The swerve of Gerv, rhythm of Ramsey & Rosicky, coolness of Cazorla, and Mikel’s Mastery

Zorro is back!

Zorro is back!

Well that was a fine and much-needed win today. It is only fair to say that Reading were easy prey this afternoon, and that a stronger team might have punished us for not finishing off our chances in the first half. But, once again, we played a lot better in the second half and, despite one costly lapse in concentration, Arsenal totally dominated the game from start to finish, and very much deserved their win today.

It was great to see Gervinho start a game again, and he took his opportunity to shine for us really well. The Gerv and Santi were clearly our drivers in the first half, and for most of the second half as well. Gervinho was everywhere and always made himself available, and he is the one of the few who wants to keep hold of the ball and attack the space in  front of him, rather than just pass the ball to the nearest player as soon as possible.

Gervinho’s  performance was by no means perfect, and he can delight us as much as frustrate us from one moment to the next, but with a goal and two assists, he deserves a lot of praise today. His positioning was great (especially in the box) and his ability to take the ball forward and make things happen was also on show today once more.

He took his goal well and provided two fine assists. The one for Santi was simple and effective; after he created a bit of space, by keeping the ball and moving forward towards the goal, he played a simple, low and  well-measured pass to Santi, who this time round did show the required composure, and finished really well with a placed, curling shot past some Reading defenders and goalkeeper Taylor.

The second assist was the best one; The Gerv held off defenders around the box and then made a good, measured pass towards Giroud’s left foot, who could do nothing else but score.

I was impressed with Giroud willingness to work for the team today, and he created a lot of space in the box through his movement and ability to occupy more than one defender most of the time. And his work for the team was reciprocated by the fine pass Gervinho provided to him for our third goal.

Throughout the game, and especially in the first half, we were still wasteful with our chances, and both Cazorla and Gervinho deserve some criticism for some disappointing finishing. I guess this is something we have to accept of both players: they work hard, get themselves in good positions, and are attack-minded, but both of them – Gervinho more than Cazorla – will waste a lot of chances in the process as well.

However, Cazorla’s coolness for the second goal and Gervinho’s composure for his goal and assists, made the difference today, and in the end that is all that really matters.

Our defence was shielded magnificently today by Mikel Arteta, and you could see how much he has benefited from a well-needed interlull break. When Arteta plays like this, the whole team plays better. It allowed Ramsey to support Rosicky and Cazorla, who was found mostly in the middle of the pitch, in putting pressure on the opposition’s defence high up the pitch. Today that made all the difference.

However, I thought that Ramsey and especially Rosicky were a bit rusty in the first half and not dynamic enough. Luckily, they both improved strongly in the second half and it was their drive that kept our rhythm going throughout the second half. Towards the end of the game, Arsenal started to play some wonderful football and both Ramsey and Rosicky had big contributions in this.

Reading scored a good goal through Robson-kanu, who sneaked in behind Monreal to score with a diving header from a fine cross by McAnuff.

Ox did well coming on as a sub and winning a penalty straightaway, which was well taken by Arteta.

In summary, an easy win, and an important one; with the Spuds winning (as expected) at Swansea, and the Chavs dropping three very costly points at Southampton, our win today keeps the pressure up on both of them; and that’s all we can do. Our next game against West Brom will no doubt be a tougher nut to crack.

Written by: TotalArsenal.

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84 Responses to The swerve of Gerv, rhythm of Ramsey & Rosicky, coolness of Cazorla, and Mikel’s Mastery

  1. Mike Walsh says:

    I thought we were playing Reading! Southampton scored??

  2. AFC says:

    TA, fine post.

    Really happy with Arsenal’s performance today and we are starting to improve on our consistency. I think for the next match Wenger should stick with the same team. Although Walcott and Wilshere are quality, when they are fit they should have to work their way back onto the team. I would really like to see Gervinho start again. Scored last match and the Swans and scored today also providing two assists. He is starting to gain form and the quality I know he has is starting to show.

  3. Bond James says:

    another top notch read, thanks TA.

    it was a good game overall but i was a tad surprised with wenger’s selection, anyhow important 3 points in the bag and the goal difference is nearly on level terms with chelseki…

    spuds play the cheseki in a few weeks and a draw would be perfecto for us provided if we win the next 2 games… (mind you, i think west brom will most def park the bus and play for a point)….it will be interesting on what team wenger selects as i expect theo to be back by next week (a nice selection headache to have for once).

    on a slightly different note, is it me or Nacho seems to lack pace at times ? gibbs ahead of nacho vs west brom ?

  4. AFC says:

    Bond James, I would stick with Monreal. He is more experienced than Gibbs and is better defensively.

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for the heads up Mike W! 🙂

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks AFC,

    That is the thing with Gervinho: he is quite inefficient but still very effective, and today he could afford to waste some fine opportunities. If he can keep this up and we all get behind him and show him so respect/love/support, he will become an important squad player for us.

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers BJ,

    West Brom will be tough; I have no doubt about it. They are a good team and play well at home; they have nine out of fifteen games at home.

    Re Monreal’s speed: hard to tell, really. Would need to have a good look at him in the coming games.

    Btw, where are you based, BJ?

  8. Rohan says:

    AFC, i know this site loves monreal but I just don’t see it. He’s decent but a definite back-up choice compared to gibbs in my eyes. On the plus side he’s incredibly intelligent, but his lack of physicality – in both the pace and strength departments – let him down.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rohan

    I reckon it is far too early to judge Nacho on both speed and strength. I reckon he is both fast and v strong, but time will tell whether you or I are correct. 🙂

    Btw there is no such thing as a general BK view on Monreal. Everybody makes up their own mind, and there is currently more than one view on what Nacho has to offer to Arsenal.

  10. allezkev says:

    Nice post Total.
    Thought that Santi was excellent today, the weight and accuracy of his passing was quite superb…
    Gervinho continues to mix clever approach work with some awful finishing. He won’t have a better chance to get a three or four goal haul in a game, in the EPL, than he had today, even if he plays for the remainder of his contact…
    He only came on as a sub, but I thought that Oxlade-Chamberlain looked very good.
    Koscielny and BFG snuffed out most of what Reading created, without too much fuss.
    Reading were the worst team I have seen at the Grove this season, and the referee was a plank…

  11. allezkev says:

    Don’t forget that the clocks go forward one hour tonight, this morning…
    In the UK that is… 🙂

  12. allezkev says:

    Yeah Total, I am a regular on High Hse… 😉
    You still visit your old stomping ground on AA mate?

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi allezkev 🙂

    Sorry, but I cannot agree with you on calling Cazorla excellent, whilst reviewing Gervinho as a mix of clever approach and some awful finishing. For example, the two assists by Gervinho had the right weight and accuracy on them, whereas Cazorla’s assist was a lucky one (misplaced shot as I saw it). Both missed big chances and both scored an important goal. For me they performed equally well on the day.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes I read the posts regularly on AA, but don’t comment any more. I sometimes read the Highbury House articles and I just happened to see your name/avatar there! 🙂

  15. allezkev says:

    Fair point Total…
    I thought thag Santi did some great work in midfield, linking things together, especially in the first half, when I didn’t think that our midfield was as effective.
    The chance he missed, only just slide wide of the post where as Gerv didn’t even come close with most of his chances.
    He did get into some great positions though, but I suppose, after his early goal, I kinda expected him to be flying, confidence-wise.
    Instead, he seemed even more nervous, in front of goal.
    Fabianski had a good game, I thought…

  16. allezkev says:

    I didn’t see any highlights on TV…
    What was the general view, Total, regarding the foul on Giroud that Foy ignored.
    It looked a stone-wall penalty to me, but I was up in the Gods…

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    allezkev, Cazorla played well in midfield; fully agreed. I felt both Rosicky and Ramsey were rusty and not involved enough in the first half, and during that time Cazorla and Arteta carried most of the weight. Especially Ramsey improved strongly during the second half and was a joy to watch towards the end.

    Yes, Gervinho can miss some sitters and that remains a worry/ area for improvement. But he is so incredibly active and confident on the ball going forward with his excellent close ball control and dribbling skills. On top of that comes his positioning: he is in the right place in the box regularly, whereas Giroud keeps struggling with this in my view. Gervinho’s problem is his shooting accuracy, as his technique is not brilliant, and neither is he a decent header of the ball. For me, he is a winger and like you I hope he will gain confidence from his recent performances (two goals and two assists in two games).

    However, I want to say it again, his second assist was very impressive dribbling and hold-up play, followed with an accurate pass towards Giroud, who only had to pull the trigger (although he did put a lot of power behind it!).

    Agreed on Fabianski, and I also thought BFG and Koz did well, but then Arteta did a great job today.

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Stone wall penalty, but it is also fair to say that Ox was fouled on the edge, if not just outside, of the box; and we did get a pen for that.

    What did you make of Rosicky’s performance?

  19. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Hi BK’rs 🙂

    Hi Total, top notch match report, but that is just typical of you. 😉 Fair in your views and in particular the way you have just disected both Santi and the Swerves performances in a comment just above. It sort of makes me look at the way i approach my views on certain players and whether i hold any favouritism. You sir, are a fair and well balanced gooner. You are right in that both players scored crucial goals (easy or not is beside the point) and that they provided well weighted and perfect passes, yet i never saw it that way. For some reason im always imprinted with the vision of Gerv missing a sitter. There are so many, but to be fair Santi misses a bag full as well. But can i ask you Total, if the rumour of Galatasaray offering 14mil for Gerv were true (for theorys’ sake) would you sell him, as its a profit, and are there better players on the market?
    Now Total, can i ask you the same about Santi, if someone came in and offered a few million more than we payed for Santi, would you sell, and are there better players on the market in his general position(s)?

    Hope that makes sense, i know what i would do. I have not seen one little improvement in Gervs finishing and composure. He comes across as flukey and some of his misses would be very costly in a game of greater importance, or tougher competition where chances are few and far between eg a champions league away semi final tie. I want to move away from the Bendtners and Gervs of this world and get Arsenal back to the Bobbys’ and Freddies that we made. Hope that makes sense

  20. allezkev says:

    Yes, he did do well for Giroud’s goal, which was well taken, I agree…
    Reading were poor, but they still posed some threats, which Koscielny in particular and BFG snuffed out with the minimum of fuss, yep, good points TA.
    Sagna had a good game as well, especially as he got clattered a few times. We cannot afford to lose him..,
    Total, I gotta sleep mate, night…

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Night allezkev 🙂

  22. allezkev says:

    Ah Rosicky, Total… Not really sure tbh…
    He looked lively, twisting and turning, but he didn’t seem to be on top of his game.
    And he never has a shot, why for heavens sake? It’s as if he’s caught Hleb’s affliction for always looking to pass…

    Gone now mate

  23. RockyLives says:

    Have to agree with TA about The Swerve’s performance (sorry Kev 🙂 )

    He played very well and was always willing to take on the Reading defenders rather than pass square or backwards. Perhaps not so obvious was his play off the ball. He chased back and pressed the opposition when they had the ball in a way that Theo could learn from.

    As TA says, his movement for the Giroud goal was very good. There were two defenders covering Gerv and one spare man ready to cover OG. But Gerv cut inside, forcing the spare man to go to him. This opened up the space for OG who then had a free shot at goal when the pass came to him, perfectly weighted and placed by Gerv.

    That said, he can be frustrating at times and he does not have a power shot on him, but if he can continue to pay like he did v Reading he will cause a lot of problems to our opponents.

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi PPP,

    Good comment and interesting questions there. 🙂

    Please note I am only judging today’s performance of both players. Cazorla is a better player all-round than Gervinho and is harder to replace, so I would keep him over Gervinho. The Ivory Coast man is a good squad player for me, whereas Cazorla is top-notch first team player.

    I would not sell Gervinho quickly though: only if Arsenal find a better replacement. And I will say it again: he is not efficient but still effective and has a skillset to offer that not many others possess.

  25. allezkev says:

    Fair enough Rocky, but as PPP says, in a tight, important game, with the scores at 0-0, in the 94th minute, who would you like to see on the end of that match winning opportunity, Gerv or Santi…???

    And don’t say TH14… 😉

    Really gone now…

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rocky

    If we could just accept the Swerve the way he is, he might relax a bit more a become more efficient. And with ‘we’ I mean the fans as well as the players, as I still feel he is an outsider in the team.

  27. oz gunner says:

    great as always TA. Smiles all round after that one. I too thought Nacho looked a touch slow (have to watch more), but even if he is his experience and strength will definitely keep any winger at bay.

    @ PPP

    For that money i’d sell Gerv (his upside is great…just don’t see enough. Especially when his finishing hasn’t improved). Santi…over my dead body!!! I’d go on a hunger strike, call in a bomb threat, chain myself to Adam’s statue, prank call Arsene…anything to keep him at Arsenal

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    allezkev: Podolski hahaha 🙂

  29. oz gunner says:

    TA it’s bed time MR! 🙂

  30. RockyLives says:

    Blimey Kev, you’ve had more farewells than the Rolling Stones 🙂

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    I know Oz, but the adrenaline is pumping! 🙂

  32. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    I personally think some of our purchases have shown a decline in the quality of player or our scouting has failed in a few instances. (i also recognise some fabulous work from the scouts with the likes of Jenks) When we purchased Gerv, there was also Shakiri and a few others on the market. (No ACN Players) who are more refined than Gerv. Same with Poldi, i think his level has dropped a bit. I was and am stoked with his signing but believed him to be our spearhead striker. If we knew he was going to play on the wing in a 4-3-3 than a better purchase would have been Marco Reus who was at Monchengladbach at the time and seeking a bigger club. Reus was already replacing Podolski regularly for national team. If its not our scouting team and it is sanctions from the board than is it really worth risking CL football for the sake of saving a few million on player purchases?

    I believe we never would have bought Santi if he was being sold at his real price(?) at the time when Malaga agreed.

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    You might be right, PPP. There is just so much more competition now for talent and the PL has become a lot harder than ten years ago, in my view. Freddie scored only two seasons more than 10 goals in all competitions and yet we hold him so high.

    And I am also convinced if we had a mid-twenties DB10 in our team right now, all our strikers/wingers would be scoring more. I reckon Jovetic might be the missing and I am hoping with every fibre in my body that we’ll sign him up asap.

    Re Reus: why do you think he would have had a better first season than Poldi is having right now?

    Off to bed now, though. I will read and respond to you tomorrow compadre! 😛

  34. Highbury Harmony says:

    PPP, I have never quite understood the transfer strategy myself since the relatively minor discrepancies in price never compensates for the difference in quality. No offence to Podolski as he has been excellent for us on the left, but his preference is to play centrally and AW never even starts him anymore on the left or centrally (sure he was injured but even prior to that he was in and out of the line-up)!

    For some reason, my gut tells me that this is AW’s response to players who “are flattered by the interest of other clubs”. He punishes them and believes that they are distracted and benches them in the process to teach them a lesson. It’s clear that AW has ruined the careers of some Arsenal players, while being stubborn with others and not replacing them despite their injury histories because of their outstanding promise. The motto that I sense is “it’s ok to hurt our club in the present and short-term future, but selling this player or replacing him now could hurt us long-term since in 4-5 years he’ll finally be healthy and fulfill his vast potential”. Only problem with this strategy is by the time that potential is finally realized, they are near the decline of their careers and may/have move(d) on to other clubs.

    It’s a fact that AW would have never purchased Cazorla at his market value and we were incredibly fortunate to have capitalized on Malaga’s money troubles. However, whether this and his more recent purchases be an eye for a bargain or a changing of the tide because of more freedom in funds, remains to be seen. This summer’s TW will be the telltale sign of whether AW is adapting with the times or if he’s an ignorant buffoon who is doomed to repeat the mistakes of his past.

    Either we buy the proper level of quality this summer and become true contenders or we enter another perpetual cycle of transition and toil in mediocrity, until AW’s contract expires and a new manager can come in and right his wrongs. Only time will tell.

  35. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA,

    Another wonderful and well-balanced article :). As many others have pointed out, it’s to be expected whenever you write!

    Unfortunately, I only saw the first half and thought you were spot on with your observations (watched highlights of the 2nd half). I was disappointed with the finishing from Gerv and Santi, as both were gifted plenty of chances, that earlier in the season, we may have been punished for not capitalizing on. Santi could have had a hat trick by the end of the first half!

    Overall, happy to continue the momentum and to see the squad brimming with confidence and playing with the handbrake off. Even Ramsey, who I am generally critical of, was running up and joining the attack efficiently. Giroud seem to let the game come to him more today and was not wasting his energy like he had been in past weeks. 2 points out of top 4, let’s hope this is the last season we ever have “top 4” as our priority and only thing left to compete for!

  36. 1 kilo says:

    thats my arsenal for u. After the next 2 games, we shall be occupying position 4 or 3. Mark my word

  37. snappyfc says:

    hey TA……im new here b4 i comment gotta say this is ma best arsenal site….u guys r amazing…….unto the match……i just wanna point out to koscielny‘s(ma best player by d way) well timed tackle as my standout………gerv i think just need to work on his finishin cuz i tink he is a vry good play albeit not worldclass bt good to have in a squad………..THANKS

  38. Red Arse says:

    Good Morning guys, or Good Night to you stop up, TA!! 🙂

    Great write up Total, I did not see or hear the match so it was good to get such an interesting analysis. Thank you.

    Gerv seems to have played the way I have been hopingh he would for quite a long time!! 🙂

  39. Gerry says:

    Good write up TA, and I think you are right in the Cazorla/Gervinho thing. Both made up for their lapses at other times. You have dealt with the ‘light’ treatment of Monreal which others noticed too. I think if it were Gibbs, the words ‘asleep’ and ‘again’ would have found there way in your comments, yet it is not the first time Monreal has been caught out?

    The other one your favourite themes ‘Podolski at No 9’, yet got no mention at when he came on? True not on for long, and every excuse for being ‘rusty’, but he was not super sub by a long way. I read elsewhere that from the moment Pod came on, Fab’s kicks lost possession? So for me, Giro is our No 9, and Pod our ‘inside left’, not winger as you describe it. He uses the backs to operate outside of him and allow him to cut inside?

    What the came also showed in this game, that get another body up there to relieve pressure on Giroud and he becomes a whole lot better? I thought he took the his goal really well, given he was the only one to come from defensive duties, run the full length of the pitch, and still power his shot away before the Reading defence re-grouped? Top marks for Gerv though. Another time he would have tried to go it alone, but he really thought out what he was going to do, and did it well.

    If it is true that Pod is having surgery on his ankle ‘problem’ in the summer, then he will neither be sold, nor will we see the 70 minute limit per game next season. Rather a ‘new and improved’ Podolski, and a vital member of our squad I’m guessing?

    Pity about that one lapse from Sagna, as he had an excellent game, overlapping in attack, and in defence. I guess he will have the next game to get over his bruises(on the leg that got broken last year, I think?), if the new ruthless AW is true to his word?

    I thought Rosicky really came alive in the second half, should have scored the ‘Hleb’ goal, but was always moving off the ball and fully justified his inclusion. Alas it was at the expense of the Ox with Gerv playing as well, and he showed he is nearing his best. I have seen the replays, and just because our ‘ex’ Robson called it outside of the box, and the agreed with himself on the replay, doesn’t make it so? When you see it from two angles, pity the close up was not along the line, but what is clear the defender tries to step across Ox, but has to stretch his left leg forwards in order to trip him, and at that point, his foot and point of contact was inside the box? Which is the view the line-person had? It may have only been about 6″ inside, but that makes it a penalty? Look again, see where the defender has his standing leg, and from the long view, see how far he stretches forwards? As I said, Robson was critical of almost everything Arsenal did in commentary(yes,I succumbed to the pressure and watched it live), but he likes the Ox, so quickly pointed out it wasn’t a dive, ‘there was contact’.

    West Brom will take note of our performance and will not want us to repeat the same on them. But they have less to fear, so can play a stronger game going forwards, so Arteta will not have it so easy on his own? At this early stage I would think there will be little change in our line up. Jenks for Sagna(as above), and may Coquelin for Ramsey? But we should not fear the Baggies on this form?

  40. Red Arse says:

    Good comment, Gerry, and having just watched the ‘highlights’ on MOTD, I have to agree with your views. 🙂

  41. VCC says:

    Morning all. Spot on match report Total. My MOTM was equal between Gervinho and Rosicky.

    Like many in here, I have been critical the Gerv in the past but his performance today was superb. Yes he fluffed some shots but overall I want a player to try things and take opponents on, which is exactly what he did. Rosicky was always trying to push us forward with his passing and running with the ball. Reading players were getting tired of trying to keep up with him.

    Just the result we all wanted. Alright the opposition was poor, the worst team I’ve seen for a long time, but you can only play what is in front of you, and I can remember plenty of occasions when we have played lower teams and should have taken them apart, only to struggle against them. So well done to the boys.

    Had a blinding day with the terrible twins (mork and Mindy….chuckle brothers….krankies…..all rolled into one) Terry and GLiC. Thank you to both for such a great day watching our beloved Arsenal. Never stopped laughing and smiling all day, just what the doctor ordered. Laughter be the food of life.

    Bring on the Baggies.

  42. marcus says:

    TA,
    I agree with your analysis, spot on mate. I have to point out that Rosicky was one of the main reasons we played so well. His technical ability is dazzling to say the least. As you pointed out, he was a bit rusty in the 1st half but the way he combines with his team mates is a joy to watch. I really want him to start more games alongside Santi, Jack and Arteta.

  43. glic says:

    Morning Vulvaholics 😆

    I need a bit of Sergio Leone music in the background after the gathering of …….The Good , The Bald and The Ugly Muvver F**ker !. hahaha
    Because of being tired from the previous days 13 hours of driving, I bought 4 cans of Red Bull for the drive home, they say it gives you wings !……well 4 cans gives you night vision, an imaginary passenger and an unbreakable hardon !. After 4 hours of driving around in circles on the M25, I managed to get on the M4, where my imaginary passenger took the wheel whilst I hung my legs out of the window giving the on coming Spuds coming back from South Wales the one fingered salute but with using my cock instead !. hahaha

    Great day and nice to see Rasp, Peaches ,Chas and Chary in the Tavern, but meeting Vics and Stretch is what it`s all about, so much in common even without our glorious Arsenal factor, they are genuine lovely gooners and made my day special !.
    I met Vic`s in the Pie&Mash shop, it was a bloody cold day and Vicky`s glasses steamed up in the shop so much that the relic was sat infront of the mirror in the shop talking to his reflection thinking it was me and when I brought the Pie & Mash over he said to me….” sorry mate, cant you see me and the handsome bastard are having a private conversation ! “. hahaha
    As for the game, I dont care how poor Reading were. I thought we were superb and our defence had an easy game due to the high tempo game that our midfield and attack played allowing us to keep massive possession. Rosicky may have been a little bit rusty at first but his energy and vibrancy were a joy.
    Santi ….what a player !. Arteta must have passed the ball more than the whole Reading team put together !. Gerv` was buzzing and although he might not have one touch game of the rest, he brings an added and needed contrast with his dribbling ability and imo in this sort of game is more effective than Theo when doing mazy swerves through a tight compacted Defence, he gives the oppo` kittens and they are afraid to touch him, OK the end product needs refining , but ask them Reading defenders who gave them trouble !.
    Although they all played well, I think what stood out to me was, how much we need someone like Aguero,Suarez, Tevez up front, a highly skilled technical player, Giroud played well, but some of the one touch stuff pinging around Reading`s area was crying out for one of these type players with speed of thought !. More important than a beast of a DM, would be the signing of one of these sort of players !.
    According to the radio, this was an injury hit Arsenal side, but to bring on Ox, Pod and Gibbs and also have Verm, Szczesny, Le Cog and Jenks on the bench tells me we are just a few players away from being very competitive, over to you Arsene and your cheque book !.

  44. 1tourettesgooner says:

    Before I go out for a run, I know HH likes his transfer rumours, how about this one to give you a tent pitcher !. hahaha

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/arsenal-transfer-news-gunners-plan-1794169

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning guys 🙂

    And welcome snappyfc and 1 kilo. 🙂

    Just a quick one to say thanks for the feedback and great insights, and fine/hilarious comments by VCC and Glic: good to hear you guys had a good time! 🙂

    The next post is the 200th(!) on Bergkampesque and my longest, and, over time, most supportive, blog-friend Redders has been kind enough to write a special post at my request.

    This should normally be issued between 7-8 this evening.

    Have a good day and catch up with you later! 🙂

  46. AFC All Day says:

    I will find it very strange if chelsea don’t reach champions league next year with the squad they have lol Hazard and Mata should have come to afc they would play champions league every year! Got a feeling chelsea are in BIG trouble and maybe this is the spuds year to reach europe at their expense

  47. VCC says:

    Total…..did you select Herb’s five for me?

  48. VCC says:

    1tourettesgooner. I would take Lewanowski in a heart beat. Don’t know anything about Bender. Not sure about Goetze, seen a little of him and he blows hot and cold. I think we have better in that position already, ie Cazorla and Jack.

    Would much prefer the money spent on Capoue or Wanyama.

  49. alexgunners says:

    Hi Guys.

    Great game yesterday and for me Gervinho was a surprise. I know that most of you tend to agree that he needs time and he will come good. Despite this past game. I still do not see it. Too many mistakes and quite often makes the wrong decision.

    The main thing is that we got a few goals under our belt and the 3 points as well.

    Solid performances from the lads. They scored but we never let them get back into the game. We need to deploy Ox a little more as his confidence is sky high at the moment and he will offer us some pace and strength.

    What do you guys think?

  50. alexgunners says:

    VCC,

    Cant help but love your avatar. I do agree that Lewandowski would be a great pick up but at the end of the day, lets just hope that we pick up the players that we need. I do not expect a whole new squad. Just a couple of additions to help this team perform better.

  51. Gerry says:

    Hi Redders – Was that all of my comments, or just on the Ox/pen call?

    I hope you are feeling better despite missing out on the fun trip yesterday?

    Talking of transfer potentials .. which I don’t, but the ESPN match at 4.30 tonight might give you food for thought?

    I’ll say no more … but ‘That Game’ is the one to watch …. ?.

  52. Admir says:

    Hello, people! 🙂

    It was an excellent match, we were totally dominating and with better finishing we would match yesterday’s Bayern score. 🙂 Our midfield was brilliant. At one point in the first half stats said that we had “95 percent of possession in last 5 minutes”. Still, what I liked the most was our pressing game that we have seen in one of the best matches we have played this season – against Swansea in FA Cup replay. That is something that our game has been missing during large part of the season. Gervinho, Cazorla and Koscielny were really impressive.

    Regarding penalty on Giroud – what rules say when the ball is out of the game? I think that Taylor made a foul after Giroud clipped the ball over the net. It reminded me of that penalty appeal Manure had against Chavs when Chicharito fired the ball into the side-netting before Cashley fouled him. Phil Dowd gave yellow card to Cashley but no penalty for Manure was awarded.

    Regarding scouting – I believe we should have done much better in previous years and I mean regarding experienced players. For example, when QPR signed Samba, Wenger said that he didn’t know Samba was available. When we needed back-up striker two seasons ago, Miroslav Klose was free.

  53. Gerry says:

    Alex – the problem is at the moment to fit Ox in you lose someone else? If we had the sole DM less of a problem, but against WBA for instance, Arteta probably needs support? That means either Gerv, Rosi, or Caz from yesterday’s line up, if Ramsey is the DM support? And more of ( a very nice) problem, when Jack is fit?

    Like I have said before, I would play him in the CAM role close to Giro, and let Jack, Caz and Rosi fight it out for the other positions? But again it comes down to try and fit with some sort of formation that everybody understand? In reality you could have a 4-1-5-1 in terms of players strengths, but not in terms of where they would be.Like this (left to right);

    Gibbs – Santi – Ox – Rosi – Gerv

    And Arteta behind, and Giro in front.

    That would be Gibbs and Monreal, btw, and Gibbs would be the left side DM support, but overlapping as and when, and Monreal moves inside to cover any counter attack? But one of those two would be back at all times.
    Certainly a pacy line up?

  54. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good stuff and clearly you’ve got a lively crew on your hands. Always good to hear about hijinx from the stadium and pre and post match festivities.

    From my view (watching a stream, then later bits and bobs on a bigger screen)….. The first thing we have to acknowledge is that Reading are a team in preparation for next year’s season in the Championship. The number of mistakes they made playing Wenger-ball out of defense (and elsewhere) was unbelievable…. Like others have said, WBA will be a much harder task to break down. An early goal ALWAYS helps (and would really help up in the black country…. and Gerv’s finish was the exact same, maybe tougher, as the one he whiffed at Bradford). Still, it was unnerving that we couldn’t get a second before the break. A better opponent would have used those nerves to their advantage…..

    Credit then to Gervinho for actually passing the ball and for Santi for placing that curved shot perfectly to get us the 2nd (goal) early in the 2nd (period). Passing for the 3rd (whattaball out of the back from Sagna!!!) also seemed (maybe) the product of a word in the ear from Wenger….. These players won us the game in this period but the uncomfortable facts are that Gervinho rarely thinks “pass” and Santi, for all his two footed brilliance, lacks good acceleration and gets a lot of his shots blocked because he can’t get past his marker. If we could combine the two players into one, we’d have a world beater! Meanwhile, our big French “finisher” is extremely one footed and only appears slow of thought. If it’s on his left he will try anything: shot, layoff, chipped one-two. On his right, he needs time to dream something up….

    We also had two very one-footed guys in the midfield (Ramsey and Rosicky) so we have to be happy that the forwards brought good energy to the match and an eye for team play yesterday. If we can keep this up I’d expect plenty of chances (if not so many goals….) the rest of the way home. Gerv and Santi look just as good when they help out deeper (Gerv’s turns remind me of Diaby at his best….) and it was very good to see them and the two right-footers moving inside and out while keeping an eye to our spacing. As long as we can do this, press hard to get the ball back and not get sulky (Theo, please, please, please watch while you recover–you too Poldi and Ox….) we’ll be OK. Hopefully the manager can keep the group focused for the run-in. Longer term we need better players. A ruthless center forward and midfielders who can do more in less space. Jack can fulfill the latter role. Limited as the hunky French guys is, I fear things may go wonky if Poldi or Gerv are called upon if one of Giroud’s (endless….) fake injuries ever turns out to be real….

    But those are worries for matches we should be winning…. Other problems loom (further back and in the future) for the tighter ones. Sagna ALWAYS gets his place back in the team (good work on that account AW, now get him signed on….) while Gibbs will probably get a chance with Nacho’s bruised knee, which seems convenient. The continued health of PM4, LK6 and MA8 are key for the run-in but we need back-ups/long-term replacements who won’t poo themselves if they have to wear the armband or otherwise put the team on their backs. For now we hope and pray and live match to match. Longer term a new player (or two) of undeniable class would be the summer’s tonic (to go with my gin)….. We all must pick our own poison, but, on that account, it’s probably actually easier to live match to match rather than (transfer) rumor to rumour(?)…. Cheers!

  55. VCC says:

    Alex 12:14…..He is my passion, and will be 11 this July. He’s like me, slowing down in his twilight years.

    So soppy, we can do anything with him. He loves being dressed up in Arsenal gear, together with sun glasses in the summer.

    He is a right old poser, loves the camera. I’m sure he is half human. I cannot go anywhere without him following me.

    Only drawback is, he is extremely protective towards me when we are out walking, I have to be careful with guys walking up to us, but he’s fine with women.

    The saying is so true…..A dog is man’s best friend.

  56. VCC says:

    Admir 13:34…….It’s such a shame Wenger let Samba slip through his fingers. I remember that quote about saying he never realised he was available, makes you wonder what the scouts do for their salary.

    He is the beast we need in our defence.

  57. VCC says:

    Gerry 13:45……Wenger has lots of options with the personnel at his dispossal regarding formations, but he is loathed to change.

    That’s a good shout having Monreal at left back and Gibbs as attacking left mid field. This gives us the solidity defending with Monreal, that Gibbs is faulty to, and the attacking forte’s of Gibbs. This line up is worth having a look at as I’m sure they would complement each other.

  58. oz gunner says:

    @ VCC

    I also wonder what scouts do. All i need is youtube, HH, and Fifa and I’ll do it!

    @ TA

    An RA post…I’m prepared this time!

    @ VCC + GLIC

    you funny sods, glad you both had a good time. Terry’s absence seems odd, what did you two do to him? 🙂

  59. Rohan says:

    TA 00:30 – sorry I didn’t reply last night, I dosed off. I agree it’s too soon to make a definite decision, but watching him against robson-kanu – who isn’t the most tricky player in the world – he often let him get a few yards ahead, before managing to get him under control; it definitely cost us on the goal.
    Also, apologies for making the comment of the BK view, I understand that all views are held here – I meant it as a comment on what I viewed was the general consensus.

    On the topic of Santi, I think you raise a very good point – all my friends lambast Gervinho for taking risks, while at the same time accept those from Santi. They are both flair players and ,sadly, I feel that the criticism of Gervinho has led to him feeling unfree to play his natural game – as we saw yesterday, when his confidence rises his risks can start to pay off. I know it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon but me and you were talking about this the other day 😉

  60. glic says:

    Hahaha Oz
    Redders dictionary is in 26 parts, that was just the “A” section !.

    Terry had an after game apointment at his local Trannie club in Brentwood, Essex. Where he`s meeting a Sheila called Bruce !.

  61. glic says:

    Or was it a Bruce called Sheila ?. hahaha

  62. marcus says:

    I must say that besides the obvious players, the Ox really impressed me too. Many people don’t fully realize what a gem we have. He will develop to be a 20+ goals a season player, I am willing to bet on it. Wenger keeps saying how he sees Ox developing into a central midfielder but I feel that would be wasting his particular skill set. His pace, dribbling flair and fantastic shot are more suited to terrorizing defenses from the flanks. An area where he needs to work on though is his passing, something he will definitely improve considering the team he plays for. I think Wenger should realize that he can coach him to be a devastating winger..

  63. Bruce says:

    Oz. Our scouts need to answer a few questions imo.

  64. Bruce says:

    Where’s Terry and Richie?????

  65. Bruce says:

    UMF update.

    Still waiting Herb’s selections for this week (Independantly selected, out of the hat by Total)

    One result still to come, tomorrows encounter Fulham v QPR. …VCC has it as a draw.

    Overall leader board =

    VCC……………………87
    Herb……………………79
    Henry………………….76
    Oz ………………………71
    PPP…………………….70
    Red Arse……………..69
    Highbury Harmony…68
    Total…………………….64
    Rocky…………………..58
    Alex……………………..58
    TMHT…………………..56
    GLiC…………………….37

    Weekly chart =

    Oz……………………….5
    VCC…………………….5 ( 1 game to come)
    PPP……………………..4
    Red Arse………………4
    Henry……………………4
    Highbury Harmony….4
    Alex………………………4
    TMHT……………………4
    Rocky……………………2
    GLiC……………………..1
    Total……………………..0
    Gerry…………………….0

    Gerry joins the zero club this week.

    We are on the homeward stretch now lads. Best foot forward for the last push.

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC,

    Here is Herb’s draw/predictions outcome:
    West Ham – West Brom: home win
    Aston Villa – Liverpool: away win
    Wigan – Norwich: away win
    Everton – Stoke: home win
    Arsenal – Reading: home win

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    Apologies for the delay! 🙂

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Reasons for being a bit lenient towards Monreal in today’s match report:
    1. Nacho only just joined us and it takes times to settle in
    2. Nacho played a big game on Tuesday in which he did really well apparently, and I reckon he will have tired towards the end of the game
    3. Nacho has been part of a ‘back-five’ that conceded just one goal in their last three games, so why be harsh?
    4. The unhindered cross into the box was of good quality and it was a well-finished goal.

    Nacho should have done better, but hey I rather focus on the positives as per the reason above.

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rohan, no worries re stereotyping the site. It is true there are a lot of Nacho fans on this site, but there are also quite a few who have expressed their doubts about his qualities.

    I am hoping Gervinho will have a good run now, and starts properly settling into the team now.

  70. VCC says:

    Ok, now Total has got his finger out I can post the latest UMF figures.

    Overall leader = as above with Herb on 84 points.

    Weekly scores = as above with Herb scoring a top 5 with Oz and that handsome bastard VCC. 😉

  71. VCC says:

    Total, can you send a search party out for Terry and Richie please.

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    What have you done to Terry, VCC? 😀

    UMF Widget updated.

  73. VCC says:

    Total……do you like zero’s? …That’s 2 in March and 1 in February.

    Thanks for updating the widget.

    Had a fantastic day yesterday. Never stopped laughing all day. Superb company those guys.

    I think they should write a book between them.

  74. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC,

    Not going that well is it?

    Good to hear you all had great fun and next season I will join you all for a game.

  75. VCC says:

    That would be great. Have a big get together with as many BK and AA as possible.

    Would take some organising though. That’s if we can get tickets?????

  76. AFC says:

    TA, I am thinking of writing an article on the enigma that is Diaby. That is if no one else is. Can you let me know if you are anyone else plans to write such an article. 🙂

  77. AFC says:

    * Can you let me know if you or any other writers are planning to write such an article. 🙂

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC,

    I have a post in the queue re what Diaby’s latest injury could mean for Ramsey and it does touch on Diaby’s injury history/trouble.

    However, depending on which angle you take, there is still an opportunity to write a post dedicated to him! 🙂

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post! 🙂

    BK’s 200st post is a strategic, analytical, great effort by Red Arse in examining our recent past, and our current and future position in top football. Prepare yourself for a great read that will put the Arsenal world to right again! 🙂

  80. AFC says:

    TA, I was going to write about how much longer Wenger will persist with Diaby and then ask people on Bergkampesque 2 questions along the lines of:

    Whether Diaby should leave Arsenal? If yes, when and why. If no, why.

    Will Wenger get rid of Diaby or keep the believe? If yes when and why, if no why.

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC,

    That would be a very good basis for a post! 🙂

  82. Gerry says:

    TA – I am not one that doubts Monreal’s ability, talent, or contribution to the team.

    I just said I was not alone in thinking that when you say a player ‘sneaked in behind’, it was being kind.
    He got caught out ball watching. It happens. It not being negative, well not any more so than Ramsey and Rosicky being ‘rusty’?

    Did I just hear Pat Nevin say Gerv’s pass to Giroud was the pass of the weekend? (on TOTT).

    Gerv ought hang that on his bedroom wall …ha ha

  83. TotalArsenal says:

    That’s how I understood it Gerry. 🙂

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