Get well soon Danny!

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IT’S WELBZ TIME

Arsenal’s draw against Sporting Lisbon was spoiled with a horrendous injury to the main man, Danny Welbeck. He was challenging for a cross and it looked like his ankle crunched with an awkward fall. The man is the unluckiest guy at Arsenal. Absolutely awful to see.

The added layer of toughness is this: his deal runs out in the summer. I know Arsenal aren’t a charity, but it’s going to be tough not to have a heart for someone whose money will dry up in June with an awful injury.

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Rotation a key focus as Sporting arrive in town

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IT’S WELBZ TIME

Come on, I know this is an Arsenal blog, but how can we not talk about that Ronaldo goal against United last night?

What

A

Strike

I don’t even know how you get to that level of spacial awareness where you can sense a ball coming over the shoulder of a defender. That strike. That timing. Wow wow wow wow!

Chezzer taking abuse for his part in the Juve capitulation, but fear not, there’s a rabid group of fanboys who still can’t let the anger of his departure die.

Juve didn’t deserve to lose against a goal like that. Wasn’t it hilarious to watch Jose after the game? Man lost his mind over that win. It’s so funny to see him celebrating a group stage win like he’s just won the whole thing. Bit like Liverpool doing a bow against WBA.

United getting into a gear is a worry, they have a lot of talent in that squad and could prove a bother at the backend of the season if we hit a trouble patch. Let’s hope it’s up and down all year for them.

Tonight, we face Sporting in the competition everyone wants to face off in… The Europa League. The real deal. The gateway to the Champions League. Emery is pumped about qualifying.

“It’s a very important match because if we win we’re first in the group – that’s our clear target,”

“This competition is very important for us. It’s one way to win a title and get into the Champions League next year.

“We want to continue to improve and to continue with the players taking responsibility and confidence. I want to continue at the Emirates with our supporters with the same spirit as in the matches against Blackpool, Leicester and Liverpool.”

This competition is his bread and butter. Sporting are the toughest team in our group, so a good performance this evening will make it easier for us with our next two games.

The manager has a fine balance to meet, he has to make sure his team is strong enough to win, but he doesn’t want to overstretch them and have tired legs as against a more rested Wolves at the weekend. I expect a medium amount of rotation today, with a very strong bench.

Right, short post today because I work for a living you bums. x


A beautiful love story + A SpursLOL + news round-up

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via @Arsenal insta

The big rumour doing the rounds yesterday centered on Arsene Wenger. Yes, his next job may be at AC Milan of all places. Who is the CEO there? Ivan bloody Gazidis. That my friends would be Stockholm Syndrome in action.

How can a man who has taken 10 years worth of pelters decide that the best man to solve the absolute shit tip that is AC Milan is Arsene Wenger? he literally spent 3 months of the year meeting the brightest minds in the game. He interviewed them, watched their powerpoint presentations, as he watched our first team burn under our ex-manager.

Now he’s going in for more?

What the f*ck is wrong with him? It’d be ESPECIALLY crazy considering the way he mooched around when Emery landed, talking about the vote, the vision, the new era approaching. I mean, honestly, there are better managers unemployed at the minute. Give Conte a call, he knows Serie A and he’s been passed over for countless jobs. Unreal.

It doesn’t make any logical sense. Wenger has no ability to organise a defence, he won’t have world-class talent at his fingertips and his only tactics are centered around players enjoying themselves.

Not our bloody problem though.

There was quite a lot of debate about Leno and whether his mistakes constituted mistakes for no real reason. I think anyone with eyeballs would realise he’d dropped a clanger, and hopefully he’ll be working hard to iron out his weaknesses from balls in the box.

“It gives me confidence to play in big games like Liverpool. But I think he (Emery) pushes us because nobody is safe to play. I think both of us will play many games & so the performances have to be good. I think we push each other every day in training & in games”

Regardless of my concerns when it comes to his aerial handling, it’s clear he gives us a lot with his agility and excellent footwork. As many folk have rightly pointed out, he’s easily up there with Ederson and Allison when it come to distribution, and that has such a positive impact on the defence in front of him.

There are quite strong rumours that 33-year-old Laurent Koscielny is off this January. The club in question is apparently Aston Villa who need another John Terry like defender to stink out their backline. I’m sad to see the Frenchman go. He’s been consistent in our shoddy defense over the years, and he’s been a rock at times. The ruthlessness of the Emery regime is sometimes a bit jarring, but hey, it’s better than giving 5-year deals to absolute crocks.

Reiss Nelson is up for Bundesliga Rookie of the month. He’s played 11 games, racked up 6 goals and has 1 assist. That’s spectacular considering his tender age. Right up there with the best in the world when it comes to teenagers. Long may that run continue.

Finally, I shall leave you on a LOL. Spurs have been told their ground won’t be ready until at March at the very earliest, and that’s if there are no additional issues. Quite hilarious. What a fucking mess. A joke of a club!

See you in the comments. x


Arsenal fans: LET’S BE FRIENDS

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Wrighty special via @Fokohaela

Aren’t Arsenal fans a weird old bunch. We’ve had a blinder this weekend, bagging ourselves a point against one of the best sides in Europe and still we’re going off at each other. I’m reading a book at the minute that New Yorkers find incredibly offensive, but one of the notions is that if you give a man everything he wants, he’ll still find a way to destroy it, just to make the point he is man.

On my own website, after a really great result, I’m getting micro-pelters about my views on Xhaka and my choice for manager in the summer. The hand that pays for the internet good times has been savagely gnawed. An appalling abuse of our internet friendship.

Lads, what does it matter? Live in the now. Enjoy the moment. Let’s dissect the positives for once.

The constant attack of other fans who sacrificed live Gunnasaurs to the AKB gods are also pointless. Honestly, the battle is won. We all have what we want. That is change. That is a better, more progressive, more joyful Arsenal life.

We really need to be friends in the good times, because without that, what are but mere heathens?

Jokes aside folk, lighten the fuck up. This is football discussion.

Leno made some mistakes yesterday, I’m not sure why it’s a crime to admit that.

Iwobi was majestical. Like a pink unicorn on ice skates. Let’s celebrate that. It really doesn’t matter if you said he had a fat arse last season.

Who really knows what’s going on with our defence, but something must have happened for us to only have conceded 1 against a team as brutal as Liverpool.

Aren’t you really f*cking glad paaaashun is back in the dugout? Isn’t it great to see a manager with as much energy as you on the sidelines? Isn’t it amazing how that craziness reflects into the dull stands? YES it is. I love that.

Additionally, can we all just agree the Torreira is the best thing to happen to our midfield since Cesc Fabregas landed all that time ago? I fucking love him.

OH MY. Then look at the underlings coming through. Reiss Nelson is battling it out with Sancho to be king of the Bundesliga. We have Smith Rowe, Maitland Niles, Mavrapanos, Holding and Nkeitiah all chomping at the sideline turf. ALSO, we have Geundouzi coming into the side. What a hero that lad is. I LOVE him.

That’s before we’ve sold of Koscielny (sad face) and Aaron Ramsey (kind of sad face).

What a beautiful state we’re in.

So come on, for the sake of the internet, let’s enjoy the good times. Because here’s one thing for sure, there’s no doubt we’re going to have a really rough time at some point this season. It’s still going to be a massive ask for us to make top 4. Spurs, United and Chelsea all have bedded in teams with levels. We haven’t dealt with our second crisis yet. It’ll come. Hopefully we have enough in the locker to make it out. But for me, that only comes with pos-emery-tivity. You get me? Yes you do.

If you can’t be friends in the good times, you’re sure to be foes in the bad.

Right, that’s me done. Podcast maybe this week.

See you darlings in the comments. x


Arsenal back in the mix, Top 4 is on the agenda

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via @Arsenal instagram

I know there’s the temptation to get revisionist. I know we’re hyping a point. But f*ck it. Yesterday was exactly what we’ve been waiting for over the past 10 years. Unai Emery’s Arsenal side went toe-to-toe with a big team and played like they belonged in their category. The result was 1-1, but as I said before the game, anything more than zero points against the Champions League finalists was going to be something to cheer about.

Nothing about that performance felt like the usual. For starters, we didn’t go a goal down inside the first 20 minutes. In fact, we didn’t really have a bad first half. We weathered a powerful 10-15 minutes of Liverpool pressure and countered with some of our own.

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Liverpool beckons

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Happy Fri-emery? Or just Friyay? Or just Friday? Whatever you fancy. There’s a big game this weekend and I am PUMPED.

Liverpool come to town. Emery has a chance to fire up the troops and take his first ever top 6 scalp. Liverpool are favourites, and I think that’s a positive for us. I’m not sure any of us expect to come out of this alive, even at home. That puts us in a good position of being grateful for anything more than zero points.

There are many things for us to be looking out for.

Selection:

There are a lot of questions ahead of this game. Firstly, I think he should stick with Leno, Cech didn’t look great against Blackpool and Leno has been pretty good.

The big fear is Lichtsteiner and Xhaka as fullbacks. We’re going get absolute spanked if that’s the case. Might as well pack up and go him, give Xhaka his red card already. Trouble is, we’ll likely have to risk a players recovery to get anyone back into the mixer, and Liverpool doesn’t feel like the right game to be taking punts like that.

Midfield kind of picks itself… dependent on Xhaka. Will Ramsey come in next to LT? Will Ozil occupy a central role?

Up front is also interesting. VVD is a monster, and he’ll eat Lacazette alive. So do we opt for someone like WELBZ to bully? Or do we just have a blended front three and see what happens?

Tactics:

If this were Arsene, we’d be going toe-to-toe in a ‘who has the biggest toe’ competition. I’m not sure Emery will be so reckless. The challenge he has is the team aren’t exactly reliable when it comes to defence. Are we equipped to absorb pressure? Do we have the discipline to run a deep block. Do we have the intelligence to stop Liverpool from playing at high pace?

The real worry is if we go into this game playing a high line. Especially if we have two slow full-backs in play.

The last time Emery played Klopp was the Europa League final. From what I remember, he let Liverpool exhaust themselves in the first 60, then picked them off when their legs were gone. I think the Liverpool team is a touch more sophisticated in 2018, but at least our man has the winning record here.

Psychology:

I always felt an Arsene Wenger side was beaten 3 days before the game. How is Emery going to change that? Are we going to be in the fight? Will we see a difference in the way we approach the game? Will the team look like they believe they can win?

These games are acceptable to lose if the team looked like they were in it. I don’t want to come out of this weekend thinking we were bullied. I don’t want the game plan to be out the window after 6 minutes. I want to see 100% agression for the whole game, Liverpool need to feel like they’re in a game.

Right, that’s me done. See you in the comments! x


Arsenal stutter against Blackpool

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Arsenal sputtered their way to a win against Blackpool in the league cup. Goals from Steve Lichtsteiner and Smith Rowe gave us enough of a lead to counter a late resurgence in the second half from a pretty average Blackpool.

It’s tough to draw many conclusions from an uninspiring draw. Aaron Ramsey couldn’t control a game against a poor side, none of the young players really stood out, and outside that, there’s really not a lot to talk about.

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