GOOD BYE RAINIERI! ARSENE NEXT?

Woke up this morning to the strange (not so strange though) news that Premier League champion and reigning FIFA Coach of the year, Claudio Ranieri has been sacked. it is quite funny that less than two months after winning the FIFA gong and 296 days after conquering England with an average squad, he gets the boot.

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The reason behind his sack is just not relevant to me. What is the issue is that football has lost her soul. Sorry to say, we are lovers of a soulless sport. Ranieri did what we thought only angels are capable of doing: taking a bunch of championship level players and making them rock stars and for the board to not even wait till the end of the season is to me just inhuman.

Yes they have a big chance of getting  relegated but this action would not stop them from going down? Ask Crystal Palace if they are enjoying the Sam Allardyce ride? its not just this case, Chelsea (even though they have always been a soulless club since 2004) sacked Di Matteo few months after he won their most sought after Champions League. Mourinho was sacked months after strolling to the league title ( make that twice), Rodgers was sacked months after masterminding Liverpool first genuine title challenge in years, in all football is just soulless ( saying it again).

The boards of most big clubs have become so modern that they are following modern trends of sacking managers regardless of past precedent and achievements. This makes you wonder? Arsene last won the league, 4688 days ago. What that means is that Ranieri would have been sacked over 9 times! These 4688 days have in all fairness been filled with more mediocrity than success, more disappointment that joy. Why is Wenger still manager?

Maybe Arsene is as big as the club, or the players are too loyal or not strong enough to lead a revolt, or the board is not as modern or their counterparts in other clubs or there is something we don’t know.

Ranieri’s sacking has shown that there is no respect for whatever you do in football. Whatever achievements you record in football is only celebrated that day, the next day you fail, you are sacked. Its quite depressing for me really when we make mention  of the Invincibles of more than 12 years back  when we want to praise Wenger. I think its a major failure on the boss’ part not to be able to build another side that good again regardless of circumstances.

I am not a member of the Wenger Out band wagon and would never be part because I believe that as a club we should treat our manager with more dignity and respect when he ever decides to leave, but the Arsenal board should take note that maybe they are adding just a little more sentiment to their decision on Wenger. The plain truth is that today’s Wenger would not be able to cope in today’s management system of hiring and firing.

Farewell Ranieri, you gave us a great season last year, one that we would never forget.

What do you think about my opinions, please feel free to comment.

 

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KYLIAN ‘THIERRY HENRY’ MBAPPE

Wenger on Mbappe:

Mbappe is exactly, well not exactly Thierry Henry, but it is true that he has similar qualities and the talent is similar

Henry on Mbappe:

when I first saw him play against Tottenham in the Europa League, as soon as I saw him, I knew he was a player: I said : who is he? At 16 and a half, he was asking for the ball, he could dribble, he was having shots, he was winning the ball back and he loved the ball.

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I waited anxiously for the Manchester City- Monaco game not because Pep’s wonderful suits, or to see the Etihad pitch, neither was it to see ex-gooner; Bacary Sagna.  I stayed up to see the 18 years old that is getting everyone’s attention: Kylian Mbappe.

What  a talent! For a kid that just turned 18 (December 20, 2016) to give such a matured performance at such a big stage was truly marvelous. Otamendi was in no man’s land and I am sure would have nightmares on how the teenager continually tormented him.

Maybe his talent would not shock many people, son of a football coach/agent and a handball player, you kind of get where the talent came from. I have not been so enthralled by a youngster since Jack Wilshere’s emergence. With 25 appearances already, scoring 12 goals and making 8 assists in all competitions, this guy ain’t looking like a fluke.

Now this brings me to the main point: the new Henry? I personally feel that is cruel and unfair to the kid. Henry is a football god, a legend, a king. Comparing a 18 year old that has not played anywhere else apart from France does not sound proper to me. Since Henry retired, there has been so many ‘the next Henrys’, but none of them have been able to cut it. I believe it is not is right to call a player the next this or next that. That player has his own characteristics, qualities, abilities, career path that should not be modeled after that legendary player.

Mbappe seems to have all the qualities of the ‘igwe (what we call Henry in Nigeria), pace, skill, finishing ability, right footed, ability to play center forward and drift wide,height, complexion, nationality, same boyhood club; its almost like a reincarnation; but that is not enough. David Bentley had a great right foot and was touted as the next David Beckham, but retired at 29.

Being a great player is surely more than skill and ability, its also about determination, humility, patience, tenacity. I pray Mbappe has all those, but we are not sure yet, the next few years would provide us the answer. Until then, I believe that all this ‘next Henry’ talk should please be reduced. There is no next Henry, there can only be the ‘present Mbappe’.

Should and can Arsenal get him? Wenger has already said that he is someone that they have been watching for years and he looks like someone that could do a good job at Arsenal. His style surely fits that of the gooners; but I feel that this one has slipped out of Wenger’s hands. The teenage French man has a contract until 2019. but Monaco know that if he continues like this, he would not remain with them much longer. the present Ligue 1 leaders  would feel they can get so much from him since they got close to 60 million pounds from Manchester United for Anthony Martial.

Well, lets see how this turns out.

Do you think I am correct in my analysis or you think Mbappe is really the future Henry? please feel free to comment and lets have a chat.

SUTTON 0 ARSENAL 2 : 5 LESSONS

Arsenal avoided a slippery FA Cup slope when they rose up to the challenge against a difficult and energized Sutton side. Victory over the non-league side has granted us a ticket to the Quarter finals where we welcome another non-league side to the Emirates. While that fixture is for another month, we have to enjoy our win even though it was against a lowly side. Many people have said how lucky Arsenal is with the draw, but we must give respect to these sides for making it this far even with semi-professional players. Here are my thoughts on the game, would appreciate if you do the same in the comments section at the end of this write up.

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WENGER DID THE RIGHT THING

The Boss did the right thing fielding a very strong team against a side that is over 100 places below the gooners; a team comprising World cup winners, full internationals and experienced professionals. Wenger has always talked about his love for the Cup and he showed it yesterday. Over the last week, Wenger seemed to do no right in the eyes of the gooner faithful, but yesterday he picked his team well and a quarter final ticket is his reward.

EX-GOONERS SHOW GRIT

There are many players that fail to make the cut at Arsenal, but when you get the opportunity to face your former club in the FA Cup, you take it with both hands, that was the fate of man of the match Roarie Deacon and Craig Eastmond. At some point, I had to check the internet to see what position, Eastmond was playing, because he was basically everywhere. The motivation was clearly with them and he showed so much grit and commitment to the cause.

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LUCAS DESERVES A RUN-IN

This for me is a no brainer. The Spainaird clearly wants to play more and I think he should. I believe he has the right qualities to combine with Alexis and Ozil to give Wenger that fluid attack that he craves. in the 17 games he has played, a good return of 7 goals and 2 assist surely has to give him a chance to get a starting eleven spot. We might not know about his defensive abilities especially when he plays on the flanks, but with the form he has shown each time he is on the pitch, Wenger has some space-making job to do.

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OZIL THE BOSS

Mesut Ozil is the highest paid and most expensive Arsenal Player currently. He is surely one of the two world class players that we have and one of the key players of the team. A lot had been said so much about the plastic pitch at Sutton and the higher risk of injury to the players. So I was surprised that Alexis played while Ozil was at home ‘snapchatting’. if there is anybody that deserves a rest is Alexis, but he played while Mesut was rested. to put this into perspective, Ozil has not played any FA Cup game this season and you can bet that he  would not play against Lincoln. There might be nothing here, but surely, Wenger, in my opinion has a softer spot for Ozil than anyother player and has a better relationship with the German.

THE ENGLISH SET PIECE MENACE

So much has been said about how the English want to have an attaractive brand of football like the Spanish or the Dutch, but one thing they have not done is to start that education from the lower leagues. I was in shock where every set piece, even the ones deep into Sutton’s half were taken as set pieces and the defenders go up to head. I think it betrays what the English FA are trying to do. It makes football no different from Rugby if that is done in showpiece matches like this.

Please feel free to have your say at the comment section. we would be glad to hear from you.

THE SUTTON BANANA PEEL

I can only imagine the level of happiness and joy that every fan of Sutton Football Club would be feeling. They must have woken up  with  butterflies in their stomach, have circled this day in their calendar, cancelled their schedule for today, it is almost like Christmas came twice in a year. That is always the joy of the FA Cup.

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This is very different from many gooners, we are still getting out the 5-1 debacle and all the noise about Arsene’s future. In many of our minds, this fixture should just come and go quietly; but this fixture could either increase the pressure on Arsene or just leave things as they are.

This fixture is a must win, and not even a 2-0 win would do. we are talking a emphatic win. however, of all the big sides in England, if there is any side that can bottle this up, it has to be Arsenal (its in our DNA).

The potential excuses have already started lining up: a plastic pitch or risk of potential injuries. however, even if it is a pitch made of thorns, Arsenal should beat this team of part timers. Anything less than a good win, could make Hell a cooler place than the Emirates.

Talking about potential lineups, Wenger must find a team that strikes a balance between experience, talent, youth and players that would not be overawed by the magnitude of the event.

I believe that Martinez should start, Debuchy, Holding, Gabriel, Monreal should make a good defense. The midfield should have a combination of some physicality and guile. i would go for El-Neny, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Walcott and The Jeff; the big Giroud up front. Putting Mertesacker from the start in such a ‘small-big’ match could spill back on Wenger’s face, it is a risk too big to take.

Beat Sutton and we face Lincoln, another non-league side, I guess, its not called the Emirates FA Cup for nothing. See you at the end of our 5-0 win, I hope we don’t fall on this banana peel.

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HERE WE GO AGAIN !!!

Having a sabbatical is one of the best that can ever happen to a man. I have been away from blogging for a while now and I am sure that many of you must have missed me. However, some has to bring you back and disappointingly it has another opening day defeat to my darling Arsenal that broke my sweet and seemingly never ending holiday.

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I doubt that there was any fan that thought that we would take Liverpool for a stroll and wipe their asses back to Anfield back in shame. However, the first half seemed to portray that it might happen. The team was playing very well in the first half and everybody was doing their jobs very well. The young center back pairing of Holding and Chambers seemed to be doing well, Coquelin was making those crunching and hard tackles, Iwobi was awesome and Walcott was giving Moreno a hell of a time and then we scored ( well after Walcott had missed a penalty). The  Emirates was wild and maybe we could repeat the demolition of two seasons back. What went wrong? Coutinho’s freekick.

A well struck goal that I think Cech should have done better but that totally took the wind off our sails. Arsenal came out in the second half like that had been crying in the dressing room all through the break. I did not recognize the same team that played with so much zest and guile. The rest is history, three goals of pure quality and Arsenal’s negligence followed and the game was done, the rest was for Wenger and his boys to do was damage control.

Many people would blame Wenger for not buying this player or that player or the hybrid of Messi and Ronaldo, but that is not the issue. The main question should be what happened to the team during the half time break. After a great first half, conceding with virtually the last kick of the half would surely deflate the morale of any team and boost the confidence of the other going into the second half. I don’t know what the manager did at the break but I imagine there was no encouragement or motivation of the players to forget about the equalizer and continue what they were doing.

Other issues are why did Oxlade Chamberlain not start, he was the best player is preseason, why would he not start? Wenger gave the excuse that they were not physically ready, why? After the pre-season victory over Manchester City, the Boss said the team was physically ready, so what happened in 7 days? Why were Ozil, Koscielny and Giroud not played? Martial, Matuidi, Schneiderlin, Rami, Kroos all played in the same Euros but they all played in the opening games for their clubs? So what happened?

Wenger has to start playing his cards right and getting it right with his decisions, because the camp of WengerOut or WExit is swelling and the pro-Wenger camp is reducing.

SIX LESSONS FROM THE WIN OVER CRYSTAL PALACE

Arsenal finally got their season up and running with a tough away win over Crystal Palace. This fixture was always going to be a difficult and there are not many sides in the league that would come out of Selhurst Park with three points this season. So, for me, this was a big big game. I bring you seven lessons we learnt from this game:

BACK TO BASICS
Last season, Arsenal played the second half of the season with style and were on real form. Wenger basically used the same starting eleven for most of that period.
At the beginning of the season, starting with the Community Shield, the boss altered it, putting Carzola on the left. That worked against Chelsea but backfired against West Ham. This time, Wenger went back to status quo and it has worked. Expect the boss not to change it for sometime to come.

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WE HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO FINISH
It is critical in this kind of difficult league we find ourselves. We should have blown Palace out of the way so early in the game but had to work had for the win. In the first half, Palace had 4 shots to our 14 and scores were 1-1.
We might not have opportunities like this to atone for our  missed opportunities. In games where we might have few chances, being so loose in front of goal might translate to missed chances.

OH CECH!!!!
After his mistakes of Matchday One, there must have huge pressure on him to deliver i this game. While he did very well, I still feel he would have done better for the goal. I believe that he would get better with game and would grow into the shirt with time, but he must start showing to gooners that he is worth all the hype.

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CLOSING DOWN IS ESSENTIAL
This is one basic rule in defending. Close down your opponent before he pulls the trigger. That is the ABC of defending and for two weeks in a row, we have failed to do that. Zarate scored without any form of closing down and the same thing happened with Ward in yesterday’s game. The way Koscielny turned his back on the ball and not charging down  the defender was just good enough.

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IS SANCHEZ READY?
Sanchez long football season is well documented and there is no need to start analysing them. It was a shock that he was on the bench against West Ham, an even bigger shock  that he played. While Sanchez to did well and forced the own goal, there were some aspects of his game that they were up to standard. The chances he squandered plus the way he allowed Ward to evade him for the goal was so un-Sanchez-like. Trust he would get back to his best.

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WENGER HAS LEARNT HIS LESSONS.
There is no doubt that Le Coq was lucky to still be on the pitch after his yellow card and it was the absolute right decision for Wenger to pull him out of the firing line.
However, that brings back memories of Arsenal ‘s game against Manchester United in the 2012/2013 season where both Cleverly and Wilshere were yellow carded and while Ferguson removed his player, Wenger left Jack on the pitch expecting him to cope with the yellow card and in no time he was off. I was really scared Wenger would make the same mistake again. Good he has learnt his lessons.

In all, it was a good game and it means we have started our season in earnest.

ARSENAL 0-2 WEST HAM: NUMBER STATION

Arsenal lost their first game of the season, conceding two goals from East London rivals. It was a disapointing game from everyone and was a sad day for everyone associated with the club. Here, gooner of steel brings you some numbers that summed up the game.

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22- number of shots Arsenal had in the entire game.

6- Shots on target from the Gooners.

9- Number of shots blocked by the West Ham players.

8- number of shots West Ham had.

4- number of shots on target from the hammers.

23- amount of minutes Alexis Sanchez played.

3- Alexis Sanchez attempts on goal in 23 minutes.

473- number of completed Arsenal passes.

16- number of chances created.

9/9- ratio of attempted take-ons to successful take-ons by the OX.

11-number of ball recoverys by Koscielny.

8- Aerial duels on by Koscielny out of 9.

2- Arsenal has lost just twice out of her last 15 premier league opening games.

5- Olivier Giroud number of attempts for the entire game.

0- Number of attempts by Giroud outside the 18-yard box.

93%- amount of completed passes by Santi Carzola.

1- number of errors by The OX that led to a goal.

44.9%- percentage of times that Arsenal attacked down the left side.

0- number of tackles, through balls, shots blocked and fouls by FRANCIS COQUELIN.

62%- percentage dribble by the entire Arsenal team.

100,000,000,000,000- number of times that Arsenal fans that have started the followed hatchtags on twitter should be flogged ( #wengerout #BringBackSzczesny #CechOut #Cechmate).