Tag Archives: Huddersfield

Arsenal need to rebuild momentum for top 4 battle

All is quiet this morning in the world of Arsenal. Friday’s often are if we have not played on the Thursday.

We had the pre-game conferences yesterday and the game against Huddersfield tomorrow. Friday is the very average meat in the sandwich.

Unai Emery spoke yesterday about a lose of confidence in recent weeks amongst the team.

“We started very well away, changing our mentality, but now we need to recover this confidence, to recover this performance and the next opportunity is Saturday against Huddersfield.”

Momentum is such an important factor in sport.

We saw that at Liverpool who looked to go 7 points clear of Manchester City in second before slipping up against Leicester City. This led to further dropped points against West Ham. 2 draws in a row, a drop in momentum and suddenly Manchester City are top.

It will be interesting to see if the confidence that was brimming at Liverpool, and driving them towards the title reverses and they continue to wobble.

You can also see the confidence ebb away in the England cricket team over in the West Indies.

Prior to the first test, most were expecting a 3-0 white wash. 77 all out in their first innings led to an 381 run defeat and then a 10 wicket defeat in the 2nd innings.

The 3rd best test team in the world are on the verge of being white washed against the 8th best team, this after they beat Sri Lanka 3-0 at the back end of last year.

The momentum has gone, and England players look completely bereft of confidence.

During the 22-game unbeaten run, the momentum was with Arsenal. We were winning games we perhaps should not have done. We had the confidence that even when not winning at half time, we would come back and win the game. As Emery states, we need to recover that confidence and put together a run to drive us into 4th for the end of the season.

A few people have got arrogant over tomorrows games, calling is an “easy 3 points”.

Huddersfield at bottom of the league with just 11 points. Arsenal should win the game, but a victory should never be taken for granted. Unai Emery is certainly not seeing it as an easy 3 points.

“These matches are difficult and they are playing for the possibility to continue in the Premier League.

“Their last results have not been good but with their new coach [Jan Siewert], I am sure that they are going to play with a big ambition and a big performance on Saturday.

“I think they have good players with a good organisation. They push a lot and I know it will be difficult. For us as well, away games have been a challenge and each match is a new challenge.”

Arsenal’s away form is much improved this season.

Last year we looked fearful when playing away. Zero confidence. Zero momentum. We just kept losing. Whilst it has improved this season, we are certainly not in a position to think that 3 points away from home will be easy.

4 wins away from is the same as we achieved in the whole of last season, and we currently have just 1 point less than we did from the 19 away games last season (16). However this is still not good enough.

We have the 9th best away form yet the 3rd best home form. It is clearly holding us back. Based on home form, we are just 4 points behind Manchester City, level with Liverpool. The poor away form puts us out of the title race – just like last season when we had the 2nd best home form.

“Maybe both,” Emery replied when asked if poor away form was due to tactical or mental reasons.

“It can be… at the end, the reason we didn’t take the same balance as we have shown at home.

“I spoke with the players [and told them] we need to think this match is very important for us and every player needs to be ready, be focused and be thinking we need to win this match.

“Imposing ourselves from the first minute, and throughout the 90 minutes, our capacity against them – but first is the mentality.

“For us, tactically, is the second issue. The first is to think we need to win and after it’s how we can win this match – (in terms of) preparing tactically and individually.”

If Arsenal are to make the top 4, I would imagine we need to win at least 4 of our last 7 away games starting with Huddersfield tomorrow.

Plenty of transfer speculation floating about today as well – usually the case on a slow news day.

A deal for Adrien Rabiot has been mentioned again.

He had supposedly agreed a deal to join Barcelona on a free transfer, but they have since spent big on Frankie De Jong. He would be a very good accusation for Arsenal, reinforcing the midfield and giving the club 4 fantastic options in the 3 man midfield (alongside Lucas Torriera, Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi).

Christopher Nkunku is another mentioned again. It would not be a surprise if that deal is done in the summer. He would then make it 5 options for 3 spots, and would probably be the end of Mohamed Elneny.

It has also been reported today that “Arsenal lead the race for Alex Grimaldo“, a left back at Benfica.

I know nothing about him, and I imagine he will be one of about 100 left backs we will be linked to over the next 6 months.

Keenos

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Ups and Downs – An Arsenal Away Fans Thoughts

As the season is nearing its end, my mind often turns to the bottom of the league table, and top of the Championship. Thoughts and conversations with pals revolve around who we want to go down, who we want to stay up.

As someone who go’s home and away, with an away scheme membership (away season ticket) I travel the length and depth of the country every week with my pals. No agendas. No BS. Just a good group of lads going to the football.

For us, relegation and promotion into and out of the Premier League is important. Who are we losing. We are we getting?

It is always sad to lose a London club. Since the £26 ticket prices, we save a lot of money with easy trips round the capital. Birmingham clubs are similar. Just a little over an hour on the train, cheap train tickets, Birmingham is always a cheap trip up north.

On the other hand, last season the ‘worst case scenario’ came true when Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hull came up. All rank trip to Northern towns. I actually have not made any of them this season.

So who do I want to go up and down?

With regards to relegation, I am happy with it being as is, with the current bottom 3 disappearing.

I am bored of Sunderland now. Their constant battle against relegation year after year. If they were a horse, dog or fish they would be put down by now. Time to put them out of their misery.

The trip has improved recently with a new train from Kings Cross direct to Sunderland. But it is still a 4 hour trip, with no boozers the other end (unless you go via Newcastle). Sunderland station is in a run down part of the city (or perhaps the entire city is run down?). They will not be missed.

Also in the north-east we have Middlesbrough. Another dump. Whilst I will not be making the Monday night trip this season (thanks Sky!) I have done it before. It is another place that is not high on the list of places to visit in the UK.

Making up the north-east trio is Hull City Tigers. One of only 2 current Premier League grounds I have not yet visited (the other is Burnley). I have no plan to visit it. I went for a wedding in Hull 2 years ago. I do not plan to go back.

I would not shed a tear if all 3 went down.

Also in the relegation dog fight is Swansea.

Swansea is a decent away trip, if you are doing the night out. Full of Welsh slags. But if you are not doing a night out, it is a long old trip up their with Sunderland. Around 4 hours, their is usually delays, often engineering works.

In the last 3 years we have been re-rooted vie Gloucester, held just outside Swansea station for over an hour, and had to get a rail replacement bus service from Port Talbot. A good night out, but a tough old journey.

West Ham and above are probably fair enough ahead to not be dragged into it. Whilst the Hammers going down would be hilarious, going to the London Stadium is the easiest trip for me to do.

Leicester fall into the Birmingham category of being a nice easy, cheap train trip.

Sandwiched between are Burnley and Crystal Palace.

Palace have the London thing in their favour, although it would be nice to get rid of their embarrassing ultras. Burnley can also disappear off the face of the earth. A nasty little racist town.

Sunderland, Hull City Tiger, Middlesbrough, Burnley & Swansea. 3 of those 5 gone will make away days a little more enjoyable next season.

As for who comes up, it looks like Newcastle and Brighton are almost certain to have their Premier League status secured for next season.

Despite my hatred of the north-east , I actually do not mind Newcastle.

Whilst in terms of time the train journey is not too much different from Hull and Sunderland, there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or a pub at the end of the train journey.

Newcastle has some decent boozers near the station. The ground is a short (but hilly) walk from the station. Plenty of options home (trains back to London every 20-30 minutes). It is a decent away trip. Add in that it is a decent night out too.

I am not so enthused about Brighton coming up.

We have done the trip down to the Sussex coast a couple of times in the FA Cup in recent years and both times, I was not too impressed.

The journey is not the issue, but I just do not like Brighton as a town. It just is not set up for football fans to turn up en masse and have a pint. We are looked at by locals as the scum of the earth. They do not want us in their establishments and seem like they can not wait for us to leave.

Add in that horrible little train to Falmer – Brighton are not actually based in Brighton – and a stadium which comes out of the identikit stadiums that sprung up in the late 00s / early 10s and all in all it is a trip I will not overly look forward too.

Everything could change, however, it we get scheduled to play them in August or September. Bit of summer sun and beers down on the beach.

It looks like a 5-way battle for the play-offs.

Huddersfield, Reading, Leeds, Fulham & Sheffield Wednesday.

Right off the bat, I do not want Reading.

Like Brighton, it is one of these grounds not built in the city or town it resides in. Instead it is build on an industrial estate which you have to get a bus too. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, not bothered about going back.

Sheffield Wednesday is another I would right off. After the League Cup defeat, I do not have great memories of the ground. It is falling apart. And is a pigs-ear to get to. Trains planes and automobiles come to mind as you have to get a combination of trains, trams, cabs and walking to get to the ground.

That leaves Fulham, Leeds and Huddersfield.

Despite having done Fulham plenty of times before, it is always an enjoyable trip.

Another London day out, easy to get too, plenty of decent boozers. I do not think I have ever had a bad away day to Fulham. Even when it was torrential rain. They would be my favourite.

Huddersfield and Leeds are two trips I have never done before so I honestly do not know what either would be like for an away trip.

It would be nice to have Leeds back in the Premier League. A proper club who were ripped apart by improper owners.

A nice easy journey into Leeds, with a bit of a horrid journey to the stadium ,it would be nice to have a proper club with proper fans back in the Premier League.

Huddersfield, whilst one many have not done in recent years, is probably bottom of the 3, purely because of the train journey. You have to get to Manchester Piccadilly then across to Huddersfield.

I think I will stick to my original thoughts and welcome Fulham back to the Premier League with welcome arms.

Despite everything that is going on at the club at the moment, I go to football for the day out. That involves the train, the beers, the mates, as well as the game.

When you travel up and down the country following your team, there is much more important things that make it a great day rather than just the football.

Keenos

The Arsenal and Me – Bobby’s Story

The Arsenal. How did it all start?

Well as a very young nipper my parents split and my mum relocated up north to West Yorkshire, near Huddersfield, so naturally I had to go with her.

So as I settled in I actually supported Liverpool, easy thing to do right? Seen as though it was around 1984. I remember my mum even buying me Dalglish Silver Puma boots around my 6th birthday, god I feel dirty thinking about that now. Luckily this folly was only temporary.

I used to see my dad back in Royal Oak every 3 weeks, and on this one occasion circa 1985/86, we had a conversation on my chosen football team. ‘Come on son support Arsenal like your dad’ my response ‘but Arsenal are rubbish dad, Liverpool are the best’. The conversation continued as we walked under the A40 flyover from Royal Oak Tube to which I said ‘alright dad, I’ll support Arsenal like you’. And that was it, the changeover was complete and didn’t take much persuading. A boy should follow in his dads footsteps when it comes to football, well in my opinion anyway.

So in the following years as I grew older as visited my dad, he’d often take me to Highbury (RIP) and the odd away game. Never forget going to Highbury in close season 1986/87 to the Avenell Rd club shop. As we walked up the road I had a peek though some of the exit gates on to the pitch, a very sandy one at that and low and behold someone saw us and invited us into the ground. So in we went and there was the Littlewoods Cup in all its glory, couldn’t believe my eyes!! Luckily my dad had his camera so we stood on the pitch facing the East Stand we had a picture of us holding the Littlewoods Cup, Christmas had come bloody early that year!!

Arsenal soon became a drug that I was totally hooked on, always on teletext for news, checking sports bulletins on the radio and being first to the door when next weeks Pools arrived so I could see who we was playing. As well as all the kits and tracksuits, late 80’s was a great and excited time to be a young Arsenal supporter.

This never eased off as grew into my teens. I started going more with my mates and then my love for the clobber and a few matchday drinks soon took hold, the matchday view took a new but just as excited turn.

Now I’m in my mid 30’s admittedly I don’t go anywhere near as much. I have a young family to bring up and add to that, that Highbury is no more and plus sky high prices. It doesn’t leave my with the urge to go, I’ll always love the club like I did back as a nipper but going just isn’t the same anymore.

But next week for Southampton my next chapter supporting The Arsenal starts, I’m taking my 5 year old son to his first ever game. I’m not sure who’s giddier, me or him?

So the Arsenal journey starts all over again….

Thanks for reading.

Bobby


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