Santi drives, Diaby & Ox are improving, Nacho & Gerv coolest: report and ratings

Nacho tells the Spuds and Chavs who he's gunning for!

Nacho tells the Spuds and Chavs who he’s gunning for!

Facing the Jacks without Jack?  Who really gives a Jack?!

It turns out, the almost-miracle in and against Munich, may well be the much needed lift for our squad to finish in the coveted top-four domestically by the end of the season.  Amidst the downplaying by some critics of our victory at the Allianz arena (due to Bayern’s suspensions and being mentally unfocused after their first-leg victory), the significance of that victory may go beyond the criticism of coming short in Europe yet again; it represents a huge boost for Arsenal in confidence, and the cornerstone for momentum to the rest of the season.

The problem for most of this season has been following up a great performance with another.  There has been a lack of consistency game-to-game and even within a game; the 2-0 victory against Bayern saw the potential for Arsenal to be a fortress defensively like we were for the first few games this season, while playing as a collective, cohesive unit offensively.

Arsenal was able to follow up its 2-0 victory in the CL with another inspiring 2-0 victory against a Swansea side that beat us by the same score-line earlier this year.  Arsene made some changes to the line-up that played mid-week in Germany, by starting Ox, Diaby and Monreal in place of Rosicky, Ramsey and Gibbs.  We started off the game with some very nice one-touch passing, while Swansea countered with some beautiful passing of its own.  It was evident that this would be a wide-open game with both teams taking turn passing and attacking.

Swansea dominated the first 20 minutes of play by creating the majority of chances and holding on to the ball very well – they ‘out-Arsenaled’ Arsenal in the process.  Their first half was highlighted by golden opportunities both missed by Michu.  Our defence did well in neutralizing the early threats; and after the initial 20 minutes of dominance by Swansea, Arsenal took over the game.

We had our fair chances to score in the first half, none better than Ox’s two shots off the crossbar, and Santi’s dipping effort from 25 yards out that Vorm saved calmly.  However, both sides were unable to convert, and the half ended in a stalemate with both sides outplaying the other for half of the first 45 minutes.

The second half was a much different story to the first half of the game; as Arsenal have been able to own second halves, with only 12 goals conceded – better than any other squad in the Premier League.  We started the second half as we ended the first half: in complete control on both possession and scoring chances.  Santi drove our team forward on numerous occasions and Diaby threatened with a couple of nice runs, but we still lacked either the final ball or the finish to put us ahead.  It once again appeared that we would be victims to our lack of creativity, as we were very stationary on the edge of the opponent’s box, contemplating a way to break through their defence.

However, in the 71st minute of the game, Arsene made two key substitutions that changed the flow and outcome of the game – Gervinho and Ramsey came into the match for Ox and Diaby.  At first, I was a little puzzled by the substitutions since two-thirds of our most threatening attacking options today were now off the field, but I had faith that Gervinho’s trickery and runs would add some flair and potentially reinvigorate our stale offensive approach.

Immediately after the substitutions, Santi drove us forward once again and played a ball to Giroud, whose poor touch was saved by a diving second effort to get the ball to Monreal in the opponent’s box.  Cool and composed as ever, Monreal slid the ball into the bottom corner of the goal to give the Mighty Arsenal a much-deserved one-goal lead.  From there, the game was history as we continued to own possession and still attacked when given the opportunity.  We moved up and down the pitch like a well-oiled machine, paying special attention to the defensive side of the game before eventually scoring in the 91st minute.  Gervinho capped off a counter-attack in the 91st minute by calmly slotting an insurance goal for us from a Ramsey pass.

Player Ratings:

Fabianski (7.5) – He was never really tested, but came up with saves when needed.  His aggressive goalkeeping in running out to meet balls played back to him by defenders displayed his confidence and comfort level in goal.  I also noticed that most of his kicks in the air often find Arsenal players in open space, which is another benefit Fab brings to the table.  Two clean sheets in a row, nothing extraordinary today, but he provides us with stability in goal going forward.

The Back Four: Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny (7.5) Monreal (8.0) – I grouped our back four together because I thought they all played a very solid game and have finally provided us with some defensive consistency and reliability.  Jenkinson’s pass directly to Michu in the first half was frightening, but fortunately we were not punished for his mistake.  Aside from that, Jenkinson was lively running up and down the flank and is blossoming into a fantastic and dependable RB.  Mertesacker held the line well and played very deep to receive passes in typical fashion; he was steady as ever.  Koscielny was aggressive and assertive in his defending again, and has formed a solid partnership with the BFG in the center of the park.  Monreal’s timely goal set him apart from the rest of the back four, but all four are worthy of recognition for playing a solid defensive game with little to no errors.

Arteta (6.5) – I was a little disappointed with Arteta today, as he misplaced some passes (one to Koscielny in our own half) and was careless with his tackling (conceded a free kick just outside our own 18-yard box and picked up a yellow), which almost cost us.  His lack of pace has been frequently exposed lately against clubs with fast players like Robben, Ribeiry, Routledge, Dyer, Pablo etc.  However, he is still the engine of this team and Arsenal are more disciplined and organized when he wears the armband and is in the line-up.

Diaby (7.0) – Considering it was Diaby’s first game back after another injury lay-off, I was relatively impressed.  There were flashes of his old-self coming back, as he galloped down field with ease and stripped the ball off Swansea players on numerous occasions.  It was clear that he was rusty and not fully in form yet, as he had a heavy touch on a couple occasions and could not finish from the scoring opportunities he created for himself.

Cazorla (8.5) – Santi was the driver for our team and constantly pushed us forward throughout the whole match.  Much like Diaby, Santi is once again showing signs of becoming the player he was at the start of the year and is exerting his influence on the game.  He was my MoTM and has looked brilliant filling in for Jack in the hole.  As mentioned earlier, it was Santi’s run with the ball that created the first goal; and his pass up field to Giroud that started the counter-attack for our second goal.

Oxlade-Chamberlain (7.5) – Ox’s first start in a while and like Diaby, it was clear that he had some rust to shake off.  He was our most dangerous player in the first half, hitting the crossbar twice, combining well with Santi and making some nice runs into the opponent’s 18-yard box.  However, he also had a couple heavy touches and made some errant passes in the final third.  I’d like to see Ox get some more minutes during the rest of the season, as he provides a different option to our wings than Theo, Poldi, Santi and Gervinho.

Giroud (6.5) – Giroud was underwhelming yet again today.  Aside from the nice second effort to assist on Monreal’s goal, he was largely not involved and never helped to threaten Swansea’s defense.  As always, his work rate and attention to defensive duties is admirable, but we’ll eventually need goals from our striker if we’re to qualify for the Champions League next year.

Walcott (6.0) – There were times when I questioned if Theo was even on the pitch.  There has been a disturbing pattern of Theo drifting centrally recently, looking for the breakaway pass and to be the man who scores timely goals, whilst leaving Jenkinson defending and attacking on his own on the right flank.  While the belief in his own ability is great, the delivery has not been focused enough, and he needs to let the game come to him, instead of forcing the issue.  I’m confident he’ll eventually find his scoring boots again.

Gervinho, Ramsey (7.0) and Gibbs (Incomplete) – In their cameo appearances, Gervinho and Ramsey made a substantial impact on the game.  Their ratings are only a 7.0 because they only played approximately 20 minutes of the match.  Gervinho immediately threatened Swansea with a nice run down the left, but fell victim to his own poor pass in the final third.  Still, our offense looked livelier once he was on the pitch and his goal in the 91st minute sealed our victory.  Ramsey’s work rate running up and down the field was necessary as our team was starting to fade before he came on.  Despite his pass being played behind Gervinho on the goal, he still played it into the right area and picked up a crucial assist.  Gibbs came onto the game in the 84th minute to defend the lead and never really had the opportunity to make his mark.

On a day where the Arsenal is victorious, it’s hard to point out too many flaws in our game, and I believe my player ratings more or less reflect this.  Going forward, the striker partnership of Theo and Giroud will need to improve, as we’ll need their goals in the coming weeks to secure a Champions League spot.  

Hopefully, Arsenal can maintain this level of intensity and consistency and finally form an identity of being a defensive fortress, while winning games in typical, beautiful Arsenal fashion.

Written By: Highbury Harmony

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125 Responses to Santi drives, Diaby & Ox are improving, Nacho & Gerv coolest: report and ratings

  1. AFC says:

    Very good post HH. Do not know where the defense playing well leaves Verm. Santi was brilliant and I think when he and Jack play together, he does not play as well as there can only be one player playing in the hole. Next season I would like to see us play a 4-1-2-3 formation with a beast of a DM with Jack and Santi infront with the freedom to create havoc with teams defense.

    I think Walcott is trying to hard to assert himself and score goals to prove to Wenger he can play as the main striker. He should just forget about trying to prove himself and play for the team and he will soon start to play better for the team.

    Also Gervinho got the goal he deserved.

  2. davi says:

    Arteta looks tired again. You can tell because of the misplaced passes and he seems almost intent on getting himself booked when he’s not fully fit. In my view he’s a massively important player, hardworking and more influential than people realise, and the correct choice for captain at the moment, but if things were allowed to continue, he could cost us points or get himself sent off. Thankfully he can enjoy a full international break now and should be refreshed for the next game. Hopefully Diaby will be fitter for the next game as well because he takes some of the pressure from Arteta and even today he did contribute a lot defensively.

  3. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers AFC, appreciate the kind words and thanks for commenting!

    I agree with everything you just pointed out. Santi and Jack were both developed for the CAM role and both are not as effective in other positions (more so with Santi). Walcott needs to relax and let the game come to him, the ball often finds him in the box when he’s patient. He’s in a rush to prove that he can be the sole striker and abandoning his wing responsibilities in the process.

    I love the 4-1-2-3 set-up, but it’s been interesting hearing commentators and analysts mentioning AW’s insistence on no longer needing a beast of a DM. He believes that you now only need a quality distributor who is an astute tackler for the DM role.

    I guess AW has a point to a degree, but Arteta is too slow to play as the sole DM in our set-up and having two DM to compensate for his lack of pace and height takes away from potential offensive contributions further up the pitch. Also, no one is frightened or concerned when they enter our half, as our DMs are not assertive or aggressive enough in closing opponents down.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent, razor-sharp match review, HH, and agreed on all. You saw it exactly as I did, including the player ratings.

    It is amazing that we got away with another below-par joint performance of our main attackers, Giroud and Theo, and like you I hope they start performing to the required levels again soon.

    All agreed on our ‘back-five’, and yes Santi was amazing again. Two games in four days and he drove the team twice with full energy, confidence and intelligence. I luuuuuve Santi! 🙂

  5. Highbury Harmony says:

    All agreed Davi, Arteta was much more effective earlier in the year and seems to have been inconsistent since returning from injury. I’m hopeful for Diaby to stay healthy too, as he is the perfect complement to Arteta’s lack of pace and aerial ability, and can exert his influence up and down the pitch.

  6. AFC says:

    HH, I see Wengers point in not needing a proper DM and I think that Arteta’s lack of pace is a problem for the team but should not be. Look at Italy with Pirlo, can tackle but is not fast but is much better as distributing the ball than Arteta.

    Our DMs are not assertive. I would say that Ramsey is the most assertive. People want Diaby to be that type of player because of his build but he is far from it. He is more suited to playing further forward or in the hole because of his dribbling and creativity.

  7. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA,

    Thank you for the kind words, always a pleasure to write for BK!

    Santi is just amazing and I’ve expected him to play like this all year. I’m not quite sure what happened to him the last few months, but he’s back to the player I remembered earlier in the year. His body language and attitude are much better and instead of waiting for things to happen, is taking matters into his own hands.

    I’m not sure what to make of the Theo-Giroud partnership. In theory, they complement each other perfectly: one has height, the physical gifts and is left-footed, while the other is fast, good at crossing and is right-footed. However, they are both trying to force the play right now and prove themselves by breaking their scoring slumps.

    Like VCC mentioned on the last post, I think we need a new striker who can really assert themselves and understands that the game will come to them, instead of running around and chasing the ball (been saying this for a while).

  8. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, TA who is this author called Highbury House, aka The Gooner? I must have missed the debut article by that author ;)!

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    That took you a week to spot it, HH! 😛

  10. Highbury Harmony says:

    Agreed AFC, Diaby himself has stated on numerous occasions that he is not a midfield destroyer type like Vieira and is more like a Yaya Toure. A graceful player who can really gain momentum when running down field and has the creativity and control to beat defenders and score. I was thoroughly impressed with Diaby’s defensive contributions today and he had 6-7 steals!

    As you stated, Arteta’s lack of pace would be less of an issue if his distribution was better (Pirlo has some of the sexiest long balls I’ve ever seen). Pirlo joins up in the attack more than Arteta as well, and is paired with Vidal in midfield, who is by all accounts a midfield destroyer. This is proof that we must complement our current group of midfielders with a proper DM beast.

    Can you imagine one of Wanyama or Capoue with Diaby/Arteta/Ramsey?!

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, not disagreeing on the need for a new striker, but I would like to see Theo and Giroud improve a lot first as well. Like you see, on paper they have a lot to offer but are not (yet) gelling, which is not good.

  12. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA :), I see how it is! If I don’t frequent this blog as often, jokes and pranks will be played on me hahaha!

  13. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, we don’t have another option than to see Theo-Giroud gel for the rest of this season! I do hope that Podolski gets a proper chance to play as the lone striker once he’s healthy, as we cannot continue to hope our defence will bail us out with goals, especially if we want them to maintain their outstanding form in our own half.

  14. AFC says:

    Two names for striker in the summer. Benzema and Suarez.

    Benzema is second choice striker for Real and if Real get Falcao he could become available. He is also french and Wenger loves his french players.

    Suarez can play anywhere in the attack. Fast, clinical and always has a trick up his sleeve. Could persuade him to come if we get CL football and promise him he will be our main striker. He might not want to go to City considering they already have 3 strikers. His price tag may be high but if Wenger is serious about forking out the money if the right player comes along then it should be for Suarez.

    Only thing that goes against Suarez, is that he is a racist scumbag who likes to dive.

  15. allezkev says:

    I didn’t see the game, so it was very pleasant reading your in-depth report HH.
    A win in Munich, met with muted praise, which i fully expect to be repeated by the Press after this result.
    Who cares?
    Reading next, after the break. That should keep the pot boiling…

  16. Bond James says:

    and every time we manage to put a few decent games together, comes international football or friendlies…fast forward 2 weeks, we have to start from scratch and start dropping points.

    as usual, the break has come at the worst possible time for us, i only hope and pray that this time around, the break doesn’t cost us as badly as it has done in the past.. (4th time lucky perhaps ?

    all in all, spot on tactics, for me diaby and the ox need to start as many games as possible and either of theo/giroud need to be benched with only one of them playing up front against reading, with podolski back , i would be inclinded to use podolski through the middle at both of theo’s or giroud’s expense in the starting 11.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    I think we all want the Pod in the middle, HH; at least for a few games. Giroud and Theo should come good but something needs to happen to get them to gel better – maybe Chamakh can help! 😆

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, they are both decent options, but I reckon there would be big issues re salaries with Benzema.

  19. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC,

    Benzema is my first choice, I’ve been infatuated with his skill and pace since his Lyon days. I really think he could flourish under Wenger and is the ideal lone striker for our set-up, as he can do it all.

    My second choice would be Jovetic. Not as accomplished of a finisher as Benzema, but more untapped potential and he’s more aggressive and direct. Both have sublime skill and pace to burn.

    If money were not an issue, I would recommend Cavani over Suarez. He is the definition of the complete package, as he’s as prolific in the air as he is on the ground. A definite world-class striker who is a more consistent and versatile finisher than Suarez imo.

  20. Highbury Harmony says:

    Allezkev,

    I’m grateful that I was able to share my perspective of the game with you! Thank you for the kind words too :). Like you, as long as we continue to win, I really don’t care what the critics and press say! Onwards and upwards Gooners!

  21. Highbury Harmony says:

    Bond James,

    Excellent observations and we all hope that we can maintain our new found momentum over the International break. The majority of our key players (Jack, Poldi, Arteta, Diaby etc.) should be well rested over this period as they are unlikely to play for their respective National squads because of injury or selection.

  22. AFC says:

    The only thing with Suarez is that is he is proven in the PL. Then again remember what happened a certain billionaire brought a certain expensive striker from Liverpool.

    I am not mentioning any names.

  23. allezkev says:

    HH, I have to confess, that the return of Fabianski, left me a tad underwhelmed, but the lad has done good.
    I did hear on the radio, that Fabianski ran the length of the pitch to celebrate (2nd goal I think) with his team mates.
    That’s the kind of Arsenal spirit I love to see.

  24. AFC says:

    Sorry meant to say,

    The only thing with Suarez is that he is a proven ST in the PL. Then again remember what happened when a certain billionaire brought a certain expensive striker from Liverpool.

    I am not mentioning any names.

  25. Highbury Harmony says:

    Lol Allezkev, I did not realize that if that did happen! Pretty hilarious move on his part if Fab did that, but I’d ove the passion if he did.

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Night all! 🙂

  27. Highbury Harmony says:

    love*

  28. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, the next expensive striker to be sold by Liverpool will also be a bust. Even if he’s sold for half the price he was bought for from Newcastle, he’ll still be a waste :).

    I am not mentioning any names either.

  29. AFC says:

    Liverpool sold Torres for 50 mill to Chelsea and must have been happy considering that he is now only worth around 10 mill. But then they were stupid enough to spend this god send of money and more money on top for a group of overrated British players. 35 mill on Carroll who is not even worth 25% of his price tag, Henderson, Adams, Downing and Allen.

    And people say Wenger signs shit players. People should think of Kenny before they say Wenger signs shit players.

  30. Aaron says:

    No discredit to you or your opinions, but by the 45th minute I was crying for Diaby to get off the field, he did have a few good runs, and touches which is to be expected, he’s a very talented player and true he was just coming back in so maybe the turnovers and bad touches were to be expected, but what was most frustrating was his work rate…it was non existent and especially with Arteta back there in his lack of pace, a low work rate is not what we needed and looks far too timid in the tackle, if you watch again before Ramsey came on and after, the pace of the team in general just increased dramatically…and coming from me it’s weird because I’m not a big fan of Ramsey, personally think coquelin should be playing next to Arteta (my opinion again).

  31. Milo says:

    I”m sorry, I’d sooner have Bale at our club than Suarez. Some things go beyond rivalries. Like Suarez’s behaviour. At least Bale isn’t a proven racist. And he doesn’t dive quite as much as Suarez. Wenger has values, and I don’t think he’d bid for Suarez, even if he were the only striker alive. I’d much rather have Jovetic. He’s young, and there is a tonne of potential there to be reaped. Plus he’s taller than Suarez and just has that Bergkamp-like presence to his play. I’ll put it this way, if it were up to me, Suarez wouldn’t come a mile near our club!!! I might be dead wrong, adn maybe Wenger WILL bid for him.

    By the way, does anyone want Anders Lindegaard at Arsenal??? I haven’t seen much of him, but he COULD be a good back-up option if Szczesny or Fabianski leave in the summer. I really don’t know how good he is though, so someone will have to tell me if he is good enough or not.

  32. Has Wlacott Ever Tackled a Player? NO! says:

    Has anyone ever seen Walcott make a tackle? A total waste of a player. The worst player I have ver seen. He just bumbles and stumbles every time. He does not help the team not does he try to change games. Unless the ball is played into space for him he does not move. He is too much of a pedigree race horse for that. Prima Donna’s do not tackle. Get rid of him

  33. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, as promised 😉 :

    I’d have to say though, he was not as impressive in this game as ones I’ve seen in the past, but still a top quality talent of course. Porto played him very tightly and took away his space, but he still managed to manoeuvre around them from time to time.

  34. Highbury Harmony says:

    Milo, agreed on Jovetic, I’d love to see him and his “through the roof” potential at Arsenal. In regards to Lindegaard, I’m not 100% sold on him as a back-up and I’m not sure if Manure would sell to Arsenal. I don’t watch enough Manure to give you an accurate scouting report on him either.

  35. Klaus Stein says:

    It’s really a shame that Podolski doesn’t play as central striker, he is in my opinion the most clinical finisher we have. There are enough options for the wing and i still rate Gervinho being one of them – he doesn’t mind to take on his man if we face a stubborn defense.

  36. AFC says:

    Hi Milo, regarding Lindergaard I do not see him as being a better option than Szec or Fab.

    When De Gea was making a lot of mistakes last season SAF used to get Lindergaard to warm up to threaten De Gea into performing better. When I have seen Lindergaard he does not make to many mistakes compared to the likes of Scez and De Gea but he is not as good as them in terms of overall abilty. I think this is why De Gea continues to be no.1 for Man U.

  37. zack jack says:

    I think we will still need a DM. there has been a link that AW is trying to bring Isco (if not mistaken) to AFC. Watchd some of his highlights on the pitch, quite promising tho, but the 30mil seems cost too much. And suspicious as well, will AW spend that much money on a single player? hmm. lets see. But I really think we need a DM to have a more defensive. Arteta is good but he really looks tired recently. COYG and keep the momentum of victory! qualification of UEFA is a must!

  38. bobby says:

    It will take about ten years before we get back to winning ways. We haven’t got the capacity to compete. Year on year has been a steady decline, having to rely on dodgy lasagnes and a rickety West Brom keeper to secure a top four place. We have mental strength and fighting spirit is Wenger’s mantra, contrary to the teams soft underbelly. The glory days may be over but at least financially we’re in safe hands.

  39. Gerry says:

    HH – Splendid post Sir. Mind, I am hardly likely to disagree with the opening part, as I said before the match that the Bayern game would be pivotal to how we played yesterday, and ultimately, how we end our season.

    Funnily enough, I think the first leg against Bayern was the key to getting the Wenger/Bould message to the players. It was not only the TV commentators who spotted how quickly the Bayern players flooded back when then lost the ball. So when applied to our lot, they not only denied Bayern space(however half-hearted they were?), but also enabled us to score against them.

    Repeat that against Swansea and we got the same result. The big difference here though is that we got 3 points for our efforts, so the players know that their extra effort is being rewarded in a meaningful way. It also shows that, if that is what is required, the actual line up is less crucial, so changes can be made … as long as the ‘all sing from the same hymn sheet’?

    The big thing that we should query, is not ‘what’ but ‘why’ in WTF!, wasn’t this spotted at the beginning of the season??????

    That’s got that off my chest. But whilst I am having a dig at things that irritate me, I will be much happier if we can comment on our matches and players without this constant reference to the TW and who would be better than what we have? This is our squad and we should be looking at suggestions at how we might make things work better with what we have … Nice as it is to dip into the ‘wishful thinking pot’, and I indulge myself from time to time, but it isn’t going to change anything for this season?

    Sorry, got woken up early this morning …

    So, to the review of the players, and I do take issue with a couple of things. Mainly because much of it is not comparing like with like. The way we have played the last couple of games has made our defender’s job a lot easier. Do we seriously think that Szcz would not have been in a happier mind set if this had been the case all season? Fabby has done really well when he has been called upon, and all credit it to him. He was after all our No1 keeper prior to his injury, and was looking to win over his critics with a more assured performances. But we all know that one mistake and Fabby will become Flappy in a blink of an eye.
    I could repeat the same for Sagna. I think TV5 has been weighed down by the armband, but he too would have been under less stress if the whole team were sharing the workload? Mert is probably the one constant in all of this, but now his organisational calm is bearing fruit.

    To go on the reverse, the armband with Arteta and our successful play linked? HH, I don’t recall this being one of his attributes prior to this turnaround, so I hardly think we can add this now? No disputing he has always been a model professional, which is why fellow players listen to him.

    I also think that Giroud becomes an easy target when he is isolated in the middle. Stick someone from our current squad closer to him, whether in a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 and see what a difference it makes? In an ideal world he needs a fully developed Akpom or Gnabry to be a scoring threat alongside, and may be before the end of the season we will get a glimpse of that combination. But in the meantime I think the Ox is one of the better candidates because he is not so easily blocked/knocked off the ball. Santi and Jack could do it, but both will drift away to find space, as is the want with midfielders. Arshavin would love the role, but we all know how things stand there?

    That is the thing, we do have the players to carry this momentum forwards. If we can stop the opposition from scoring, it will as, seen yesterday, mean that openings will come for us to score eventually. Indeed, if the Ox had a bit more luck with his two shots it could have been a rout? But the key, as I said before, is that whoever plays, no matter what position, they have to follow this pattern up in every match. So players out at the moment should be able to slot in and do a similar job, like Monreal yesterday, although I take issue with him being ‘superior’ to Gibbs, but a good addition without doubt. But the real point is, whoever is rotated, with this whole team effort, the likes of Coquelin should be able to step in and not be seen as a weak link?
    So come on, share the the joy of THIS SQUAD, they have a big job to do.

  40. VCC says:

    Allez Kev. Its a shame you missed the game “live”, but Highbury Harmony’s report is top drawer, bang on the money, you wont find any better reports in any sunday papers. Ten out of ten HH.

    My take on Giroud, is his lack of speed of thought from brain to feet. He is far too slow with his reactions. He may be a good work horse, but I’m after a thoroughbred racer.

    It was pleasing to get another clean sheet yesterday. Wenger has a problem with Gibbs and Monreal, who will he select as first choice? nice position to be in though.

    Fingers crossed for Fulham today.

  41. Red Arse says:

    Excellent stuff, HH, thoroughly enjoyed the read and it was all spot on!! 🙂

    I only saw the game in the evening so it misses the excitement of the unknown, but it gives a better chance to analyse how the players performed.

    Even so, you accurately reported the match.

    My quibble, and it is hardly new, is that Theo, by now, should be the absolute bees knees, and should be a game changer, but he seems to be neither one thing or the other.

    I should just take him for what he is, but he could have been so much more.

  42. macko says:

    Hi, I think you really noticed much too high.
    We play poorly overall match won is good.
    Lot of work to do in the middle Arteta and Diaby it does not work!!
    Our pace is too slow and too risky recovery.
    On EVERY Fabiansky releases the ball is given by the adversary giroud
    it is really bad, you play too much on him, he has never come to this in the sense of the game, never to return or must such a true number 9 (poacher). Anyway it starts to Ransey goals and the second on the first lens he is still control.
    Finally have a win, the work is done

  43. @babakrdaemi says:

    I think the 2 week rest arteta is about to get couldnt come at a better time. Fingers crossed we stay injury free. Reading at hime next. I think spuds are at swansea the same weekend. Will be 1 point in it.

    Come on the gunners

  44. macko says:

    bon j’ en est marre des traduction, je n’arrive pas a me faire comprendre donc je vous souhaite a tous de bons moment avec notre équipe préféré 😉
    Bye les anglais !!!

  45. alexgunners says:

    HH,

    Great post. At least i managed to watch some highlights as we had a power blackout about 15 minutes into the game thanks to a drunk driver hitting a power pole close to here.
    I have seen some highlights and you are right. Once the goal was scored, we could have added a couple more. Whilst the first half was frustrating, especially since it was an open game which The Arsenal love, we just could not breakthrough.

    Defensively we held up well bar a couple of sloppy passes which is great and it seems that the belief is back with the team.A fighting spirit and togetherness is what seems to be developing after our last game. Crucially with 9 games to go, it is exactly what we need.

    Our forwards just cannot buy a goal. Gervinho aside since he has not really played much for us recently. In the last 5 games, if i am correct, the only goal scored by Theo or Giroud was against Bayern. Theo does go missing in games and perhaps needs to work on positioning and some strength work over the summer would not be a bad idea.

    We do need a couple more signings to get us where we need to be. If we continue to show this spirit and fight, we might just end up where we need to be at the end of the season.

  46. alexgunners says:

    Guys,

    What was this so called scuffle that Fabianski had with Michu? Anyone know?

  47. macko says:

    si personne ne sert Théo il ne brilleras jamais quand Sagna joue derriére lui c’est un autre joueur.
    Il faut aussi dire que nous n’avons pas de distributeur comme Fabregas ou autres qui savais voir les appel dans la profondeur que Théo fait mais n’est jamais servis,donc a qui la faute ???

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning and happy Sunday! 🙂

    Bonjour Macko, my French is not great but I think you are saying that Theo is better when he plays with Sagna behind, and I agree. You also seem to say that he is better with great service from the likes of Fabregas etc. I think you are spot on, and for him it would be best to see either Jack or Rosicky play in the hole, with Cazorla on the ohter wing.

    Having said that, and as others have pointed out, Theo needs to get more involved and force the play towards him. At the moment, despite often working hard, he looks a forlorn figure on the pitch far too much.

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    Great comments by all by the way: a real joy to read! 🙂

  50. Gerry says:

    Alex – I think that was when Fab made a very good save down to his right hand side, but Michu was off-side. Fab wanted the ball back for the goal kick, but Michu held on to it, thinking it was a corner. as he did not know/think he was off-side. Nothing to it really

  51. William says:

    I still think the breakout from defence to attack following a corner kick by the other team is too slow.Too many short passes when a direct high ball like what newcastle did in 2001 to Shearer could have done the job.
    We have a 2 week break before we play Reading.
    Bear in mind they have a new boss who will play defensive. Man U just beat them 1-0. Don’t assume the gunners will win. You have to work for it and the defence must on the alert for the sucker punch.

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Gerry 🙂

    Let’s talk about anything we like; the current squad, who we would like to add, whatever, as long as it is Arsenal related it’s fine; especially with a 14 days long Interlull depriving us from meaningful football ahead. 😉

    You wrote: ‘Funnily enough, I think the first leg against Bayern was the key to getting the Wenger/Bould message to the players’. You could be right, but I feel that first leg allowed Bould (and some of the players) to convince Wenger to change his ways for the rest of the season….

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    All agreed William, we remain a work in pogress and cannot afford to slack off: nine cup finals to go!

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    Aaron, very good comment about Ramsey adding tempo to our game again. I reckon Diaby is not fully fit but is forcing the issue (with Wenger’s knowledge?) at the moment. But I reckon HH is right that he is slowly improving again.

  55. alexgunners says:

    Thanks Gerry,
    I didn’t get to watch the whole game so i missed a fair bit of the game.
    At the end of the day is the Almighty 3 points is in the bank and that’s what matters

  56. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    G’day BK’rs. How are we? 🙂

    HH, Good to see you watched the same game as myself 🙂
    I think you have all the details nailed down. I enjoyed the game but for a period early in the first half where i thought the game was being played on a knifes edge and we couldnt control the game. Past experiences have shown that we can quite possibly choke and give up in these situations and i am glad that wasnt the case.

    I wasnt filled with confidence when i looked at the bench and just like you i was puzzled at the Ox substitution. Im glad it payed off and im pleased for Gerv. I noticed when Gerv scored he kept his emotions in tact and i sense that he has grown a cold shoulder towards the fans due to his treatment and i say, ‘that is his right’. I hope he uses this time to buckle down and concentrate on improving to the next level, although i still have my doubts.

    I also agree with others that the break couldnt have come at a better time for the likes of Artetetaa. Hes not getting any younger and this should help him and the rest of the team to recouperate and replenish, and focus on the next game at hand.

    Happy dayz and thanks for the solid report again HH.

    Ps, thanks for the well wishes last night….

  57. oz gunner says:

    Brilliant HH. Exactly how I saw it also. I’m sorry but you TA, GiE and 26 are the best in the business when it comes to writing match reports. So thorough and on the money. TA will have to start paying you in Newfoundland dollars!

    My only gripe is theo. Pull your finger out son!

  58. Highbury Harmony says:

    Thank you for all the kind comments so far, I will get back to each of you throughout the day! Also, I always enjoy hearing your insight and additional comments about the players’ performances, so keep them coming :).

  59. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hi Aaron,

    Nice of you to stop by and comment. I think Diaby was just rusty and is off form, but his problem will always be staying healthy. I reckon if he can keep a clean bill of health, he would be less cautious in his approach to the game and his class/skill would be more prevalent.

    Funny how Aaron is not a big fan of Ramsey ;). I’m not a big fan either, but I admire his work rate and passion for this team. As I pointed out, we were starting to fade before he stepped on the pitch, and himself and Gervinho re-energized us.

  60. glic says:

    Morning Snatchadilly`s 😆

    A classy comprehensive conveyed carta from our canoodling Canadian and thanks also for the Isco porno !. hahaha

    We get the best pre-matches and match reports on BK, my first port of call every day, simples !.

  61. Highbury Harmony says:

    Zack Jack,

    Glad you could stop by and share your thoughts! All agreed on needing a proper DM, especially when playing the top clubs. It’s evident in those games that would could use one to bully the center of the pitch and stop/counter physical players like Ramires, Yaya Toure, Rooney, Dembele, Fellaini etc.

    Isco’s an absolute class talent and is only starting to realize his vast potential! He’s a very similar player to Jack in terms of skill and style, but is comfortable playing both centrally and wide. £30 mil is definitely a lot of money and there is a lot of doubt that AW would ever spend that kind of money, but if he did, Isco would be the type of player worth spending it on! Can you imagine having all three of Isco, Jack and Santi creating scoring opportunities and scoring goals themselves? However, Malaga was Isco’s boyhood club, so I have my doubts that he’ll leave this summer.

  62. glic says:

    I`m nailing my colours to the mast early, I got a good feeling Isco is gunner be a gooner if he dosn`t stay in Spain and it`s not just the feeling in my groins !. hahaha

    The reasons ?.
    1) We have Santi.
    2) We gave Snacho. ( hahaha )
    3) Malaga are banned from Europe
    4) They need the money
    5) He has said he will go if it helps the club out financially
    6) Man City will get Falcao and that will blow their budget
    7) Chavs have too many similar players
    8) Both the previous have to adhere to FFP
    9) My cock says so !.
    10) and so does double H`s !. hahaha

  63. Highbury Harmony says:

    Has Wlacott ever made a tackle, Theo has not been on form lately, but I’d have to disagree that he’s not a worthwhile talent to have on this team. I’ve seen him work very hard some days and he’s capable of producing some spectacular moments on his day. Give him some time and surely he’ll start producing some Newcastle magic again!

  64. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha Glic, we both do have a serious affection for Isco…I’m sure at this point it’s unhealthy! I hope your gut is right or else the witch hunt for your head will begin if he’s not on our squad by September ;).

    Also, thank you for the kind words Glicster (your first comment, not the second which may be true but I won’t admit it hahaha!).

  65. Highbury Harmony says:

    Klaus Stein, all agreed. We’re awaiting when Podolski will finally get a run of games at striker to prove himself and show us that he’s our most clinical finisher. Gervinho deserved his goal and I like how he brings a new dimension to our offence from the bench.

  66. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry, Redders, VCC, Oz, Alex, Macko, Baba & William, I will get back to each of you gentlemen soon as I have to run some errands. Thank you all for the kind words again and looking forward to chatting with you all later!

  67. glic says:

    Credit where it`s due HH, I might post less than serious comments but including yourself, there is some serious talent on BK !.
    I hope and can only see Total`s little acorn growing into a fine Quercus rubra/alba hybrid and from such an oak will be a plentifull harvest of little red and white klomp`s !. hahaha

  68. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Good Afternoon

    Excellent stuff HH. As your report highlights, plenty of positives to take from yesterday.

    I have never understood the nay sayers or negativity which sometimes surrounds our club. How long before we overtake most of our competitors and become the genuine chalanger to Utd?

    We have a very good pool of players, with lots of potential to improve. In all honesty, this season has ben one of under acheivment and the Board and Management have to take a lot of the responsibility for that.

    i expect more. Firstly ime a demanding bastard and secondly we are better than what we have shown

    The last two games has seen a team attack together and defend together. wWe look more compact with players working for each other.

    We are pressing higher up the pitch and its working. Forgive me if ime wrong, but wernt our first goals against Muncich and swansea a result of winning the ball in our oppenents half?

    Going forward the biggest positive this season was the signing of our young British talent. In a couple of years wilshere, ox, gibbs and jenks will walk into the England side. Add a bit of creativity to this group and we will compete with every one. A couple more purchases with the quality of Santi and there is no reason that we cant go for the Title again.

  69. glic says:

    Afternoon Haircules, hows` the loft conversion coming on,, has it started yet or are you still in the planning stage ?.

  70. Gerry says:

    Good afternoon TA – I thought you would get the hump when I aired my little gripe ha ha. As you say we have 14 days to discuss who we would like in, so it is a question of time and place for me. It just seem a tad bad manners to be following up an excellent match report, on a match where the team as a whole put in another good shift in, and gaining 3 points into the bargain, to then in the same breath say ‘Ah well, next season it would be great if so-and-so was in his place.
    But as it is Arsenal related, I guess I am allowed to air that alternative point of view ..tee hee.

    On the other point you made about the Bayern first leg, (first half) performance, that our esteemed manager needed convincing that it was the way to go, I am not convinced? I tried to avoid any division between Bould and Wenger by making it a joint agreement.

    To be honest, we, and myself included, are as guilty as the management for picking up on individual players for not tracking back. This is Arshavin’s heinous crime, which it seems, AW was well aware of – anybody else noticing the similarity between him and Theo right now? – but we have all had a go at various players, I even thought Santi was guilty of it a while back.
    So what changed?

    I think when you stop pointing the finger at individuals, and make it a common policy to all, that if possession is lost, no matter where you are, you get back behind the ball, it helps? It is very effective. The times yesterday when Swansea, even in the periods of their long possession, they were forced right back because they couldn’t find an opening? And when it is a common policy to all, the players get behind it. My point was, why did it take such a visual representation to get that message across, when there is only a dozen games left in the season? And no, I don’t buy into the idea that AW says to some players, ‘no it’s alright, you come back in your own time, that’s fine’ … That btw, is an example of HH’s poetic licence when putting the extreme view of what you have said (e.g. of HH- If Arsene tells Ramsey to pass back to our centre backs when we are in the final third attacking, I guess it is okay?’) – I think I got the quote right HH? (I never forget a thing!).

    More interesting is the question on how we get Theo involved again? it was noticeable in the first half, it did not matter much which wing the Ox played on, he still received plenty of the ball? Was that down to his movement, or other players not risking giving it to Theo for fear of losing possession? Certainly, playing the right ball in the right area has been lost lately, and as Macko said earlier, it may not be entirely his fault, it but wants sorting out … unless he is behind the exit door already?

    I’ll await my ear bashing from HH. In my defence, I will only say I learnt from the master .. ha ha.

  71. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I also agree with macko. Havent got a clue what hes on about but ime memorising his words parrot fashion to use on some Bint that ive got a beady eye on. It will give me great pleasure to get her in the sack with my new found French, especialy if translated its going on about the mechanics of the combustion engine or something? hahaha

  72. bobby says:

    Giroud is a good player he’s just at the wrong club, we don’t do Set Pieces or practice crossing square peg in round hole come to mind.

  73. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hi Cornwall, plans have been submitted and i should get an answer by the 7th of April

    in the application i wrote a personal letter detailing how if i was refused i would probably go mental or something and that any conseuences of my actions would be there responsibility
    .
    I also threatend to kill them. hahaha

  74. glic says:

    With your new found French language skills, I think you can win the planners over, they like a bit of bi-lingual !. Chuck in a bit of Cretian and they`ll be goats cheese in your hand !. hahaha

  75. glic says:

    If you find it a bit hard speaking French, then just laugh in a French Sacha Distel accent…..eee hon..eee hon…eee hon…that normally works for me, they wet themselves over the photo-copier !…… as a last resort, try a french letter !. hahaha

  76. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahahaha. Think ime gona go that place were you change names and become Sacha Terry Distel. Has a nice ring to it.

    From now on i would like to be known as STD.

  77. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    errrrr, come to think of it maybe STD is not so great after all. hahaha

  78. Red Arse says:

    Glic,

    Whatever you do, don’t nail your todger to the mast — or anywhere else — look what happened to Merry Terry!! 🙂

    Oh, of course you did — he has the only collander todger Known to man — it sprays everywhere — so don’t stand next to him in the gents!! 🙂

  79. glic says:

    Hahaha I bet the girls in the Bounds Green clinic already have an Arsenal name for you……Oh to…oh to be…oh to be a …..Gonorhea !. hahaha

  80. VCC says:

    Terry, or should I say STD. ….Henley Street 0207-935-6260. results in 3-5 days £245 including consultation.

    Brace yourself though. 😉

  81. bobby says:

    It’ deja ve, we get knocked out of all the competitions, then go on a decent run that sees us finish in the top four. Everyone then says lets give Wenger one last go as he must know what to do in the summer. He doesn’t, we make another profit, we’re told to get behind the side, and we do. We have some crap results, and Wenger says we,re looking for super super quality players in january, they don’t arrive, we go out of all the competitions, then go on a decent run that sees us get in the top four………..zzzzzzzz

  82. VCC says:

    Terry, its not as bad as this letter a certain BKer received lately.

    The phone rings and the lady of the house answers, “Hello.”
    “Mrs. GLiC, please..”
    “Speaking.”
    “Mrs. GLiC, this is Doctor Jones at the Medical
    Testing Laboratory. When
    your doctor sent your husband’s biopsy to the lab
    yesterday, a biopsy from
    another Mr. GLiC arrived as well, and we are now
    uncertain which one is your
    husband’s. Frankly, the results are either bad or
    terrible.”
    “What do you mean?” Mrs. GLiC asks nervously.
    “Well, one of the specimens tested positive for
    Alzheimer’s and the other one
    tested positive for AIDS. We! can’t tell which is your
    husband’s.”
    “That’s dreadful! Can’t you do the test again?”
    Questioned Mrs. GLiC.
    “Normally we can, but Medicare will only pay for these
    expensive tests one time.”
    “Well, what am I supposed to do now?”
    “The people at Medicare recommend that you drop your
    husband off somewhere in
    the middle of town. If he finds his way home, don’t
    sleep with him.”

  83. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Afternoon Redders and Vics

    I one had to pay a visit to one of these type clinics. Not a nice experince. Some Twerp interegates you on your love life, you have to do a blood test for all manner of horiible diseases and the medication they gave me had an unfortunite side effect of turning my cock blue.

    i wouldnt have minded, but the only reason i got refered there was because i asked my G.P that apart from stretching, was there any other way to make it bigger. hahaha

  84. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Vics, hahahahahaha

  85. TotalArsenal says:

    All good points, Gerry. 🙂

    I reckon there is an ideological divide between Bould and Wenger, but that in itself is not wrong. I would like to write something about this week, so will keep schtum about it for now.

  86. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice to see the BK comedy club in full swing! 😛

  87. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry :),

    I understood your original comment as a defence to my article! I recognized that you would rather direct the discussion in the comments towards the match and my review, opposed to diverting attention away to how to fix our team. However, as I understand it, TA is trying to encourage comments of any kind and blogs are created for fans to air out their frustrations, whether they are pertinent to the article or not! But thanks for trying to keep everyone on track!

    Thank you for the compliments on the article mate, you are often one of toughest critics ;). I agree that I’m confused as to why it has taken us this long to play with real purpose and pressure the opponents immediately when they have possession of the ball. It’s quite simple really, just watch Barca. Sure, they have much more talented players, but the philosophy is very similar – keep possession of the ball, attack with purpose and apply as much pressure as possible when not in possession (their philosophy is 5 seconds or less the ball should be won back).

    In regards to Ches, we all know he’s the #1. However, given Fabianski’s current form and the team’s defensive stability, it’s hard to ignore that and bring Ches back in immediately. I think we’ll roll with Fab until injury or a bad result – might as well ride out the wave of momentum.

    The Arteta comment I made was more to counter his critics in terms of questioning why he ever starts for us. His contributions on the pitch go beyond what’s visible to the average fan. If you pay careful attention, you can often hear him directing our play and shouting for others to get into position or to cover certain areas that are open. He reads the game at a high level and I believe the defence is more organized when he’s on the pitch. It also helps when Mertesacker and Koscielny are very composed, in position and are reliable. Arteta is the complete opposite to a player like Ramsey and Giroud in terms of work rate – he always works smart and knows where to be, but unfortunately this comes across as him not having the pace or ability to keep up with other players (which is true in some instances). To conclude, based on comments from the players, they look up to Arteta more than Verm and he’s more vocal and assertive in his leadership. Verm is the perfect vice-captain in that he’s easy going, likes to joke around and can ease tension well. He plays his best football when he can just concentrate on his own game, opposed to having to assume all the extra burden and responsibilities that come with being a skipper.

    I’m not quite sure what is wrong with Giroud aside from the fact he’s trying too hard. I mean you can never fault him for his work rate, but he’s forcing the issue so much that he’s making his situation more complicated than it is. For example, the 40-yard attempt against Bayern when we outnumbered them 5-3 on a counter attack was just idiotic. That is a clear sign of a player struggling with form, who is misguided and trying too hard to take matters into his own hands. When goals are not coming for strikers, this often happens as they lack the patience to compose themselves and let the game come to them. As you said, Giroud would benefit more from having a player play closer to him and to divert the attention away. Belhanda was perfect for him in Montpellier’s set-up, as Giroud was able to “disappear” more and play off the shoulder of the last defender, while receiving easier scoring opportunities and not put himself in a position where his lack of pace, skill and ball control were exposed. A number 10 like Jovetic is the ideal man for Giroud to play off of and show his poaching instincts.

    Very good point raised about finally having a system in place and making it easier for players to transition in and out of the line-up. I suspect you are correct about this, but also keep in mind that AW finally has a healthy squad and is starting to rotate more in general allowing the players to slowly reach form.

  88. Highbury Harmony says:

    VCC :), always pleased to hear your high praise on my articles, cheers mate! The competition for starting places is a beautiful problem for us to have and one we have not had in quite some time! I reckon we could start both Gibbs and Monreal in any game and be just fine, same with Sagna and Jenkinson.

  89. Highbury Harmony says:

    Redders and Oz,

    I have no idea what has happened to Theo, though I suspect his poor form correlates to AW’s decision to play him on the wing more than his preferred position at striker. However, imo, the wingers in our set-up have better opportunities to score, since AW encourages them to have more free roles. The issue is that Theo has taken the free role too far and abandoned his wing play altogether. Not to mention the fact that Theo has been very poor playing up top on his own in recent games. It makes sense to not play Theo there, when you consider how isolated Giroud is when he plays there too.

    The 4-2-1-3 set-up is not ideal for either Theo or Giroud. The striker in such a set-up needs to have the perfect blend of skill, strength and pace. Each of them are better suited to playing in a set-up where they can play off another player to really take advantage of their poaching abilities (for Giroud it’s to take advantage of his excellent movement and aerial ability, for Theo it’s his pace and composed finishing).

  90. Highbury Harmony says:

    Macko, perhaps I should re-explain my rating system since you may have missed it from my previous post-match reviews :).

    Basically, if I rate a player at a 7.0, they have done their jobs and fulfilled what I have expected to them. Anything over a 7.0 represents a player that has performed better than one would normally expect at their position. Anything below a 7.0 displays that I know a player is capable of producing more and underperformed on the day.

    I think I answered your question in my comment @15:58 of how we could successfully turn Giroud into a quality poacher/finisher again. Right now he is just too isolated, and his game was never about beating opponents one on one or tracking back to receive the ball, since he doesn’t have the pace to rejoin the attack so quickly!

  91. Gerry says:

    Top answers HH I guessed that Giro must have had a partner at Montpellier to score as many goals as he did. So it is probably that and the tougher defences here in the EPL that he is trying to overcome. I agree about the 40 yarder, a moment of madness. I guess he saw the keeper of his line? Remember that one he tried from the left touchline a while back, a whisker away from being a goal of the month? So the boy has talent, and I think he will come good before the end of this season.

  92. Highbury Harmony says:

    PPP I forgot to thank you for the kind words in my earlier comments today :). Hope you can continue to stop by more often!

    All agreed with your additional comments and I’m glad we saw the game in the exact same way! Gervinho’s decision making and poor touches in the final third often bother me, and I’m also not sure if it’s because he’s off form or because he just lacks the skill/final product. International break will be massive for Arteta and for Jack, Diaby and Poldi to continue to recover and rehab their injuries.

  93. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry,

    I agree that Giroud definitely displays nice touches every now and then and has some quality for sure. I have loved seeing his over the top balls that our players have one-touched to the top of the goal this year. He’s just chasing the game too much and as per my comment at 15:58, he would be better served having a no.10 draw defenders away from him to allow him to settle down into his true poaching instincts.

  94. TotalArsenal says:

    Spuds – Fulham 0-1!

  95. Gerry says:

    Who, out of our current squad would you put there, if it doesn’t work with Theo?

    I would like the Ox to be given the chance, his goals are not that far away, and I think he could have a real hot spell very soon?

  96. Highbury Harmony says:

    Alex :),

    As always thank you for the kind words mate, I always enjoy reading your positive comments and additional thought-provoking insight.

    It was refreshing to see us finally break through, but was surprised it was a defender who did! Going forward, we’ll definitely need Giroud and Theo to find their scoring boots (or Poldi) or else we could be in some serious trouble in future GWs (nice to get distributed scoring but our forwards are supposed to lead the way!)

    I noticed the sloppy passing as well, but was pleased with our overall defensive performance yet again. We can’t expect them to be completely perfect with no mistakes for 90 mins, so long as we keep the clean sheet haha!

  97. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry, out of our current squad players I think when on form, Ox is the perfect player to play close to Giroud. Do you remember his sexy pass to send Giroud in to tie the game against Chelsea? It’s deja vu as he made the exact same pass to RVP against Milan in the CL the year before (but RVP scored).

    Ox can finish (unfortunately hit the bar twice yesterday) and is unselfish enough to set others up too. He’s a very good team-oriented lad who puts in the extra effort to help out in defending too. His skill to dribble out of tight areas and pace could really be taken advantage of, if he were to play closer to Giroud imo.

  98. Highbury Harmony says:

    Sorry the pass came against Manure last year, not Milan typo!

  99. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA :), Berbatov is absolute class!

  100. TotalArsenal says:

    Fingers crossed Fulham hold out! 🙂

  101. TotalArsenal says:

    I reckon Gervinho or Ox would be a great partner for Giroud, especially in a 4-4-1-1 formation.

  102. Highbury Harmony says:

    Terry,

    Cheers for the kind words :).

    I know we can play better than we’ve shown this year and the team that has trotted out the last two games is more of the Arsenal I’ve expected to show up this year. However, I think there’ll always be negativity or criticism at any club, no matter how successful you are. As long as humans continue to play the game, there will be mistakes made on the pitch and fans will remember/magnify these errors. It’s completely natural and I’m glad to see people be critical on some aspects of the game as it keeps discussion interesting and diverse.

    If we continue to attack and defend like a well-oiled machine, aside from Manure, I don’t think there’s another team we face for the rest of this season that could beat us. I think if we continue to play like this, we could even beat the mighty Manure.

    The amount of potential that resonates throughout the first-team is downright scary: Jack, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Ox, Theo, Ches, Ramsey etc. all are capable of contributing to this team and outplaying the opposition on their day. If we can continue to add to this group this summer, without any significant subtractions, we’ll be in great shape next season.

    Plenty of positives to take away from yesterday and for the future!

  103. TotalArsenal says:

    Poor Massadio Haidara came on as an early sub for NU, only to get badly injured within a few minutes of being on the pitch against Wigan. Looks like a leg break.

  104. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, personally I’d prefer Ox since he seems to be have more intelligence (not trying to be critical of Gerv but of the two, Ox seems better in this respect), is stronger and his passing is more deadly. If he can develop better composure, he could be EXACTLY the same type of player as Belhanda.

    Gerv is perfect out wide for me, as he loves the space to take on defenders and he doesn’t have the strength to play in the middle where the game is more physical imo.

  105. TotalArsenal says:

    Good points HH,

    I like them both but what Gervinho has to offer is ability to hold on to the ball and go past players. He also reads the game well and can make clever runs. His finishing lets him down though, but he is more experienced than Ox in that respect. Would both be interesting options in my view.

    Ox in my view, is still learning.

  106. VCC says:

    Nice one Fulham

  107. glic says:

    We love you Fulham…… we do !.

  108. glic says:

    Vics didn`t do too well on ,” Who wants to be a milliionaire “.

    He only made it to the 1st question…..

    Chris Tarrant…..” Vic`s….Who invented the Zimmerframe ?….is it …
    A) Zimmerdine Zimdane
    B) Total Van Cloggenzimmer
    C) Troy Zimmerlopodous
    D) Redneck Billy Bob Jimmy Ray Lee Bob Jimmy Billy Lee Zimmerbob

    Vic`s …” Can I ask the audience ? ”

    Audience……A) 25%…B) 25%…C) 25%…D) 25%

    Vic`s….” Shit….can I go 50/50 ”

    50/50…..B) Total van Cloggenzimmer…..C) Troy Zimmerlopodous

    Vic`s…”Bollock`s…can I phone a friend ! ”

    Chris Tarrant…” Who are your phone a friends ? ”

    Vic`s… I haven`t got any friends !.

    Chris Tarrant…” you have to phone someone to compete ! ”

    Vic`s ….” OK….it will be one of….The Samaritans……999……Age Concern….Colostomy Association…..CAB …or Jeremy Kyle….mmmmm….let try the Samaritans !.

    Chris Tarrant….” Hi ….Samaritans…..It`s Chris Tarrant here, on Who wants to be a millionaire, we have Vic`s here, who is stuck on the 1st question, you`ll have 30 seconds to answer his question as soon as you here his voice, here`s Vic`s !.

    Vic`s….”Hi Samaitans……it`s Vic`s again…..who invented the Zimmerframe…..was it ….Total van Cloggenzimmer….or …Troy Zimmerlopodous ? ”

    Samaritans……”Not you again……F**k off you pest !.” hahaha
    ,

  109. glic says:

    So the mighty Spuds have a fight on their hands for a 4th spot and this being their best team ever !. Take Bale out of that team and they would be mid-table !. They may win the ” I`m not good enough to get in the Champions League Cup ” and even get 4th, but come on…this is their best ever team!, a best ever team that cant compete for the Title !. Small club with small goals !.
    I heard they have had to stop construction on the new development and called in Tony Robinson and the Time Team…..a black and white Pathe news reel was found from the 60`s along with a Rattle , Rosette, wooden studs and an old cess pit full of 52 years of agonizing shit and tears….f**king inbred swampdwellers…I hate the C**ts….as you may gather !. hahahaha

  110. TotalArsenal says:

    Vickers, you were right and I was wrong about Fulham/Jol. Tremendous result for us and we could be just one point behind the Spuds if we win our game in hand. 🙂

  111. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha Glic 🙂

    You are in fine form again.

  112. glic says:

    I know it`s Sunday, a day of worship, so I`m sorry for my expletives and sins. I pray for forgiveness …..please give me a sign !.

    http://sportsmvp.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/soccer-hdr-photography-arsenal-fc-selective-coloring-premier-league-cutout-dennis-bergkamp-football_www-wallmay-net_9.jpg?w=625&h=390&crop=1

    Thank you Dennis. I knew you were listening !.

    Praise the Lord Dennis !

    PS
    Dennis, please give Vic`s some friends and some feeling back in his Zimmerframe !.

    Amen

  113. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice picture Glic 🙂

  114. VCC says:

    GLiC 17:11 🙂 You wait when we get in that pie n mash shop, I’m going to swap the salt with the sugar 😉

  115. Bobby Sure says:

    Thusday spursday COYG , mind the gap spuds. We’re coming.

  116. Highbury Harmony says:

    I’ve been flirting with the idea of having a striker bought this summer play closer to Giroud, a la Bergkamp:

    ——————————Giroud——————————
    ——————————Jovetic——————————
    Cazorla——————-Wilshere——————–Walcott
    ———————–Capoue/Wanyama———————–
    Monreal–A.Williams/Amorebieta–Koscielny–Jenkinson
    —————————-Szczesny——————————

    Subs: Cesar, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Arteta, Diaby, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski
    Alternates: Miquel, Yennaris, Coquelin, Ramsey, Rosicky, Gervinho

    Does our attack become too narrow in this 4-1-3-1-1 set-up? Also, is it a bad idea to have Theo on the right given his insistence to play as a striker and his tendencies to drift centrally, while abandoning his wing responsibilities?

  117. VCC says:

    UMF 1

    Overall leader board =

    VCC………82
    Herb………79
    Henry…….72
    PPP……….66
    Oz…………66
    Red Arse..65
    HH…………64
    Total………64
    Rocky…….56
    Alex……….54
    TMHT…….52
    GLiC………36

    Weekly scores =

    Herb……..8
    VCC……..5
    Henry……5
    TMHT……4
    HH………..3
    Total……..3
    Rocky……3
    Alex………3
    Gerry…….2
    Oz………..2
    Red Arse.2
    GLiC……..1
    PPP………0

    Hoting up at the top.

    6 homes 2 away’s 2 draws this week. Great result for Arsenal and whoop whoop Fulham.

    10 homes were selected, 33 away’s and 22 draws.

    The most popular game was Everton v MC. 11 out of 13. With 6 aways 5 draws.

    One unanimous game, Swansea v Arsenal with 7 correct selections.

    A big up for herb scoring a fine 8 points this week with two draws and an away selection. Herb your getting too close for comfort 🙂

    PPP suffered a set back this week with a zero return.

    Keep rocking UMFers

  118. VCC says:

    HH 21:34………That’s four purchases, what’s the estimated cost for these?

  119. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahahha, couple of corkers from Cornwall.

    So, the worlds best looking man, Martin Jol, msaterminds a victory at the shithole. hehehe

    What a great weekend this has turned out to be. ime so happy that ime gona spoil myself with a chilli con carne curtosey of the micro machine whilst having a nice stretch watching Totnumbs game on match of the day. hahaha

  120. Highbury Harmony says:

    VCC,

    I reckon approximate prices would be:

    Jovetic: £20-25 mil, £5 mil/year wages
    Capoue/Wanyama: £10-15 mil, £3.5 mil/year wages
    A.Williams: £7 mil, £ 3mil/year wages or Amorebieta: free, £3 mil/year wages, £2 mil signing bonus
    Cesar: £3.5 mil, £3 mil/year wages

    Total cost: approx £50-65 million depending on which combination we elect to go with.

  121. VCC says:

    Hi Terry.

    It’s nice, just like you im settling down to watch MOTD, We might just get a top four spot yet.

  122. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, the caveat of course would be any CB we bring in likely spells the end of one of CB’s careers at Arsenal. For what it’s worth, the media believes that there’s considerable interest from Barcelona in Vermaelen and Wolfsburg in Mertesacker. I can definitely see one being shipped out, with Mertesacker of course being my choice of the two due to age and lack of pace. I think Verm still has a lot to prove and that we haven’t seen the best from him yet. Both are committed to and are very passionate about this club. However, I have high hopes that Verm will rediscover that form he had three years ago.

  123. VCC says:

    HH……lets start getting the prayer mats out and hope Wenger makes those three/four signings this Summer. I’m sure if we do, we will have a good chance of competing with the big boys again.

  124. VCC says:

    HH. I would do a swap for Williams and Amorebieta with Marts and Vermaelen.

  125. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post!

    Prepare yourself for heart-felt, powerful, and fairly critical analysis of our failure to bring in silverware over the last eight years, and what Marcus believes are the causes of this.

    No doubt, a great discussion starter! 🙂

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