Has Lukaku found a way out of Koscielny’s pocket yet?

Match analysis and afterthoughts.

Best CB-pairing in the league

Best CB-pairing in the league

Well that was one of the most exciting games I have watched all season. Credit to Roberto Martinez for building such a potent side. It was end to end stuff practically the whole game. In the end we shared the spoils which was maybe the fairest result anyone has had all campaign. Being an avid Gooner, my focus of course is on the Arsenal side. As such, there are a few observations I would like to make.

First of all, how good are Per, Kos and Szczesny this season? It is because of them that we have the best defense in the league. I mean can someone tell me if Lukaku has found a way out of Koscielny’s pocket? The two have formed a defensive partnership that no one in the EPL can match. At least not at the moment. And what of Szczesny? He makes saves that Oliver Khan would be proud of. The three (along with Sagna) have been nothing short of world class. Which brings me to the left back position. I feel (and have always felt) that Monreal is a better defender than Gibbs.

The few games he has played continue to reinforce my stance. Yesterday, Gibbs had an below average game defensively and he may have cost us 2 points. He did not close down Deulofeu for the goal and considering he was in our penalty box, I find it a bit hard to forgive. Gibbs is good at making interceptions but his positioning at times and his one on one defending leaves something to be desired. Maybe he is jaded from all the games he’s been playing, but either way I feel it’s time Monreal got his chance.

Secondly, there is the midfield conundrum. In a previous post I mentioned that having so many options to choose from can sometimes be negative. In this case it is. I feel that Wenger should find space for Walcott in that side one way or another. Wilshere has been outstanding the last 3 games and Ramsey is one of the best players in the league this season. That said, playing them all takes away not just our width but also our killer instinct. We play so well but once we get to the opposition box there is no one willing to enter the box. Ironically, playing so many creative midfielders has restricted the number of clear cut chances we create because we pass and tease at the edge of the box but it so often ends up breaking down as there is no one willing to makes runs into the box, or shoot.

The omission of Theo has also made our counter attacks toothless. When we win back the ball and we have a chance to counter, the ball lands to Ozil or Santi and you feel like crying because everyone else either isn’t willing to make runs or just isn’t quick enough to make it count. Many people call Theo a one trick pony but when that one trick is being supported by Ozil and Cazorla, it is a devastating trick. Even on Ozil’s debut, that potential partnership showed from the go. The fact is, Walcott will greatly increase our goals. Since his return, we have scored every time he is brought on.

Thirdly, if the Everton game showed us one thing it is that we need a killer striker to really take us to that elite level. I have always said Giroud is a fantastic player but he doesn’t have that ruthlessness that Suarez, Cavani, Falcao, Lewandowski, Aguero and RVP have. There are games (like yesterday’s) where having a striker who takes his chances makes the difference. Yesterday towards the end of the first half we came alive and with a more clinical striker, could have gone into the half 2 nil up effectively ending the contest. Wenger must really make this a priority when entering the market in January.

In conclusion, I feel that the game against Everton was the hardest we’ve played all season. The draw was a very fair result but because I know we can do better, it came as a disappointment to me. More so, because we really needed that 7 point cushion going into the double header against City and Chelsea. Now we have to make sure that we win at least one of those two games which will be no easy feat. That said, we are THE Arsenal and we are more than capable of doing so.

In other news, I am glad Podolski is back and we are almost at full strength and now we can begin to see how good we really are.

Come On You Gunners!!!!!

 

Written by: Marcus

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78 Responses to Has Lukaku found a way out of Koscielny’s pocket yet?

  1. mabelloandpartners@yahoo.com says:

    Quite succinct and pungent in delivery. These are the same points I have emphasised several times before, here and in other fora. We had no excuse failing to win against Everton. Giroud’s experience in one-on-one encounters with Tim Howard in the course of the match should have stood him in better stead to put us in the lead twice and on the victory path.

    And, for the umpteenth time, must we always walk the ball into the opponent’s net? Can’t we once in a while try shots with chances of being deflected into the net eve in a crowded 6- or 18-yd box? Did we have to wait for that desperate moment before Giroud’s shot cannoned off the angled post? Chances are, if we were comfortably in the lead, such threatening rocket would never be released.

    This is food for thought, and we do not have to await a January import to imbibe this lesson.

    COYG!!!
    Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

  2. Marcus says:

    mabelloandpartners@yahoo.com,
    I wouldn’t be as harsh considering the draw was less about our weaknesses and more about Everton’s strengths. However I am totally with you when it comes to us taking shots. We can’t always try to replicate the Norwich goal in every game. It’s actually one of the main reasons why we come out 2-0 victors in games that should be won by 5 or 6 goal margin.

  3. AFC says:

    Marcus, great post and I think you highlight the current problem really well. :)

    Wenger always has one system which he likes to stick to. He uses one system at a time and only changes the system when it is really not working and we lose a load of matches.
    I feel it is about having several systems and using these systems throughout the season. So throughout the season you need to rotate players as well system depending on the games and the fixtures. This is why I keep saying we still need 2-3 new players. Some people think I’m totally barmy and just keep asking for new players to be signed, just for the sake of it, to fill gaps in the team but that is not the reason for asking for signings. The reason I ask for signings is so we a full strength squad where we can rotate (our players and system) if necessary without having to worry about the quality of some of the players coming in. People also thought I was barmy for wanting to rest Ramsey for the Everton game but you cannot expect to play the same players week in week out without the team becoming predictable (which was not the case for the Everton game) and the players becoming jaded mentally and physically like Ramsey was. There needs to be enough variety to keep the opposition guessing. I’m not suggesting to that we make 10-11 changes every match but 2-3 changes when needed and a change in system when necessary. Wenger does some rotation but could do more and the change in system when things are not working out is at the start is non-existent.

    Going back to our current squad, I think we should persist with this current system until after the Christmas period until Podolski is fully fit and then in the second part of the season we should be more direct and use the system we used a couple of seasons ago. Podolski on the left wing, Walcott on the right wing with Giroud in the middle. People will argue that Wilshere or Santi should be in the side because they are better than Podolski but I feel this is a case where the change in system rather than the change in players will benefit us hugely and make us less predictable.

    I would agreee with you that a draw was fair but i feel these are steps we need to take if we are to sustain our title challenge.

    ROTATION OF PLAYERS AND SYSTEMS IS THE KEY TO WINNING TITLES.

  4. mA says:

    nice post and totally agree…

    Koscer the boss made the entire Everton look unprepared and or amateurish. The number of interceptions he made I do not know, but I predict them to be many. However, Wenger will always go for Gibbs because of his forward forays. Everyone agrees that Monreal is better at defending, but we must remember that Wenger’s teams are attack oriented.
    That said, I would also like a striker who is good one-on-one because no one in the team is currently capable of doing this. Without being critical, we have seen Ozil, Giroud, Ramsey and others fail to score after being in one-on-one situations. Have i seen an Arsenal player go round the opposition keeper and slot in an empty goal? Apart from occasional chips by Theo, not many players are also willing to chip the opposing goalkeeper. Nevertheless, I also want us to take at least 4points from Manc and Chavs games. Everything is possible and would gladly take 4 points from the two games.

  5. Tapps says:

    Be careful what you wish for!

    I agree that Giroud is far from the best finisher in the premiership. However, we should not discount the excellent hold up work he does for the rest of the team. In my opinion he is the best in his role in the premiership. Much as Suarez or Aguerro may score some scintillating goals, they would not improve our side – due to the formation we play. Personally speaking, I thought Giroud’s performance against Everton was an 8 out of 10 – and I can’t remember the last time he rated worse than that.

    I sincerely believe the criticism being levelled at him is purely because we dropped points at home, but – let’s face it – who expected us to win all of our home games this season? let’s also give credit to Everton. They are by far the best side we’ve played this season and it was down to their good play (rather than our bad play) that we were held.

    LAY OFF OLLIE G – HE’S A HERO!

  6. Gerry says:

    Marcus – I love your opening paragraph ….

    I just wonder whether the rest of it is fully thought through?

    You say Gibbs was at fault for the goal they scored. Which is only partially true.
    Yes he seem unaware of the movement behind him, but where was the midfielder who failed to track that run from the middle into open space?

    You rabbit on about Walcott being the key to our counter attacking ploy. Again, only partially true. He has not been kept out of the side because Wilshere and Ramsey are play, or Rosicky, and having the double pivot. For crying out loud he was injured, and is taking the recovery very gently … perhaps for a very good reason?
    You then go to make the point about lack of goals. Did you check the number of goals score with or without Walcott? Only two teams have scored more than us, and when you combine that with the meanest defense probably shows why we have won more games than anybody else.

    So then Giroud becomes your fall guy for not scoring more in the games we have won. But you then go on to say that nobody is prepared to run into the box, so that must be his fault too for not holding the ball up, then twisting and turning beating 3 defenders and scoring every time the ball is launched at him, and of course that is Gibbs fault for putting in some excellent crosses that were not cleared by Howard because they were in the right area?

    Of the list of players you gave to replace Giroud; Suarez -tried to buy, refused to sell; Cavani – offer refused, went for money instead?; Falcao – already committed to money bags club; Lewandowski; had already agreed to go to Bayern, but interest since looks like being the same result?; Aguero; – Never been a subject of transfer to us as they would be most unlikely to let him move to a rival; Finally RVP – We don’t have him, don’t want him(as a gift), but yes he score a lot of goals for us .. but we scored more across the team without, ans as a consequence, we have a great team spirit.

    Not before you go all ‘.. I was only giving them as an example of ruthless finishing’ can I just make two points … How many of those would put the team effort in both closing down and defending our box? (Cavani, maybe?). Secondly, where are the clinical strikers we could have bought with our budget, and still have Ozil …Bony? not a great success. Benteke? Yet to score this season. Remy? Would you have him replacing Giroud in attack and defense?

    Which brings me to the point about what AW must do in the January window … You may have missed my comment yesterday about the sheer number of reported links which are predominately strikers? So I think he is fully aware of what players he would try to add to the squad, if available, and of the right quality, But I will put these questions back to you.

    Do we settle for what we can get now, and miss out on a SQ player in the summer?

    Do we bust a real chunk of budget on a striker and let quality player go in our other positions of need?

    I am sorry Marcus, but there is a bigger picture out there that has to be considered.

    I do agree that 7 point cushion would have been nice…. but you infer that so we can still be ToTL, and lose these games? I will be much more happy with one win, one draw and only one loss, that suffering two consecutive losses to our nearest rivals, and only won against the 5th placed side? We suffered no moral sapping with that honourable draw, and thus keep our focus to know we need to play better. But given we are not half way through the season, not many results now are going to decide the outcome of the league title, some will just reinforce our solidarity?

    I did have a look at our Christmas schedule, which I don’t think is too bad. We play Chelsea and West Ham, so no travelling there. One trip up to Newcastle in between. thena couple of teams at the lower end of the table, and finishing with the Cup match at Spurs. All games are at least 3 days apart, as opposed to some who have a Thursday/Saturday combination, which I think might have been tougher on our tight squad? So let us see where we sit in the table after that, eh?

  7. Gerry says:

    AFC – As recall you did suggest both Ramsey and Ozil to be rested?

    The sheer number of players you suggest all at one go is what many, including myself, think is unrealistic and very unwise. There are bad examples out there?

    The rotating of two or three players has been happening in the last couple of games. The problem has been through injury, or unwillingness to use the likes of Gnabry, the sytem has remain more or less the same, and bringing in great result btw, which is why we are 5 points clear, so replacements have come from the area of most supply – midfield. So the fluid rotating system of them requires them to be familiar with each others play. To change a system does mean plenty of practice, but we have hardly had the personnel fit to do that. Luckily, if Walcott come through his comeback okay, and Podolski and Ox, there may be some alternative options? Although they more or less fit into the same mold that we have already.

    I do agree on the point about doubts of players coming off the bench not considered of such quality that it takes away from the overall strength. But I do not see us ever having 22 players of first team quality who are just happy to play the occasional game? Which is why we must plan to integrate the youngsters better, as they will accept it as part of their education?

  8. Gerry says:

    I think I better feed my dogs – i am being terribly critical here. Back in a bit ..

  9. jnyc says:

    One of those tight games.that can go either way. Simple. Most important is how we bounce back in these next two this week. We would be in a strong position with draws in the next three actually, including napoli. Not giving up any ground to our true rivals, city and chelsea. They will be frustrated if they dont gain ground.
    though i believe we can definitely beat them both, we must play smart. Liverpool will fall away, so i wont be worried about their temporary position.

  10. AFC says:

    Gerry, thanks for your thoughts :)

    I did say we should have rested Ozil and Ramsey but I would have been happy for one ot be rested. We could have easily rested Ozil with the attacking quality we have. Gnabry, Rosicky etc, are all god (not as good as Ozil) enough to play in our midfield and other another dimension. Gnabry could have offered us width and pace so I agree with you that not using him is wrong. This match was not as important as the City or Chelsea games I would would have preferred to have a rested Ramey and/or Ozil playing in these games.

    We have nearly reached the 22 mark in my opinion. Add another CF/ST and defender and we have reached or even passed that mark? We then have Gnabry and a few others young players to compliment the squad.

  11. Gerry says:

    mA – I don’t think that it is just Gibbs forward running. We have seen Monreal turned around some nifty wide players at times. I think Coleman could well have been another. When Gibbs goes forwards he tend to keep attackers quiet don that side? I don’t think there is much between the two of them to be honest. Gibbs is a better header, and very quick to recover. Monreal can bring his greater experience for positional advantage. But we can agree that this position is the one area where we have good cover.

    In the Napoli game I expect Monreal to play, and why he was not a starter on Sunday, because forward runs will not happen unless at set pieces.

    As for one-on-ones, although not rounding the keeper I seem to recall Gnabry got through in that position and scored. For that matter, so did Akpom in the pre-season friendly. Mind you, some of that is down to the way we play? We can compress 9 or10 of their players in and around the box that makes it very difficult. But you are right, since Gerv the swerve left we haven’t got many the can dribble their way through a crowded defence, a la Suarez. I suppose the big hope might have been Ox’s breakthrough year? With his injury now, I think we may have to let that pass until next season. Sanogo, like wise, one for next year. In fact you could go through a whole list of players that would have been great in this season, with an extra season of development behind them? All in the timing.

  12. Gerry says:

    AFC – Yes, and I thought as long as we had any two of three – WIlshere, Rosicky, Ramsey, plus Ozil then we would be okay. So if the first two started, Ramsey could have been rested.

    I guess AW was trying to keep Rosicky fresh for tomorrow’s game, and Flamini for that matter?

    I’ve just sneaked a look at the squad training, and if serious v smiles are equal to not playing v playing or coming off the bench, I would draw the following conclusions.

    Not playing; Gibbs, Ramsey, Cazorla, and Bendtner.

    Playing; Ozil, Wilshere, Gnabry(from the bench/start?), Flamini, and a bench spot for Poldolski and Frimpong … although they tend to be always happy?

    The kids look happy in their group as well. Their game kicks of at 3.0pm tomorrow, btw.

  13. VCC says:

    Gerry 16:07.
    I hope Ramsey gets a rest Tomorrow evening, he is well overdue one.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Walcott starts. We will have our backs to the wall in the first half which will suit Theo. He can be our saviour with blistering pace on the counter. Also, I would like to see Gnabry get a run out at some point. His trickery in and around the box may be a handful for the Napoli defence.

  14. VCC says:

    Also, meant to mention……I would like to see Wenger drop Gibbs and play Monreal in this match. As you all know Gibbs is not on the top of my defenders list. As a converted winger he is not bad at going forward but weak on defensive duties.

  15. AFC says:

    Gerry, thanks again for the response and you may well be right. :)

  16. Fozzie B says:

    Good evening tarnished tender toffee todger and tackle tamers!!! :D:

  17. Fozzie B says:

    Sorry for the major quiet spell!! I couple of nice gentlemen came to my door offering the finest sleeping experience a bed could offer!! I didn’t twig that they were both in impeccable white clothing and that the bed was incredibly tight! :D

    When I came round the other day I was playing chess with beaker with the itchiest ballsack known to man!! :D
    Seriously now ….. Luckily I found Cockies orbital sander from the tranny annex and promptly proceeded to scratch heaven…. Hahaha … You guys won’t believe it but Beaker proceeded to string a few coherent sentences together like …. “WTF Fozzie you crazy barstard!! ” and “do you have 2o grade I could borrow when your finished!! ” :D

  18. Gerry says:

    VCC – If my photo reading is reliable, you may get your wish?

    I disagree on the Gibbs defending point naturally. But in this game, if there is pace down the right then I don’t think Nacho will get forward very often, especially as I missed one smiling face …
    Vermaelin should have been on the playing list?

    That might make sense given Kos’s heroic efforts on Sunday?

    Glad to see you have taken car of the other business too :D

  19. Fozzie B says:

    Thanks for looking out for me guys … I have caught up on most of the posts now and seen your kind words and stimulating dialogue!! Some bromances with milo and hats off to you! Cockie sharing his annex picks after photoshopping the trannies out of it!! Happy 37th Cockie … Is my 10th next year … 10 years of pork scratchings and counting!! :D

  20. Fozzie B says:

    Nice post Marcus and 17h last. I agree with your training pic appraisal Gerry. A lot of happy faces is a great thing and Prince Poldi is the key ingredient? So so so good that he is back in the mix. I do hope Verm/monreal is played and I would for for Rocky on the right to start with theo later.
    I think as well as treating theo with kid gloves, le prof is worried about pairing up corp Jenks and Walcott together and even more nervous with Gnabry and Jenks :O

  21. Evening Filthy Fellatioesque Fcuktards ! :lol:

    Good to see someone who appreciates a warm opening welcome line like mine back again ! . Hi Forzzieskin !. hahaha

    Thanks Marvellous , another fine post .

    In response to Gezzer on last post…….I think there is a big difference to the quality of which Barkley, Lukaku and Deulofeu are at in this moment in time against the likes of ( and I`m guessing here at the young gooners you may have been alluring to, so I will name a few and will be right with some or shall I just name all the youngsters, I`m bound to get one right then ! hahaha ) Bellerin, Yennaris, Zelelam, Akpom, Hayden, Eisfeld etc` who are potential quality but not strong or good enough yet to displace the regulars ( of which some are still only young their self ! ) .

    I was delivering in Paignton today and met another Gooner !. I locked him in the back of my chiller van until he promised to read Bergkampesque tonight, although he may have trouble typing with frost bite !.

  22. Fozzie B says:

    Hahaha Cockie!!! Didn’t realise the revlon lippy run is using a chiller!! Don’t worry he will come out dolled to the 9s with the added bonus of pointy nips!! :D

  23. Fozzie B says:

    Vickers might like you to drop him off at his local Chinese for full BK initiation! :D

  24. Seems like Fozzie has been missing since…” I`m a Celebrity….Get Me Out of Here ! ” has been on ! and now it`s finished he`s back !.
    I think he has been doing hairy bush tucker trials every night in his own show called…..”The Only Way is Pig Sex ! “.
    ” I`ve Got My Head Stuck Up Miss Piggy`s Vulva…..Get Me Out of Here ! ” . hahaha

  25. VCC says:

    Love this

  26. Fozzie B says:

    Ahahahahaha JB styles laughing!! :D
    I read you and Oz blogging about the Hakas and you said that I’ve probably scared myself a few times doing the naked haka in the mirror … Funny thing is that did happen once! Haha !! :D
    I went to an all blacks game face all painted up….. Long story short.. We won .. Fozzie got sozzled… Woke up naked with a boner from and looked into my double mirror wardrobe and scared the crap out of me!! :D
    Afterwards I pretended to be all brave in front Mrs P (who was still pissed off from the night before) and proceeded to go back to the wardrobe..
    “I challenge you to a duel fine sir” I said and adopted the fencing position ready to joust back and fourth like the fine educated man I am … :D
    I managed a couple of jousts before receiving a sharp, eye watering pain in my rectum….
    “I hid the controls up there” said Mrs P “so you wouldn’t play the re-runs!” :lol:

  27. So great to have Fozzie back….The bear knows his footie! Hopefully he was allowed to watch a bit whilst in that bed situation…Better than always hiding behind a sofa, I might think… Agreed about the Everton loanees…Lukaku and Deulofeu both belong to huge clubs and so too will Barkley soon enough. (On that note, does Rodwell get a run-out in Munich today or has he been put to pasture?)… Most definitely a different class that many of our trainees, but at least we can keep ours until WE decide they’re not good enough… That being said, I would like to see one of our young tanks (Serge and/or the Ox) running at defenders with the ball. In time, I guess…

    Nice post Marcus…I’m not sure if you read mine but I too was a little down on Gibbs for the goal, given that Rosicky was there and ready for any move to the goal-scorers (much weaker) left foot… I agree with Gerry, however, that both LBs are quality. I actually prefer Nacho as a ball retention player (i.e., going forward) but that’s just me. Also, I think we will struggle when we try and play our “future” (Wilshere and Ramsey together) rather than more of experienced heads (Arteta, Flamini, Ozil, Santi, Rosicky…) against the teams which have the athletes to press us with ferocity. The older guys may also know when to allow the ref to step in and use the whistle just a little better…

    But now I’m repeating myself, so I’ll stop. Napoli will be a different prospect tomorrow with Higuain (but no Hamsek?) and I think the guy we targeted will be a handful for our defenders. Pandev also can move and finish well if we forget about him to deal with Gonzalo. They’ll be plenty concerned after the way we came out and then shut them down in London… Let’s control possession and get the first goal, I say… :D

    Finally, on rotation and being barmy…hindsight is all fine and good and so is “I told you so.” ;) (If you read my match report, you’ll have noticed I indulged a bit…) Like Gerry says, we don’t always have all the info so AW may believe the likes of those he started (Ramsey, Wilshere, Santi) are more suited to playing 65 mins while the subs (Flamini, Theo, Sicky) are better at delivering a solid half hour–amongst other thoughts… I will add, however, that Ramsey, as remarkable as he’s been, will have his tougher days and I really would like to see him play differently depending on where he is on the pitch. Confidence near their goal is lovely, near ours it can be tragic… A bigger question might be when will we see the Santi Cazorla we all remember (and love)?… Frankly, I think his long balls (from either foot) will make his value apparent once he gets a chance to send them to Theo…Will the two ever get into the same line-up might be the issue…

    ‘Nuf for now… Party on… :D

  28. Fozzie B says:

    It’s a start of a revolution Vickers!! Nows the time to corner your market for Arsenal Zimmers as well!! Divide and conquer!! Stretchs new range of Arsenal dental products are the next stage in the revolution!! :lol: love your bitch slapping Stretch of your work mate… Just use your Men in Black memory erasing smile to cover all cracks!!! … I mean tracks!!! :D

  29. Sometimes it gets confusing with similar sounding words, it must have been a shock that it was not a Volvo you was test driving !.
    I was confused once ( only once ? hahaha ). I thought, when I heard Michael Jackson singing …..” I`m forever Blowing Bubbles ! “…….that he was a West Ham supporter !…..turns out he was sucking off the chimp !…..no wonder his nose fell off, chimp jizz can melt through cast iron !. hahaha

  30. Fozzie B says:

    Chimp jizz is lethal Cockie ……. Just ask Gareth Bales!! :lol:
    His lips are extremely slim – and will fall off at any moment!! …. Probably they will go when Ronaldildo next farts!!!! :lol:
    He use to be called Zeppelin lips back in the day!! Hahaha :lol:

  31. RA says:

    It cannot be too smart coming on when the Farty Furry Boys are in their pomp, but here goes.

    That was a quality Post, Marcus, but, and you might have guessed there would be a but – apart from the blue furry one’s – and that is I have never been able to understand the faith that good and knowledgeable fans like, you, and the boss TA have in Theo.

    I can hardly remember being thrilled by a Theo dribble and shot this season. Too many inside passes, check backs and running into defenders for me. When he came off the bench on Sunday he drifted to the centre instead of staying out wide, which was not what we needed. Not for me.

    That said, I actually agree with you that we do need someone with pace to burn who keeps the opposition back on their heels and gives the defence an out ball. A fast tricky winger tomorrow night would be perfect, to stop the all out attack we are bound to be subjected to.
    Theo is the one we will go with, but I would prefer Gnabry to be given the opportunity to show us what he is made of.

    So we agree — but it is the choice of player we have different preference for. :-)

  32. VCC says:

    Hi Redders.

    Either Theo or Gnabry could do a job on Napoli.

    Perhaps Theo for 70 then Gnabry for 20.

  33. Hahaha Fozzer……I`m sure Zeppelin Lips is what Stretch used to call one of his ex-wives !. He tried to do a DIY job of extreme lip reduction on her labia, but she sued him for gross incompetant workmanship after he sealed her lips when borrowing Princes nail gun and was on trial for ……” Snatch fixing charges ! “. hahaha

  34. Gerry says:

    TCM – The point about other teams youngsters is they were given time playing in the first team. Barkley did not just drop in there on Sunday. Ward-Prowse, still only just 18, at Southampton, and Luke Shaw, who is a bit older have both been brought in gradually.

    We rushed it with Wilshere. and Gibbs, and probably Frimpon?. But have taken a little longer with AOC, trying to do the same with Gnabry. I agree that some of the others it is a year too soon. Others like Yennaris have missed out due to injury at the wrong time. Hopefully,when they come back off their short term loans, and we can afford them to be on the bench and get the odd twenty minutes, so when they are called upon to do a longer stint they will no their job.

    Hayden did pretty good in the second half when he made his first team start a while back. he made a rash challenge in the first half, but calmed down a lot after the break. Not been seen since? In the first team at least. Another of the slightly older ones, Eisfeld, never tried after the pre-season. We get a glimpse of Akpom, then gone.

    I understand the reason, we have been over-achieving for the past few seasons, given the depth of the squad and yet still finishing in the top 4. That put pressure on us not to lose, and dropping in youngster does carry that risk if you haven’t got the players around them to carry them through.
    Hopefully, this will change after January?

    I also would like to correct the impression you gave the other day saying the under 19′s were a bit up and down? They were unbeaten in their first 6 games, but then lost 1-5 to a very strong side on the night when they had an untried CB paring and an upgraded Under 18 in at RB, and along with the talented 16 year old Dan Crowley, who is a tad on the small size compared to the opposition. It will be confirmed tomorrow, but I believe they are also top of their group in this Youth Tournament, despite having lost the services of Gnabry?

    As I said earlier to day, it is all about timing, both in opportunity, and staying injury free?

  35. RA says:

    Hi VCC, :-)

    Long time no see.

    I would expect Theo to play a major part tomorrow, and watching Ribery in the Bayern v Shitty game is exactly the way I would love to see him playing. Chances? Fat! :-)

    See you again soon.

  36. Meant to say this the other day. Have a look how the BBC abbreviate Arsenal Vs Hull !. Any one notice a word there which describes the likes of Lineker and Hansen !. hahaha

    http://www.101greatgoals.com/gvideos/arsenal-2-hull-0-motd/

  37. RA says:

    Hi Gerry

    Good comment, especially the last sentence.

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    Indeed, RA, you’re taking your life (or at least your better parts…) into your own hands if you mix it up with the furry ones…But there is a bit of football on…

    United are struggling against Shakhtar Donektz… If they were to lose their THIRD in a row at home they would finish 2nd in the group…The Brazilians, er, Ukraininans, should be ahead but they almost fall behind—if only Ashley Young could chip as well as he dives… :lol:

    Meanwhile, the other Manchester team have pulled back a goal in Munich through David Silva… Will he play against us on the weekend after being out for so long? They WILL finish 2nd in their group but it’s still a chance for players to impress Count Pellegrini and avoid more time in the “shadow squad”…

    Galatasaray-Juventus match suspended as they try and do snow removal on the pitch :shock:

    Any Weng-juries, Weng-iruses, etc., reported for tomorrow?….

  39. Gezzer…..the U18`s ( don’t think we have a U19 team ! ) are doing rubbish ( I think you said once that they are mostly 16 year olds as the better ones are in the U21`s ). Have a look at their results on Arsenal.com, cant see them being top of a domestic league, unless you are talking about the CL youth league where they will qualify tomorrow in Naples, as long as they are not defeated by 3 goals or more !.

  40. 17highburyterrace says:

    I’m finding myself screaming at my Brazilians, er, Ukrainians to put ManU to the sword (and not screw up at the other end)…They’re absolutely dominating in the middle but look super sorry at the two ends…Still nil-nil but I don’t get a good feeling with all the spurned opportunities…

    Indeed, Gerry, good call about the younger players…Totts at home is not the best draw for the them in the FA cup either. No way do we want to lose a Derby and Spurs traded one SQ player for 7 pretty good ones…Hard for our pack of kids to match a bunch of 15-20 million pound purchases…Bottom line is that it’s unlikely we’ll see more than a couple of them make it at a team with our ambitions…

    Too much snow in Istanbul and that one will have to be replayed. Eboue looked to not be faking and maybe he really hurt himself…

  41. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sweet Fancy Moses–these Brazilian-Ukranians have blown it…RVP corner causes panic and jar-head Jones puts it in…Bernard is in, but no Dudu (yet) and they need two goal…Meanwhile City are ahead…Could an(other) English team become inspired by a (meaningless) win in Munich?…

  42. proudgooner says:

    Evening guys,
    I have had a crazy day 1 of my girlfriends was missing all day, turned out some local sex pest had her locked up in a freezer van.! lol She was happy enough though she got to look at Bergkampesqe and she said he had some skills with his tounge..
    Any on the football i hope city dont beat the erman we dont want them after they think they can beat the best.

  43. Fozzie B says:

    Hey Totes did you like the Danish samurai s interview the other day after Hull?
    Does anyone smell waffles??
    Danish waffles topped with 2 generous portions of creamy OGAAT !!

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qxuIaUwDjrY&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DqxuIaUwDjrY#
    :D

    Ps. Are you out in the red light district with your pink cloggs? :D

  44. Gerry says:

    Sorry, the Youth League is an under 19, I think? .. it has been a long day.

    The Under 21′s is the reserve league, and yes, it was there where they had such a good start.
    But came down with a bump against Sunderland. Prior to that, they were unbeaten in 6 games, 6 points off the top and 3 games in hand. Now they may be more points behind, or only two games in hand?
    Yes, the Under 18′s are made up with a lot of 16year olds, and they will not be in the top half of the table. Kids of that age do tend to vary in size a lot, which was my point about Crowley, and even he has stepped up to the 21′s now, but not on a full time basis I would guess. Likewise Zelalem, who is available for the 18′s but has been mostly withe the reserve league.

    It is easy to get confused when you have Gnabry in the first team 16yo’s in the 21′s league, and schoolboys playing in the 18′s?

    It was the older ones I made reference to with regards being given opportunities to in the first team.
    They are are also unbeaten going into this match tomorrow, but they have lost Bellerin out on loan?
    They had 2 wins and 3 draws, of which two were with Dortmund. So this being their last game in the Group, they could get 12 points. I do not know how the other teams in the group got on.

  45. Fozzie B says:

    That’s right PG, Cockie is the most gracious of hosts and you can sell the cookie crumbs on the black market and make a fortune! :D If northern oilers sneaked one, we could get Bayern again next round! P off Count Pelligrini!! :lol:

  46. proudgooner says:

    I am really pleased to have Podolski back and fit, i think he will help Ozil settle in even better and i think them 2 could combine a formidable partnership as he can and also will with Theo.
    Nearly a fully fit side! :) not something as Goooners are used to saying at all.
    Rotating imo is a luxury and should be used as 1 i dont think we should rotate just for the sake of it. I have always been a “if it aint broke then dont try to fix it ” kind of man. Wenger will i hope slowly tinker with the team and work out his strongest 11 both on offensive and more defensive set-ups .

  47. proudgooner says:

    That is what i was just thinking cor all that hard work to get 1st place and some unlucky “$”” could get Munich in the second round lol

  48. proudgooner says:

    Ohhh and the sneaky little mix grabbed a handfulls of the crumbs and hid them in her socks and even a few in her thong she is quids in ;)

  49. proudgooner says:

    minx

  50. proudgooner says:

    no city still second place thank god

  51. Fozzie B says:

    Haha Cockies crumbs and toe jams is super kinky PG, better not tell Cockie as he loves that foot stuff!! Haha :lol: thank goodness Bayern can blow out someone else out of our path, hopefully Chelvski!! Those oilers better not be Cockie against us on Satday! Lets hope they draw RM or Barca!! :D

  52. Fozzie B says:

    O I reckon we will get olympiakos again I we win the group!

  53. Fozzie B says:

    That Greek food is good though, I can understand that! :D

  54. proudgooner says:

    lol, he looks like Wengers evil twin brother .big match hope win do them by few goals.

  55. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gerry’s still focused on his boys; PG and the furry ones talking about goings on in the rear of the van… Soggy crumbs can still be good eating, no?…

    I’m still steamed at all those spurned chances at Old Drof-Fart. Is it because their domestic season’s already over? Or maybe they’ve been doing double duty marching in the streets of Kiev… United defend alright once they’ve gotten a lead, I guess… :rolly eyes….

    Count Pell will have some thinking about his (too) deep squad for our match…On the plus side he can start thinking about it now and they’ll be buoyed by their victory much as we were last Feb…Interesting that the guy in for Clichy is given the armband and takes the pen… In all the back and forth about Gibbs and Nacho, nobody has yet to mention the guy who dyed his hair blue…

    Of course, we’ve still got a match to play. Crap as the schedule is, tomorrow is a great test: Hold our nerve, defend like we’ve proven we can, and put it away…all in a hostile environment…Good times…

    Go on…

  56. Fozzie B says:

    I think Pelegrini needs to visit his uncle
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TJxKvwMIVtA&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DTJxKvwMIVtA#

    How many goals needed Count!

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    Many thanks for the post Marcus. :)

    It is a typical Marcus analysis and, as always, a good read.

    There is quite a bit I don’t agree with but it is your opinion and others have argued their case against some of your conclusions already. Suffice to say that we should not pull conclusions from one game, whether it is one we lost, drew or won. There will be very few clubs who will win three in a row when played within a week this season, and we need to look at Sunday’s draw with perspective imo.

    A win would have been wonderful but a draw keeps our feet on the ground as we have not got diamonds on the soles of our shoes yet. :)

    Bring on the Mafia boys! :lol:

  58. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Fozzie, good to see you back and that you have not lost your blog-libido yet. :)

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Tapps – superb comment and could not agree more. :)

    Good to see RA and AFC back as well :)

  60. Fozzie B says:

    Good to hear from you Von Cloggenstein, looking forward to tomorrow, goodnight all :D

  61. Highbury Harmony says:

    Thanks for the article Marcus!

    I am still somewhat surprised to see Arteta starting in midfield. Is Flamini nursing a minor knock of sorts that is preventing him from being in the starting 11? We seem to have more burst and command in midfield when both Flamini and Ramsey start.

    I don’t mind Jack on the wing since we currently have a dearth of natural wing options since Theo is being eased back into the line-up. I agree that once Theo is healthy, it should add a good additional scoring threat to our attack and make us more lethal on counters.

    Something should be said for having Rosicky on the pitch as we just push forward more efficiently when he’s on. I guess there’s no way to have all our talented midfielders on the pitch at once, but Santi hasn’t been on-form or influential enough lately to be guaranteed a starting spot on the left. Even when Ozil drifts in and out of games, he still produces goals and assists at a better rate.

    My suggested starting 11 for this weekend vs. City would be: Szczesny (GK), Gibbs (LB), Koscielny (CB), Mertesacker (CB), Sagna if healthy (RB), Flamini (CM), Ramsey (CM), Wilshere (LW), Ozil (CAM), Walcott (RW) and Giroud (ST).

  62. Gerry says:

    HH – That could be a goer … if they remain fit after tonight.

    And yes, Flamini is ‘possibly’ carrying a groin strain. Not much talked about from AW or Arsenal.com, but it is clear by his absence that something is not 100%?

  63. jgc says:

    Hi all

    Welcome back Fozzie… Been busy myself down under tho missed the all blacks recent wins.

    Marcus et al and commenters. Horses for courses. Rotation is good but not to just rotate. That’s for maybe the Hulls of the world for a team very stingy on defense and second only to our ToTL selves in goals against, one needs to better pick ones match ups. Thus, for me, I go with Nacho first and Flamini to have more “boss” in the mids. Then I worry about Ramsey and Ozil and OG and how to spell them. Match ups must be good first.

    Just my short 2p, and tomorrow we will see more… I hope or pray to find the good stream… :)

    Cheers — jgc

  64. Gerry says:

    HT17 – I am only commenting on missed opportunities.

    HH says he is surprised Arteta is starting, because he does not know that is all we have for that position? No Frimpong. No Hayden. No one to back up either of the DM’s should we need the double pivot.

    Which reminds me, I did read something about Sagna being worse than first thought. He was not on the training pics, so I am not sure if he is in Naples? So if Jenks remains at RB, then having the twin pivot seem even more essential. Not that Jenks got too carried away going forwards last time. In fact the only criticism I could make was making himself more of an outlet ball for Mert. Every now and then he would just stand by and leave it for him to clear. That said, in the past, he has always got better with a run of games … Which could be handy if needed against Chelsea as well?

  65. JamesOfSouthWales says:

    I too share your frustration about Gibbs, I always find myself screaming get in his face. He seem s to allow to much space , don’t get me wrong he’s too has improved immensely this season and you could argue with more games he’ll get better. In the big games though I would rather us play Nacho because of his experience and knowledge of the game seem more well rounded.

    But to take a little of the blame should be diverted to Arteta I think he didn’t have a great game defensively and fell off Barkley in a challenge. This allowed the pace of the toffee s attack to build and Delfoloue to receive the ball outside gibbs

    But isn’t it a brilliant to worry about which international to play lol :)

    On the Walcott situation, I think it’s a simple situation of balance which with Poldi fit now we have become more potent in the final 3rd. Poldi and Theo will both look to push inside the box to support Oli.

    We are going to look very dangerous especially if we sight a more instinctive striker in Jan

  66. Fozzie B says:

    Good day Nervous Neopolitan Nob Nashers!!
    I’m surprised no one has mentioned it yet, but despite Count Pelegrini getting his wires crossed … Last night in my opinion could be the turning point for Shitty this season!!!
    It really pains me to say it, but to beat Bayern at home with their B side will give them massive confidence going forward!
    Remember what it did for us last season? It heralded our long run of good results.
    I know it’s too early to tell, but to me this could not have come at a worse time for Arsenal. A result on Saturday is the only way now to combat what they’ve accomplished last night.
    Much like seeing an Asian woman behind the wheel of a car, “I have a bad feeling about this!” . No disrespect intended to the above, if you saw Fozzie half baked on Cockies special batch cookies behind the wheel of a car ….. The feeling “I have a bad feeling about this would be the same!” :lol:

  67. Admir says:

    Hello, people! :)

    Marcus, it was an excellent article with two huge spots on: Gibbs and Walcott.

    Now, I think that Gibbs’ positioning can improve. Just remember how much troubles Koscielny had had with positioning before he formed the partnership with Mertesacker. I have a feeling that Gibbs goes through the same type of problems that most English players do – poor tactical training at the youth categories. Same thing goes for Jenkinson – they have been raw talents that Arsene Wenger turned into real players.

    When it comes to Giroud, I think that he has done a marvellous job given that he has been more like an advancing midfielder to us since Mesut arrived. He was just a few inches away from grabbing himself an assist (when Ramsey’s shot was blocked by Howard in the first half) and a goal (that thundering shot that almost broke the frame of the goal). That’s why I believe people have been too harsh on him. On the other hand, I would like to see Robert Lewandowski in Arsenal in January. I think he is the most realistic option, especially if Borussia Dortmund somehow fail to qualify for the Knockout Stage (but it won’t happen – Marseille owe them one for that shameful finish of the match in 2011-12 when Borussia conceded two goals in the last five minutes so Marseille went through and Olympiacos were relegated to Spudsday football).

  68. Gerry says:

    Well I am pleased to report the the Youth team are through to the next stage. And like the seniors, they avoided a 3-0 defeat to end up top of the group, and now get a home tie.

    For anybody living close enough, it should be worth a trip to see them.

    Pity they lost their unbeaten run, going down 2-1 in the end, after Akpom scored from a Toral assist. But they did all that was necessary, and it sounded like they had chances to put the game to bed.

    Let’s hope the first team can follow suit?

  69. Gerry says:

    And I was right last night. For the purposes of this tournament,they are known as the Under 19′s/

    Here is the link to Jorge Bird’s report:

    http://arsenalyouth.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/arsenal-secure-youth-league-qualification-despite-napoli-defeat/?

  70. Fozzie B says:

    Thanks for the youth updates Gerry and hi it JGC and 17h thanks for the welcome back :D

  71. Fozzie B says:

    Wakey wakey bastardos!! Nearly kickoff!! :D

  72. Marcus says:

    Sorry for the late reply. Thank you all for your contributions. Different opinions and perspectives are always valued.

  73. Fozzie B says:

    Team sheets
    Napoli: Rafael, Maggio, Fernandez, Albiol, Armero, Dzemaili, Behrami, Callejón, Pandev, Mertens, Higuaín

    Substitutes: Colombo, Uvini, Britos, Insigne, Cannavaro, Inler, Zapata

    Arsenal: Szczęsny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Rosický, Arteta, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud

    Substitutes: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Monreal, Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott, Bendtner

  74. Fozzie B says:

    Glad Rambo rested :D

  75. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow only eight right! Good line up though with lots of experience – good average age!

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    New post I say with some shame :oops:

  77. Gerry says:

    So, what do we read into the team selection then?

    Keeping Rambo fresh for Man City? Wilshere to do the last 20 minutes? Monreal to protect the lead .. if we have one? Walcott to add spice if we are chasing? Mmmnnn?

    I hope AW has got it right?

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