Arsenal v West Ham United

Right, I’m back from the game reserve and by all accounts there was a lot to discuss about Arsenal’s performance at Stamford Bridge over the weekend, both good and bad. The bad was mainly our defense and if you concede three goals then one can’t really expect to win a game. I was told that the first 20 minutes were pretty diabolical and thus we were 2 nil down before we started playing football in the next 20 – 25 minutes and apparently we could have gone in at the break 4-2 up! The second half seemed to favour Chelsea more than ourselves and so it was that they nicked one towards the end of the game that meant that we are still looking for our first points of the season.

Am I disappointed? Well always when we don’t win but I’m not totally surprised. It hasn’t been the easiest start to Unai’s managerial career at Arsenal. But we need to be a bit understanding of where we are as a club. A new manager replacing someone that has been at the helm for 22 years cannot be expected to hit the ground running, as much as we all would like. We have a good comparison in Manchester United and when Sir Alex left to realize that we may be lucky to end top six this season. Sir Alex left on a high, winning the Premier League by 11 points but he didn’t leave too much behind, so much so that David Moyes could only manage seventh place in the league in his first and only season in charge, 22 points behind Manchester City, with Everton finishing above them (and Spurs too). He was replaced by Louis van Gaal who dragged United into the top four the next season, which was not such a huge achievement considering they had no European commitments to worry about. The following year, when they did have, they finished fifth and also won the FA Cup. Two days later, van Gaal was sacked and in came Mourinho who managed sixth in his first season, but also won the Europa Cup and then finished a commendable second last season, albeit 19 points behind League champions City. If we take this all into consideration, a top four finish would be a great achievement for us. City and Liverpool are well and truly above us this season considering their established squad and managers. Chelsea and Spurs are also likely to finish above us, the former because they have the money behind them to afford a goalkeeper that cost more than the total sum of our purchases in the last transfer window and the latter because they have also had a period of stability with both their team and their manager. That leaves United and based on recent events, this is one team that we could comfortably end above this season. They have the squad and the players to do well, but with Mourinho at the helm, it looks as though there may be a bit of “trouble at mill!”. Time will tell.

Thus, from past experience, do not expect too much. Personally, it may not be a bad thing if we finished outside the top six so that we can have time to build and play according to Unai’s plan. Listen, I hate losing as much as the next Arsenal supporter, but Rome was not built in one day and we must be realistic in our expectations and give this manager a chance. Too much has already been said in the media by certain numbskulls and unfortunately this is unavoidable. All we can do is support our team and support our manager, this is a new era, a new team, a new manager and a new set of tactics that Unai is determined to abide by, so let’s stick with him and the team during this difficult but exciting period. That twenty or so minutes before half time at Chelsea is something we can build on and should give all Arsenal supporters hope that we have the players to make this team great. #COYG

We’ve got two games coming up before the dreaded interlull where a full six points are a true reality. First up is West Ham at home which is a Saturday 16h00 kick off – a rare event for The Arsenal this season so enjoy it whilst you can! West Ham are one of the three teams below us! They’ve lost away to Liverpool, a tough ask for any team in this league and at home to Bournemouth which would have been a disappointment to them. They will not be a walk over and it wasn’t that long ago that we lost our first game of the season at home to them. They have Marco Arnautovic up front who can bully the best of defenders and have acquired two Arsenal players plus an ex-Arsenal player in the off season, so be careful who it is that you’re supporting!! Lucas Perez and Jack Wilshere will certainly be looking to prove a point or two with Jack being the most likely to start although don’t be surprised if Perez is also involved. And then there is Lukas Fabianski in goal who will want to keep the cleanest of sheets and Arsenal seem to pick those games where the opposition goalkeeper has been man of the match more often than not. So definitely not an easy game but one that Unai will be expecting to win. Let’s hope the points haul starts this weekend, thereafter we can look to travelling to Cardiff before the interlull intrudes in our lives.

Onto things more fantastical – and we have our two leagues going in the Fantasy Premier League and Superbru. We’ve already completed game two in the FPL and the top two teams are separated by one point with some big scores being achieved. For the second gameweek of the season, top scorer was Lethabo Maesela’s uniquely named team lethabo, with 109 points. The top three teams look as follows:

Wolves of Witkoppen Richard Mackenzie 178
Im Gunning for you!! Cedric Angelo Nappies 177
Mr Joes FC Gregory Taylor 163

Great start guys – but let the others have a chance??

In the Superbru league, it was DutchySA that led the round with 8 correct results earning him 17 points and a move of 32 places up the ladder. Top three brus are as follows:

StevieZ 31,5
Cat 30,5
Gooner 29,0

Still a long way to go so let’s all stick to our guns here!!

ARSENAL MEMBERSHIP – the new season has started and it’s time to renew those memberships. Basically, anyone that was taking advantage of the Brazenhead discount of 10% for every purchase they made and getting 20% discount off Puma gear from the main Puma SA stores as well as earning an entry into the end of season draw** for every purchase they made at the Brazenhead will continue to reap these benefits as long as they renew their memberships. It’s also available to any new members or old members that may have let their membership status slip. All cards from last season have been deactivated and only those members that have paid their 2018/19 subs have had their benefits reactivated.

So, be like Tendai Nyakabau, he bought a membership last year and now he’s won a return ticket to London and a ticket to watch an Arsenal home game of his choice because he won last season’s ** end of season raffle! Or you could be like Swelihle Ngubeni as he won the same prize for the previous season! And we’re having the same prize and draw this year, all this just for the price of R150.00 for the season.
How do I become a member? Easy! There are two ways, either come through to the club and pay me direct and you will immediately get your Arsenal Brazenhead membership card from me or you can make a payment/eft into the Arsenal SA bank account to become a member – in this case, you will still need to come to the Brazenhead to pick up your membership card. Banking details are:

Beneficiary Account Name: Arsenal SA
Beneficiary Bank: STANDARD BANK
Beneficiary Branch Number: 051001
Beneficiary Bank Account Number: 022982744
Beneficiary Reference: Your Name

So come on everybody, get yourselves down to the Brazenhead this Saturday for the game and sign up for ArsenalSA membership, you won’t regret it. I’ll be there to sign you up, it’s all hassle free, plus you can watch the game with your fellow gooners and hopefully celebrate our first points of the season.

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