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  • След известно off-време се завръщаме с нов епизод от шоуто "Плюс". Понеже епизодът стана прекалено дълъг, ние решихме да го разделим в две части. Това е част първа, в която с Мартин Миндов преглеждаме началото на сезона,  мача срещу Брентфорд и трансферния прозорец. Говорим си още за селекцията на отбора, като минаваме през вратарите, защитниците и полузащитниците! Очаквайте продължение съвсем скоро. Приятно слушане! 

    Champions forever
    For those of you who are young, I must explain one thing, Manchester United, under Alex Ferguson, were the kings of English football in the 90’s. Year after year they seemed to win the league, and cups and other trophies. But in 1997-98 we were champions and double winners in Arsene Wenger’s first full year and we got to play United in the Charity Shield because they were league runners up.
    We showed them who are the new kings of England as we thrashed them 3-0, Overmars in the first half and Christopher Wreh and Nicolas Anelka in the second to send them back to Manchester crying all the way. We were ready, we were Arsenal, and this year we could win everything. Maybe we needed to play cricket or rugby to give us a challenge, football was too easy.
    I don't think so
    Eh, hello, it wasn’t to be. Although we beat Forest 2-1 in the first match we weren’t very convincing but then we had 4 draws to tumble to ninth. We were flash in the pans, not a new star in the sky and the glory that Wenger seemed to promise us was fading away. Back to the old Arsenal for us.
     David Platt retired from football never quite becoming an Arsenal hero
    We hadn’t done much in the transfer market and had got rid of our talisman and record scorer, Ian Wright. David Platt had retired as injuries kept piling up. We brought in Nelson Vivas as cover for the full backs and he was a good player who never quite made it at Arsenal. It was here that Wenger proved he knows, leading to the famous saying all Arsenal fans could recite. He brought in Freddie Llungberg who was to become one of our all time favourites. What could this midfielder do? Everything, score goals, provide assists, link play, dribble, even head the ball.
    Our sweet Swede - Freddie Llungberg
    Arsene knows
    Later he brought in Nwankwo Kanu from Inter who was a superb footballer. His only real problem at Arsenal was that he was similar to Dennis Bergkamp but a fraction less good. One year I was in a pub watching Liverpool vs Arsenal with an Anfield follower David Lynch and Bergkamp went off after tormenting Liverpool and my friend let out a sigh of relief, then groaned as Kanu came on. That’s how good Kanu was.
     The sublime Nwankwo Kanu
    But we took a long time to get going in the league and Man Utd had come back at us, they weren’t going to let some fancy Frenchman walk all over them. We were suffering from a winning hangover and not able to get really flying properly. It was a flaw that Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal had, we were never able to retain the league and this season was an early indication of that. However, we did show battling qualities in the second half of the season and we got top on game 34 after going 19 games unbeaten from December.
    Competition for places
    I should emphasise that Llungberg and Kanu were bit players that season but I feel they were crucial to the team upping their game, as we now had 2 players who could take the place of even our best players and they had to play better to keep their place.
    So we had come back at Man U, we had knocked them off their perch and were top. Another season like last which had seemed to fizzle out had re-ignited and we were ready to win again. Except we couldn’t. A 1-0 defeat at Leeds on game 37 handed the initiative to Alex Ferguson and they won by a point. We had 2 tough matches against them in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and maybe that took its toll. The first match ended 0-0 after extra time and the second match 2-1 to United, also after extra time.
    Oh no, not Manchester United!
    It was to be Manchester United’s best ever season, they won the league and the FA cup and the big prize Ferguson craved, the Champions League. They famously looked like being beaten in the final against Bayern Munich but 2 goals in injury time got them the win.
    We were left with just the Charity Shield for our season. The Champions league was disappointing as we went out at the group stages to Dynamo Kyiv and Lens. It wasn’t a difficult group but the first half of the season was poor. We also got hammered 5-0 by Chelsea in the League Cup 4th round.  One thing that took me a long time to get used to was Wenger playing understrength teams and us getting hammered because of it. 30 players were used that season, often players I never heard from again.
    The poor players needed a rest
    We had 14 goalscorers to emphasise this with Nicolas Anelka showing we didn’t need Ian Wright anymore, we had a new kid who would surely break the mighty Ian’s record, seeing he was so young. He scored 19 in all competitions and Bergkamp 16.
     Marc Overmars played 49 matches - why didn't he need a rest?
    The world had changed for me. Big squads with top players like Kanu and Llungberg only subs. The priority only being the big matches and the belief, often misplaced, that the reserves could win matches. I had grown up on 11 players and a sub being enough. Those players could play 3 times a week without complaint, now players were being rested. When I was a kid, we often would go out playing football all day long, every day, but these professionals needed to be rested. I couldn’t understand it and still struggle with the concept even though it has become engrained on the modern sports fans.
    We were the Arsenal - we could come back
    But I was an optimist. We had finished the season stronger than Man Utd. There was little to separate us in the FA cup semi-final. We could come back at them with Anelka to improve again and Kanu and Llungberg to show their stuff. We had beaten Spurs at White Hart Lane 3-1 towards the end of the season. We had 11 one-nils to the Arsenal, more than ever before.
    Next season, I felt, would be good. Little did I know it was to be a defining season where the shift was huge and Arsenal was set to change again. But for the better? We will see.

    В мач от 1 кръг на Висшата лига, Артилеристите претърпяха поражение като гост на новака Брентфорд с 2:0. Точни за домакините бяха Итън Пинок в 22 минута и Кристиан Ньоргард в 73 минута на срещата. Лошите новини за хората на Микел Артета дойдоха още в ранния следобяд на деня, когато стана ясно, че Пиер-Емерик Обамеянг и Александър Лаказет ще останат извън групата за двубоя. Причината беше, че и двамата са получили здравословни проблеми. Тази ситуация доведе до това Балогън да застане на върха на атаката и да получи своят шанс за изява. В двубоя на Брентфорд Къмюнити си личаха и някои проблеми от предходната кампания. А именно безидейно изнасяне на топката и липса на решителност в последната третина от игрището. Повече подробности за срещата в следващите редове. 

    Стартов състав: Под рамките на вратата застана Бернд Лено. Пред него в отбрана бяха подредени Калъм Чеймбърс, Бен Уайт (официален дебют), Пабло Мари и Киърън Тиърни. В дефанзивния вал на полузащитата си партнираха Самби Локонга (официален дебют) и Гранит Джака, а изнесени пред тяха видяхме Никола Пепе, Смит Роу и Габриел Мартинели. Атаката бе водена от младока Фоларин Балогън.

    Резерви: Карл Хайн (GK), Ектор Белерин, Седрик Соареш, Нуно Тавареш, Роб Холдинг, Мейтланд-Найлс, Мохамед Елнени, Рийс Нелсън и Букайо Сака. 

    Смени в хода на двубоя: Букайо Сака се появи на мястото на Балогън (59 минута), Габриел Мартинели бе заменен от Рийс Нелсън (71 минута) и Нуно Тавареш (официален дебют) вместо Калъм Чеймбърс (81 минута). 

    Евентуални контузии: Няма.

    Жълти картони: Нито един получен такъв.

    Червени картони: Нито един получен такъв.

    Фото кредит: Official Premier League

    Думите на Микел Артета след мача: ''Много разочороваща вечер. Трабваше да започнем по съвсем различен начин. Направи ми впечатление това, че представянето ни в двете полувремена на двубоя бяха съвсем различни едно от друго. Например имаше моменти през първата част, когато въобще не приличахме на себе си. Допускахме опасности пред вратата си твърде лесно. През второто полувреме вдигнахме оборотите и показахме друго лице. Създадохме някои опасни положения пред вратата на опонента ни, но все пак ни липсваше завършек. Така не се печелят мачове. В крайна сметка искам да се извиня на всички наши привърженици за това незадоволяващо представяне.''
    Следващата среща на Арсенал е срещу състава на Челси на 22 август, неделя, от 18:30 часа българско време.

    Арсенал открива новата кампания във Висшата Лига сезон 2021 - 2022 г. „Топчиите“ стартират с лондонско дерби срещу новака в елита Брентфорд.  Срещата за първенство, е първа такава между двата столични отбора от далечната 1947 година, когато "артилеристите" губят с 0:1. В по-близкото минало, Арсенал отстранява опонента си с 3:1, в мач за Купата на Лигата, след две попадения на Дани Уелбек и едно на Алекс Лаказет.   
    Кога:  Петък, 13.08.2021 г., 22:00 ч. българско време.
    Къде: Брентфорд Комюнити Стейдиъм.
    Телевизия: Диема Спорт 2.
    Новини преди мача: Откриването на сезона пропускат Томас Партей, Еди Нкетиа и Габриел Магеляеш. Ганаецът е с контузия на десният глезен и се очаква да поднови тренировки към края на август. Нкетиа е с подобна контузия, като очакванията за него са да се върне в състава в началото на септември. Същото е положението и при бразилският ни защитник Габриел.
    Тук е редно да споменем, че има голяма вероятност да видим някои от новите попълнения още от първата минута довечера. Очаква се Бен Уайт и Самби Локонга да се впуснат в новото си приключение с размах.

    Иначе, на фронта спекулации и трансфери, новините и слуховете не спират нито за час. Няма да обръщаме вниимание на всичко, след като темата е изцяло за старта на шампионата довечера, но пък въпросите от журналистите не спираха да валят и на официалната прескоференция на Микел Артета. Ето и най-важното от нея:
    Думите на Артета преди мача: „Мисля, че в началото на трансферния прозорец се справихме добре. Той (трансферният прозорец) още не е свършил. Ръководството иска да подобри състава и да изгради печеливш отбор. Всички искаме това. Не забравяйте, че някои сделки са немислими днес, но са абсолютно възможни в последния ден на прозореца. Не мога да ви кажа нищо за никого, ситуацията е, каквато е и Вие много добре знаете кой е наша собственост и кой не е. Ако има промени в насока нови и напускащи ще разберете, когато всичко е официално.
    Опитваме се да забравим предният сезон, който беше труден за всички. Гледаме положително, енергията е позитивна и нямаме търпение да започне сезона. Най-важното е да изградим колектив, който да може да печели при всеки мач, или поне да се бори за това до край. Мисля, че сме една идея по-близо до това.
    Каква е целта ни? Ами като за начало победа срещу Брентфорд. След това победа в следващия мач и победа в по-следващия.“, завърши испанецът.

    За финал, трябва да споменем, че вече е ясен съперника на Арсенал за турнира за Купата на Лигата. Това е отборът на Уест Бромич Албиън, като "артилеристите" ще пътуват до Бирмингам за тази среща, която е предвидена за 25.08.2021 г.
    Пожелаваме успех на нашите момчета и се надяваме да стартираме с 3 точки. Вие ще може да се насладите на двубоя в компанията на съмишленици във всеки един от нашите клонове из страната. А във Варна, ще има и специални гости от Хърватия.
    За разбирачите сме подготвили най-различни игри и прогнози за точни резултати и развръзка във Висшата Лига, а в края на сезона ще има и награди. Ако желаете, може да намерите повече информация за игрите във форума на нашият сайт. Успех Артилерия! COYG!


    We could win things with these two
    1997/98 again
    We weren't all that happy
    Last week, I explored the changes Arsene Wenger had made or he was putting in place. But what actually happened on the pitch? Honestly, most of the season we weren’t very happy. Yes, we had a nice spell from game 8 to game 12 when we were top, including a 4-0 thrashing of West Ham and a 5-0 of Barnsley, but after that we were back to the old Arsenal and down the table to 5th. We didn’t look like winning anything nor qualifying for Champions League. So it was same old same old. His £2M salary looked bad value in many ways. Lots of players playing meant some of our old favourites like Ian Wright weren’t playing every week.
    We were in the UEFA Cup and were dumped out in our first round in September by PAOK Salonika despite playing the top squad, only without Bergkamp in the away match because he wouldn’t fly. That didn’t help Wenger’s cause.
    Beaten by Pensioners in the League Cup
    We did better in the League Cup, beating Birmingham and their neighbours Coventry in our first two rounds, although we made hard work of it as we had to go to extra time in both matches. Here Wenger did play many squad members but he got away with it. Then we played some Pensioners in the semi’s. That wasn’t so good. We were beaten 4-3 over 2 legs. Chelsea were turning into a top team and had lots of fancy foreigners such as Ruud Gullit and Dan Petrescu, plus De Matteo, Vialli and Zola from Italy. Wenger played a strong team for both matches only giving starts to a small number of squad players.
    He kept saying his priority was the league but we weren’t lighting any fires in that. It was frustrating for fans not to see our absolute top team playing in a semi against our true biggest London rivals at the time. In fairness, Vieira got sent off on 48 and on 51 and 53, Chelsea made it 3-0 and the tie looked over after we won 2-1 in the first. Ill discipline was costing us again and Vieira was making it a habit. Wonderful player but loved red and yellow. Bergkamp scored a late consolation penalty but we were out.
    The FA Cup? Our trophy?
    We had Port Vale to start and bizarrely, Wenger put out a strong team only to draw 0-0 and go to a replay where he once again put out a strong team and they took us to penalties after 1-1 after extra time, both of which were scored in extra time. Pretty much our top team couldn’t score in 2 matches in normal time against Port Vale? I hope you are getting the idea that Wenger wasn’t really feeling the love from the fans. Next time against Middlesbrough we scored 3 goals, Overmars and  Parlour put us 2-0 after 19 minutes and Merson got another on 62 to make it 3-0. Just joking, he had been sold to them by Wenger so I am sure he was delighted to show he wasn’t finished. It ended 2-1.
    Paul Merson happy to prove Wenger wrong
    Then Palace in the next and a scattering of second choice players gave us no goals and a replay which, again a bit understrength, we won 2-1. Considering Palace finished last that year, it wasn’t good. The glory days of George Graham looked to be far back in the distance.
    We couldn't really understand Wenger's logic with Alex Manninger
    West Ham up next with a young Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard in their line-up. Except for Manninger in goal, a strong line-up. But we couldn’t understand Wenger’s logic of resting a goalkeeper. They rarely have physically demanding matches, particularly with our defence, and we felt that he was messing up the understanding by playing him in cup matches. And we struggled again but came through after a replay with a restored David Seaman.
    We were making it hard
    Championship Wolves in the semi, and again a bit of a struggle to win. An understrength side got an early goal via a squad player. Christopher Wreh, after 12 minutes and that was enough.
    Now I am going to switch to the league. We were frustrated, Arsenal were playing attacking, fast football, scoring lots of goals but also many poor displays. Suddenly, though, on March 11 we beat Wimbledon 1-0 to the Arsenal and couldn’t stop winning, Wenger must have put premium petrol in our tank because we won 10 in a row culminating in sending Everton back home to Scouseland crying after we lashed 4 goals against them. We were back, we were Arsenal and we had won the league with 2 games to go. We were the best, Wenger was the best and the players were glorious.
    We weren't scared of Shearer
    On to Newcastle in the final. We had done the double over them in the league and duly won 2-0 from Overmars and Anelka. But it went wrong for Wright. He didn’t play, Christopher Wreh being preferred. No sub for him either. He was to be shipped out to West Ham in the summer and a bit of a sad end to a legend. I guess records like that are only going to be broken at the end of your career anyway. Anelka was seen as increasingly first choice, and raw or no, he looked explosive and set to be a world great. Wright was top class but not a world great. But he did get a league title and another FA cup medal courtesy of Arsene Wenger.

     Surely he would turn out to be an Arsenal great?
    But we, now, were surely world greats? Who was better than Bergkamp, Overmars, Petit, Vieira and Anelka? Our defence was still super and we had 5 one nils to the Arsenal in the league, Wenger’s nod to George Graham. And his nod to Bertie Mee with a magical double. Enchantment was performed before our very eyes by a wizard Frenchman.
    The Brightest star in the sky

    I can’t really convey the emotion we had. A season that had stuttered and spluttered like a firework gone out, unexpectedly exploded into a lightshow unlike any we had ever seen. We were Arsenal, we were fast, bright and shone throughout the sky. And hey, Mr Ferguson, that is us, the Arsenal, that you can see as a new star in the sky.

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