Arsenal v Liverpool Pre-Match: a game with transfer window repercussions?

Arsenal face a tricky Liverpool team looking for redemption after their loss against Oldham at the weekend. Both teams sit outside the Champions League positions so a win is absolutely vital. It would not only catapult either of them up the table, but also fend off one of their rivals at the same time.

Gradually we are building up our momentum again after tight loses to Chelsea and City. However, Arsene’s biggest problem at the moment is sending out his troops ready and raring to go for both halves of football, not just the second. Liverpool will be baying for blood and will be keen to silence the crowd early through their three-pronged quick attack: Suarez, Sturridge, and Sterling (is it just me or do you feel like going up to him after a good game and saying “Sterling job today Raheem”? No? Okay…well how about Wisdom? Do you feel like saying “Andre, you played football today with the Wisdom of a 30yr old”? Moving on swiftly!).

Arsenal are undefeated against Liverpool in 9 of their last 10 matches in all competitions: a very good record against a tough adversary. Let’s get this show on the road and see how we are going to beat them once again.

Missing in Action:
Sick bay

Arsenal: Vermaelen should be fit again after suffering a knock from a Ramsey goal line clearance against West Ham. Arteta (calf) is ready to return, but is it too soon for the Spaniard? Ramsey is likely to continue in the position in which he’s performed so aptly. Coquelin (Hamstring) and Fabianski will also miss out.
Gerv misses this one due to Coupe d’Afrique des Nations duty.

Liverpool: Kelly (knee) and Flanagan miss the trip to the Emirates. Reina could return after Brad Jones’ error against Oldham at the weekend. Glen Johnson (Hamstring) faces a fitness test. Gerard should return to the starting line-up.

Predicted Line-up:

starting line-up POOL

The best available players should line-up for Arsenal in this must win home fixture. Vermaelen will return, along with Gibbs, Wilshere, Santi, Sagna, and Walcott. Arsene faces a tough decision on who to play in the middle of the pitch with Wilshere, Santi, Diaby, Arteta, and Ramsey potentially all available. Diaby ran the show last time these two teams met so I think he will start once again. Santi has been rested but does he return to AM or does he relinquish it to Wilshere once again? Ramsey has performed well in the holding role but does he need a rest so Wilshere can play alongside Diaby in the midfield?

Decisions decisions decisions!! I’ll go with Diaby-Wilshere-Santi for my midfield combination. Another conundrum is which CB pairing to play? Per has been a bit out of sorts recently, but Verm and Kozzer are a bit too similar, not to mention they haven’t had a chance to form a solid partnership as yet. Suarez, Sterling and Sturridge create a problem because of their speed and trickery, for that reason I’m going with the Koz and Verm combination.

Previous Encounters:
Liverpool v Arsenal 0-2
Diaby shone in a relatively straight forward fixture. Games against Liverpool are normally always a battle (they always bring their ‘A’ game against the top teams, especially at Anfield) but this one was different. Great interchanges between new boys Santi and Podolski saw them score a goal each and cruise to victory!
Liverpool v Arsenal 1-2
Some guy scored in injury time to win us the match thanks to a brilliant pass from Song. Plaudits go out to Szczesny for this piece of brilliance (note Suarez’s lovely theatrical dive with a skin clutch to finish):

Form Guide: Arsenal: : WWLWL Liverpool: LWLWW
Arsenal come in to this game on a two-game winning streak. Brighton was a tough foe and a reminder that anything can happen in cup matches, regardless of who you are facing. Thanks to some Giroud magic and a Theo deflection we prevailed; booking a meeting with Blackburn in the next round.

After a 5-0 thrashing of Norwich, Liverpool were embarrassed by Oldham and knocked out of the FA Cup. Sturridge has shown to be a handy pickup scoring 3 in 4, whilst Henderson and Downing are coming in to some good form of their own.

Arsenal Archive

THIS WEEK I’VE DIPPED INTO THE ARSENAL ARCHIVE AND PULLED OUT THIS VIDEO CLIP. MICKY DID IT!!!

One to Watch:

barton suarez impersonation

Now at first I wasn’t too sure who this was! Was it Suarez? Or just Joey Barton pulling a face? If it wasn’t for the QPR top it would definitely be a flip of a coin. Jokes and off-field matters aside, Suarez is a very dangerous player. Technically he is excellent and very elusive. 16 goals so far this season prove our CB pairing will need to be on their toes when Suarez runs at them with the ball at his feet.

Gibbs showed just how vital he is to the team at the weekend. Once he came on to the pitch at the 70th minute mark, we looked like a new team. He gives us so much drive down the left and definitely brings the best out of Podolski’s game. I just hope he can keep fit and continue to show everyone why he is England’s next great LB.

Key-Match up:

skrtel vs giroud

Giroud vs Martin Škrtel
Giroud is in red hot form at the moment coming off of consecutive braces against Brighton and West Ham. Standing in his way for this game is the uncompromising Slovakian Martin Škrtel. Škrtel plays exactly how he looks…tough and ugly as sin. Both are powerful footballers who should enjoy the physical battle with one another. If Giroud continues his momentum, we will go a long way to winning this encounter. If Škrtel locks down on Giroud with help from Agger we may need to find another avenue to goal. The good thing about Giroud though is his desire to fight on, it may not go his way but he will keep battling until the final whistle. He can just as easily turn provider for either Podolski or Walcott.

Pre-Match Finger:

kid finger

This week’s finger goes out to all the footballers who dive repeatedly, week after week. Yes we know there are players like Young, Hazard, Bale, Suarez etc who do it often, but it’s spreading like wild fire in today’s game. If a player knows he’s going to lose the ball he hits the deck, if he is outnumbered and has no place to go…he hits the deck, and you catch my drift. I just want to watch a game of MEN giving it their all and battling it out fairly with the better team prevailing on the day. I don’t want to see a player rolling around on the ground, I don’t want to see Jack the lad yellow carded after a brilliant tackle because his opponent is screaming for the physio (when he clearly doesn’t need one), and I don’t want to see players waving around imaginary cards. Quit the lying, cheating, and diving…let’s just bloody get on with it!!!

Pre-Match pat on the back:

pat on the back

I think all the Arsenal supporters who have shown a bit of faith towards our players deserve a pat on the back. The press did their best (along with a few supporters) to slate Giroud before he even got a chance to place his hair gel on the shelf of his new Arsenal locker. It would have been a tough gig for anyone to step in for RVP after the year he had, but from Day 1 Giroud has put his head down and fought hard for the team. Some need to dial back their expectations with regards to some of our players, not everyone can hit the ground running. Even those that do, will go through rough patches in their career. Keep showing the faith to our players and they will do their best by giving everything they’ve got for us. Giroud is definitely playing for the name on the front of the shirt, now let’s all get behind him and remember his name on the back!

Ask the opposition (3)

‘Ask the opposition’ returns again this week. It is designed to get some friendly banter from our opposition fans and get their insight for the match ahead. This week the answers were kindly provided by Tim from http://live4liverpool.com (twitter handle @timdibs) and Paul from http://www.tomkinstimes.com. Let’s see what they’ve written for us this week:

Do you think a spell down the table is just what Liverpool needed to get back to the top?

Tim: Yes and no. The no is obvious as no club wants to have to effectively start again. I have seen the clubs present state being described as Hicks and Gillett effectively dropping a nuclear bomb at the heart of the club and that we are still dealing with the fallout. The club never needed to get to this stage, had H&G been proper owners and actually backed Rafa then we would be sat here discussing at least one premier league title sat in our cabinet at Anfield, but instead they tried to profit at the clubs expense and wonderfully they failed and got diddlysquat. But since that day in court the club has had to go through what we went through to get where we are today. A failure to back Rafa and bring in the players to take the next step (instead selling our best) saw us tumble out of the champions league places (not helped by the Sheikhs at City) and try and maintain an aging squad on Champions League money. We have bid a sad farewell to Kuyt, Maxi and Bellamy, a not so fond farewell to Cole or Aquilani and a thanks for trying to Sahin which will see wage savings of at least approaching £500k a week. What this has allowed is for a freshening of the squad and an opportunity for some of our really top class youth players to come in. I think we have signed some very good young players and given time they will do well for us, but we need a couple more older heads and time. It took Fergie 4 years to win anything yet some here are calling for a manager’s head after 6 months. Absolutely barmy.

Paul: I don’t think so. To be a top club these days you need to be in the Champions League; you can afford and attract the best players, and build a bigger squad. Getting back into the top 4 has proved incredibly difficult, but having said that, our time should come again, sooner or later.

Who has been Liverpool’s best player so far this season? What is he capable of?

Tim: Without a shadow of a doubt our best and most consistent player this season has been the oft misunderstood Luis Suarez. Whether you love him or loathe him there is no denying his genius. Steven Gerrard has recently stated that he is the best player he has ever played with and behind Messi and Ronaldo the best player in the world, a non-too shabby compliment. Despite not being a natural finisher like a Fowler, the number of chances he creates for himself is incredible. He has that low centre of gravity and the unique ability to stick the ball to his feet and beat players with ease in the tightest of situations. I have lost count of the number of nutmegs he has done. Undoubtedly he will continue to divide opinion and create controversy such is the media obsession with him, but on his day he is unplayable and our biggest threat.

Paul: Luis Suarez, by a mile. He’s a one-man destruction army. He battles, he has bags of skill, he scores goals – he’s the perfect modern striker. Gerrard has picked up lately, and Glen Johnson has been superb this season. It’s also great to see Agger playing almost every minute in the league this season.

Downing, Henderson, Sturridge, how are they travelling?

Tim: I shall start with Sturridge, as this should be the easiest answer! Im not sure he could have asked for a better start as an individual in a red shirt, 3 goals in 4 games even if the team performances have been hit and miss. He has all the tools in his locker, pace, skill, finishing and that arrogance all top strikers have. The best strikers, like your own Henry, channel that arrogance and this is where Daniel has perhaps struggled at City and Chelsea where he wasn’t viewed as top dog. He offers the team something we have lacked, a player playing off the shoulder of the last defender. His goal against United was exactly the type of goal we haven’t been scoring. Brendan has backed his man to the hilt and lavished praise on him and we are seeing just what he can offer. His actions and comments since joining have endeared him to the Kop and we can only wonder how our season would have transpired had we got him in august.
As for Henderson and Downing, their futures looked bleak at the start of Rodgers regime. Downing has really struggled to settle into the team and often been anonymous whereas Henderson was often played out of position and therefore failing to shine. Personally I have always rated Henderson as a top professional with the desire and heart any team would want in a young lad. My assessment on Downing has been reserved as he really should have come in and had a bigger impact. Both will have had long conversations with Rodgers, Downing’s being made public, and both have responded very well indeed. We are currently seeing both shining in the side and that is credit to Rodgers man management. I’m still not convinced Downing has a future with us beyond the summer but am elated that Henderson is being given his chance and is taking it.

Paul: Downing started well last season, then faded away. He started okay this season, then faded away. He’s playing well at the moment, though. Henderson was almost inexplicably sold to Fulham for peanuts in the summer, despite playing very well in central midfield last season – although he spent most of his time on the right. Thankfully he’s won Rodgers over. And Sturridge has been very good in three of his four games so far, and looks a great buy – just a shame we didn’t take up the offer to buy him in the summer.

Brendan Rodgers…how do you think he is travelling at Liverpool?

Tim: I am of the opinion that in order for a club to succeed it needs stability and support from the owners. As a result I didn’t want Kenny Dalglish to go (and the fact it is Kenny Dalglish), despite our form post League Cup being dreadful, I was looking forward to a summer where he could add to the squad to setup his style of play. However this was not to be, and we had to go from ‘year zero’ with Rodgers. Personally speaking I am a big fan. I have been impressed with the way he has carried himself since arriving, impressed with how he has talked and when we get it right I have been very impressed with the way he has set up the team to play. Sensible fans realise that we have essentially had to start a fresh under Rodgers and that it is a bumpy road ahead that will see some tough days (WBA away and Villa at home spring to mind) but for once it is nice to see that the club appears to have a long term plan and are going with it. We are seeing a much younger side and seeing youth get its chance which will bode well for the future. From afar I have admired Wenger for his teams and the youth he puts out and want us to an extent follow this model, I have even written about this previously if you are interested http://live4liverpool.com/2012/11/view-from-the-kop/i-dream-of-arsenal

Paul: Mixed so far. A lot to like about him, and a lot to remain unconvinced about.

What position/player is your weakest link?

Tim: I am not one to highlight individuals as being weak as it goes against my footballing beliefs. I happen to think we have a very talented, albeit small, squad of individuals, the trouble being as with any new, young team is combining that into a team, complementing skill sets. This season we have been quite Jekyll and Hyde, and have struggled against physicality. The likes of Lukaku, Benteke and Bobadilla have really troubled us up top, so I expect Giroud to be an important player for you. Also in the middle of the park if we set up wrong we can lose out, and it was Diaby that did the damage at Anfield earlier in the year. Our approach is all about tempo and pressing (something evidently missing from the Oldham game) and a failure to do so causes problems. We didn’t do this first half against United and let Carrick run the show. If we fail to do so against you Diaby will bully, Cazorla and Wilshere will boss it.
As of today, our weakest link is probably at Left Back, with Jose Enrique out we have no established cover, and by playing Johnson there we are losing a main attacking threat down the right. We have a good crop of youngsters like Wisdom and Robinson but for a game against a team like Arsenal you want your stop players.

Paul: Left-back is weakest position in terms of cover, and lack of an outstanding first choice on top of that – although Enrique had found his form before injury. He’s been either brilliant or dreadful since arriving from Newcastle.

Which arsenal player would you like to have and why?

Tim: Very tough question. I admire a number of Arsenal players and would love to bring them to Anfield. Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Wojciech Szczesny and a fully fit Abou Diaby. The thought of a Cazorla pulling the strings for Sturridge and Suarez is mouth-watering. Before Sturridge signed I would have said Walcott and looking to the future as Reina gets no younger, Szczesny is one of the best in the league, but I will go for Wilshere. I really rate Wilshere, and am a big proponent of British talent, and there are few better than him. He is committed, has vision, skills and could easily be the natural successor to Stevie. He has that ability to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and get something from it, as he did against Swansea in that recent cup replay. He also looks pretty good in a Liverpool goalie top!

Paul: I really rate about half of the Arsenal side, which is probably why you’re not looking as good as in the past, when the whole XI was strong. I really rate Vermaelen, and I’d have taken Walcott had he left you! Podolski scores goals, although I’m not sure he’s a great all-round player. Right now, though, either Cazorla and Wilshere would be my pick.

What is your prediction for the match?

Tim: I hate these sort of questions as always feel I am tempting fate. I will let me head rule my heart and will state that I would be happy with a draw. We are a very Jekyll and Hyde team at the moment and how we start a game can really effect the outcome. No matter the form of Arsenal they are always a difficult team to play anywhere, but especially at the Emirates, and for me this is exactly the kind of game that Arsenal pick up points in. You have a knack of getting results in crucial games and crucial times in the season and this is one of them. If we are to achieve top 4 this season then we need something from this game. If the shoe was on the other foot Arsene would.

Paul: I don’t do score predictions. All I’ll say is that if Liverpool are as open at the back as they have been under Rodgers, Arsenal could get a hatful of goals. But Liverpool could also score a few themselves, with some fine attacking play of our own, given that your defence doesn’t look water-tight either. Therefore, I’ll say 0-0!

Prediction:
I’m under no illusion that this will be an easy game. Liverpool and Arsenal need victory to climb into Champions League consideration, so expect both to give everything. Liverpool is always a tough encounter, therefore the Arsenal team will be fired and ready to battle. Our run should continue and I see a solid 2-0 victory for the good guys. The loss to Oldham will be too soon to get over and their confidence will be at an all-time low. Oh and ref…don’t fall for Suarez’s dives will you. He’s better than that (I like to think), you’re better than that (I’m not sure once again), and both sets of fans deserve a great game of football with a fair result for the better team on the day (us)!

For this week’s psychic prediction I went back on to the free site in search of my pre-match friend, however, she was unavailable. So this week I’ve got a new one…my bubbly African friend Yakman. Here are her responses:
Oz: Will Arsenal beat Liverpool on Wednesday? and by how much?
Yakman: Arsenal will win. 3-0
Oz: Will we make any transfers before the window closes?
Yakman: no
Oz: Will GLIC get over his mirror obsession? Is his playing kiss-chasey with himself dangerous?
Yakman: Haha sometimes the male spirit can be strong and egotistical, my suggestion is to tell him to move away and not be so self-involved. If he is doing that then there is no hope for your friend haha.
Oz: Thank you. I think deep down we all knew there was no hope for him!

What is your prediction?
Which three-pronged attack will prevail?
Will Škrtel stop Giroud in his tracks?
Which Liverpool player would you like in our team?

Written by: By Oz Gunner

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190 Responses to Arsenal v Liverpool Pre-Match: a game with transfer window repercussions?

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Oz 🙂

    Thanks for another fine, in-depth, all singing and dancing pre-match report.

    Fully agreed on the need to play TV and Koz tomorrow, for the reasons you state. BFG has had a few disappointing games and we need strength and speed on the ground which the Belgian and Frenchmen offer us in abundance.

    You are probably right about Diaby and Wilshere playing in the ‘2’ with Cazorla ahead of them. However, it is also possible that Arsene will rest Diaby for this one and play Ramsey and Wilshere together: let’s see what happens.

    The battle between Skrtel and Giroud will indeed be fantastic to watch, but I reckon this is the game for Theo. Playing Theo and Giroud together is perfect for the Englishman as it allows him freedom to find space and become almost unmanageable for the opposition.

    Ultimately, tomorrow’s game might become the battle between the strike-forces! 🙂

  2. William says:

    Lose and for all of Wenger’s bullishness, th squad aint good enough.

  3. Ain't Got A Kalou says:

    Awesome report oz, love the pre-match finger section and hearing from the opposition.

    I think Arsenal wins 3-1. Suarez will be shut down and be largely ineffective but will score a goal late. Theo will dominate Enrique on the left and Giroud will set both Theo and Podolski up for goals. Arsenal are the better team, especially in midfield where the majority of the game is won.

    Skrtel can’t stop Giroud, he’s got the flair and strength to beat him.

    Suarez is the easy choice of the player I’d like Arsenal to have, minus the diving. Class talent though.

  4. oz gunner says:

    Cheers TA, as always happy to write for this great site.

    You are most likely right, I think Diaby will be rested given Ramsey’s good form and Santi/Jack’s rest. I’m fine with that but Diaby tore them apart last time the two teams met.

    I hope Sagna is up for this one because Sterling is a jet. I thought jenks did really well last time, and showed he is quite nippy himself.

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Oz, 🙂

    Your pre-match reports are truly epic and the best possible way to prepare for a match. I cannot wait for it to begin now! 🙂

    I did not see the game against Brighton properly enough to judge on Jenkinson’s performance, but I have little doubt that Sagna will return. He is a great warrior, and I hope the fans show their appreciation for all that he has done for us over the years.

    Like you, I would prefer Diaby; but only a fully fit and focussed Diaby.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Right, off to bed now. Catch up with you in the morning Ozzer! Make sure you get your missus to join you for tomorrow’s game! 🙂

  7. oz gunner says:

    Cheers Ain’t got a Kalou, thanks for commenting.

    I like the ‘ask the opposition’ section because it put everything in perspective. We have supporters who criticise Theo and Arsene, yet since I’ve been doing it everyone has wanted Theo! It’s interesting to read an oppositions view on Szczesny also.

    Theo definitely poses a big problem for Liverpool. If Glen Johnson lines up at LB again he has the pace, but it nullifies a key attacking player in their squad.

    I think Giroud will win out also. Agger needs to be watched on set pieces, he has a knack for popping up with a goal every now and then

  8. oz gunner says:

    Cheers TA, it’s on at 330 in the morning though so I’ve got slim to no chance haha

    Sorry I should have clarified that properly: I meant Jenks vs Sterling last time. In the first half it was clear Liverpool identified him as a weakness and got Sterling to run at him everytime. I recall Sterling getting behind him once early on, but after that Jenks shut the door on him!

    Night TA

  9. oz gunner says:

    @ William

    Losing should never be hoped for. I think if some players step up and youngsters develop quicker we do have a good enough squad. I’d like to see players like Eisfeld, Miquel, Yennaris, Meade, and co go out on loan for the second half of the season so they come back tougher, more experienced next season

  10. Greenmount Gooner says:

    Oz gunner
    A 3:30am kick-off must make you a fellow WA gooner. Just found this sight and must say its brilliant! Great pre-match report, like the ask the oppo bit. Hoping for a great team performance( a clean sheet would be nice too!) and 3 very important points.

  11. oz gunner says:

    @ TG

    Hope the back is sorted

  12. The Gooner says:

    Oz,

    Thank you for wishes, I’m doing much better!

    Another fantastic preview my friend! Always look forward to reading such an in-depth report filled with the insight from the opposing team’s fans. It always gives great perspective on how others see our team and who they think our better players are. For example, with Theo, it’s clear that many other sides would love to have him and we sometimes take what he does for us for granted.

    If we can dominate the midfield like I suspect we will, Liverpool will not be given much of a chance to get into the game. Our midfield is much, much better than theirs and I suspect it’ll be much of the same as our last time against them at Anfield. My prediction is 2-1, I think they’ll get a goal but we’ll dominate the match. Theo will be too much for the LB to handle and Gibbs and Podolski will give GJ fits on the right. We’re just that much better than Liverpool, can’t see us losing tomorrow.

    I wouldn’t like any of the current Liverpool players in our team. If push came to shove, I guess I’d have to go with Goofy. Despite hating him and everything he stands for, you can’t fault his production which has been pretty prolific since he joined.

  13. The Gooner says:

    TA,

    Just an idea, but I was thinking it’d be good to link the articles by each author under the “Bergkampesque Authors” section on the right hand column. That way, instead of having to flip back pages and pages to find certain articles, it’d be more accessible to new readers of the site (if they particularly like one writer’s style). It was just a passing thought that might organize the blog a bit more!

  14. marcus says:

    Hey oz,
    Great post mate!! You really thought this through. I’m expecting us to win today, but in the long term I am filled with pessimism. Wenger’s hard stance on refusing to buy is really frustrating. I’m not even sure we’ll be up to the task of getting to 4th. All our rivals have strengthened. We have only sold so if we were short before, now we are worryingly lacking. Did you know; If we lose 2 cb’s to injury we’ll have to play squillaci? Once diaby is injured and we lose Arteta, Ramsey will play DM? If we lose gibbs to injury, Santos is our only option? If we lose Giroud and Theo we are screwed? Seriously, maybe its time for Arsene to go ruin another team.

  15. oz gunner says:

    @ TG

    Cheers, and thanks. Love the optimism! I just hope it’s the damaged low on confidence Liverpool, not the rebounding point to prove Liverpool. If we show up for both halves we should have it.
    Glad the backs doing better.

    @ Marcus

    Thanks Marcus, really appreciate it!
    Heaven help us if we ever have to see Squillaci play at CB again! I’m a bit perplexed as to why Arsene sent Djourou out on loan to be honest, he would have been a much better option as fourth choice. Don’t forget though worse case scenario we have Miquel who can play CB and LB (toweled up Johnson of City last season which isn’t to be scoffed at), or even Verm at LB (Arsene’s likely choice). Yeck even Coquelin did a good job there last season. Or Sagna can move to LB with Jenks at RB, let’s not forget little Meade! We’ve got options left, right, and centre!!!
    Ramsey has performed admirably, but Arteta and Coquelin will be back in no time. Jack can play their so can Yennaris.
    Pod can play centrally, Gerv has been playing good in Africa, Ox or Santi can cover Walcott’s position if need be.

    If injuries strike we will just have to lift another notch and stick together. Players will step up.
    Still time left for transfers, Arsene likes to play games remember

  16. marcus says:

    All true but can those replacements you mentioned be quality enough to rival the likes of spurs and everton, let alone manutd, chelsea and city? Who may I remind you have bought quality? Depressing. Oh to be a gooner. Since there’s no chance I’d ever defect (even the thought of it makes me sick) I guess I’ll just hope for the best. WE ARE THE ARSENAL!!

  17. oz gunner says:

    Worst Case Scenario:

    Gibbs goes down
    Arteta + Diaby out
    Theo + Giroud Out

    We can still play:
    sagna – mert – koz – verm
    jack – coquelin/ramsey
    santi/rosicky
    Ox – Pod – Gerv/Santi

    I still think that’s enough to push the big boys. Thankfully we are done with the Chelsea and City fixtures

    True Chelsea and Liverpool have strengthened their striking department. But that was their own fault for going in to the season with only Torres and Suarez as their attacking options. Chelsea were not willing to play Sturridge so they had an under performing Torres. Liverpool are lucky Suarez didn’t go down and were playing with fire letting Carroll go out on loan.
    Everton have no ins
    City = no ins
    United = Zaha (not really ready to have an impact)
    Toon = Ligue 1
    Spuds = Holtby pre-contract. Doesn’t help them now though
    West Brom = no ins

  18. richie59er says:

    @OzG; Ain’t read any other comments yet but great article Bro’ right up there with your other great previews, this is gonna be a tough game.

  19. lawal ibraheem says:

    Sketel can stop can stop giroud in atacking. My best player is General, Jonshn nd Suarez.

  20. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. Morning there.. hehehe..
    Nice post as usuall Oz.. You are a very special Pre-match author.. hehehe..

    I love your team.. but I believe Ramsey will play as a starter and Diaby as his subs..
    (and why did you put so many icon in diaby’s..?? hehehe..)
    I like Koscielny is back.. but he must learned from the last game.. for not being to hard to him self.. And not to push Suarez too much.. Cause we all know how good Suarez is in diving.. hehehe..

    Arsenal and Liverpool play the same 4-3-3 formation..
    The triple-S (Sterling-Sturidge-Suarez) from Liverpool again the PGW (Pod-Giroud-Walcott) / (Perfect Gun Winner).. hehehehe..
    Sturidge maybe bring a diffirent to Liv.. but I think ‘the lucky beginner’ is over.. And Sturidge must worked harder to win the ball..

    And we are better than Liv.. in the midfielders.. And also in our two fullback.. Diaby and Sagna.. It will be very interesting game.. And open-war game.. And you know we are better in the open-war game.. hehehe..

    As Rosicky played well last game.. I think Wenger will have a much confident for him to subs Cazorla.. If Cazorla not playing is his best form.. then Rosicky must replace him soon..
    And as Diaby is return.. then we will have no problem at all in the midfield..

    Go Gunners..

  21. oz gunner says:

    @ Richie

    thank you for taking the time to read it, definitely will be a tough one

    @ Henry

    glad to have you back, hope you enjoyed your 4 day holiday. Glad you enjoyed it, and thank you.
    I put the icons around diaby because he needs all the luck he can get! Chuck in a wishbone, shooting star, 4-leaf clover, penny ect and hopefully he can enjoy an extended injury free run.

    Can’t disagree with much there Henry. If it’s an open game it suits us, and we have some experience in scoring big.

    Rosicky is a great asset to have back, his run this time last season definitely pushed us in the right direction and helped win us Champions League football.

    Upon reflection I think Ramsey will get the nod over Diaby also

  22. henrychan says:

    @ Oz..
    Yes We are an open game team.. hehehe..
    Chelsea will lost that day.. If not because of a trick from Ramires and unperformed referee..
    And I am very sure we will win tonight.. Because we already break the ‘january curse’ by winning 5-1 again WHU.. and also win 3-2 again Brigthon.. We are in a good spirit.. and Liverpool just the opposite way..

    I just wonder why no more rumours about the transfer window..??
    All the players that associated with us gone to Newc and Spurs.. hehehe..
    And it’s only 2 days left.. Will it be any surprise that we will get Strootman..?? hehehe..

  23. Steve says:

    In midfield, i will go for diaby, wilshere & santi in front of them, or i will go for diaby, rosicky & wilshere in front of them. In central defence, i would go for kosienly & vermeer, then hope that d two have at least an average game.

  24. VCC says:

    Another superlative pre-match from down under’s OZ. We have no need to buy a daily paper this morning, its all here. Top marks Sir.

    Its going to be difficult tonight. Yes, Liverpool were humiliated against Oldham, but you know what they say about a wounded animal!

    Your line up will see one change imo. Diaby being replaced by Ramsey (Wenger’s love child)

    I was critical of Giroud when he arrived, but Im hoping He and Walcott can turn the screw on the Bin Dippers’ average defence tonight.

    Arsenal must be switched on for 90 minutes at the back, as they have a potent “S” force up front.

    I don’t know who the ref is this evening, but I just hope he pays attention to Suarez, as he WILL dive at some stage during the game, Ref beware.

    Oppositions angle is interesting. I used to think Hart was the best keeper in the premiership, but now I wouldn’t swap Szez for anyone. Would like to see him improve his kicking though

    I’m obviously hoping for a win. I’m going for a tricky slender one goal winning margin for the good guys.

    Hasta

  25. oz gunner says:

    Far to kind VCC! hope all is well with you.

    I share the same concerns in regards to the ref and suarez. Even if he does them outside the box they have Gerrard and Suarez who can take are great set piece specialists.
    Agreed on Szcz, his passion is a joy to watch. I’d love to see him stay at Arsenal until he retires!

    @ Steve

    I’d be very happy with either midfields. Rosicky deserves a rest after the Brighton game though, he’s only just got back. He’s no Jack in that respect.

    @ Henry

    Strootman would be great, an Arsene surprise before it closes would be great!
    Bang on about Chelsea!

  26. glic says:

    Morning Sugar Puffers ( I sent this one to urban dictionary and they rejected it….the Katona`s ( another I have sent which they also rejected !. )….I think you probably have an idea what it means though !. hahaha ) 😆

    Oz mate, you are the Bergkamp of pre-match wizards….a Bergkampesque report…..Tina Turners, ” Simply the Best ” should be played as an introduction to your PM`s.
    Obviously, I feel honoured to be mentioned !. hahaha

    Anyone seen this for a morning chuckle !.

  27. VCC says:

    Henry & Oz. Don’t hold your breath regarding January Signings. We have been here before, typical Wenger slant.

    We will have to go with what we have. Lets just hope we steer clear of major injuries, otherwise we will be in the mire.

  28. VCC says:

    That’s brilliant GLiC, I loved it.

  29. glic says:

    Sort of says what you are saying Vic`s !. hahaha

  30. VCC says:

    Zippy………played by GLiC
    George …played by TMHT
    Bungle …..played by The Clogmeister.

  31. alexgunners says:

    Good Evening To All.

    Oz, it’s always a pleasure to read you pre match posts. Very informative indeed. Are you in WA? you said that the match is at 3.30am. That’s a bit nasty but anything for our beloved Gunners. Lucky for me it’s 6.45 in Melbourne and i can go stright to work afterwards.

    It is going to be a tough game, they have a good strike force and i agree that we need Koz and TV in our backline. Mert is doing a great job but his lack of pace would be exposed by the SSS forward line that they posess. The last thing we need is a slightly late tackle on Suarez and we all know that he will go down grasping the wrong leg.

    Skrtel vs Giroud will be a good match up but i believe that Giroud is playing well and is strong enough to do what he does best.

    Thanks for the memories of ’89, who will ever forget that commentary “It’s up for GRABS NOW”. Absolutely brilliant.
    We’ve had the wood on the lately but that counts for nothing and we have to play for 90 minutes and not 45.

    We need these 3 points and keep the push for 3rd place, disregard 4th spot and aim higher. We need to stand up and show that we can play. Give it all you have. As fans we can accept a defeat more gracefully (accepting defeat is hard to do as we all know)if the team has given it’s all and failed rather than not turning up at all.

    I would like to see Diaby play but Ramsey supporting Jack and Santi is another great option and he has been having more success playing in that more natural role for him. Lets keep Giroud up front, Theo coming down the right and The Pod on the left.

    We can get a result but we must come out firing.

  32. Red Arse says:

    Hiya Oz, 🙂

    You are simply astounding at pre-match Posts!!!!!!!

    What happened to that shy young man who thought he could never write a Post?? 🙂

  33. Red Arse says:

    Hi to all you other BKers, and I loved reading your comments too.

    Good game needed from the Gunners tonight, and depending on which Arsenal turn up will dictate the end result.

    COYG

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and welcome to Greenmount Gooner! 🙂

    Oz, PPP, Alex, check out GG comment at 1.54am: another Aussie has discovered Bergkampesque! 🙂 (comment only just approved: got lost somehow!).

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Redders 😛

    How are you rockin’ today compadre?

    Henry, hope you a good break and good to see you sooo optimistic. I am HOPING for a win, but my gut tells me it will be difficult and it might end 1-1.

    TG, in principle I agree with your idea of linking writers of Bergkampesque to their posts, but it is not an easy thing to do. I will see what I can do. 🙂

    Alex, Oz is based not far away from Perth.

    And a big thank you to Liverpool supporters Tim and Paul for some fine, in-depth answers to Oz’s intriguing questions. Top stuff, guys! 🙂

  36. alexgunners says:

    GG,

    Welcome to BK, look forward to reading another fans perspective here.

    TA,
    Looks like your wish for a Beast of a DM did not come true.
    I know there’s still a day to go, but just dont see it happening

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Alex,

    Yep, you could be right. I think it would be a mistake, perhaps even a big mistake. But Wenger’s neck is on the blog and if it backfires on him, it simply could cost us CL football next season. So, he must know the risks involved.

    Let’s wait and see what happens in the next 36 hours. Something tells me a surprise is still in store, but then I am an uber-optimist in these sort of situations.

    Funny to read you will have breakfast footie tomorrow morning: will you treat yourself to a full English breakfast as well? 🙂

  38. alexgunners says:

    TA,

    I used to be optimistic but the last few seasons we have been linked with so many players and i was always hopeful and nothing came of it. I just hope that i am proved wrong. AW’s neck in on the block but you would like to think that he knows what he is doing.

    Unfortunately for me, no English breakfast. I will wake up just in time ffor the match. have my shower at half time and leave as soon as the game is over. Breakfast for us Tradies is a cigarette on the drive to work and a quick stop at the Golden Arches.

  39. alexgunners says:

    Good night TA and all others.

    Lets look forward to a good result.

  40. VCC says:

    Good night Alex. Sweet dreams of The Arsenal.

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Good night to you, Alex. A sparky, a trady: I love the way you describe your profession. What is/are the the Golden Arches?

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Vickers, what is cooking tonight?

  43. glic says:

    Hahaha nice one Vic`s !. Was Carmen played by a certain women blogger we know ? ( notice how I`m playing safe here and not naming anyone as I dont want to get in any Barny Rubble ! . hahaha )

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Glicster 🙂

    Your description of South’Hampton’ yesterday was priceless, especially after you explained it to us mere mortals! 🙂

  45. VCC says:

    I’m doing Fajitas tonight. Early, so I can get down the pub and lubricate up.

    I will probably not do a UMF1 roundup tonight, cos either way, win, draw or lose, I will be inebriated. Up date will follow first thing Thursday morning.

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    Fajitas, fancy that! 😀

    I will be doing pizzas with Eton Mess as afters. Haute Cuisine at its finest! 🙂

  47. VCC says:

    GLiC….your assumptions are correct….played by you know who. hehehe

  48. VCC says:

    Total, I must say you played Bungle very well at 11:01.

  49. glic says:

    And I will be behind the sofa with a yet to be decided meal, but it`s likely to be a toss up between Muffin and Crumpet !. hahaha

    Vic`s
    I thought her name was Carmen because Zippy was carmen all over her face !. hahaha

    I dont know whats wrong with that Urban Dictionary . They even rejected Bergkampesque !, which was defined by …Class, Amazing, Greatness, Magnificent etc`. Maybe they have an automatic block on words made by glic !.
    For instance, I put ( today`s greeting ) “Sugar Puffer” on there, with a definition of, ” Alan Sugar giving his apprentices a BJ for breakfast ! ” and “Katona”, which was defined as, ” The biggest black hole pussy in the universe, able to suck in Hampton`s from miles around and so great it could suck in other black holes ” !. See, nothing that bad !.

  50. glic says:

    ZZZ…..Zimmerdine and Zippy Zimdane !.
    Hey Vic`s, when I give you a lift, shall I get one of those top of the windscreen stickers with ……….” Zimmerdine and Zippy ! “. hahaha

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Glic, you should start your own site: The Glictionary. It would become a storm of a success!

  52. oz gunner says:

    hahaha Glictionary, that’s be great. It’d have more words in there than RA’s

    @ GG

    That I am, glad to have you on board, we have quite the Aussie contingent on here now so stick around. Cheers for the kind words.

    @ Alex

    Great hearing how other Aussies work around the games. I start work at 6 so on days Arsenal played midweek I’d change it to 630, now I only work one day a week so it’s back to bed or off to school when it’s done. Wake up cook a full English…lifes good!

    100% agree, anything less will not do!

    @ GLIC

    The psychic service has a live webcam and when I mentioned your kiss chasey with yourself in the paddock + mirror obsession she was in fits of laughter. It was great, normally they are all so serious and don’t want to ‘waste there time predicting soccer games’ ect ect.
    Loved the one more day clip. thank you for your kindness as always.

    @ RA

    I still the lousiest blog writer on the Arsenal blogosphere, but the pre-match setup is great cover for my shocking writing ability 🙂
    Any other post would probably cause bergkampesque to shut down haha.

    Alright gents, I’m off to catch some zzz’s before kick-off. Hopefully i wake up to the news of a new signing! Thanks again for the welcome reception!

  53. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Very busy, so just popped in to say fantastic stuff oz.

    First night for a while ime not working late coz am going to the game. Taking a plastic scouser with me. Warned him not to give him self away and that if he does, so as people dont start on me, i will have to join in on his inevitable kicking. hahaha

  54. oz gunner says:

    cheers Terry. hahahaha if he does lay some boots in for me too! Enjoy the game. Any dives and I’d like to see Suarez getting the chloroform treatment via syrup

  55. Red Arse says:

    Terry, 🙂

    Back to completing those self assessments for your clients, eh? 🙂

  56. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    If no one else has replied about the Golden Arches, I think you will find it is referencing Mcdonalds. 🙂

  57. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Yes Redders, only 14 left to send but 2 company accounts and a partnership have to be completed too. Its times like this that i wish i had followd my heart and done the profession i yearned for as a kid, Auditor. hahaha

  58. The Gooner says:

    Henry,

    Nothing new on the transfer front, still linked to the same two players in Diame and Villa. Apparently Arsenal executives are willing to throw everything to get Villa, so we’ll see what ends up happening there since Barca are unwilling to sell. Diame’s release clause has caused much confusion and no one really knows if it’s £3.5 mil or £7 mil.

  59. Red Arse says:

    That is the lot of an accountant in Practice, Terry. It’s tough and does not pay enough for the aggro!

    I left all that behind many years ago, and worked in commerce instead as a specialist!

    (Which is why I am now useless as regards P11Ds, R185s, Self assessments, Discounted Cash Flow analysis, mandatory accounts etc, etc.)
    You would run rings around me!! 😀

  60. Red Arse says:

    Hi TG, 🙂

    If AW was interested in Diame, but has been put off by the odd £3.5m extra — I hope the more rabid fans do not find out!

    That would be parsimony gone mad!!

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    RA – thanks, I did not know that one, obviously! 🙂

  62. The Gooner says:

    Hi RA,

    I think there’s a significant difference between £3.5 mil and £7 mil. Diame is great business at £3.5 mil, but at £7 mil the money could be better spent on a player of higher quality. Interestingly, data compiled by EA Sports FIFA 13 (not over the course of a video game season hahaha), Diame has won over 60% of his tackles this season compared to Wilshere (44%) and Arteta (40%). In addition, Diame makes an interception every 62 minutes and 48 seconds, compared to Arteta’s 83 minutes and 24 seconds and Wilshere’s 96 minutes and 22 seconds.

    These statistics are likely skewed somewhat due to the fact that we play a possession brand of football and have less opportunity to win the ball back, opposed to West Ham’s shoot it down field and hope for the best strategy. Still, it shows that Diame would be able to add an element of defence and steel to our midfield that we are sorely lacking. The question still remains if Diame is an improvement over what we currently have or if he’s better suited to being a key player on a mid-table side.

  63. Red Arse says:

    TG,

    Speaking of the ‘extra’ £3.5m that could represent an opportunity cost if the difference between spending that money, or not spending it, meant we would qualify for the CL and the £30m that would earn, or not.

    That is on the basis that a ‘better’ player at £7m is very subjective commodity, [and I have not seen such a player mentioned].

    I think in any event that AW is unlikely to spend any money on another player, other than on a long shot for David Villa, depending on which rumour you want to believe.

    It’s all hokus pokus frankly, but my original point, really, is that £3.5 million, in footballing terms, is neither here nor there, and anyway, the £7m is probably just some guff pulled from the air by WHam, just to mess with AW’s head! 🙂

  64. The Gooner says:

    RA,

    While there’s a high opportunity cost involved with qualifying for the CL next year, there’s no guarantee that our current squad cannot achieve that objective or that the new player in question would make us immediately better. If we’re to acquire a player in the TW, this player must be of a quality that is currently better than the ones we have. Or else, the player in question is simply another sunk cost, whose wages are earned by sitting on the bench. If you ask me, we already have enough of those and for this reason, I believe AW is showing extreme caution when moving for players (especially the less desirable options that have been presented in the window thus far).

    Name me one player who has moved teams in January that was: 1) Not subject to a release clause, 2) Is of a high quality that was not under performing with their respective teams, 3) Is of a high quality that was not at odds with either the club or manager? and 4) Was a top talent at all? If you carefully examine all the transfer dealings during this window, not one player that has switched teams can exclude themselves from that criteria. This is the current dilemma that AW is dealing with and all the other names we’ve been linked to have simply been media speculation meant to garner hits and unjustly raise the expectations of fans.

    Sissoko and Yanga-Mbiwa to Newcastle were perhaps the two players we could have moved in for. However, given the option to choose between starting minutes at a team in Europa League, who are clearly better than their place in the PL table is currently showing, or a team where you’d have to fight for your playing time in any of the competitions they’re in, where would you choose? It made perfect sense that they would join Newcastle, as we can’t honestly offer them quality minutes after you consider the abundance of players we now have that returned from injury.

  65. The Gooner says:

    Also, bear in mind Yanga-Mbiwa would have been cup tied with Montpellier, thus also excluding him from playing with us in the CL. With Newcastle, he’s still able to play with them in Europa and domestically.

  66. Red Arse says:

    TG,

    I am not advocating one course of action over another.

    My original point was that IF the cost of Diame is either a rumoured £3.5m or £7m, and IF he had met AW’s qualifying requirement, of being better than any player we already have, then, in the great scheme of things the money involved is trifling.

    If you do not agree — that’s OK.

  67. VCC says:

    The Gooner…

    Yanga Mbiwa, doesn’t have to play for us in the Champons league, there are plaenty of Premiership games to go and hopefully more cup games too. He could at least stepped in to ease the pressure on our defensive mid fielders.

    Red Arse

    My take on Diame is, why spend £3.5 m on an “alright” player, when that money could go towards a top talent. After all we have more than enough “alright” players..

  68. Red Arse says:

    I really don’t care about Diame, one way or another, VCC, I have no knowledge of him myself.

    I was making the point — and I wish now I had not bothered — that IF AW thought he met his needs and was better than any player we already have — then the money is piddling.

    TA,

    If you are there — can you delete my original comment – this is becoming boring!!

  69. The Gooner says:

    RA,

    Your point stands and I completely agree with your assessment that in the grand scheme of things, £3.5-7 mil is not a significant price to pay if AW deems the player of Arsenal quality, especially if he could help us qualify for CL next year.

    My point was simply to suggest that perhaps AW has not been able to find Arsenal quality players in the TW thus far.

    VCC,

    Yanga-Mbiwa is a CB, first and foremost, so he would be an immediate threat to one Koscielny or Mertesacker. He’s a confessed Manure fan too so I see Newcastle being his temporary destination until they come calling (if he can prove he’s of an elite caliber).

  70. The Gooner says:

    Some good news for all:

    Turkish network NTV claims Fenerbache are looking to re-sign Santos! This deal couldn’t happen any sooner and I would gladly fly to London and drive him to the airport myself if that it happens.

  71. oz gunner says:

    Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Ramsey, Wilshere; Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski; Giroud.

    Subs: Mannone, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Santos, Diaby, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky.

    Liverpool: Reina; Wisdom, Carragher, Agger, Johnson; Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson; Downing, Sturridge, Suarez.

    Subs: Jones, Enrique, Skrtel, Shelvey, Allen, Borini, Sterling.

    It appears i jinxed Skrtel. I like seeing Shelvey and Sterling on the bench for them also

  72. The Gooner says:

    Awful slip by Sagna and defending as it deflected off him and in

  73. oz gunner says:

    everyone stuffed it TG. Sagna fell, Verm missed it, god knows what Ramsey was doing flicking it behind him in that part of the pitch, then the deflection.

    Frickin Suarez!!!

  74. TotalArsenal says:

    Vermaelen was mainly at fault

  75. oz gunner says:

    True TA, looks like he tried to clear it to the moon when a gentle hoof is all that was needed

  76. oz gunner says:

    Hi TA. I wish it was 8 at night, trade you?

  77. oz gunner says:

    not like Suarez to make a meal of it and wave for a card…no not at all!

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    I can well imagine Oz. Oh dear oh dear, what our CB’s doing?! 😦

  79. oz gunner says:

    you jinxed him VCC! dammit!

  80. The Gooner says:

    The worst is seeing Gibbs go down, we have 0 adequate cover

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    Suarez has been wasteful and our defence is still getting away with an undisciplined, sluggish performance. Our strikers also need more composure. COYRRG!!!

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    Santos on, lets go 3-5-2!

  83. oz gunner says:

    could pull it off TA.

    @ TG

    I’d prob rather see Verm move to LB and kozzer come on rather than Santos at the moment

  84. The Gooner says:

    Awful, awful half. Why do we insist on walking the ball into the back of the net. It’s clear we lack something in this squad despite if we play better in the 2nd half. We need to make some signings if we can’t break down a mid-table club like Liverpool.

  85. TotalArsenal says:

    I would not call it awful TG, but it was pretty bad. End result is all that counts though!

  86. oz gunner says:

    we need to improve 10-fold in the 2nd TG. I thought Podolski could have let rip early on rather than passing it to giroud

  87. The Gooner says:

    Giroud’s been invisible unfortunately

  88. The Gooner says:

    Haha looks like I jinxed it!!! Get on Giroud!

  89. The Gooner says:

    HERE WE GO!!! Theo you beauty!

  90. TotalArsenal says:

    Thats the spirit!! Giroud and Theo deliver once more!

  91. oz gunner says:

    great partnership, we’ve got this come on!!!

  92. The Gooner says:

    How did Giroud miss that sitter?

  93. The Gooner says:

    Santos is awful, we need a LB…what kind of pass was that near the end of the game?

  94. oz gunner says:

    agger got a slight deflection before it got to giroud, think that put him off.

    He sure is TG, give meade a go over him i say!

  95. The Gooner says:

    I should hope so, his defending and decision making in our own end are horrific. I guess he has some value as a wing back, but what we’ve all feared has happened – Gibbs is likely out for a while with a hamstring pull and all we’re left with is Santos!

  96. The Gooner says:

    I would much prefer Meade at LB, not sure if he’s ready but he can’t be worse than Santos. At least he’ll try defensively and has the pace to recover.

  97. oz gunner says:

    say it isn’t so TG!!! VCC called it.
    Any chance of terry kidnapping Santos while he’s there so we are forced in to the market?

  98. The Gooner says:

    Oz, it’s been my greatest fear for some time. Gibbs plays at the one position where we have 0 cover and he’s one of the most injury-prone players on our squad. I would love to give Meade a glance, as he can’t be any worse than Santos. Despite his small stature, he at least has heart and we all know most Brazilians lack that and have largely all been fails in the EPL.

  99. oz gunner says:

    very true TG, we are solid in every other position other than LB when gibbs is down. We through jenks in and he’s now an England international, i say chuck meade in and see how he goes

  100. VCC says:

    Poor,Poor defending let us down again. Catalogue of errors. Liverpool must be laughing their cocks off to come away with a point tonight.

    Mr.Glass injured, again. Wonder how long this one lasts for.

  101. The Gooner says:

    Oz, to be honest despite Giroud scoring today, he still misses quite a few chances each game. He’s definitely great to have in our squad, but we could definitely use a more clinical man in big games. He could come good when we need him, but we need more than that right now.

  102. The Gooner says:

    Sorry, Oz that was in reference to maybe needing another striker

  103. oz gunner says:

    I think he’s good enough TG. Look at Suarez he scores a lot but last season he had more misses than anyone else. I think the Giroud-pod-theo combo is on fire. It’s that bloody defence we need sorting out, what they do in training mystifies me!!!

  104. Macko says:

    Good evening everybody I have just seen the match and has part Casorla which took(brought) out to us a match trés average we have a great attack.
    On the other hand the defense with big Mertesaker it in pole position and really bad ……
    Gibbs bléssé, catastrophic Santos, no céativité at this player who is afraid of taking his responsibilities.
    One would have of to gain(win) this match….
    Once again no tactical change to give some new blood with Rosicky history(story) to put a max of pressure I really wonder has what serves our remplacants otherwise to sleep on the bench ……

  105. The Gooner says:

    Oz, every game he misses clear headers on goal. I actually don’t think he’s good enough right now (he could be, but he’s still too inconsistent in his finishing). Yes, he’s scoring but he’s also missing plenty of chances. We can’t be drawing with mid-table clubs, it shows how much quality we lack right now.

  106. The Gooner says:

    Macko,

    Good evening to yourself as well!

    I agree Cazorla was very average today and Liverpool’s defenders were just chasing him down and stripping the ball from him. His creativity seems to be lacking right now and he’s not driving our offense forward like he should be.

    Mertesacker can never be stranded one on one, you saw first hand what happens as a result. Santos no comment…

  107. The Gooner says:

    Gibbs out for three weeks with a thigh injury as per Wenger’s post-match interview with Sky Sports.

  108. TotalArsenal says:

    TG 🙂

    Are you serious? OG scored five in three games: he is not the problem my friend. Every striker misses chances and now that OG is finding his feet, the only thing he deserves is 100% praise.

    The clear problem is the shambolic defending and lack of organisation in our back-four/five.

  109. TotalArsenal says:

    Macko agreed. Cazorla had a poor game and looks lost at times.

  110. TotalArsenal says:

    Santos is totally shot of confidence, and a limited player like him needs it in spades. Very poor performance by him.

    However, I don’t understand the anxiety re Gibbs injury at all. Wenger can move TV in there and it might even do us good to play with Sagna, BFG, Koz and TV for a few games.

  111. The Gooner says:

    TA,

    I’m serious, despite scoring today, I was not impressed with Giroud. Very inconsistent on the finishing, he missed a clear header off a Santi corner and a sitter in front of goal that both could have sealed the game. Now, in combination with his misses vs. Chelsea at the end of the game at Stamford Bridge, the miss vs. Sunderland at the Emirates and the miss today is 8 points loss in total off his foot/head (there’s another big miss that he’s had this year but I can’t recall which game it was).

    Defending is of course the larger issue, but we need better finishing up front too. How much longer are we going to go with the excuse that “he’s at least getting into the right positions and is at least contributing when he isn’t scoring”.

  112. alexgunners says:

    Hi TG,

    Santos is horrific at LB, but to say that Brazilians lack heart, I take offense to that. Being a Brazilian I am not proud to have santos in our lineup and to be honest, very few brazilians will ever make it on the PL due its pace and physical demands.

    Onto more serious matters, I had hoped that TV and Koz will be playing at the back as I said Pre match. BFG is a little off the pace but he is not entirely to blame. How many goals have we already conceded this season from not being able to clear the ball in our defensive area? This needs to be looked at.

  113. The Gooner says:

    Alex,

    Sorry never meant to generalize to all Brazilians in general, simply the ones that have played in the PL!

  114. TotalArsenal says:

    Sorry TG, that is really not how it works. Chances are always missed, but OG is putting them in now well above average. We are scoring more than enough goals per game now. The elephant in the room is our defending: letting two in at home is never good enough – scoring two at home should be good enough. I think you are focussing on the wrong thing my friend. 🙂

  115. The Gooner says:

    TA,

    How else does it work? When you’re given a clear cut opportunity to put away a goal at the end of a game, you can’t miss them time after time. There is no consistency in his finishing, especially along the ground. I’m not saying he’s an awful striker, just that we need better finishing. Our team has never been built to “defend”. We’re an offensive, ball possession type like Barca, just the only difference is we can’t score enough goals like them or string together good plays in the final third.

  116. TotalArsenal says:

    Ramires is Brazilian and so is/was Gilberto.

  117. glic says:

    Just seen the BBC Comedy Roadshow……….f**k me….that`s not Micky Flanagan….it`s Arsenals f**king defense !….. what the f**k !…..what`s next week….. Live at the Apollo !. hahaha

    Prepare to be disappointed in the next 24 hours and 24 mins !.

  118. The Gooner says:

    TA, you can bring out the very few anomalies that have found success, but on the larger scale, Brazilians have been failures in the PL.

  119. alexgunners says:

    TG,

    All is good, but if Santos is who we have to cover Gibbs, we are seriously in a world of trouble. The TW is closing and now I can see a panic buy.

  120. The Gooner says:

    Alex,

    Tomorrow is the transfer deadline day. For Arsenal and their fans, it’s simply Thursday.

  121. glic says:

    I`m with you Totes, For the games Gibbs will miss, move Verm over to LB. If Santos is a LB, then I`m Queen Victoria and one is not amused !.

  122. The Gooner says:

    @ TA 22:25, the anxiety stems from the fact that TV has always been mediocre while playing LB. Gibbs’ injury history has been well-documented and our stop-gap solutions (Santos and TV) can only go for so long until Gibbs’ injuries become more serious and more frequent.

  123. TotalArsenal says:

    TG, attack wise there is very little to complain about tonight. We created many chances and took two of them, and yes we needed a third but we did not get it. When your defence lets in two such awful goals, the pressure on attack is tremendous and it requires a lot of energy and drive to turn a two nil defecit round – and of course mistakes are made and chances get missed. They almost did it and OG and Theo were phenomenal tonight. To complain about missing a few half-decent chances is wrong in my view.

    Try to name me all the Brazilian players who have been a flop in the PL, TG.

  124. TotalArsenal says:

    I bet Ramsey would make a decent LB 😛

  125. The Gooner says:

    TA,

    Robinho, Roque Junior, Branco, Julio Baptista, Anderson de Silva, Afonso Alves, Kleberson, Santos, Denilson, Geovanni and Elano to start.

  126. glic says:

    Even though I think Verm should cover for Gibbs, I see a couple of problems. 1) Gibbs partnership with Pod was getting a strong understanding, with Gibbs raiding down the wing releasing Pod to come in more central. 2) Will Verm and Pod have such an understanding ?. So will Pods game suffer as a result ?.

  127. The Gooner says:

    TA,

    Last I checked, I was free to state my opinion and could complain about whatever I want to complain about. At the end of the day, I’ve been rather unhappy with Giroud’s finishing the whole season and I want and expect more from him. There are a host of others that I could complain about, but Giroud’s finishing and inconsistency is something that has been bothering me for a while and I just chose to air my frustration after today’s match.

  128. TotalArsenal says:

    TG, very few of those actually ‘lacked heart’. Let’s just say we agree to disagree on your generalisation of Brazilians in the PL.

  129. glic says:

    Pele, Zico, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Garrincha, Jairzinho, Rivaldo , Kaka to start , bloody rubbish over here !.

  130. The Gooner says:

    TA, the lack of heart comment was really a heat of the moment misdirected knock on Santos. I really just wanted to highlight that Brazilians players have largely not found success in the PL.

  131. The Gooner says:

    Glic, none of those players played in the PL

  132. TotalArsenal says:

    TG, I did not say you are not entitled to your opinion, and you can be as unhappy as you want about Giroud. But if I feel that you are being harsh and unrealistic about one of my team’s players then I will not refrain from letting you know this.

  133. The Gooner says:

    TA, fair enough but Giroud was not as “outstanding” as you seem to believe he was today. He lost numerous headers in the first half and hardly touched the ball, in fact he gave it away a few times too. He was better in the second half because of the obvious goal that got us going, but he gave away the ball again at some inopportune positions in the final third. I am generally one of his bigger supporters and ask for patience that he’ll come good, but I’ve about had it with him and my patience wears quite thin these days.

    It’s very evident that we’ll continue to suffer from inconsistency and that our squad is just not good enough to compete for even a CL spot right now. Win one week, lose or draw the next, win again, lose or draw the week after. Perhaps my expectations are too high and I should lower them based on the quality within the team.

  134. TotalArsenal says:

    TG, the reality is that most top-quality Brazilians have preferred to play in Southern European countries over the last few decades, rather than in cold, wet, and physically hard England.

    Santos was very poor today, but it is always best to leave the generalisations out. I can understand though, that you made the comment in the heat of the moment: happens to us all sometimes. 🙂

  135. glic says:

    No, but they were in my Subuteo team and none of the lazy buggers would move without a push !. 🙂

  136. The Gooner says:

    TA, that was the larger point to be made, that the top Brazilians are rather untested in the PL. The ones that have come over have been failures for the most part or are still at that stage of uncertainty of which way their careers are heading (The da Silva brothers, Anderson etc.). Maicon can be added to that list as whether it be Mancini’s doing, age and loss of quality, he just isn’t cutting it at City.

  137. glic says:

    TG
    You should have my expectations, I think we are punching above our weight !.

  138. TotalArsenal says:

    TG, I actually agree with you regarding your general observations of Giroud. I still have my doubts at times about him. However, I can see his team role very clearly now. He will score goals and assists and he will harrass the opponent’s defence and work hard for the team. As a result others will get chances to express themselves to their full potential and Theo really benefits from OG’s presence.

    If we have to complain today then it should be about Pod’s and Cazorla’s underpar finishing and general quality contributions today.

  139. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Glic 🙂

    Good point about the likely impact on th Pod as a result of Gibbs’ absence. That’s the real area of concern. Maybe we should move Cazorla to the left wing, and give the Pod a chance in Giroud’s position now and again.

  140. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice one Glic! 🙂

  141. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Disapointing but not the end of the world.

    Rogers rodgered us in the first half by getting his tactics spot on. Press Arsenals defence high up the pitch in the knowledge that they will always look to pass, therefore forcing mistakes.(though tonight some of the mistakes were comical) This was compounded by Ramseys inexperience and lack of power when we we faced with the counter.

    There is so much to like about this current Arsenal team, but unfortunitly the balance of the side is wrong. When we do not have the ball we are to vulnerable. All the calls of a defensive midielder are true. Some one with physical power, defensive nous and the ability to link in with the centrebacks. Gilberto Silva will do.

    Up front we also need another another striker to increase options. Another centreback would be nice to.

    But apart from all that, everythings great. hahahaha

  142. The Gooner says:

    TA,

    Now that I’ve had some time to cool off (sober up) and saw the fiance (she had to finish up some work at her clinic in Canada the past few weeks), I’ve come to be a little more rational. The thing is, after we play like shite, I often just need to vent out pent up frustration and despite it being directed at one player, it’s often an accumulation of things I’ve tended to overlook in hopes that the mistakes were a one off. It also doesn’t help that I took time off work to watch today’s match and finished half a bottle of jack in hopes that what I was watching wasn’t actually us.

    Giroud just happened to be in my line of fire because of missed opportunities throughout the year. His finishing, work rate and contribution in other areas of the game have been great lately. What concerns me most is that I’m not sure if his finishing is a result of an inability to hit his stride (as I’ve always presumed) or a knock on his finishing in general. Going forward, if we’re truly to compete with the Mancs, Barca, Bayern and Real, we’ll need a better striker than him and I think this also correlates to players we currently have at other positions.

  143. The Gooner says:

    Glic, that certainly brightened up my day!

  144. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Terry, from what I have seen of the game, I fully agree with your assessment re Ramsey and the need for a better CB. I though Aaron worked his socks off, but but but he is not our answer for the Steel we need! 🙂

  145. The Gooner says:

    Also, the other point that I wanted to make is that there’s been a serious shift in mentality over the years. Why have we suddenly become content with CL qualification and why do we pride ourselves on that? A comeback to a draw against a team below us in the table is suddenly a great result? The standards have been dropping for a while now and I’d like to see some fight throughout the entire organization to show the rest of the world that we’re more than a selling, mid-table, laughing stock of a club (others’ words not mine).

  146. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Agreed TA. Aaron has great stamina and good ability but from my panoramic view he was pulled out of position and hence the midfield was emptied. He of course also lacks physical power and the experience that is often vital for that role.

    There is certainly an imbalance in the team and squad.

  147. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi TG 🙂

    No worries compadre. I am exactly the same. Henry the Labrador did not settle at all during the second half and I watched the game in about 15 sections; pausing it constantly. That made me grumpy as much as anything. However, I know you are a great guy and that you are just disappointed after the game, and we are all passionate Gooners who need to vent our frustrations: I am no different.

    I am no longer worried about us scoring goals, as I think we have the formula almost right. Terry is right, we do need another sort of striker in our team, as we had nobody on the bench who could come on as a super-sub. IBut in the last eleven games we scored about 2.5 goals per game and I would be delighted if we could keep that up for the rest of the season

    But defensively…. oh boy: it was just so bad and I think it put us all in a bad mood, because deep down we knew we had it coming. 😦

  148. TotalArsenal says:

    Right guys, off to bedski. (-:/-

    I will watch the game in peace again tomorrow – if Henry lets me 😀 – and write a post about it during the morning or afternoon.

    Keep rockin fellow Gooners.

  149. The Gooner says:

    TA,

    It’s just tough to see how we are playing now after successes many years ago. It’s especially disheartening after the team showed us that we can play brilliant football and come out and tease us with the crap performance they had today.

    The substitute situation at striker is awful and we could certainly use a super sub. A new striker shouldn’t be seen as a replacement or a threat to Giroud, but simply another goal scoring option as we need to capitalize on chances late in games. That’s what separates us from the top, top teams. Despite those top teams not being the better team on occasion, they almost always come out with 3 points. In fact, having an abundance of strikers is never a bad thing since it should raise the level of competition and make our attack less predictable.

    Scoring goals at a high clip per game is great and all, but those statistics are somewhat skewed by outbursts against Newcastle, Southampton, Reading, a 10-man Spuds and West Ham, as well as a couple sketchy penalty calls in our favour. If we were able to score goals consistently every game, it’d obviously be no issue at all, but when you’re failing (or at least finding extreme difficulty) to score against sides like Wigan, Southampton and Villa, there’s some cause for concern.

    No debate on our defense needing a miracle to improve, but going forward it’s not feasible to revamp our entire back line during this TW. Adding a clinical striker will immediately help us to win games though.

    Hope Henry’s feeling more settled now!

  150. alexgunners says:

    Hi TG,

    Great point, we should not be celebrating a spot on the CL. That sort of celebration should be reserved for the spuds, Everton or clubs alike.
    I love what we have seen the gunners do in the past and it is hard to see us scraping for a 4th place trophy. CL football is important to us but like you I am sick and tired of accepting this. Yes we are in a transitional period, but that does not take so many years and so many transfer windows of inactivity.

  151. The Gooner says:

    Alex,

    If I were to compare Arsenal to a relationship, we would be the classic stuck in a rut, should break up but are too timid and scared of uncertainty that we reside in mediocrity and abuse. We refrain ourselves from a real chance at moving forward to better things.

    Something has to eventually give in this organization, as nothing’s been working for us in the past 8 years. I’m not saying Wenger is the sole person at fault because he’s done a marvelous job at getting the most out of the resources he’s been given. However, sometimes change is necessary and there’s been too many promises of a bright future with no actual progress for quite some time. I keep holding out hope that this team will turn it around, but it’s quite clear we lack some quality compared with the top sides in even the PL, never mind the rest of the world. I’m not quite sure how AW doesn’t see it, because based on his latest comments we won’t be signing anyone tomorrow.

    Typical Arsenal. We’ll struggle to even make CL, and we had the chance today to get a jump on those above us in the table (Chavs and Spuds drew), yet we failed to deliver again when it mattered most. I never want to see us lose, but maybe it’s best that we miss out on CL so sweeping changes can finally take place.

  152. alexgunners says:

    TG,

    I hear what you’re saying. We need signs of improvement and its hard to accept other teams progressing and we lag behind living in hope. How can u possibly accept Holtby signing for the spuds when we are supposedly interested in him. What about QPR and Newcastle picking up our transfer targets with no attempt made by us?
    We have good players but we need others to compliment our players and make it known that they have to fight for their place.

  153. The Gooner says:

    Alex,

    I’d be particularly careful when saying other teams stole players we were “reportedly interested in”. Just because our scouts watch them, does not mean that we had concrete interest in a player or ever made a reported bid for them. More often than not, it’s just media speculation trying to garner more hits. Holtby was definitely a loss, but I don’t see a place for him in our team considering two of our best players are built for the CAM role.

    It’s not that we need more “good” players, we need more GREAT players. This squad only has 4 players that can get into any side in the EPL: Jack, Santi, Theo and Szczesny. When one of them is not playing up to par, like Santi today, we struggle more due to the lack of other great players to compensate. It’s also much easier to win games if you have a world-class striker who can change the outcome with a single shot.

    In my opinion, none of the players who have transferred into other PL sides, aside from Yanga-Mbiwa, would have been better than any players we currently have (and you still never know for sure if he’ll come good).

  154. oz gunner says:

    Everyone misses TG. RVP had a fantastic season last year but he missed some shockers. Yes I think Giroud should have done better but on the headed opportunity Henderson was holding Giroud’s arm not allowing him to jump for the ball. Had he been able to jump i think he would have buried it! As for the tap in, Podolski sent it in thick and fast, plus Agger got a slight deflection which may have put him off a bit. I still think he should have opened up his body though and gone with the right instead of the left

  155. alexgunners says:

    TG,
    Im not saying that they stole players, I know a lot is about media hype but it would be great to actually get someone who we have been or might have been following for a while.

    Great players are hard to come by and right now we do not seem like an attractive option considering we are not in a position to guarantee CL football and thats what all the great players would like. Apart from that we have too many players that are on our books and using up too much of our money. Arsenal have one of the highes wage bills around and when you have so many mediocre players on high wages, simply we cannot offer someone worthwhile the money they desire.

  156. oz gunner says:

    @ TG

    agreed the backup striker thing, it is disheartening seeing no real option to come on. Ba would have been the perfect solution. Someone of that nature, and as you said they don’t have to be a threat to Giroud, nothing wrong with pushing each other competition wise. I’d help take him to the next level.

  157. The Gooner says:

    Oz,

    My point wasn’t that other strikers never miss. If that’s what you took out of it all then you need to read everything again. You cannot compare van Judas to Giroud, he is light years better than him and 99% of the time he scores when it matters most. That’s the difference between a great striker and a good striker. Giroud, at his best, will develop into a good striker. At a premium position, such as striker, where the outcome of the game can be changed by one shot, you need a great striker. Our team is full of good players and not enough great ones.

    No title winning team would have Giroud as their leading man. I like what he brings to Arsenal, but we can’t settle for just good enough; we need more. If Arsenal would have had this mentality throughout the years, perhaps we wouldn’t have such a mediocre on-field product and have evolved much sooner.

  158. The Gooner says:

    Alex,

    You’ve exactly highlighted the dilemma we’re faced with! The problem is that Wenger should publicly hold himself accountable for these mistakes. Instead, he blames other clubs for over-valuing players or them not willing to sell. Why did we sign Squillaci, Santos, Park etc.? With the scouting network we have and the abundance of cash that we inject into it, it’s slightly embarrassing to have so little to show for it in our transfer purchases.

    We need to start becoming a more attractive destination again. Young players are now starting to grow up wanting to play for Manure and $hitty and on top of that, we can’t even compete with them when a player is a confessed Arsenal fan. Simply put, we have the ambition, but lack the personnel to truly realize this goal.

  159. oz gunner says:

    That’s not all I took from it TG, I used the clips to show RVP missed a vital shot that could of lead to us progressing in the champions league, and even he missed an empty net shot.

    That is unfair on Giroud though, look how far he has come in the last two seasons? His record in just over 6 months of EPL is great, and under Arsene it will only get better. To say he is going to be just ‘good’ is a bit premature. What’s holding him back from becoming the next Drogba of the EPL?
    Did anyone think RVP was going to be such a deadly striker? Not many thought he could lead the line, now look at him. He is only 26 and is heading in to the prime of his career, give the man some time first. I respect your opinion 100% but I do feel in 4 years time we will both be looking back on this thinking ‘wow what a player he is’

    http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/14028/humble+pie

    There it is TG, start cooking it now haha 🙂

  160. The Gooner says:

    I’ve been watching Giroud since his time with Montpellier in Ligue 1. He’s certainly a late bloomer but he lacks the skill to change a game on his own. He can’t take over a game with his pace, his dribbling is not good enough to create a chance on his own and his finishing along the ground is still inconsistent. He’s the type of player who will always need good delivery and that for me is just not “great” quality. Without those basic skill, I am certain that he will never get to van Judas’ level. For me, great is world-class quality and those types of talent are there for the world to see right away. No one ever questioned van Judas’ class – he always had a ton of ability but failed to be consistently healthy to maintain his status among the best. The same can be said of Diaby.

    Giroud is entirely different, throughout his career no one has ever considered him a player with a world-class skill set. However, some do see the qualities of a solid footballer who can become effective in the EPL. Being effective in a league is entirely different from being world-class. Even when van Judas was constantly injured earlier in his career, he was still almost scoring at a goal per game clip.

  161. The Gooner says:

    Also, I’m still hesitant to call Drogba world-class, in fact I don’t think he was. He had one fantastic season in 2009/10 and other than that he was largely just good in the PL. He was a nightmare for defenders because of his size, but much in the same way as Giroud, needed the delivery to score. Of course, he scored goals in very opportune situations which is the gap between Giroud and Drogba. Giroud can certainly improve on that, but I will never seriously rate Giroud in the same category as players like Messi, van Judas, Shrek, Aguero, Falcao, Cavani, Gomez, Benzema etc.

  162. oz gunner says:

    RVP:

    04/05 – 18 starts, 23 sub, 10 goals, 1 assist (welcome to the EPL)
    05/06 – 21 starts, 17 sub, 11 goals, 1 assist
    06/07 – 32 starts, 7 sub, 15 goals, 9 assists
    07/08 – 22 starts, 3 sub, 10 goals, 6 assists
    08/09 – 36 starts, 6 sub, 20 goals, 13 assists
    09/10 – 24 starts, 2 sub, 11 goals, 9 assists
    10/11 – 26 starts, 7 sub, 22 goals, 7 assists
    + two prolific seasons on World Class football

    Giroud:

    08/09 – 22 starts, 2 sub, 13 goals
    09/10 – 31 starts, 1 sub, 23 goals
    10/11 – 34 starts, 4 sub, 12 goals, 3 assists
    11/12 – 36 starts, 21 goals, 9 assists
    12/13 – 20 starts, 13 sub, 13 goals, 8 assists (Welcome to the EPL)

    If we compare Giroud at 26/27 against RVP at the same age (his 09/10 season) you can see they are not to dissimilar. Giroud is new to the league, new teammates, and arguable a lesser Arsenal team (imagine Giroud playing with Cesc)

    You have to take in to account players who develop at different times in their career. RVP was always considered a talent, but some come on later for different reasons whether it’s coaching, personal, ect. Some are late bloomers. Kozzer and Giroud came on late and are now international footballers. Kozzer went from Ligue 2 -> one of the best defenders in Ligue 1 (most accurate tackler) -> Arsenal (inconsistent) -> Arsenal (our best defender and in the EPL team of the year). All in the space of 4 seasons, Giroud has done pretty much the same.

    If he develops a greater understanding with his team (and them with him), settles in the league, who knows what could happen? He’s a big bullish striker, those are the kinds of players who tend not to get the plaudits because they don’t have as much highlight reel moments as the quicker skillful types. This bloke is going to be a force. 5 in 3 games is only the beginning…

  163. oz gunner says:

    I think he can be better then Gomez. Gomez knocks goals in for fun, but look at Bayern Munich. Their team is something else!

  164. The Gooner says:

    Your stats are completely misleading oz, let’s look at how they’ve performed domestically over the past 6 years since let’s be honest cup competitions and international friendlies have inflated Giroud’s goals this year and the EPL competition is much tougher:

    RVP:

    07/08 – 13 starts, 2 sub, 7 goals, 3 assists
    08/09 – 24 starts, 4 sub, 11 goals, 10 assists
    09/10 – 14 starts, 2 sub, 11 goals, 7 assists
    10/11 – 19 starts, 6 sub, 18 goals, 7 assists
    11/12 – 37 starts, 1 sub, 30 goals, 9 assists
    12/13 – 20 starts, 3 sub, 18 goals, 6 assists

    Giroud:

    08/09 – 21 starts, 2 sub, 9 goals, 0 assists
    09/10 – 37 starts, 1 sub, 21 goals, 0 assists (Your 09/10 stats for starts were completely off)
    10/11 – 33 starts, 4 sub, 12 goals, 3 assists
    11/12 – 36 starts, 21 goals, 9 assists
    12/13 – 13 starts, 9 sub, 8 goals, 1 assists (Welcome to the EPL)

    It’s not even CLOSE. If we extrapolate the numbers from 09/10 and 10/11 over the course of an entire 40-game season, van Judas would have scored approximated 24 and 36 goals respectively. That’s FOUR seasons of prolific football already at the age of 26. Injuries hindered van Judas from proving to the world that he was a world-class talent, not his skills or finishing ability. If we go back to 07/08 and extrapolate the numbers over the course of a 40-game season, he would have had 22 goals. Of course, there’s no certainty that he would have maintained his torrid scoring pace in all those seasons, but the goal/game pace he was on in those years suggest he would have been prolific much sooner, if it were not for injury.

    The first two of Giroud’s statistics are from Ligue 2 and the next two are from Ligue 1. Both are inferior competitions to the likes of the EPL. Certainly though, I don’t want to take away anything from Giroud’s scoring track, as he also helped Montpellier win the Ligue 1 title last year. The data from this season shows that in 22 appearances, he’s done very well for himself, despite only converting on 13% of his chances.

    Giroud will definitely NOT be better than Gomez in my opinion. Gomez is much more clinical and can move around the pitch better and has more class on the ball. Giroud can develop to a level below that of Gomez, which is still good in my eyes, but not good enough for a side hoping to win trophies. I’d even hesitate to rate Gomez as world class, he’s basically a notch below that too.

  165. The Gooner says:

    Oz, where is Koscielny right now? He’s once again struggling to get into the Arsenal side. To be fair, he hasn’t been given a clean run of games to establish form, but in the games he has played, he’s been well below average for most.

  166. The Gooner says:

    Sorry Oz, I take that back. Gomez is certainly world class.

  167. oz gunner says:

    My apologies for stuffing up the 1 and the 7.

    Koscielny has struggled with injuries that he picked up in Euros. With Verm as captain and Mert performing really well (besides the last few games) he hasn’t had a look in so how is he supposed to settle in and get his confidence back? I didn’t know we were in the business of crucifying Arsenal players to prove a point? If you know full well he hasn’t had a run in the team how can you criticise him so unfairly?

    Yes he has played in lower league but he’s in the big league now and carried on his goal scoring form. Yes RVP scores some great goals and his vollies were amazing but just because Giroud isn’t as flashy why should he be considered as less of a player? His job is to score goals…he’s doing that! Could RVP score the header Giroud did against Liverpool? No. Once again he’s just come in to a new team in a new league. If he’s scoring like this already why on earth can he not become more prolific once he settles and strikes up a better relationship with Walcott and Podolski?

    As TA said the other day look at the scoring stats of our strikers vs manu. We are not far off yet they are most likely going to win the league. So why the gulf? It’s obviously nothing to do with the personnel we have in attack.

  168. oz gunner says:

    If he has gone from Ligue 2 in France to Arsenal in 4 seasons why does his development have to all of a sudden stop now?

    At the moment his chance conversion is 15% but surely settling in to a new team and the pressure of filling RVP’s boots played a part in that. Everyone wants to see Suarez at Arsenal but his chance conversion is 17%. Strange when some would give an arm and a leg to get him. Giroud has more assists than him also. Not as much goals? That’ll happen when you were the only striker in the team for 6 months.

    http://www.eplindex.com/25186/giroud-struggling-fill-van-persies-boots-stats-comparison.html

  169. henrychan says:

    Morning all..
    I just wonder why Koscielny didn’t play..
    I just hope Kos came in when Gibbs out.. And Verm play as LB..
    Maybe we will not need to suferred the second goal.. A very terrible defensed..

    But we did great lastnight except for our defenders.. Mertesacker and Santos..
    We just unlucky.. hehehe..
    And I am still believe that we can beat Spurs and Everton for the 4th place,.
    With this 14 games left.. We must not lose every single game..
    Our toughest games will be March 2nd again Spurs away, Swansea away at march 16th (cause we must face BM 2 days before..) and April 27th again MU home..
    and If we win 11 other games.. then we will get 33 points..
    In total we collect 71 points.. that maybe good enough for 3rd place.. hehehehe..

    What will happend for next 24 hour in Transfer Window..
    I hope Jetro Willem and Strootman will come.. hehehehehe..

  170. Macko says:

    Hello your video that you has all, Glick has poster my fact to cry for happiness:)
    To speak about O.G leave he another season in legs and apres we will can make a report, most inquietant have my eyes what is that I read on the site Official Arsenal A.W looks satisfied with the game(set,play) of its defense!!!??
    At such a level one would have better made keep(guard) Djourou rather than bang(type) it this corpse of Metesaker, I wish that one things: ” that he(it) leaves the team “, since he(it) is the we never have was also slow in our relaunching(reflation), and has every time he(it) has the ball(bullet) in the foot we ask for it what he(it) is going to make it, and as every time has he(it) crosses(spends) her(it) has sagna, Szczesny or has the opponent as yesterday; a magnificent pass express on one opposite player.
    To replace Gibbs we have Meade either to put Ramsey as said it T.A, otherwise Vermaelen in defensif environment(middle) I would see good for my part a boy as Koz 😉

  171. Macko says:

    As regards transfer hope well and have well ……

  172. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning all 🙂

    Are we all licking our defensive wounds and utterly desperate for some transfer news?! 😛

  173. VCC says:

    You summed it up perfectly Total. How much of this dross have we got to put up with.

    The whole sports world are laughing at Arsenal/Wenger/Us. I’m totally p—– off with our inept defending. Time and time again, and Wenger seems to be blind to it.

    Head in the sand……Wake up and smell the roses…….Springs to mind.

  174. WiganGooner says:

    Just got around to reading this.

    Brilliant article, this site just gets better and better. Well done guys.

    WG

  175. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC, I don’t know what to say other than to agree with you wholeheartedly. We had three games in a row against top-four contenders and everytime we totally lost it in the first half. Result: one point out of nine. Not good enough and time to smell those fricking roses! 😈

  176. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Wiggie – good to see you here and thanks for the compliment. Do you reckon we’ll get that DM beast we have been talking about last month?

  177. VCC says:

    UMF 1 update.

    Overall leader board..=

    VCC……………………53
    Herb……………………47
    Henry…………………..45
    Red Arse………………43
    Total…………………….41
    Oz………………………..40
    PPP………………………38
    The Gooner……………37
    Rocky……………………30
    TMHT…………………….29
    Alex……………………….24
    GLiC………………………24

    Round scores…=
    VCC………………………9
    Henry…………………….6
    PPP………………………6
    Herb……………………..6
    Total……………………..6
    Red Arse……………….5
    The Gooner……………5
    GLiC………………………2
    Oz…………………………2
    TMHT…………………….2
    ALex……………………..2
    Rocky…………………….1

    Home selections ……..11……….6 correct
    Away selections………..27……….5 correct
    Draw selections…………25………12 correct

    Those stats would suggest away’s are more difficult to predict.

    The most popular fixture was QPR v Manchester City.

    Please get your selections in before KO Saturday.

    Once again guys, many thanks for taking part.

    Last comment comes from that outstandingly Handsome muvver “VCC” the leader overall and weekly champion too. He has asked to be put in print……

    Come on you lot, get your thinking caps on this week and get some points. 😉

  178. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for the UMF update, VCC –> you are doing really well in this: very impressive indeed! 🙂

  179. glic says:

    Morning Coot Crusties 😆

    The morning after the night before and the morning before the night we buy nobody !.

    The thing is BK buddies……… Szczesny, Sagna, Jenks, Verm, Koz, Gibbs are very good players ( noticed I left Mert and Santos out, the former is OK, the latter needs a KO ). I go back to what Winterburn said, Under GG the back four were drilled for hours day in day out and a lot of the time without the ball, so it`s not rocket science, just hard work and repetition !.
    Trouble is, under Wengerball, it seems defending takes a back seat to offense and comes across as an afterthought of lets out score the oppo`. We have to defend as a team. The great Bindipper teams first line of defence was Ian Rush !.
    As I say, these are no mug players, they just need the right system and possibly a little bit of protection !
    Obviously it`s just an opinion, if I knew the magic formula I woudn`t be sitting here stroking Isco !. I would be at London Colney and you would be singing, ” he`s glic , he fit, he`s got Isco on his dick, handsome glic, handsome glic !”. hahaha

  180. VCC says:

    Cheers Total.

    How depressing it is to be a Gooner today. Totally frustrated. How did we lose that game last night……….

    As GLiC has mentioned above, It wouldn’t take much regarding cost or hard work to tweak this squad, but I can’t see things changing much under Wenger.

  181. glic says:

    Predictions.

    Question, Penetrate Rihanna ?

    Alice in Sunderland

    Erectile Dysfunctionals

    Newchateau de United

    Astonishingly Villano

    All to win.

  182. Red Arse says:

    UMM, VCC, 🙂 — we did not lose the game!! Cheer up! 😀

  183. glic says:

    Redders

    I think Vicky went to bed with his carer when it was 2-0 !. hahaha

  184. Red Arse says:

    Hi Glicee, 😀

    Good song — you must have been a troubador in a past life! 🙂

    I am going to paste a comment I made elsewhere regarding our defense — coz you obviously did not see the appalling comedy turn from our (so called) defenders. 🙂

  185. Red Arse says:

    Here we go, Glicster, just for you!! 🙂

    When Arsenal at last got going in the second half, it was possible to enjoy the ebb a flow of the game for a while, and I am sure that the neutrals would have loved watching it, but as an Arsenal fan, my concern that we needed the three points, and were doing our best, even at the end of the game, to present them to a very average Liverpool really got to me.

    In my years of supporting the Gunners, I have rarely seen such an inept defensive performance.

    I said earlier today that Mertesecker is fast becoming one of the worst CBs that I have seen — Stepanovs is moving over as I type — and I really believe it.

    Leave aside Santos, he is not really a LB, and won’t stay for long, but the whole back line, and the keeper, are constantly put on edge and do the most ridiculous and (un)funny comical things, usually in a blind panic.

    Mertesecker is like a stationary lamp post that the opposition simply walk around, that leaves a hole in the defence that the others try and cover for, which means leaving their own positions. Result? chaos!

    There are those, like you GB, who see merit in PM, in that, provided he is judged only on ‘reading the game’ by sticking his foot out to intercept passes, think he does a good job.
    But that is not enough for an Arsenal team who want to scale the heights. He needs to have some pace, some turning ability and to be able to pass the ball somewhere other than sideways to TV or back to the keeper — who sometimes then wants to entertain us with a Cruyff turn.

    Perhaps GN5 has the stats, but I am sure that we defend better as a unit when we field Gibbs, Kozzer, TV and Sagna, not just with a better ratio of goals against, but as a cohesive unit with the midfield.

    This is a subjective opinion based on what my big blues eyes have seen, and if other peoples’ eyes tell them something different, that’s fine – just do not expect me to change my mind any time soon.

    It is all very well supporting our players during the game, and I do, but you are right, Arsenal should aspire to better, so it is not wrong to be constructively critical and call it as you see it — this defence is simply not good enough, and it is not enough to blame the midfield, or the coaching, or the goal keeper — these players collectively are not good enough as a unit, and individually Mertesecker is not good enough!

  186. VCC says:

    Hi Red Arse, hope your well . Don’t see you much any more?

    Arsenal are playing tricks with my emotions. One minute I think were through the tunnel, then the next we seem sunk.

    imo, that’s Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool we should have won if it were not our inept, (I was going to say SHIT, but I don’t swear) defence.

    Do these guys EVER watch the replays, I wonder?????? If they do, do they laugh or do they hold their heads in their hands???? I would like to be a fly on the wall.

    GLiC…..I did !!!!!!!! she was very nice to me…….Was that not the final score? I couldn’t watch any more.

  187. VCC says:

    Red Arse…….I’m with you and Kelsey. I always have been. Per Mertesacker is in the same bracket as Stepanovs, Squillaci, Cygan, Sylvestre, Bet we would have done better if we’d spent a little more on Cahill.

  188. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post!

    Please copy/paste any comments to the new post, if you so wish! 🙂

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