Fixtures Sunday April 11th - Sheffield United - Bramall Lane - 7:00 Pm

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Post #524441  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 1:05 pm 
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Since Everton is above us and I'm not too fond of them, I'll go with Soton tonight. One day I'll delve into the old Pompey vs Soton rivalry which as I understand goes beyond football and into one city saying the other took their jobs. Not sure how much of that is true but seems interesting.

One of my favorite jokes from a couple decades ago when
Q: What does James Beattie and the Titanic have in common?

A: Neither one should have left Southampton.

First time I heard that joke I burst out laughing. Still gives me a chuckle.

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Post #524442  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 1:10 pm 
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Decaf wrote:
TOP GUN wrote:
No that’s pretty consequential

Have you changed your views on Xhaka? I reckon he's been very good and progressive this season.

No I haven’t. I thought he had a decent game yesterday though.

We know what he is and what he isn’t at this point. I don’t believe you can have a midfielder that immobile in the middle of the park if you have aspirations of winning the title. The introduction of Emile Smith Rowe and partey have helped him


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Post #524443  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 1:16 pm 
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Irrespective of Xhaka's qualities on the pitch - which are subjective. One thing that can't be argued is his robustness and fitness. In his entire Arsenal career he's only missed 18 games through injury and never seems to need resting.
From years and years of bemoaning constant injuries it does seem like we're over this problem - or at least no worse than any other team.
Given the amount of injuries teams have had this season we've actually done quite well in this regards


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Post #524444  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 1:23 pm 
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https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/56236872

Oooops

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Post #524445  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 1:42 pm 
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Our first goal yesterday really was a beauty - it's rare to see teams even try something like that, and even more rare that it's so well executed and leads to a goal.

My favorite among such free kicks is Thomas Brolins goal against Romania at the 1994 World Cup. When you see goals like that, you wonder why teams don't try it more often.

http://youtu.be/48x5dX-x7r4


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Post #524446  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 1:52 pm 
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Xhaka is a conundrum. He has some good qualities. He appears to have leadership abilities and seems very respected by his teammates. He has had some decent games. I personally think we can and should do better. How many teams in the PL would he get in the first XI? Subjective question but valid one.

Anyway, one attribute he does have that rarely employs is that booming long range strike of his.

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Post #524447  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 2:22 pm 
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old man of hoy wrote:
gooner7 wrote:
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-piers-morgan-gmb-news-23583442

There is Piers Morgan, who is quick to judge and rant. And then there is Piers Morgan, who is man enough to immediately apologise and admit he was wrong to judge too strongly. Respect to him, to dare to judge without fear of being shot down from those differing his views. And respect to him for quickly admitting when he knows he was wrong.

Live and let live, I generally agree with, but Piers Morgan? Seriously, he deserves little respect. Today he occupies a powerful media position and lives a priviliged lifestyle, a remarkable outcome for a man who turned a blind eye, even enabled, the phone hacking of hundreds of people when he was editor of the Daily Mirror. The Leveson enquiry found he knew, and did nothing about the criminal acts carried out by his journalists and investigators. And then we have him high-horsing about government failings over Covid, and criticising celebrities for breaking rules, only to then fly off to Antigua at Christmas when the population was advised to stay at home! As for football, Arteta knew more about the game when he was in nappies than does the "morbidly obese" Morgan. As you may gather he is not my favourite Arsenal fan...


Wow, I didn't know all these about him.

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Post #524448  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 2:24 pm 
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Hazuki wrote:
Our first goal yesterday really was a beauty - it's rare to see teams even try something like that, and even more rare that it's so well executed and leads to a goal.

My favorite among such free kicks is Thomas Brolins goal against Romania at the 1994 World Cup. When you see goals like that, you wonder why teams don't try it more often.

http://youtu.be/48x5dX-x7r4


haha, look at those shirt sleeves :15laughter:

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Post #524449  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 2:44 pm 
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old man of hoy wrote:
gooner7 wrote:
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-piers-morgan-gmb-news-23583442

There is Piers Morgan, who is quick to judge and rant. And then there is Piers Morgan, who is man enough to immediately apologise and admit he was wrong to judge too strongly. Respect to him, to dare to judge without fear of being shot down from those differing his views. And respect to him for quickly admitting when he knows he was wrong.

Live and let live, I generally agree with, but Piers Morgan? Seriously, he deserves little respect. Today he occupies a powerful media position and lives a priviliged lifestyle, a remarkable outcome for a man who turned a blind eye, even enabled, the phone hacking of hundreds of people when he was editor of the Daily Mirror. The Leveson enquiry found he knew, and did nothing about the criminal acts carried out by his journalists and investigators. And then we have him high-horsing about government failings over Covid, and criticising celebrities for breaking rules, only to then fly off to Antigua at Christmas when the population was advised to stay at home! As for football, Arteta knew more about the game when he was in nappies than does the "morbidly obese" Morgan. As you may gather he is not my favourite Arsenal fan...


I agree, blokes a snide.

I always thought his early appearance on have I got news for you showcased his true attitude and character. Basically the press out of control.

https://youtu.be/N6TcgfjcOPU

I honestly don’t understand how he wasn’t nicked for Leveson. He joked with ulrika Johnson about the content of her voicemail messages the former England manager left her.


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Post #524450  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:00 pm 
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Wow, now I am enlightened about Piers Morgan. As vile as Trump!

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Post #524451  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 4:24 pm 
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gooner7 wrote:
Wow, now I am enlightened about Piers Morgan. As vile as Trump!
No, be fair to Donald...

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Post #524452  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 5:59 pm 
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Arsenal and Spurs were both drawn away from home in the first leg of their Europa ties. As Arsenal are the domestic cup winners our tie takes precedence and Spurs will now play at home in their first leg as they can't have us both playing at home on the same night.
Two points
1) given what nearly happened with Benfica, I'd rather play away in the second leg when there are no fans in the stadium as you potentially get an extra 30 minutes for more away goals
2) the NLD is sandwiched between these two games so we'll have a long journey back from Greece whilst Spurs will have played at home the week before


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Post #524453  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:24 pm 
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Rich wrote:
Arsenal and Spurs were both drawn away from home in the first leg of their Europa ties. As Arsenal are the domestic cup winners our tie takes precedence and Spurs will now play at home in their first leg as they can't have us both playing at home on the same night.
Two points
1) given what nearly happened with Benfica, I'd rather play away in the second leg when there are no fans in the stadium as you potentially get an extra 30 minutes for more away goals
2) the NLD is sandwiched between these two games so we'll have a long journey back from Greece whilst Spurs will have played at home the week before

Switched fixtures. Advantage Spurs.


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Post #524454  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:26 pm 
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Decaf wrote:
Zed wrote:
AG,
Well being you did say Arsenal had never been relegated, did prompt me to post the "history" lesson.
That's your choice to choose ignore a 1913 reality. Also, my post was in response to another poster's suggestion for anyone to say Arsenal had been relegated.

I regret engaging with him. Lesson learned!


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Post #524455  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:55 pm 
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I don't think it should be underestimated just how impressive our performance yesterday was, considering Saka and Aubameyang didn't start. Looking at the teams above us in the table, the only ones I could see put in a performance like that with their two best attackers out are City, Liverpool and Chelsea. No way Man Utd would do it without Rashford and Fernandes, or Tottenham without Kane and Son.

If Pépé keeps his form up and Willian continues playing like that we have some really great options for rotation with the schedule being what it is. Aubameyang and Lacazette as central strikers, Smith-Rowe and Ødegaard for the no 10 position, and Saka, Pépé, Willian and Martinelli for the wide positions is easily top 4 level depth.


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Post #524456  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 7:03 pm 
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It would be great to get a '2 fer' and beat Sperz and Mourinho.

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Post #524457  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:57 pm 
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Is the thinking towards Pépé now moving more that he isn't a bad player he's just a player who needs the right tactics and team mates around him in order for him to thrive? Added to that his attitude, desire and workrate have definitely changed for the better in the last 2 months.

Some players can fit in a team and naturally shine and play to their best - someone like Fernandes at man U or I think just brilliant all round players like De Bruyne or Van Dijk will play well whether you play possession football, high line, low block etc. But some players (most players to be fair) need the tactics to suit them.

Pépé has played his best for us when he's had a full-back bombing on the overlap be that Tierney when he plays on the left or Cédric when he plays on the right. The link up with Bellerin hasn't really worked as yet. Also, having a natural 10 like Smith-Rowe and Ødegaard gives him that inside pass and players to bounce off.

We were used to seeing Pépé isolated on the right wing, usually passing backwards or taking on too many players and fizzling out. If we get players close to him he can use them and make runs off them or can use them as a decoy to create space for himself and drive infield.

For what it is worth Pépé frustrated me not because he was poor per se but because he really did have talent but he or we weren't using it to the maximum. You only have to see some of the tight skill, hold up and rolling of players or his ability to hit those first time shots on his left as the ball comes across him to see there is a natural talent that lots of players won't ever reach - but they were beating him in their effectiveness, decision making and effort. He's now added those things to his game and he's really enjoyable to watch. He had Thomas on toast in that first half, it is rare a manager has to sub a full-back at half time for fear of a) him getting sent off and b) getting torn apart - but that's what Pépé did to him.


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Post #524458  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:27 pm 
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https://twitter.com/TheSportsman/status ... 24579?s=20

Why can't this be implicated in the premier league?

Full and clear explanation for fans and players of what's going on. The worst that will happen is a few swear words will be heard early on - but that would soon stop when the players realise when they talk to the ref they can be heard by millions and any swearing is not going to put them in a favourable light. You don't need the ref's mic on all the time, just when there is a VAR review.

I also like the way in other sports the on field ref will confer with the VAR to get the decision and then say to him 'tell me when I'm on screen' so he then knows that everyone can see him clearly when he explains the decision.


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Post #524459  Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:54 pm 
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Hazuki wrote:
I don't think it should be underestimated just how impressive our performance yesterday was, considering Saka and Aubameyang didn't start. Looking at the teams above us in the table, the only ones I could see put in a performance like that with their two best attackers out are City, Liverpool and Chelsea. No way Man Utd would do it without Rashford and Fernandes, or Tottenham without Kane and Son.

If Pépé keeps his form up and Willian continues playing like that we have some really great options for rotation with the schedule being what it is. Aubameyang and Lacazette as central strikers, Smith-Rowe and Ødegaard for the no 10 position, and Saka, Pépé, Willian and Martinelli for the wide positions is easily top 4 level depth.

Indeed, all of those are genuine first teamers. The other great thing is that they seem to be able to slot in seemlessly.

We have similar depth and ability rotate in the defensive positions. Clearly we could do with another fullback (or two if bellerin leaves) but Cédric is feeling more like a genuine first teamer.

Midfield is starting to feel pretty good. Even Elneny is pretty decent for 4th choice.

Overall, we are in a position where we can make 5 or 6 changes and not feel like we are putting out a 'second eleven' or in any way losing our cohesiveness.

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Post #524460  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 1:18 am 
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Pépé may turn out to be a consistently good player but I doubt he'll ever be worth his fee. It may turn out that we overpaid for him. That said, I'm not advocating he be sold and if he is consistently like he was against Leicester, that will be enough.

Tierney in contrast was worth every penny....and I'd suggest more.

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Post #524461  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 6:38 am 
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If he's good enough to be on the pitch to help, why not play him whether he wants to leave or not? We've played plenty of players who were likely to be off in the summer. Edu being one of them when he was playing for us.
So this whole, he won't consider signing if he isn't playing and we are not playing him until he signs is silly.

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Post #524462  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 6:49 am 
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Did they include the referee who sent RvP off in our tie against them?
Several arrested at FC Barcelona

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Post #524463  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:20 am 
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Hazuki wrote:
If Pépé keeps his form up and Willian continues playing like that we have some really great options for rotation with the schedule being what it is. Aubameyang and Lacazette as central strikers, Smith-Rowe and Ødegaard for the no 10 position, and Saka, Pépé, Willian and Martinelli for the wide positions is easily top 4 level depth.

I agree they are good options. We also have Nketiah and Nelson who can’t get a look in at the moment and should both be sold in the summer. The issue we have with those 6 players is Ødegaard is only on loan and Lacazette has contract issues than mean we need to sell him or give him a new deal. Despite this area of the pitch looking quite settled we may still need to be replacing 2 of these players this summer. I’d love to get Ødegaard back on loan next year as well.


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Post #524464  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:26 am 
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Decaf wrote:
Midfield is starting to feel pretty good. Even Elneny is pretty decent for 4th choice.

I still think this is the area of the team that needs surgery in the summer. Elneny really isn’t good enough and this is the last summer we can shift him for a fee. Ceballos will return to Madrid with them wanting £25m to make it permanent. That’s not worth the money for me. Willock still has a big question mark on his future as well. I’d like to see a couple of central mids arrive this summer. A commanding defensive mid who can free up Partey and maybe a younger player to be 4th choice.
There’s also Guendouzi and Torriera’s futures to sort out


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Post #524465  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:35 am 
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I hope Arteta goes with the same starting eleven against Burnley. The team combined very well to recover from being a goal down. Give these players the opportunity to build on their success.
And some more rest for the others for the Europa match.

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Post #524466  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 8:52 am 
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Rich wrote:
Decaf wrote:
Midfield is starting to feel pretty good. Even Elneny is pretty decent for 4th choice.

I still think this is the area of the team that needs surgery in the summer. Elneny really isn’t good enough and this is the last summer we can shift him for a fee. Ceballos will return to Madrid with them wanting £25m to make it permanent. That’s not worth the money for me. Willock still has a big question mark on his future as well. I’d like to see a couple of central mids arrive this summer. A commanding defensive mid who can free up Partey and maybe a younger player to be 4th choice.
There’s also Guendouzi and Torriera’s futures to sort out

Interesting what you say about Ceballos. It’s difficult to predict in advance what a transfer fee will be. For most clubs it is a depressed market and whilst Real Madrid might fancy £25m they won’t necessarily find many other takers. Perhaps we could negotiate a better fee.

Also, as you mentioned before, Ødegaard is a worry in that I have been expecting him to return after his loan period and just can’t see Real Madrid giving him up. I hadn’t thought of a loan extension and I suspect that your suggestion may be the best that we can achieve.

When does Torreira end his unsuccessful loan spell at Atletico? His sale value has plummeted.

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Post #524467  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:53 am 
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Rich wrote:
Decaf wrote:
Midfield is starting to feel pretty good. Even Elneny is pretty decent for 4th choice.

I still think this is the area of the team that needs surgery in the summer. Elneny really isn’t good enough and this is the last summer we can shift him for a fee. Ceballos will return to Madrid with them wanting £25m to make it permanent. That’s not worth the money for me. Willock still has a big question mark on his future as well. I’d like to see a couple of central mids arrive this summer. A commanding defensive mid who can free up Partey and maybe a younger player to be 4th choice.
There’s also Guendouzi and Torriera’s futures to sort out

I was thinking more about this season, but you are perfectly correct about resolving these issue being the priority this summer.

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Post #524468  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 12:17 pm 
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I've adjusted my hopes and expectations for us. In the league, if we finish top half and over Tottenham, I'll sulk but I'll accept it.
Semis of the Europa Cup at least.
Individual player goals:
Pépé to be consistent for the remainder of the season.
Martinelli to get regular minutes, even if off the bench.
Partey to play consistently, void of injuries.
Ødegaard to improve and possibly sign for us over the summer.

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Post #524469  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:04 pm 
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Zed wrote:
Decaf wrote:
I regret engaging with him. Lesson learned!


At times, yes. Depends on the topic


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Post #524470  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:05 pm 
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Hoping against all hope, Wolves can at least take a point. Big ask given both clubs form but in football anything can and does happen.

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Post #524471  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:17 pm 
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Jesus saves.... St John scores on the rebound

Sad news.

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Post #524472  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 5:28 pm 
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Not often we're near the good end of the injury list. Long may it continue


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Post #524473  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 5:43 pm 
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Is Bruno Fernandes a bit of a flat track bully? After yet another Man U 0-0 against a top 6 side I looked at his record in top 6 games and he's played 10 and scored 2 penalties and got 2 assists.
He was utterly anonymous in both our games against Man U this season.

I haven't watched enough of Man U to know but he is surely the guy that really makes them tick and they rely on for so many of their goals and assists, are teams trying to put a classic man marker on him? It seems perfectly logical, particularly if you are the smaller team who would likely defend most of the game. Just mark him out of the game.


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Rich wrote:
I haven't watched enough of Man U to know but he is surely the guy that really makes them tick and they rely on for so many of their goals and assists, are teams trying to put a classic man marker on him? It seems perfectly logical, particularly if you are the smaller team who would likely defend most of the game. Just mark him out of the game.

I know that this might seem controversial considering Fernandes insane numbers, but for me their most important player is Rashford. Fernandes is a very good playmaker, but nearly half his goals (15 out of 31 for United) are from penalties. Rashford is growing into a complete player who can both score and assist, and even in the games where it doesn't really come off for him he's pretty much a constant nuisance with his speed and drive.

I've watched Man Utd a lot over the last two season, and while Fernandes does often seem to show up with the final touch, Rashford is the one I'm always left most impressed by.


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Post #524475  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 6:17 pm 
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I wonder what the plan is for our central defense next season. Gabriel, Mari and Holding will all be here, and I think they've all shown they're capable defenders who are good enough for a top 4 club. Then there's Luiz who's been his usual self, mixing top class performances with jaw-dropping mistakes and there are rumours Arteta wants to extend him. The Saliba situation needs to be resolved one way or another - preferably he stays here and is allowed to actually play some games, but if Arteta genuinely don't rate him it's probably best just to sell. Lastly, we have Mavropanos at Stuttgart. It seems he's once again had some bad luck with injuries, but it also seems like he's starting whenever he's fit and the Stuttgart manager has heaped praise on him. Just like with Saliba, I think it's time to either give him a chance or cash in.


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Post #524476  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 6:19 pm 
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Forgot about Chambers, but surely he's gone in the summer?


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Post #524477  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 7:03 pm 
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Since we are pretty much out of the top 4 race, I'd love to see Leicester finish runner up and West Ham finish top 4. I've always liked West Ham's seemingly working class roots. Say seemingly as I assume based on where they are.

Curious as to what the club will do about central defense this summer. Gabriel appears to be a cert first team regular. Question, does he think Holding is good enough or will he find someone else? We need more CBs anyway, but will he find a quality starter or someone young for the future? I have always liked Holding since the cup final against Chelsea and like the progress he's made. However, for our ambitions he should be a back up.

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Post #524478  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 8:05 pm 
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Hazuki wrote:
Rich wrote:
I haven't watched enough of Man U to know but he is surely the guy that really makes them tick and they rely on for so many of their goals and assists, are teams trying to put a classic man marker on him? It seems perfectly logical, particularly if you are the smaller team who would likely defend most of the game. Just mark him out of the game.

I know that this might seem controversial considering Fernandes insane numbers, but for me their most important player is Rashford. Fernandes is a very good playmaker, but nearly half his goals (15 out of 31 for United) are from penalties. Rashford is growing into a complete player who can both score and assist, and even in the games where it doesn't really come off for him he's pretty much a constant nuisance with his speed and drive.

I've watched Man Utd a lot over the last two season, and while Fernandes does often seem to show up with the final touch, Rashford is the one I'm always left most impressed by.

I think Fernandes is over-hyped. As you say, half his goals are penalties so that really inflates his numbers. He gives the ball away an awful lot and I'm not sure he is even a midfielder. Seems more like a No.10. He is certainly moments player as opposed to a constant presence over 90 minutes. Good player without a doubt, but I wouldn't put him in the same class as DeBruyne, for example, which is what the media are doing.

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Post #524479  Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 8:25 pm 
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Even if Fernándes does take the penalties 23 goals and 17 assists in 40 games is a very good record for the premier league for a number 10. We are crying out for that type of player right now,


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I like Partey and think he will become a fine signing. But I think it’s necessary to be realistic about his performances so far, rather than pretending he’s hit the ground running. Well if that’s hitting the ground running, I’ve seen seen 90 year olds on crutches outpace him. In addition to his injury problems, his outstanding performances have been relatively few and far between. Manchester United away perhaps? That day he was outplayed by Elneny, who few here seem to rate.

Elsewhere I saw Partey described as a watered down Vieira when he signed, meant as a positive. Well if he’s a watered down Vieira, I’m sure people will have drowned in less water.

I don’t mean this to come across as being too critical of Partey. I am genuinely pleased we bought him. I’m just suggesting a bit of realism about how he has played so far. I remain to be convinced he’s been as good as Xhaka since in the same period since he joined.


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