Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'declan rice'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • Футболен Клуб Арсенал
    • Мачове
    • Отбор
    • Трансфери
    • Друго
  • Фен Kлуб
    • Дейности
    • Информация
    • Kлонове
  • Arsenal-Bulgaria.com
    • Арсенал България в интернет
    • Запознай се с феновете
    • Отборът на Арсенал-България
  • Всичко останало
    • Световен футбол
    • Забавления
    • Свободна зона


  • Arsenal Fixtures
  • ASCB Events
  • Arsenal History


  • От другата страна
  • Спомени от нас за нас
  • ASCB Истории
  • За мечтите на едно момче
  • 30 години от великата победа на Анфийлд 89
  • Първите 15

Product Groups

  • Arsenal SC Bulgaria Membership
  • Arsenal Bulgaria Merchandise
  • Arsenal Match Tickets
  • Others
    • Национална фенсреща и общо събрание на ASCB - Созопол 2022
    • Есенна фен среща 2022г. - гр. Стара Загора
    • Национална фен среща и общо събрание Русе 2023г.
    • Есенна фен среща Плевен 2023
    • Winter fan meeting Vratsa 2024


  • Fanclub
    • News
    • Interviews
    • Reviews
  • Team
    • News
    • Analyses
    • History
    • Articles
    • London Calling
  • Podcast

Find results in...

Find results that contain...

Date Created

  • Start


Last Updated

  • Start


Filter by number of...


  • Start









Favourite player

Favourite beer


Card No.


Found 6 results

  1. ASCB - The Best? Of course they are And so, finally, we headed off to Arsenal vs Chelsea, our big day spoiled by Chelsea pretending they could win a trophy without Abramovich by cancelling our match to play in the FA cup. There was never a chance a bunch of Pensioners could win without the magic Roman. And so April 23rd, 2024 was our big day instead, new plane tickets and maybe new hotels for people, but we are ASCB, we don’t give in for anything. Our own programme Some 33 of us were given the chance for a VIP experience to greet the players and even a lucky two got to turn up on the pitch for an interview to blaze a trail for Arsenal Bulgaria. Everyone now knows who we are and what we represent. And we never forget that as we showed and which I will talk about later. The biggest surprise for me though was after we were given our armbands to allow us into the media centre. We got our own programme welcoming us to the Arsenal with our own name on it. That, and the armband will be passed down the generations. We love you Arsenal, we do! One for display We were there, we saw the players, we saw the staff, and we saw Super Mik Arteta and sang and cheered as they all filed past, some stopping for a low five with Gunnersaurus. Was I the only one worried as he entered the glass doors to the inner sanctum? Luckily the giant remembered to duck his head. A Gunnersaurus without a head would not be the same. Of course he mingled and low fived many of us including some young, excited kids from Romania. We show our class Mertesacker and Edu were prominent figures who came in by themselves prompting great excitement . But we were asked to wait for Chelsea as we also greeted the Pensioners as they struggled to make it off their bus. We were asked not to boo them but we have too much class for that anyway so we cheered for the Arsenal again. Honestly they didn’t look very happy filing past. Maybe they knew what was awaiting them? Without their talisman Cole Palmer maybe they felt that they had no chance. They were right. A nice shot from Alex sets me up For me, a trip to the Arsenal is not complete without a visit to my old friend, Alexander Sztranyovszky from Hungary who is Mr Arsenal. He turns up for every game and is a permanent fixture at Peggy’s refreshment stand at the side of the Arsenal Supporters club near the old Highbury. And Alex never fails to disappoint with his own refreshments always on hand, some nice strong shots to warm our hearts. Declan, you are my darling The real excitement came when I took my seat in the Clock End. We were all together, bundled into a top spot just high enough to see everything yet not too high that you need binoculars. It meant there was a big booming section of Bulgarians (and me) ready to give their all for the Arsenal. It was a magical time for me, being part of such a large group. Often I am by myself, this time we all celebrated together. We probably shouldn't have forced Chelsea to play on a sloping pitch And it didn’t take long for us to celebrate. Chelsea looked poor from the off, or was it that we were so good? Trossard was causing mayhem down the left hand side and we had a few chances straightaway but then Declan Rice boomed forward, flicked the ball over to Trossard who tucked it into the corner of the net. We were delirious and only 4 minutes had passed! The pattern continued but somehow we didn’t score. Havertz had a few chances but didn’t put any away. Maybe he didn’t want to score against his old club? We dominated our section of the Clock End as much as Arsenal dominated Chelsea Who was this new striker? Wright or White? I was hoping Chelsea wouldn’t transform in the second half but it was whoop de whoo many times as all sorts of improbabilities happened. We had a new striker called Ian Wright Wright White who whacked in two goals and Kai Havertz, freed of having to score against the away Chelsea fans at our end, suddenly became super striker, firing in two great goals to make it five and it could have been ten. Chelsea were hopeless. They were afraid all game to keep the ball and kept giving it back to us. Fifteen minutes of fame for ASCB The only time I watched Arsenal live slam in more goals, to my memory, was when Alan Ball brought Portsmouth up from the old second division back when I was living in London in the late ‘80’s. We were 5-0 up up half time and Alan Smith kept banging in the goals. We got only one in the second half to make it 6-0. Portsmouth fans left en masse at halftime and the Chelsea fans did the same as the goals flew in second half. We were delirious. Go home you bums And did I say the Bulgarian Arsenal fans had too much class to boo the Chelsea players? It didn’t stop them screaming “Your team are shit” (they sang slightly different words, but this is a family blog) at the departing away fans. No need, people, they know their team are shit. The strange thing is, they could still get 6th place as Manchester United and Newcastle are also shit this year. It is a weird season, for sure. They looked to me to be already on the beach, though. Still, that is Arsenal’s best win ever against Chelsea and yes, we owed it to them for humiliations in the past. Waiting patiently for the team to arrive 4 games to go and if we get the win against a white and black team on Sunday, then we have to believe we can do it. Ì had an English guy sitting beside me on the train back insisting we will win 2-0 against the Spuds and go on to win it. Man City and Liverpool will be shitting themselves. And that leads me into the table of doom. Update to the Table of Doom Table of Doom Fixtures Current Max Arsenal Spurs (a) 77 89 Liverpool Spurs (h) 74 86 Man City Spurs (a) 73 91 Ah, Jurgen Klopp, I am still waiting for you to apologise for your teams unsporting behaviour against Forest. Everton gave you a tanking and you are now on the cusp of leaving the Table of Doom. Another draw, even, and your maximum is 84. Our goal difference will not be bettered now, I feel, so if it matters at the end, we will win. If we draw against the Spuds we can still get 87 but will it be enough? I say yes. City have a lot of matches to cram in and they are not that simple, the Premier League rarely is. If we win 4 they have to win 6. We are putting them under pressure. We can’t ask any more from our boys. Be proud. Gunnersaurus with Tszetomir Tsekov Commiserations to poor old Sheffield United. The door is just about to close on Chris Wilder. He was talking about preparing them for next season but will he really get the chance? It is surely such a difficult job managing a team trying to make it in the Premier League. He seems a good manager and a very decent human being but I suspect they will want a change. I would be happy if he gets his chance and one day bring them back to stay.
  2. Our destiny is the Double? And so we have 12 games to destiny. If my prediction of 86 points is correct for the title then we can lose 2 games there and still come out champions. Strangely, the same can be said of the Champions League. We can potentially lose one of the ties in the QF’s and the semi’s and still go through. A win over Unai Emery's Villa will be crucial to winning the mindgames That leaves us 8 games to destiny. We then must win our other five games in the league and the other three in the Champions League. We can have no draws although in the Champions League there can be extra time and penalties. The only true statement that can be made is that if we win all 12 matches we will have completed a double that no Arsenal manager ever really came close to. It will be an astonishing turnaround for an Arsenal side regarded as too soft and struggling for money against richer sides which meant the quality of our players since the Invincibles has steadily declined. We have had to punch above our weight to get this far. It will be a great achievement for a young manager and still a young team. Are we stronger this season? What has made the difference this season to last? Last season was a strange one. Most of the top teams struggled and there were three new teams ending up in the top four from the previous year, ourselves, Newcastle and Man Utd. Only really Arsenal and City were truly competing for the title and we all know what happened. The soft underbelly of Arsenal was exposed. We fell apart. The fact that the other teams struggled gave us that second spot. Is Declan Rice the single biggest improvement this season? This year is totally different. Now the competition is intense. The five teams at the top are collecting points as easily as you get your courtesy points filling up at your local petrol station. Both Tottenham and Villa could get 70 points or more and all three at the top 80 or more. This will be a record. So I need to answer the question I posed at the start of the previous paragraph. Havertz has answered all the questions I believe two factors have come into play. It is difficult to say what the most critical is. One is the advance in years of the players, the new maturity of Odegaard, Saka and the rest. The second are the new players Rice, Havertz, Raya and Timber plus Jorginho and Kiwior who came in January 2023. Rice has become key, making Partey a bit player, but crucially helping a strong defence to become the best so far in the league. Jorginho and Havertz have added guile, the ability to create space, find a crucial pass and set up the conditions for goals which Declan Rice also contributes to. Goals are coming from everywhere which makes Arsenal a difficult team to mark or control. Has Raya made a difference? Raya is a difficult one to assess. If Ramsdale and Raya were outfield players Ramsdale would get on the pitch regularly the same as, for example, Trossard does, and we could make a comparison. The only thing we can say is that Raya has secured his position. Arteta trusts him to fit into his pattern more than Ramsdale. I have to accept that. Arteta believes in Raya Kiwior seems to get better with every game and I feel he will secure that position. He makes the defence better. Timber looked incredible at the start and he could be a superstar of the future. He will probably get some game time now that he is back training. He surely fits exactly to the template that Arteta wants. He has ball ability, he seems to fit into a team structure, and being Dutch, is used to playing to the pattern of the team. If fit, I believe he will cause strong competition next season. The toughest year ever? These two sitting in the Emirates? Incredible! So, last year was weak competition, except for Man City, and this year is much tougher. We are in the world’s premier club competition as well, the Champions League. I would be, strangely maybe, happier with the Champions League as we have never won it. I would still go crazy if we win the league. And the double? Well, that would be whoopy de doo, whoopy de doo and the best year for me since we won another double without expecting it in 1971. Arteta and the players have given us this dream in April. Thank you very much. But I’ll thank you a lot more if you give it to us in reality in May. Lots of my dreams have been fulfilled since I became an Arsenal fan but for masses of you out there this will be the most magical ever if it happens. It will be for me. Update to the Table of Doom Table of Doom Fixtures Current Max Arsenal Villa (h) Spurs (a) 71 92 Liverpool Spurs (h) Villa (a) 71 92 Man City Villa (h) Spurs (a) 70 91 And so it switches again as the mighty Arsenal are back on top. We are still the bookie’s third favourite as City are serial winners and Klopp has pushed them hard for many seasons. We do have the metric of goal difference in our favour but not much else, probably. Next up is Villa at home, one of our tricky ones, whereas City have Luton away and Liverpool Palace at home. Anything short of a win sees the Table of Doom switching again, of that I am certain. Jorginho could be crucial over the next games However, I feel that points will be dropped over the next seven games so even a defeat doesn’t kick us out. I still reckon that my prediction a long time ago of around 86 points is still valid but the consistency shown over the past while by the top three is almost frightening. Our most important players are Saka, Odegaard, Rice, Gabriel, Saliba and White, in my opinion, and an injury to any could just drop us enough points to give the others the chance to win. But this week, with the other two almost guaranteed wins, means we frighten them by winning when they are hoping we drop points. Let’s send Villa home crying and render the Pool and City wins unimportant. We can do it.
  3. Christmas crackers This year I have decided to give awards up to now in the season – the totally serious Gus Worth awards which are better than Ballon D’or, MOTM, or the Oscars. The Award ceremony will be held in Mar De Lago, Trump’s place in Florida, on New Years Eve. You are all invited. Tell Donald I sent you. Come to Mar De Lago, ASCB, for New Years Eve Worst defender of the season award – Declan Rice for allowing Alexander Arnold to get a shot away. There was only 5 Liverpool attackers, he should have just tackled them, taken the ball off them and sent them home crying. Only five Scousers, Declan? No Problem Biggest arguer of the season award- Mikel Arteta for constantly arguing with officials and getting cards. He will probably get the most cards of the whole squad and have to send himself home crying for not obeying the manager. Best goalkeeper award– Aaron Ramsdale for 27 games he has been there and only let in 9 goals. Worst Gabby of the season award– Martinelli for having the worst defensive record of all first choicers. He should be told to stop scoring goals and creating chances and get back there and… oh sorry, we have Declan Rice, we don’t need anyone else, the rest should be up attacking. Most drunk player award– William Saliba for drinking tequila all through the matches. How is that allowed? Mikel needs to show him who’s boss. The Saliba brand is the best Most useless player regarded by the fans award - Eddie Nketiah despite being our joint top scorer with Saka having 5 goals from 9 appearances, 8 as a substitute. No wonder the poor guy goes home crying every night. Almost a BFG award – Kai Havertz but still a bit smaller than the real one. My suggestion, Kai, is to wear high heels on the pitch, then you really will be the new BFG! Kai - you would look so good in high heels! Kicked up the arse every match award – Bukayo Saka. It is probably why he gets picked every match as his arse is too sore to sit on the bench. Saka - gets kicked so often he thinks he is in a Tom and Jerry cartoon Most successful pass rate award – William Saliba at 77.3 passes per match and 92.7 success rate. Probably because he is so drunk he gets rid of the ball quickly. Only alliterative name award – Takehiro Tomiyasu so perhaps he should be known as TT, but then that also stands for teetotaller and it might be a bit difficult playing alongside Saliba the Tequila. Should be our striker award – Martin Odegaard, at 2.3 he has the most shots per game. Shoot, Marty, shoot! Should be known as LFP award– Fabio Vieira, our smallest player, should be Little F… Portuguese. Fabio - The LFP Ball loser of the season award – surprisingly to me, Gabriel Jesus at 2.1 dispossessions per game and 2.6 bad controls per game. Mikel, you need to hide Saliba’s Tequila from Jesus. He obviously can’t handle his control or his drink. Scoring goals in the smallest number of minutes award – Leandro Trossard and Eddie Nketiah who have the most sub appearances and yet 3 and 5 goals. They must keep away from the Tequila. And finally: The Referee and VAR team of the season award is Arsenal. They see fouls, handballs, no penalties, offsides and cards that no one else can see. It is great to know that we keep them happy. Maybe we ask Saliba to stop giving them presents of Tequila before the matches? They get so drunk they think it’s great fun messing us about. Don’t miss Mar De Lago and the awards ceremony. You can pick up your flights and hotel tickets for free from Georgi Stoyanov, Stan Kroenke himself has sent them on. This guy has all your tickets. Have a wonderful New Year.
  4. Are we moving in the right direction? Today I am going to take a look at Mikel Arteta from a couple of different perspectives, one is his first 13 matches of his seasons with the addition of the first 13 matches of his Arsenal start in December 2019. Why 13 matches? Because it is almost exactly 1/3 of a season and we are at 13 matches now. The other perspective is his players. I will look at this first. Raya Tierney Saliba Gabriel Cedric Smith Rowe Elneny Nelson Saka Nketiah Martinelli Was Raya the right option? Hands up those who can say what is unique about the above line-up? It is not so easy to guess but 9 of those are there since Mikel Arteta took over in December 2019. I added Raya and Gabriel as first choice from the current line-up to make an 11. Some are bit players, some are first choice, some get on in many matches, and Tierney is out on loan. Despite the belief that Arteta has changed everything around you can see that there are many players still available for him to select. We can assume that these are all players he gets on with as he seems to have difficulties with certain players, particularly big stars who were there before him. There are now no such. Can he cope with a big star with a big ego? That does indicate a weakness in Mikel, as what will happen if any player starts to act the big star and tries on an Aubameyang by not adhering to the rules? One presumes they would be out the door but we can’t easily do without Saka, Martinelli, Odegaard, Saliba, Gabriel, and Rice to name players that must be worth huge money. Or a big name player comes in (Mbappe has been mentioned)and does an Aubameyang after becoming a fan favourite? Can he now deal with them without them having to leave? Can he now get them to accept that it is his way or the highway? That is one tester he must answer. Of course if he wins big trophies it makes all that easier. Declan Rice looks like a great buy That is definitely not a given. There are now many big teams eager for the same, all with established managers. Arsenal fans are notoriously fickle and entitled. I reckon that the bare minimum for Arteta is qualification for Champions League, pushing for the Premier league and getting close to a final. If, after two seasons of not achieving those targets, he may well find the fans turning on him, the big players wanting to leave, and a great difficulty in keeping control. Are his targets too difficult? I feel we have now created an expectation that he must achieve those targets but if he does, then the next prospect is to win the league or Champions League. What if he doesn’t? Do we allow him to forever do a Pochettino with the Spuds and get top four but nothing else? A bad run, such as Pochettino got could see him out the door and that was at the Spuds who have never had such a sustained time near the top in my football lifetime. We see ourselves in a different category to the Spuds and, of course, they have a worse attitude to ditching managers than we have. But I still reckon that top four will not be enough to save Arteta forever. Am I right? Edu, Arteta and Timber - I feel this one is right too Can the team be consistent? And so to the next connected part, the 13 matches test. 12 points first season from Bournemouth to Chelsea from December 2019 when he started. 14 points 20/21 23 points 21/22 34 points 22/23 30 points 23/24 There is progress, yes, although a drop from last season which I believe is due to the higher standard this year at the top of the league. The bottom seems to be much worse this year and that will mean, if it continues, that the big teams will hoover up many points from them, meaning Arsenal must do the same. We are top of the league but it will be a real challenge to stay there. A loss next week against Wolves could see us slip to 4th. And I have to say that I am worried about our weak finishes under Arteta as shown here. We only had 12 points from our last 10 matches last season and it cost us the league. Arteta has, so far, never managed a strong finish to a season. That must change. Partey has not really been missed This will be his fifth season in charge and that is an achievement considering the difficult start he had. It was ameliorated by winning the FA Cup and Charity Shield but the above figures show he did struggle. Unai Emery got fired in Arteta’s first season despite getting 18 points out of the first 13, much better than Arteta achieved with the same players. A new hope? What gives us hope? Many things. There is a real togetherness in the team although the goalkeeper situation has not worked out for either player. The rest seem very happy together and partnerships are developing all the time. Declan Rice looks like an inspired buy and even Havertz must be doing lots of good stuff that fans can’t easily see as he gets on every time. The defence looks as solid as any in the league and that always gives you hope. Great teams have great defences. The backroom team seems to work very well. We are very good at scoring from set-pieces. We are good at keeping our shape and we have got much better at buying than before. Raya (if we buy him), Rice and Havertz have all impressed Arteta, and Timber looked amazing until he got injured. It would be great if we got back to the old Wenger days when most players bought were good and most players sold were past their best. We give everyone chances We are getting points when we haven’t really been all that great in matches this season, in fact, even Burnley, the easiest I can remember so far, had a couple of good chances. And Newcastle should never have been a loss. My only comment on that though is that players must always play to the whistle and that is something that can be drilled into them. Excuses will not win you titles. The fans are so important We do seem to be moving in the right direction. Consistency will be the key. We seem to have good players to come in. Thomas Partey has not been badly missed, long regarded as key. Our young players are getting older and more matchwise. We have a settled group. Togetherness from staff of all kinds and fans will be a great help. We need to be united and I guess that’s where the name came from in so many teams. If we stop the petty cards for arguing, slow play at corners and throw-ins and kicking the ball away which can easily be coached out of them, it will help. Losing players at wrong times is a weakness, a margin that can be corrected. I include Arteta in this. All he has to say is he didn’t agree with whatever decision he is arguing about. No other comment. Let’s work with the refs And players, managers, coaches, and fans need to realise one thing, and that is that we now need teams of referees for matches and there is a worldwide shortage. We badly need to stop harassing refs. We also badly need to set up academies to encourage refs of both sexes to join up and, crucially, train them to the highest standards from a very young age. It should be a clear career path that is seen as desirable from school age. It would be amazing if they were all like Pierluigi Collina We are not a dirty team at all. We are petulant and have become time wasters. These traits are trainable. Let’s get back to being Arsenal, the fair team and in a right refereeing world we would have an advantage. Arteta, being so young still, may even outlast Wenger. I have outlined some areas that need to improve, but the fans will play a crucial role. They must support even through bad spells. Arteta can get things right, if given a chance. I say, give him that chance even if things go wrong and our expectations go in a yoyo direction. ps. RIP Terry Venables. He has got quite a few mentions in this blog and he was supposed to become our manager when George Graham got the job. He was at all the major London clubs except us. Check out his book, They used to play on Grass, it is a great read. A gentleman, a scholar of football, and like our own Arsene Wenger, all his players loved him. And he turned Barcelona into a major team.
  5. The Table of Doom Update Arsenal Current 78 Max 90 Man City(a) Newcastle (a) Brighton(h) Man City Max 94 Brighton (a) Arsenal (h) Man Utd Max 81 Brighton(a) Newcastle Max 80 Arsenal(h) Gone: Brighton Max 73 Man Utd(h)Man City (h) Arsenal(a) – kept because they play key matches. Liverpool Tottenham The Table of Gloom And so it is the Table of Gloom now. City destroyed us and Arteta is now useless, the players mediocre and we will be relegation candidates next year. Oh, woe is me! Jesus and Zinchenko - overrated? Nonsense! Rubbish! If I had said at the start of the season we would qualify for Champions league in April and still top of the league in May after beating Chelsea, plus fighting with City for the title close to the end, people would have said typical Gus optimism, never writes about reality. The reality is this week we have had a reality check and that we do need to strengthen, and maybe get rid of some players that are loved by Arsenal fans. Am I the only one who feels that Guardiola knew what he was doing when he dumped Jesus and Zinchenko? And that Xhaka still has a tendency to implode? And Partey seems to be playing with an injury? But despite all that, another win and we are guaranteed second, and in fact, we may already be second as the 2 Uniteds need close to maximum to catch us. We wouldn’t care that City thrashed us if we win the league In fact, before the start of the season in July, I wrote a comparison between City and us in which we came out badly. I had compared a possible top City 11 against a possible top 11 for us plus rated the managers and gave 11-0 to the Citizens. I gave only one draw which now looks ridiculous. On the basis that some players fail in the Premier league and Jesus was proven, although never a great goal scorer, I gave him a draw with Haaland. I did say I didn’t really believe that but I was trying to be optimistic. I predicted I would probably look stupid giving Jesus a draw. And so I accepted that City are better and on that basis should win the league. But I also said this: “Judging player by player doesn't win championships - confidence, form and a winning mentality does. We need our players to step up, to play without fear, and take the game to the opposition. We need a bit of luck, we need momentum, and a good consistent start. “ We did all that, except we have had some bad luck, particularly with VAR and injuries. I feel we need, at the minimum, a killer striker and centreback and midfielders not injury prone like Partey or capable of blowing up like Xhaka. And I am not happy with both Jesus and Zinchenko seemingly allowed to do what they like and ending up way out of position. They are not good enough players to do that. They should do their primary jobs, respectively score goals and defend, first. I, for one, would be happy to see them in their City role, warming the bench. But replaced with better players, whether bought or from the Academy. We have hope in our hearts Cancelo would be a great addition Despite all that, we could still win the league, we have had a great season and tremendous support from the fans. We have excellent reasons to be cheerful, our players are the youngest in the league and should get better. We have several times come back from setbacks and shown character in scoring late. I feel Arteta knows all this, he knows he has moulded a team capable of challenging even the mighty City. It is his job to make any improvements necessary, and plan for the seasons ahead. I am confident he will. As would Declan Rice There is talk of Cancelo and Rice. I would be very happy to see those two. Also Mane if he will come. He is only 31 and could have a few more years. Those 3 and improvements from the young players as they get more football wise plus one or two Academy players pushing for places means we have tremendous grounds for optimism. A cohesive winning collective can be accomplished by cleverness City are a giant who have owners who are far more concerned about whitewashing their public image than making a profit. They have unlimited money and the recent spike in oil prices has made them richer. The Kroenkes, by contrast, are in it for the money, their public image seems secondary, and they are running it as a business. It means that Arteta and Edu must be clever, they must nourish what they have, and be ruthless in discarding those who are not of the class to create a long-term winning team. Sheik Mansour - City's owner wants to make the UAE look good Wenger did it against Manchester United, putting a priority on developing the players rather than buying big. United were the City of that time, big moneybags with top players in every position. And yet, despite all that Wenger went toe to toe with them, picking up trophies which Man Utd had easily won before then. United were hated by most opposition fans, just as City are now. Anyone remember ABU? Anyone but United. That would be ABC now. That seems to gel with what City are doing, they do make things look as simple as ABC, at their best. Stan Kroenke runs Arsenal as a business I believe we will, as long as we stay hungry, be capable of getting in the faces of City and anyone else who emerges. We could be Arsenal, the team who sends others home crying. The team with class, with tradition, and a fighting spirit which makes us greater than the sum of our parts. Forget the Table of Gloom or the Table of Doom, we have had a great season. C’mon the Arse!. The true Table of Doom and Gloom Everton were champions nine times On a different note, at the bottom, it will probably be 2 former champions who go down. Leicester, Leeds, Everton and Notts Forest have all had their glory days. Southampton, who look doomed, have never won the league. But if they somehow manage a miracle, it will be 3 former champions heading for the door. I will feel most sad for Everton as I grew up among many Everton fans. They are by far the longest team in the top flight after us and I have always been happy they survived the several scares they have had. This year is harder, though. I suspect something like 36 points will be necessary. That is 7 points from 4 games and they haven’t come close to that this season. We play Forest and we could help them a little but they badly need to win and they are running out of time. I suppose they will bounce straight back up but their proud record will be gone.
  6. Where now for Granit Xhaka? Granit Xhaka was substituted in the 79 minute against Aston Villa on Saturday. He had a yellow card and probably that was part of the reason. He has accumulated 56 yellows and 4 reds in his time at Arsenal which means at least 56 times he was in the manager’s mind to be subbed out of 211 total appearances in the Premier League, more than a quarter of all matches. That is not good, obviously. Now I had it in mind that he has improved his disciplinary record but it is a bit difficult to truly say that. Last season, despite 3 months out through injury and only 27 games, he managed to get 1 red and 10 yellows, almost half the matches. This season, so far, he has been better with 4 yellows from 23 games, but still close to a quarter and if he has a bad disciplinary record to the end of the season could reach his previous average. Too many yellows for Xhaka Now, I am aware he seems to get worse treatment than some other players but, still, I think we have to accept that he has a discipline problem. So, we now have Jorginho, highly experienced and is a proven winner. And guess what? In 146 Premier League games he has never been sent off and has 29 yellows, a far better return. He will surely push Xhaka for his place and I am going to compare their respective records on the pitch. I am going to throw into the mix Declan Rice, who is a constant mention as a summer signing. That will be three players for one position, assuming Partey is available. Rice, if he comes, will be a big money signing and there is always pressure to play such players. Can statistics provide the answer? Let’s imagine, for now, that Jorginho gets in this season and keeps Xhaka out as first choice or at least plays so well when on, that a lot of fans would choose him over Xhaka. Where would that leave Declan Rice? Remember also that we have some superb midfielders coming through plus Lokonga, Maitland Niles and Tavares out on loan. Not to mention Fabio Vieira and Mohammed Elneny as backup. Can Jorginho displace Xhaka? I will take a look at all three main contenders and see if the stats give any clarity. Their amount of games make them fairly comparable. For discipline it is easy, Xhaka is far worse then Jorginho. And Declan Rice? Only 24 yellows, no reds in 190 appearances. A clear winner, then. Discipline matters, by the way, it increase the pressure on the managers because a yellow card means they have to think of subbing the player. We lost a Champions League final due to a red card, in my opinion, and a red can mean losing a game you could win. Both Jorginho and Rice would ease the pressure on the manager, based on their past records. Xhaka has 281 fouls to 211 games, Jorginho 137 to 146, and Rice is best on 130 to 190 games. I have always believed that English players get preference in such areas and that could be a reason to play Rice. Discipline: Declan Rice. Are goals the clue? Of course, there is more to football than discipline. So I will take a look at other metrics. The most important thing in football is goals so Xhaka has 13 in 211, Jorginho 21 in 146 but 19 penalties, and Rice 7 in 190. So it is easy. Assists Xhaka 22 in 211, Jorginho 5 in 146 and Rice 10 in 190. Xhaka 33 in total, Jorginho 26 in total and Rice 17. I was thinking I have to give it to Jorginho as he played less games making his record better although we do have Saka to take our penalties. Tight enough on this metric. Goals: Maybe Xhaka or maybe Jorginho. I can’t really make up my mind. What if this guy comes? Tackles are next. Xhaka has 353 and 63% success. Jorginho 310 and 54% success, and Rice 440 and 55% success. Blocked shots and interceptions, Xhaka 68 and 187, Jorginho 16 and 227, Rice 34 and 315. Rice has played in a team that has to defend more than the other 2 so that is probably why his stats are bigger but still I feel he just about has the edge here. Tackles, blocks and interceptions: Declan Rice. Maybe winning duels is the key Passes are critical in this position as a stray pass can lead to a goal. Xhaka 14,334, Jorginho 10,095, Rice 8,880. Success rate Xhaka 87.3%, Jorginho 88.7%, Rice 87.8%. Passes per match Xhaka 67.93, Jorginho, 69.14, Rice 46.74. Jorginho then is the winner. Passes, success rate and passes per match: Jorginho. Recoveries, duels won and lost next. Xhaka 1324, 948, 903, Jorginho 1030, 587, 612, Rice 1405, 904, 657. Rice comes out a clear winner here and that could be crucial to us continuing our assault on the big prizes. Recoveries, duels won and lost: Declan Rice. Aerial battles won and lost + successful 50/50’s. Xhaka 105, 269, 255, Jorginho 67, 67, 111 and Rice 173, 248, 184. Only Rice has a clear division between duels won and lost and I feel a clear winner again. Aerial battles won and lost + successful 50/50’s: Declan Rice. Goals truly matter I am going to finish the assessment on goals as they are the most crucial element in football, you can play badly but if you score you can win. This time I will focus on areas connected to goals - Shots, shots on target and free kicks scored, Xhaka 214, 58, 3, Jorginho 68, 32, 0, Rice 137, 35, 0 although 1 penalty. This time Xhaka is a winner on shots, shots on target and free kicks scored. One sure metric for Xkaka I will mention one more statistic about goals and that is errors leading to goals with Xhaka way out in front at nine compared with 2 for Jorginho and Rice. That's too many. Red card for Xhaka? Of course all 3 have played a different amount of games and mostly for 3 different clubs so this assessment has flaws but a statistical analysis throws up Rice as a better player than either of Jorginho or Xhaka and even Jorginho is coming out better than Xhaka. Will we give him the red card? So what would this mean for Arsenal if we do buy Declan Rice or similar? He seems willing to go from what I hear. I suspect one of Jorginho or Xhaka has to go. I don’t feel we will keep all 3. Xhaka, being almost a year younger, would probably fetch more in the market although if Jorginho displaces him this season that may not be the case. I would imagine, of the two, Xhaka is less likely to opt for a minor role whereas Jorginho, by coming to Arsenal in the circumstances he has, probably would. 20/30 appearances including subs and a trophy or two may well seem a better prospect than going down a level. He may come back. If my assessment is right, and we buy a truly top class midfielder such as Declan Rice, this could be Xhaka’s last season. I have a feeling, even if that is the case, he will be back. He is taking his coaching badges. I think he would make a tremendous coach with his never say die attitude, his willingness to die for the team, and yes, his effectiveness as a player in one of the most challenging positions would render him able to impart immense knowledge to young players coming through. He now has Arsenal in his DNA and that will always be a part of him. And he can go with his head held truly high as a League winner if all goes well. We will never forget Granit Xhaka.
  • Create New...