Tag Archives: Leicester City

Another one bites the dust

After Arsenal Wenger’s surreal send off, was last nights result really a surprise?

I said after the game against Burnley that it was all a little off, the massive goodbye, when there is still two games to go.

It was compared to having a leaving do on a Monday at work, and then still having to see out the rest of the week in the office. Seeing those soon to be ex-colleagues that you slagged off after one too many Carling’s.

Another away defeat, our 54th this season, alongside the 360th red card under Arsene Wenger would have been a fitting way to end his time at the club. But then we still have another game to go.

3 more sleeps till Santa Wenger’s last day.

I imagine the away trip to Huddersfield will be just as surreal as the last week or so.

Even before yesterday, Arsenal could finish no higher than 6th. no lower than 6th. It is probably why Mesut Ozil decided not to play again.

The German midfielder is set to miss the rest of the season with a back injury. That will mean he has not started 27 out of 60 games this season. Even the most loyal Wenger / Ozil defender would agree that being paid a reported £300,000 and starting just 55% of the games is not right.

The fans who go in through the gates, or pay for their TV subscriptions, are being robbed. Maybe Ozil’s new deal should have had a lesser salary and bigger appearance based incentives – like what the club want to do with Jack Wilshere (who has started 29 games this season).

Wilshire incidentally was missing last night, but unlike Ozil he had a decent excuse. The birth of a baby daughter. Congratulations to him, and I imagine this is the reason for the huge recent contract breakthrough.

The run of 0 away points in 2018 continues. It is a run that ultimately cost Arsene Wenger his job.

As an away scheme member, it has been tough going away this season. With the huge amount of Sunday kick offs, and just 3 wins. It has been a struggle to keep going. Hopefully the new manager will revitalise everyone – players and fans.

Last night was like so many other away games this season – a match where we were on the wrongside of poor referring decisions.

It has been the story of our season, especially away trips.

Stoke, Watford, Southampton and West Ham spring to mind. 4 games where poor refereeing decisions directly cost us point. 8 in those games alone.

There have also been countless other decisions that luckily did not cost us.

Last night, Konstantinos Mavropanos was unlucky to be sent off, and it certainly was not a penalty. When decisions  happen that early

“I disagree with the red card because Holding would have caught this ball. [Mavropanos] was not the last man,” Wenger told Standard Sport.

He added of the second half penalty won when Henrikh Mkhitaryan brought down Demarai Gray: “The penalty is a very creative, imaginative aspect from the referee. We watched it again, it’s a nice dive but it’s not a penalty. “[Mkhitaryan] plays the ball.”

Even Wenger’s critics will struggle to disagree with his judgement that the referee affected the game.

So one game to go. That is it. Then it is over.



Arsenal set for defensive crisis against Stoke?

Against Leicester City, Arsenal showed a weakness against the high ball into the box. A weakness which Leicester City exploited ruthlessly with all 3 of their goals coming from crosses into the box.

In Arsenal’s defence, they were playing two left backs and a 21 year old Rob holding at centre back. But it is not really a defence, in both ways.

Leicester continually played balls down the channel between Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin, which dragged the only centre back out of position. This left space in the middle for Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki to attack.

Arsenal were also poor at corners. They lacked leaders at the back, someone to take control of the situation and get his head on it. So often this man is Olivier Giroud, but with him playing second fiddle to Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal looked short at the back. Literally.

Up next is Stoke City. And there are reasons to worry.

Stoke City have one of the narrowest pitches in the league and have destroyed Arsenal before using the simple game plan of swing as many balls into the box as possible. If over the next few days Arsenal do not develop a game plan to deal with the high ball, the side will once more struggle.

Laurent Koscielny is still out suspended. Stoke City will be the third game after the silly sending off on the last day of last season which caused him to miss the cup final.

Also missing from the game against Leicester was club captain Per Mertesacker.

Having been involved in a gruesome clash with Chelsea’s Gary Cahill at the Community Shield, his wound had not sufficiently repaired itself in time for the victory over Leicester.

The Arsenal website does not have him listed as injured, but they do list Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey as out. My bet is the lad who updates the website is currently face down in a gutter in Magaluf.

Mertesacker’s height in the middle of the park would be key against a side like Stoke City. And his organisation and leadership would see both Holding and Monreal perform better.

Shkodran Mustafi was fit enough to be on the bench against Leicester. Another weeks training under his belt and he should be fit to start against Stoke City. Gabriel is 100% out – injured and set to be sold.

Taking into account the threat faced by Stoke City, if Mustafi and Mertesacker as fully fit, it would be worthwhile playing both alongside Rob Holding. It would even be worth starting Olivier Giroud upfront.

If Arsenal do start with the same defence as they used against Leicester, Arsenal’s travelling fans could be in for another tough day in the grim city.



Arsenal victory reignites the spark

2 left backs at centre back alongside Rob Holding was always going to be a recipe for disaster. And it so early was. 

I missed the first Arsenal goal as I was trying to put a bet on. The bet lost. Before I had even say down, it was 1-1. 

2-1 to Leicester shortly followed and I went for a half time beer. The two left backs were struggling and Rob Holding was showing why you shouldn’t hype up a player too much after 8 games. 

Elneny and Xhaka were no better.

As I held my mates pint as he went for a slash, Danny Welbeck made it 2-2. He tried his best to mess it up, but someone managed to score a tap-in with his 3rd touch.

It was same old Arsenal. And we all realised why we had got so frustrated last season. 

Cue the second half, and Leicester took advantage of my atrocious defending to make it 3-2. Arsenal heading once again to failure on the opening day. 

Then Wenger did the unthinkable. With the defence at sixes and sevens, rather than put on a centre back to try and shore things up, he took off our only centre back in Rob Holding. 

The shuffle at the back also saw Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Hector Bellerin swap wings. 

It meant we had a winger at right back. A left back at centre back. Another left back at centre back. And finally a right back at left back. To make matters worse, he bought on Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott. What the hell was Wenger doing. 

Maybe, just maybe, Wenger did know what he was doing. Arsenal got the equaliser. Then the winner. 3 points in the bag and Arsenal top of the league. 

We did get away with it. But an opening day win with 4 centre backs out, no Alexis Sanchez and a not fully fit Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey is a positive. And it is looking even better with the results that are coming in this afternoon. 

A good old drink up after the game meant it was a good day all round. 

Now on to Stoke. 

Ps: Saed Kolasinac is a beast.