Tag Archives: Fulham

Momentum continues to boost Arsenal

“What an arrogant team selection” I saw someone comment just before kick off on Sunday.

90 minutes later Arsenal had won 5-1.

No Mesut Ozil; Aaron Ramsey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis on the bench.

I can see why some were a little worried about a “weak” side prior to kick off, but it perhaps showed a lack of faith in the manager who has had a fabulous start to his Arsenal’s career.

I saw some people compare it to an Arsene Wenger-era line up. This baffled me. Wenger is gone. Support the new regime. The new team.

The reality of the starting XI was it only 3 or 4 players shy of its strongest line up (depending on if you think Ramsey is in the strongest XI).

Ozil was out with a back strain, and Aubameyang and Ramsey both also missed mid week (there has been a cold flying about). Sokratis has also been managing a slight knee injury that he picked up against Everton a couple of weeks ago.

So the XI that Emery put out was the strongest, fittest XI available.

The fact that the side brushed away an albeit poor Fulham side without key players shows the confidence flowing through the side right now. And it is not just the first team that is riding high.

Momentum is such a big thing in sport.

At the weekend Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix. It was his 4th win in a row. Meanwhile Sebastian Vettel finished 6th, and has failed to make the top 2 in the last 4 races. It puts the British driver in a position where he could win the title at next race at Austin.

Hamilton has all the momentum, Vettel has none of it.

Arsenal are similar at this moment in time. We are not particularly playing much better than last season, but the momentum is with the side, leading us to 9 wins in a row.

Last season, conceding just before half-time to go in at 1-1, we would have capitulated in the second half. Just like we would not have hung on against Cardiff, Newcastle and Everton to take the victory. But winning breeds confidence, and the momentum that go’s with that is as important as any tactics and motivational pre-game speeches.

8 games into the season and we sit in 4th place; just 2 points off top.

Up next is a two week international break. Hopefully this does not break our momentum. When we return on October the 22nd, it will be Leicester at home, a good opportunity to make it 10 wins in a row. Sporting, Crystal Palace and Blackpool in the League Cup follow that before a home game against Liverpool.

That Liverpool game will really show where we are this season and what we can expect. Win, and we can start looking higher than top 4. Perhaps not fully in the title race as Manchester City look fantastic, but certainly in the race to be “best of the rest”.

Lose and the media will jump on top of us. Point out that our 3 games against the top sides have ended in defeat. Our target then realistically is 4th.

If we can go into that Liverpool game still on the coat tails of Manchester City, we will still be brimming in confidence.

What we are learning in recent weeks is that we need to trust the new manager. We need to trust his team selection. And we need to trust that he knows what he is doing.

Remove the negativity of years gone past and jump aboard the new Arsenal train. We are a club going places.

It feels good being an Arsenal fan again.

Keenos

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Match Report: Fulham 1 – 5 Arsenal

Fulham (1) 1 Arsenal (1) 5
Premier League

Craven Cottage, London SW6
Sunday, 7th October 2018. Kick-off time:12.00 noon

(4-2-3-1) Leno; Bellerín, Mustafi, Holding, Monreal; Torreira, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Iwobi, Welbeck; Lacazette.
Substitutes: Martínez, Sokratis, Ramsey, Guendouzi, Lichtsteiner, Aubameyang, Kolašinac.
Scorers: Lacazette (2), Ramsey, Aubameyang (2)

Referee: Paul Tierney
Attendance: 25.401

Good to visit the newly-promoted Cottagers again after a four year hiatus when they lost their Premiership status at the end of the 2013-14 season after a series of unfortunate results. Of course, older supporters will remember their salad days when Johnny Haynes and 1966 World Cup winner George Cohen graced their ranks; and it is not to be forgotten either by those of us who both know and care when star striker Ronnie Rooke was signed from the West London club at the grand old age of 35. Not only did he help Arsenal keep their First Division status in a difficult season, but more importantly, his 33 goals in 42 matches (which is still a post-war record that holds firm today) propelled us to our sixth championship win in eleven peace-time seasons back in 1948. Indeed, his amazing overall goalscoring tally of 70 goals in 94 matches is surely one that our modern strikers should rightly aspire to.

Despite the absence of Mesut Özil from the team today due to a back spasm, the omens looked good for us in this autumnal Sunday lunchtime by the Thames in leafy SW6, and sure enough everything started off looking as a typical London derby should look to us all. At first The Cottagers looked confident on the ball, but they appeared to have no final product, therefore Bernd Leno had no particular issues in dealing with the shots that came his way in the first quarter of an hour or so. Slowly the tables were turning. Our midfield men were starting to pick up the Fulham stragglers that were hanging around looking for spare balls that never came their way, and within no time at all we left our mark on the match with a superb goal of movement that involved speed of thought and action. Alex Iwobi collected the ball on the left, slotted it to the overlapping Nacho Monreal who wasted no time in getting it across to the waiting Alexandre Lacazette, who held off the Fulham defender, span around and put the ball in the back of the net in the space between the goalkeeper and the near post. We then started to dominate the match; but unfortunately an error in midfield led to Fulham bringing the scores even just before half-time. Within five minutes of the restart, Alexandre Lacazette got his second of the match with an absolute peach of a goal that came about from a botched throw-in from the home team. Lucas Torreira won the ball, placed it high for Danny Welbeck to nod it down into the path of Alexandre Lacazette, who struck it sweetly for 20 yards into the back of the net. And from then on, it was Arsenal all the way home. Aaron Ramsey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were the substitution pairing after the hour, and the game changed yet again; Aaron Ramsey arguably got the goal of the game after a series of clever headers and neat flicks from his team-mates found him just outside the six-yard box and he nonchalantly himself flicked the ball past the goalkeeper into the net. Now the turn of our other star striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He collected the ball from a cross by Hector Bellerín, pirouetted and smashed our spherical friend into the net for Arsenal’s fourth of the day. After more sterling work in the midfield, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got the final goal of the day, with a low shot into the corner of the net. Fulham 1, Arsenal 5. Nine wins in a row, six in the Premiership. Wow.

At last, the genie is out of the bottle, as the real Arsenal have finally stepped up to the plate with style and class. Utterly ruthless, this is the mark of performance that we need to see from now on. Every man played their part, every man was well drilled and completely professional. So many great performances across the pitch, it is almost impossible to pick out an outstanding player, but it has to be said that Alexandre Lacazette was immense today. He was coming back to assist in midfield, collecting the ball in the channels and running with oppostion defenders taking them out of position for his colleagues to have a chance to shoot at the goal; a wizard, a true star. A message for the Premiership; Arsenal are back. Be scared, be very scared. 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.

Steve

Arsenal’s Messy Numbers, Cristiano Ronaldo & Riyad Mahrez, and Jean Michael Seri

Messy Numbers

Lucas Torreira finally joined Arsenal yesterday and took the number 11 shirt. This caused a lot of fuss from traditionalists who dream of the days when players wore 1-11.

11 was always associated with a winger. We then have Bernd Leno, our number 1 for next season set to wear number 19.

Mohamed Elneny, who is unlikely to start, has the number 4 shirt, whilst Granit Xhaka, who is likely to start, wears 34.

And the less said about Joe Willock wearing 69 the better. Grow up son.

I guess at least it is not William Gallas wearing the sacred number 10. That is now on the shoulder of Mesut Ozil.

And we have a proper full back wearing number 2 in Hector Bellerin. It always looked odd with Aboue Diaby in that shift.

If Cech go’s, maybe Leno will move to number 1?

I just do not like it.

Cristiano Ronaldo & Riyad Mahrez

Yesterday Juventus sign Real Madrid forward for Cristiano Ronaldo for £99.2m.

Prior to the deal, the record transfer fee for a 33 year old was when Manchester City spent £16m on Claudio Bravo.

I can see why Ronaldo has moved; he is guaranteed winning the Serie A at least once with Juventus which will put him into an exclusive group of players who have won the league in England, Italy and Spain.

With his recent tax case, Ronaldo is set for a huge windfall in the later end of his career. €120,000,000 over 4 Years is the reported salary.

Some will say that he will earn that back for Juventus in shirt sales, but that is a fallacy as Juventus do not get a percentage of global shirt sales – they only profit o nwhat they sell in their own shop.

It just seems odd for Juventus to be spending that much on a 33 year old.

As for Riyad Mahrez, whilst the £60m is not a huge sum in this day and age – and he is probably worth it – it is incredible that Manchester City have spent the same on one player as Arsenal have on 4

What is even more incredible is that Manchester City already have Raheem Sterling (£44m), Bernard Silva (£43m) and Leroy Sane (£37m) in their squad. They have broken their transfer record on a player who probably will not start week in week out for them.

The signing also continues Pep Guardiola’s incredible spending since joining Manchester City.

Jean Michael Seri

The deal taking Jean Michael Seri from Nice to Fulham is an odd one.

After being linked with both Arsenal and Chelsea for the last 24 months for over £30m, to then join Fulham for reportedly half that just feels strange.

It reminds me of in days gone past when Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez joined West Ham out of no-where.

Why was he so cheap and why did he join Fulham?

My guess is that the interest from Arsenal and Chelsea disappeared. Neither club wanting to spend on a soon-too-be 27 year old whose hype is perhaps well above his ability.

Seri has been compared a lot to N’Golo Kante, but the feeling was always that this was because he was short, African and played in France; rather than him actually being similar to the Frenchman . Kante was also just 24 when he came to the Premier League.

You have to think his agent has forced through the move, knowing that time is running down for his client to make a big money move to the Premier League. That he had to go now to secure that big signing on percentage.

It will be interesting to see if Seri lives up to the hype in England, or if he justifies why Arsenal and Chelsea decided not to go for him.

Keenos