Tag Archives: Arsenal FC

Match Report: Arsenal 3 – 1 West Ham

Arsenal (1) 3 West Ham United (1) 1

Premier League

Saturday, 25th August 2018

(4-2-3-1) Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Iwobi; Aubemeyang.

Substitutes: Elneny, Lacazette, Torreira, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Welbeck, Leno.

Scorers: Monreal, Diap (O.G.), Welbeck

Referee: Graham Scott

Attendance: 59,830

You really can’t write this can you? Of our first three Premier League outings of the 2018-19 season, two have been derbies – this week we entertain Wes Dam, who despite all their Cock-er-nee bluster and bravado, have only been victorious on one occasion in the PL at The Emirates, back on the opening day of the 2015-16 season; a match not to be reminded of, and certainly one that should be placed firmly and deeply imto the dustbin of Premiership history.

A nigh-on full crowd at The Emirates saw the welcome return of Our Jack, albeit rather strangely attired in an opposition shirt; a peculiar sight these days as we are more used to seeing him in our familiar red and whites, of course. Also to be mentioned in dispatches today is our old friend Łukasz Fabiański, now employed as the man between the sticks for Wes Dam, as well as young Lucas Pérez who has found new horizons for his career in E20 too. Strangely missing from our line-up today was the much-maligned and enigmatic Mesut Özil, an absence due more to illness rather than injury or selection deletion apparently, despite scurrilous rumours to the contrary. As a byword, the two opposing managers today have met before on fields of glory, when they were opposing Misters in La Liga a few years ago.

On with the motley. As befitting a London derby, there was a crackle in the air and a stirring of the heart as the match got underway with both sides testing each other’s defences robustly. Despite a disallowed offside goal from Aaron Ramsey quite early on, our opponents severely tried and tested the Arsenal defence with some well executed “smash-and-grab” counter-attacking that ultimately led to a well-taken goal with some 25 minutes on the clock. Their felicitations didn’t last long, however; within five minutes the scores were level with a superb Nacho Monreal goal taken with some style when the ball found its way to him just outside the six-yard box. Just before the break, we were most fortunate not to concede a goal, and but for the agility and positioning of Petr Cech, we could have been in deficit.

Alexandre Lacazette replaced Alex Iwobi at the beginning of the second half, and almost immediately made a difference to the attack with several attempts over a ten minute period on the Wes Dam goal that led to nothing, unfortunately. It was after such an attack by the opposition that we took the lead for the first time in a match this season, albeit fortuitously. A seemingly simple loose ball in the Wes Dam six-yard box ended up in their goal courtesy of an error by Issa Diap on his debut for the E20 club. A few minutes later a large cheer came up from the home crowd when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was substituted for the popular striker Danny Welbeck. From now on until the end of the match, our chaps gradually took cotrol of proceedings. In injury time, Danny Welbeck received a pass, pirouetted and slotted the winner home with some aplomb, which elevated us to eleventh in the Premier League table. A great sigh of relief resounded around the stadium, as we finally chalked up our first win of the campaign after three very tough matches.

Make no mistake about it, there were some glaring (and on another day possibly fatal) errors by the defence throughout this match. Again, with the absence of protection from midfield, and with no Arsenal players taking reponsibility on the pitch for the third match in a row, we were fortunate indeed not to concede more goals than we actually did. Mr. Emery has all the answers now; our dromedarian defenders need to find their backbone before something truly awful occurs; whilst we know that our bandits will always score goals, and the midfield can supply this (even with the absence of the umlauted one) the defence must surely have the priority for any restructuring here. Aaron Ramsay was just superb today, as was Nacho Monreal, but up front, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang needs to regain his confidence quickly, as he is fading out of matches. It will happen. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Victoria Concordia Crescit.


Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

Arsenal’s incredible squad turnover

RAUL SANLLEHI was appointed as Arsenal’s new Head of Football relations in November 2017 – officially joining the club from Barcelona at the beginning of 2018.

On his appointment, Ivan Gazidis said “Raul’s appointment is another important step in developing the infrastructure we need at the club to take everything we do to the next level”.

The appointment followed the announcement of Sven Mislintat to head our player recruitment operations.

Sanllehi and Mislintat were bought in to spearhead Arsenal’s revival. To address the slide in on-pitch performances that saw Arsenal finish 5th in 2017 and ultimately 6th in 2018.

What the pair have done is walk into London with the world biggest brush and swept a lot of rubbish away.

It started in January 2017 when the club sold Francis Coquelin, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud. They also released Mathieu Debuchy on a free transfer.

They also made a clinical decision when it came to Alexis Sanchez, moving him on to Manchester United and getting Henrikh Mkhitaryan in return. 5 out in January. It was the beginning of a massive cull.

It then hit April, and the biggest decision in the last 22 years of Arsenal was made. Arsene Wenger was told his services were no longer required at the club. Sacked. Encouraged to walk away. Mutual decision. Call it what you want to call, Arsenal would be going into the 2018/19 season with their first new manager this Millennium.

Before a new manager was appointed, the back room firings continued.

The season not over, and barely a week after Arsene Wenger’s big goodbye at the Emirates, Sanllehi and Mislintat informed a lot if his backroom staff that there time at Arsenal was over.

First team coaches Neil Banfield, Tony Colbert, , Gerry Peyton and Boro Primorac were let go; Head of Medical Services, Colin Lewin; Physiotherapists Andy Rolls and Ben Ashworth; Osteopath Dr Philippe Boixel and Travel Manager Paul Johnson also all left the club, with Vic Akers also retiring.

Most Recently, Jens Lehmann was told that his services will no longer be required.

And then the Premier Leaguer “released” players was, well, released.

On it contained Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla. Both expected departures. One playing missing on the list was Jack Wilshere, who was on the “retained” list.

It did not take long for Wilshere to announce he was leaving the club, announcing that after a meeting with new manager Unai Emery, both parties had felt it was time to go separate ways.

What is coming next will be one of the biggest turnovers of players that the club has seen in recent years.

Pretty much every senior player who was out on loan last season will be allowed to go.

This includes Lucas Perez, Joel Campbell, Carl Jenkinson, Chuba Akpom, Julio Pleguezuelo, Cohen Bramall and Ben Sheaf will all find their time at Arsenal is over.

With Bernd Leno coming in, one of Petr Cech or David Ospina will be gone, as well reserve goal keeper Emiliano Martínez.

Rumours are that Calum Chambers will be allowed to go to Fulham, whilst the axe is certainly floating above Danny Welbeck’s head.

You could actually make a very good Starting XI with the players who have left us over the last 12 months. One which would have probably played at least one game together in the Premier League.

What is for certain is those now leading the transformation of Arsenal have a plan.

Out has gone underperforming, injury prone players, in are coming players who can return us back to a competitive level.





Lucas Torreira, Mo Elneny & Grant Xhaka

Lucas Torreira

Saw a few fans during yesterday’s game between Egypt and Uruguay question how good Lucas Torreira must be if he “can’t even get into his national team”.

As the majority of us at England fans, is this view not a little arrogant? And extremely ignorant.

Uruguay are ranked 14th in the world. That is just one place below England – a side which Jack Wilshere can’t even get into the squad for.

They are ranked above the likes of Holland, Italy, Columbia and Croatia.

Ahead of him in the Starting XI is Rodrigo Bentancur. The 20 year old had a break through season for Juventus last season, who secured first option to sign him when he was just 17.

Also ahead of him is 26 year old Matías Vecino, who Inter Milan paid €24m for last summer.

Let’s not pretend this Uruguay is a poor team. They have an array of talented young midfielders, including Nahitan Nández (22) and Giorgian De Arrascaeta (24).

It is no shame that Torreira did not start.

Uruguay are not exactly Scotland or Republic of Ireland. They are a good outfit.

Mohamed Elneny

One player who did start the game was Egypt’s Mo Elneny.

He put in the solid if unexceptional performance that he has become known for.

If Arsenal do go ahead next year and play 3 in the middle of the park, Elneny has to be in with a shout if being the deepest of those 3.

He covers a lot of ground, is disciplined and defensive aware.

You do not win the league with 11 Lionel Messi’s. You need a Sergio Busquet’s or Fernandinho.

Elneny can do that job (although it would be good to also secure Torreira so that we have competition in the area.

Granit Xhaka

Not everyone’s cup of tea but Granit Xhaka signing a new contract is great news for the club.

With Jack Wilshere looking like he is off and Aaron Ramsey still yet to sign a contract, Xhaka is a man who the modified can be built around.

Still just 25, Unai Emery needs to get the balance of the midfield right to get the best out of the Swiss international.

Signs Lucas Torreira could be just what is needed to allow Xhaka to excel.

A midfield 3 of:

Xhaka Torreira Ramsey

Has a lot of balance to it.

Since joint Arsenal two years ago, he has had to deal with a lot of criticism from fans and the media.

Xhaka gets a lot of blame for the team being set up unbalanced. He has never really played as the deepest central midfielder.

He needs to be allowed to press and be aggressive. Sitting deep never suited him.

By having someone behind him will allow him to get further forward, to be more aggressive in the middle of the park, and know he has a safety net behind him.

I am predicting that Xhaka playing the ball from deep over the top to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be a route for a lot of goals next season.