by mid February and then our current vulnerability will begin to recede.

  9. Bob

    Ozil gets injured we all know what will happen 2 our season, I don’t see any1 in the Arsenal sqaud who can provide them assist numbers other than ozil, Santi maybe but he’s injured & even if he wasn’t he’d have 2 b on absolute fire!

  10. qna

    Ozil doesnt need to improve his scoring to be a better player. Ozil has 16 assits from 80 chances created (next best is De Bruyne with 51 chances created). This is as of 31/12/15.

    This means that Arsenal has collectively failed to score 64 of the opportunities that Ozil has lined up. This doesnt even factor in all of the brilliant balls before the chance creation ball (where Ozil puts a key pass that directly leads to an assist/chance created).

    Point is that if Arsenal had top quality strikers – as opposed to Lamppost and Wheres Wally – who knows how many assists he could have in a season. The only players on the planet we would be comparing him to would be Messi and Ronaldo. He could do all this, without increasing his own goal scoring at all.

    Bamford you flip flopping dope – I havent got us signing anybody. I am simply stating we should be getting in on Kroos – now that his name is being thrown in the ring. I have suggesting Fekir and Dybala since last summer and I am not put off by Fekir’s injury or the fact that Dybala chose Juventus.

  11. Leedsgunner

    For example I wish Ramsey took a page out of Özil’s book and learned to discern more. Rambo’s greatest asset is his thunderous lung busting runs which stretch defences and open up space for others to exploit. Having created that space he wastes it by trying to finish it himself rather than offloading to a better placed teammate. If he wants to shoot fair enough, but he needs to be better composed. THere’s no denying he missed a few embarrassing sitters over the Christmas fixtures.

    I suppose Rambo is the antithesis to Özil in that he is too eager to shoot and tries to be everyones hero and he doesn’t place his shots whereas Özil is too cautious. Although bearing in mind both weaknesses who is more effective?

    Isn’t it Mesut hands down?

  12. underrated Coq

    Which would you rather have? A goal scoring oppurtunity/ chance created OR an actual goal? It boils down to this, essentially. Mind you, this is wholly based on the assumption that Ozil is more likely to put the ball in the net than Theo and Giroud. Strictly speaking accuracy, surely this is the case?

  13. Carts


    “Ozil is listed as creating 83 chances. From that he has 16 assists.

    He creates 1 goal per 5.19 chances.

    That’s actually pretty good. For example De Bruyne creates 1 goal from 6.9 chances”

    And the stats are incredibly impressive. That can’t be disputed.

    But if you’ve created 83 chance and 16 have resulted in goals, then surely common sense dictates that you should probably go for goal yourself? that’s my point.

  14. PetrCechYourself

    RedTruth with the obvious trolling as normal. Pretty sure he was slating Ozil for other reasons before his rise to prominence in the team.

    I would love to see what you’d come up with if we actually won the league (not that we will) We’d probably have not won by enough points or we only won ‘cos X or Y team wasn’t performing.

  15. Nasri's Mouth

    qna: Point is that if Arsenal had top quality strikers – as opposed to Lamppost and Wheres Wally – who knows how many assists he could have in a season.

    Hmm, but ManC score less goals from each of De Bruyne’s chances

    So does that mean our players are better finishers than ManC then?

  16. Bob

    There’s no garuntee mesut would finish his chances, he looks like a confidence player & if he isn’t confident in taking the shot on but can still provide a goal scoring opportunity to a striker who should b confident in them positions situations then that’s fine by me to many times u see Santi,Ramsey & the like shooting from out of the box & not even hitting the target, u can lambast ozil for being a non scorer when he is an assist machine if anything ozil highlights the poor form of our strikers

  17. Nasri's Mouth

    Carts: But if you’ve created 83 chance and 16 have resulted in goals, then surely common sense dictates that you should probably go for goal yourself? that’s my point.

    Dunno. The top goal scorers in the world score from around 1 in 4 shots. (RvP was about 1 in 4.5 to 1 in 5).

    Ozil would have to be in a goal scoring position himself when he made that assist and be a very good goal scorer to improve on the number of goals scored by the team.

  18. Carts

    ““Rafa ‘wants return to England’ ””

    He stinks the place out way too much. His agent should be able to get him a gig in China.

  19. Redtruth

    It’s been interesting conversation but deep down we all know Ozil has flaws in his game and unless he addresses them he will forever be remembered as that one trick pony player.

  20. Joe

    It won’t matter if Ozil can lead Arsenal to the title. His goal scoring won’t adversely affect his legend status. He has to win the league though.

  21. qna

    “Assists are okay but since when have assists been thought of more highly than goals scored.”

    Usually not. But when there are two buses parked in front and nobody has any idea of how to get through – the guy that gives the key ball that unlocks the goal should get most credit.

    Also, if the goal is a tap in, but the pass is above average, the goal creator should get credit.

    For example, Ozil’s goal against Bayern – most credit should go to Bellerin.

  22. Nasri's Mouth

    Orbinho ‏@Orbinho 22 Dec 2015
    Olivier Giroud Premier League

    2012-13 Mins/Goal 211 Conversion 13%
    2013-14 MPG 193 Con 18%
    2014-15 MPG 133 Con 24%
    2015-16 MPG 106 Con 27%

  23. LeMassiveCoq

    I agree with Pedro, whilst it sounds strange I think Stoke away could be the biggest banana-skin out of these next 3 fixtures. If we turn up and play like we did against Southampton were in deep shit.

    We’ll most likely play to a good level against the Scousers, can see us winning that or possibly drawing.

    Chelsea at home depends on how much Cunsta is prepared to cheat but we should have the beating of them.

    9 points is probably unrealistic, 6 or 7 would be great, 4 not a total disaster.

  24. Carts

    @ nm

    “Ozil would have to be in a goal scoring position himself when he made that assist and be a very good goal scorer to improve on the number of goals scored by the team.”

    And for that reason, I think it’s necessary to see from where is he’s currently assisting. I suppose only then can I/we determine whether there was as much as him scoring from there as opposed to passing.

  25. qna

    Interesting to see Adelaide and Malen getting involved in the goals for the under 21s. Malen is just 16 still I think – impressive.

  26. Nasri's Mouth


    Agreed. IMO he’s not, but as I said, it’s anecdotal rather than evidence based, so…

    Either way, when we next score, whether he assists or scores it himself, I’ll be bouncing up and down as usual 😀

  27. qna

    Pep: “Three years are enough. I am not comfortable with staying at one club for 30 years. I want new restaurants, a new city, a new challenge.”

    At least City will only dominate the league for three years. Hopefully Manchester’s restaurants are shit and he stays even less.

  28. Carts


    “Either way, when we next score, whether he assists or scores it himself, I’ll be bouncing up and down as usual :)”

    My celebration is more nuanced lol

  29. Spanishdave

    Foreseeable future.
    Wenger will be here with with his horrible 8 so nothing will happen.
    Our little spell at the top will soon be over.

  30. Sam

    You guys have this idea that if Guardiola moves to England he will dominate the league till he leaves
    wrong analogy dudes, this is not german or spanish league

  31. Sam

    Fat Sam, Pardew, Mark Hughes, Longball pulis will all bow down to King Guardiola

    So foking deluded

    there is no easy 3points here

  32. Adrian

    Adams, Campbell??? You tickle me how you find away to insert English names into the column, when we all know English players are irrelevant. If Adams was so great, where’s the World Cup trophy?