Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Review: The Soccer Diaries

Posted: August 9, 2014 by cyclechicster in Uncategorized

There are two kinds of football fans: those who inherit their passion and those who discover it all on their own. Michael J. Agovino, sports correspondent for The Atlantic (among others) and author of new book The Soccer Diaries: An American’s Thirty-Year Pursuit of the American Game, is the second kind of fan and is damn proud of himself. His book, published on June 1st, is half memoir and half history of the proliferation of the American game.

Much in the spirit of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, Agovino ties vignettes of his life as a soccer fan to individual games. But intent is really where the similarity ends because Agovino makes it overwhelmingly and irritatingly clear that he is not just a fan of the old New York Cosmos or USMNT, he’s a fan of the entire sport.

The attention to detail and soccer heroes is there. As someone who hasn’t really bothered to learn the deep, rich history of the sport, I came out of this reading experience wiser and (of course) much more appreciative of soccer’s struggle for legitimacy here in the US. However, the lack of personality in some of these vignettes takes away from the feeling and emotions that may actually be attached to the significant events (World Cup and Cosmos matches make up the bulk of them) described.

Truth be told, I really wanted to enjoy this book. It had the makings of a great read what with the author being so knowledgeable and dedicated to the same sport. His early life in the US with precious few-and-far-between soccer fans should have been the bulk of the narrative. But, instead of reading about the camaraderie that inherently comes with finding a fellow fan, even now, I sit through agonizing statistics about teams and matches that don’t adequately connect to his story.

There are a couple of gems in here, don’t get me wrong. Reading about how he struggled trying to learn to play soccer well is both endearing and saddening when you think about how great our AYSO programs, club teams, and youth academy initiatives are. Overall, however, this book was off target.


It’s been a while folks! Join Sarah (@wolvenal), Deborah (@binhaf), Sian (@SianyMacalarny) Zara (@goonerathena) and Premier Punditry’s Morgan Rubes (@morganArseCan) as they cover the Liverpool, Dortmund and upcoming Man United matches.


Our new signings…

Join Sarah (@wolvenal), Siân (@SianyMacalarny) and Zara (@goonerathena) as they talk somewhat about the first match of the season against Aston Villa, the (lack of) transfer window and their predictions for the new season.

Moan factor: Quite moan-ey as it was recorded before Fenerbahce

To download the podcast right click here and Save Link As –> lpgcast8-20-13

As always, if you want to send in your Arsenal or football related thoughts or questions, you can email us at or tweet us at @lpgcastofficial. You can also leave your comments below. Till the next one.


The Magic of the Cup

Posted: February 1, 2012 by lpgcast in Uncategorized

Re-live the comeback against Aston Villa with us as we discuss the game, our midfield options, support and over-reaction.

Intro music: The Comeback by Shout Out Louds

Thank you to Conor (@Conor_AFC), Maria (@evridis) and Kal (@GoonerKal) for the questions this week.

Recorded Jan 30, 2011

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Posted: January 25, 2012 by lpgcast in Uncategorized

Dealing with the aftermath of the United game, THAT substitution and Amazing Ox. Featuring Dili (@avefrater).

Intro music: Live and Learn by The Cardigans

After discussing the importance of having the right type of players in our squad with Zara yesterday , I thought it would be important to talk about how the players are being utilized within in the squad. There have been a lot of comments that players like Bendtner and Arshavin have been played out of position, and today Steve  is going to offer his thoughts on how a change in formation and tactics could be the key to solving our problems…


There has been some serious discussion around the problems at the club in recent seasons, this one in particular. One aspect that has seen attention is our tactics and the areas of weakness in our game. As I see it, our formation and ineffective crossing and corners are giving us the most trouble.

Formation: I think our formation works with our starting XI for the most part. Van Persie as a central striker is strong and both Walcott and Arshavin play well in their positions on the wings. There’s no question about our midfield as they all work well together and provide strength to our game.

I think our formation issues come when we bring on substitutes that are then played in positions with which they are not particularly comfortable. The big example here is Bendtner being played in Walcott’s role. He’s a big man, not as fast as other players and is better on the receiving end of a cross in front of the box. He’s better made to receive crosses than provide them. Wenger should be playing Bendtner in the centre to take advantage of his height and finishing if he wants to maintain our usual 4-2-3-1 formation. If he doesn’t want to do this, then why not try a 4-4-2 set up? This way we gain a more condensed midfield for defensive purposes and Bendtner can be paired with van Persie up front to provide a closer attacking partnership. Walcott and Nasri are still on the wings and can provide support/service to the strikers, as well as taking their own chances to score. This will increase the number of forwards we have in the box at any given time and should make our crosses more threatening.

Crosses: This is one area where we are rather weak (in recent games we’ve had over 30 crosses and no goals from them). As I said above, if we have one main striker in the box to receive crosses that lessens our accuracy and chances of scoring, especially when that striker isn’t particularly skilled with his head. Van Persie, though a tall guy, hasn’t scored many headed goals lately and it’s partly because it’s not as much a talent of his as, say, someone like Bendtner or one of the centre halves. When we have other attackers in the box they are usually rather short (Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott, Arshavin, Wilshere, Song…well actually nearly our entire team is short and less likely to win headers). You can’t always rely on striking for goal with your feet when an aerial ball is coming across the front of the net.

The other issue with crossing is the players providing the service. Clichy, as many know, is not the best crosser. He’s actually one of the worst we have. Sure, he provided that beautiful ball for Song to head home in the last minute of the West Ham game at the Emirates, but what else has he done? He’s much more likely to cross the ball awkwardly while Robin tries, awkwardly, to reach it. Clichy is not good at picking out players this way. He is good at moving the ball forward and providing a short pass to Arshavin, Nasri or the like, but that’s about it. Sagna is marginally better, Walcott is poor with the accuracy of his crosses, and Nasri is less likely to attempt crosses and would rather dance around defenders. Overall, in the attacking positions we are weak in this area. Poor accuracy of the cross and poor heading ability by our players.

Corners: If memory serves, we score more goals from corners than crosses and I would argue this is because we have our big boys – Squillaci, Koscielny, and Djourou – there to beat opponents to the ball. Squillaci and Koscielny have scored at least two each this season, while Djourou has scored one more recently. I realise it’s partly because at a corner we have more people in the box, but that means nothing if they can’t finish. Our outfield players have skill and ability, but not the height or physical presence to be effective this way.

The same problem comes when we try to defend corners. We’ve got our two bigger centre halves there plus van Persie, but everyone else is not physically imposing enough to dominate the space in front of goal. I believe a recent statistic has shown that we concede nearly 60% of our goals from set pieces like corners or free-kicks, which is a shocking amount, really. Part of this come down to the physical component, but there is an organisational element as well. Rarely do we see the players shouting orders at each other when lining up to defend a set piece, instead they stand around looking lost and hoping for the best. There needs to be more communication and players who want to take control of these parts of the game. I don’t know if this should be coming from the captain, since he’s really not much of a defender, but a hell of a playmaker instead. Tony Adams was not only a great defender, but he was forceful with his own team and able to motivate them to defend and perform as needed. He was also the captain of the side giving a strong personality and influence in that area and perhaps that’s what we need now (I’m not taking anything away from Cesc, he’s a great captain, but his strength is not in defence, which, if you look at some of the big blunders of this season, you will see this area has caused us more than a little stress). I think the calls for a new keeper and new centre halves could be nullified if we had one strong defender who captained the team and provided that needed element to the back four.

Meet LPG God?

Posted: April 27, 2011 by lpgcast in Uncategorized

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