Arteta has the cool, Ox finds the gap, Pod has the class: Norwich Match Report

The Pod showed the rest how to be composed before taking a chance yesterday.

The Pod showed the rest how to be composed before taking a chance yesterday.

Arsene’s zipper has been the perfect analogy for most of Arsenal’s season.  Anytime he’s had issues with it on the sidelines, our team has seemingly also struggled on the pitch.  Arsenal was rubbish for 90% of today’s match, even going down a goal in the 56th minute on yet another set piece.  It took us until the 78th minute to show any urgency and from there, our substitutes led the way in bringing Arsenal to a hard fought 3-1 victory.

Before I continue with the match report, I’d like to point out that I’ve reached a point where I sympathize with Arsene when choosing his starting line-up.  If he does not rotate, fans blame him for exposing our players to greater risk of injury; and if he does rotate, fans blame him for altering a winning formula and starting players who are clearly off-form.  So which is it?

Going back to today’s match, Arsene introduced three new players into the starting line-up: Vermaelen for BFG, with Jack replacing the injured Rosicky, and Gibbs in place of Nacho. 

Arsenal’s first half was reminiscent to the first half of the season, highlighted by turnovers, heavy touches, slower than normal build-up play and complacency.  We were victims of committing 20+ turnovers in the first half alone, which comes to no surprise when you consider that we went into the 2nd half at 0-0 stalemate.

Our best opportunity to score in the first half came from a beautiful long ball from Santi who found a streaking Gervinho.  Unfortunately, Gervinho played a heavy touch around goalkeeper Mark Bunn and ended up almost going out of bounds before attempting a shot on goal.  There were no other significant scoring chances in the first half, as our attack looked disjointed in the final third and lacked real purpose.  On a positive note, our defense was reliable and composed in dealing with the few threats Norwich posed going forward.

The second half began exactly as the first half ended – stationary and with players misplacing passes.  The game looked like it could end in a stalemate with neither team displaying any urgency or looking like a threat to score.  However, in the 56th minute, Gibbs committed an unnecessary foul and clipped the heel of Kamara near the edge of our own 18-yard box.  Yet another set piece did us in, as we failed to mark Michael Turner and he converted a free header from Snodgrass’ kick to give Norwich the 1-0 lead.

Arsene immediately responded by bringing Theo and Podolski into the game but neither player were able to make a difference. 

Theo did make a nice run to beat some Norwich defenders as soon as he came on, but the play was ruined by a poor first touch by Podolski.  Norwich then began to take the game to Arsenal, moving the ball down field and picking up dangerous free kicks in our own half.   Fortunately, they were not able to capitalize on their chances.

In the 78th minute, Arsenal finally looked like they would level the game, when Giroud calmly chested down a ball to a wide-open Podolski.  However, the well-struck shot was deflected by Bunn’s fingertips before rattling off the cross bar.  Finally, Arsene had seen enough and made his last available substitution by bringing Ox into the match.  Shortly after, Ramsey outworked Snodgrass to give Arsenal a corner, which eventually led to Giroud being pulled down in Norwich’s penalty box.

The assistant referee immediately called for a penalty kick and Arteta calmly slotted away the gift of an opportunity to bring us even.  The penalty was a breath of fresh air for Arsenal and they never looked back, dominating the final 10 minutes of the match.  Some link-up play between Santi and Ox shortly after, led to a one-two with Podolski, before Ox fed the ball across the goal line for an easy tap-in that Giroud slotted away.

If that was not enough, Arsenal poured it on after Giroud flicked on Fabianski’s goal kick to an offside Theo, who eventually passed it to Podolski for a beautiful finish in the bottom right-hand corner of goal.

On another day, against a better opposition, Arsenal likely would not have gotten away with today’s performance.  We were very fortunate to escape with the three points, and relying on a penalty kick for momentum is evidence that Arsenal were lethargic, stationary and lacking creativity and purpose in their attack.

Before I begin on the player ratings, I’d like to explain how I arrive at the score a player receives.  For me, a 7 represents that a player has sufficiently done what has been asked of him and not much more.  An 8 signifies that the player has contributed more than the average player, but that either his performance has room for improvement or I’ve seen better games from him lately.  A 9 or higher is reserved for outstanding performances and is usually accompanied by tangible statistics on the score sheet.  Ignore previous ratings from past articles, as I’ll look to be consistent from here on out in the new rating system.

Player Ratings:

Fabianski (7.0) – Fab made a couple outstanding saves after we leveled the game and he did everything we could have asked for from a starting goalie.  It was unfortunate that he conceded a goal, since the foul was unnecessary in the first place and the marking let him down.

Gibss (5.0) – Kieran was underwhelming for me today.  I expected to see some of his lively runs down the left flank and to show the boss that he deserves to be in the starting line-up.  Instead, he committed the foul that eventually led to Norwich’s goal and he completely butchered two crosses where we actually outnumbered Norwich’s defenders in the box.  Perhaps it was the lack of meaningful game time and being off-form that led to his poor performance today, but either way, I did not think Gibbs played well.

Vermaelen & Koscielny (7.0) – Aside from the goal we conceded, I thought Verm played a solid game and actually bailed us out of trouble on two occasions with a couple of nice sliding challenges.  Kos also had an assertive sliding challenge to disrupt a Norwich counter to win us back possession.  They were both invisible for the most part, which is what you want from a defender.  However, their slow passing in our half didn’t inspire any urgency in our attack, but neither turned the ball over either.

Sagna (6.0) – Sagna was brilliant defensively, stopping all of Norwich’s attacks, while also trying to contribute offensively with a nice cross to Giroud who unfortunately hit the crossbar after he met it with his head.  However, Sagna was at fault for allowing Turner to score, since Turner got away from him on the free kick, giving him the free header.

Arteta (7.5) – Arteta was instrumental in inspiring the squad to fight back after going down 1-0.  He was composed all game and played the right balls to our players, while immediately pressuring the Norwich players whenever we lost possession.  Considering the circus surrounding the penalty call and the Norwich players getting in his face before he took the spot kick, Arteta ignored it all and calmly slotted the goal that brought us even.

Ramsey (6.5) – In the first half, Ramsey was all over the pitch, joining in the attack and running back to help defend.  He seems to have more of a spring in his step lately and is building the confidence to attempt some high risk, high reward moves (heel flicks, over the top passes etc.).  However, several of these plays led to turnovers and he committed 4-5 alone this game.  I was still quite pleased with him in the first half and his rating would have been slightly higher had he not completely faded in the second half.

Wilshere (4.5) – Was there a more disappointing player on the pitch today?  I was thrilled to see Jack back in the starting line-up since he is my favorite player, but I questioned Arsene’s decision to start him after he had just returned from another injury lay-off.  As the game progressed, it was clear that AW made a mistake, as Jack was rusty and his body language displayed that he was not mentally prepared for the game.  He was not the inspirational leader we saw earlier this season and he gave no shape or purpose to our attack.  Instead, he committed 7 turnovers and looked out of place.  Hopefully, this game is just a one off and Jack can return to being the footballer we all know he is capable of being.

Gervinho (4.5) – While there may not have been a more disappointing player on the pitch than Jack today, Gervinho was equally as unimpressive.  He committed 7 turnovers in the final third and had tunnel vision when entering the opponents’ 18-yard box.  It was as if the performances from the past two games had completely eluded him and he was back to being the old Gervinho – no creativity, not taking defenders on, heavy touches and not finding his teammates in obvious scoring positions.  Hopefully, he can regain the confidence he showed previous to today’s game and become an effective player for us down the final stretch.

Giroud (7.0) – He was instrumental in winning us the penalty kick, his flick-on to Theo in what eventually became the third goal was brilliant and he ended up tapping in the game winner.  It was also impressive to see him calmly chest down the ball right to Poldi in the opposition’s 18-yard box.  However, those positive moments were all achieved in the final 10 minutes of the game and do not excuse his performance up until that point.  He was more or less invisible before that, aside from his 7-8 turnovers, and much like the rest of the team, was ineffective.  I’ve found his decision making to be remarkably slow lately and looking for the spectacular play that he is usually incapable of making by nature, causes him to get stripped of the ball or play a poor ball.

Cazorla (7.0) – Santi was the only player with any creativity in the first half and played two very nice balls to Gervinho, who was unfortunately not able to convert or create a goal on either pass.  Still, I was hoping for more from him after how influential he had been in our last couple home games.  Instead, he drifted in and out of the game and never truly inspired the squad or made an impact (especially the 2nd half).  The more worrying fact is that Santi and Jack have not been effective when both are inserted into the starting line-up.  One player tends to over shadow the other and we lose a significant source of secondary creativity in the process.   Hopefully, they can form a productive partnership and eventually take the league by storm, as they are amongst the most talented players in the EPL.

Walcott (6.0), Podolski & Oxlade-Chamberlain (8.0) – Of the three substitutes, it was clear that the latter two had the biggest influence on the match.  Upon stepping onto the pitch, Poldi immediately found himself in scoring positions and struck a volley that almost brought us even.  His finish in the 91st minute was an absolute cracker and capped off a magnificent cameo appearance.  However, it wasn’t until Ox joined the action in the 79th minute that our team truly took the game to Norwich and threatened in attack.  His combination play with Santi and Poldi was outstanding and his assist on the crucial game winner sealed the three points for us.  Theo started off his substitute appearance with lots of energy and registered an assist on Podolski’s goal, but did little else. 

At the end of the day, three points is three points and despite Arsenal’s performance for the first 85 minutes of the match, we should all be happy with the final outcome.  Going forward, hopefully we will not have to rely on another penalty kick to motivate the squad, since the penalty call could have easily been disregarded on another day.  The win effectively put us above that other North London team and into a Champions League spot.  Onwards and Upwards!  COYG!

What did you think of yesterday’s game?

Written By: Highbury Harmony

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

143 Responses to Arteta has the cool, Ox finds the gap, Pod has the class: Norwich Match Report

  1. stonroy says:

    Now that is a quality rating system. Well done son.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi HH 🙂

    Many thanks for a fine, classy, honest and well-balanced Match Report. I also like your new rating system as it reflects a lot more the person you are and the way you see our football and players in general. 🙂

    You are right that the referee’s decision to award us the penalty gave us momentum and that we struggled until then to make a breakthrough. After that the team did us proud and we deserved the three point in the end.

    I agree that Jack had a relatively poor game and that he was simply a bit rusty. I also felt the team lacked structure and organisation and were often disjointed/ allover the place. The three changes at the start of the game did not help us very much yesterday, and Norwich defended really well for large parts of the game.

    Yesterday, we saw more evidence of our strength in depth as the substitutions made the difference, and you are right to highlight the Ox’s and Pod’s contributions.

    I reckon your low scores for Gibbs, Wilshere and Gervinho are harsh though, but it is the new, more recognisable you, and it is your match report! 😛

    I was really impressed with Sagna’s attacking contributions yesterday and for me he was a very close ‘man of the match’ – the other one being Zorro.

  3. myArsenal says:

    hi everyone. have to say BK is a fav Arsenal blog by miles
    yesterday’s game was frustrating coz Arsenal can play better. In fact, we’ve seen this in
    the last 3 games or so.

    have to say the ‘officials’ take my ‘men of the match’

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Welcome myArsenal 🙂

    Agreed on the ‘lines-man of the match’ award! 🙂

  5. jgc says:

    Great summary HH

    We could revisit the rotation and keep/go for OG/Gerv debates on this one. Still, the 3 points count.

    IMO, too many brought back too soon. Do you think some reversion to the lineup of the prior game or two for Everton who will be a more difficult nut to crack? I.e. Nacho back, Rosicky if healthy (Jack off bench for impact?).

    The real difficult questions for Arsene, I think, are Verm or Maerts, and perhaps Pod up front (tho he’s not really done it this year) for OG… I suspect OG stays and cant make the Verm/Maerts/Koz call…

    cheers — jgc

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi jgc,

    HH is currently asleep and will be travelling later on, so it might take a while before he gets back to you.

    You are right; the three points count. We were getting used to us playng good and as expected, but we all know that no team hands over three points to us just like that.

    We also have not faced a park the bus team at home for a while, and to play in such games we need to take early chances, which we did not. Three points, third in the league, above the Spuds and better goal difference than the Chavs; you won’t hear me complaining!

  7. glic says:

    Morning Giroudesquers 😆

    Top Quality HH.

    As I said, I only saw the Highlights, so cant judge the marks out of ten, but Ollie will give himself a self critical 12″ out of 10 !. hahaha

    Hope you have a great time in Florida with the girlfriend and to make sure she has a great time, have mine or Girouds picture on the ceiling !. hahaha

    Welcome myArsenal, if you like BK, dont be shy, keep blogging !. 🙂

  8. jgc says:

    Thanks TA,

    I, on the other hand, am not sleeping early in a Belgian day, which is different than my usual time zone where I would be asleep.

    Some commentary here and elsewhere did raise for me the efficiency question. Are we wasting chances? So, for general comment, I thought I would copy back in some quick stats I did after last game on shots vs goals (and shots on goal vs goals) to see if we are more or less “clinical” .. The results were surprising, but do raise some questions..

    name goals shots shots.goal clinical shots rate clinical on goal rate
    Rosicky 2 4 3 0.50 0.67
    Arteta 5 17 7 0.29 0.71
    Koscielny 1 4 2 0.25 0.50
    Podolski 8 42 14 0.19 0.57
    Monreal 1 6 1 0.17 1.00
    Walcott 11 68 28 0.16 0.39
    Gervinho 5 33 9 0.15 0.56
    Merts 2 14 5 0.14 0.40
    Cazorla 12 98 33 0.12 0.36
    Giroud 10 96 35 0.10 0.29
    Ox 1 31 7 0.03 0.14
    Arsenal 58 413 144 0.14 0.40

    ManU guy 19 115 51 0.17 0.37
    ManU guy 12 76 31 0.16 0.39
    ManU 66 469 181 0.14 0.36

    Just a thought that we are not too bad and perhaps complain too much about missed opportunities?

    Heres hoping the table works out but if it doesnt, its name, goals shots, shots on goal and then goals per shot, and goals per shot on goal… I am sure you can all guess who the ManU guys are.. 😉

    cheers — jgc

  9. jgc says:

    Blast, how do you get a table like thing up (without effort, I am too lazy! 😉

    — jgc

  10. Red Arse says:

    Morning good fellows, 🙂

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    hi jgc,

    I read your comment in a moment. Where in Belgium are you at the moment (you might have said this before, but I did not manage to read all the comments during my little break)?

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Redders 🙂

  13. jgc says:


    Southern Belgium, where they prefer the Bundesliga it seems.. Liege, in specific. Went to see if I could watch the game live, only to find that Bayern 4 goals up on Nurnberg was way more exciting to the no one at the pub watching the game on 4 different televisions..

    However, I noted at one place that their channel of choice as advertising Arsenal – Everton Tuesday night… 🙂

    muttering — jgc


    Morning all

    Fine post HH. Well balanced and agrreable ratings. I was half expecting you to give Giroud a big fat zero though. hahaha

    Walking home from the game i tried to analyse what i had just witnessed. For near on 70 minutes we did not function and to be fair it is something that i have seen quite a few times this season.

    My conclusions centered around the balance of the side as opposed to individual players. For those of you who like to stick the boot into individual players as “not been good enough”, i would suggest you are mistaken

    All our players are good enough. The problem is to gel them into an effecient and harmonious side with balance.

    Now consider this. Yesterday we had santi, ramsey, jack and arteta all patroling the midfield. What they all like to do is drop of into a couple of yards of space and receive the ball to feet.

    Consequently that leaves big Oliver isolated against 2 central defenders and Gerv the only player willing to make a run behind

    Get the balance wrong and players look average. Get the balance right and players can look great.

    Ok, it didnt work. but the fantastic thing was that on the bench we had Theo, Ox and Poldoski. that is something we should celebrate. TA, made the point recently that the squad has good depth, and he is totally correct.

    Honestly guys, we have a very good basis to go forward and personaly i am very excited about our possibilities. All this talk about transfers this summer has left me with the feeling that rather than individual players been considered for there ability, we should be looking for talent that will add additional qualities to enhance what we already have.

    You never know. if arsene can pull a few rabbits from his hat, we might be winning leagues sooner than we think.

  15. jgc says:


    “Now consider this. Yesterday we had santi, ramsey, jack and arteta all patroling the midfield. What they all like to do is drop of into a couple of yards of space and receive the ball to feet.

    Consequently that leaves big Oliver isolated against 2 central defenders..”

    Was watching some youth football in Belgium with a friend, and making similar comments about how simple structure and discipline can change a teams “apparent ability” a great deal..

    cheers — jgc

  16. jgc says:

    PS: My friend didnt seem to believe me, but a great point nonetheless…

  17. TotalArsenal says:


    Good to see your table again (I glanced at it during the break). I am soooooo happy at the moment with our goalscoring ability and outputs and I really don’t understand all the Giroud-bashing / need for another top quality CF to replace him. I’d rather try to kill a tiger with five medium sized spears coming from various bushes than with the one and only monster-spear coming from a predictalbe direction, if you know what I am saying! 🙂

    I am going to do a post about Giroud sometime this week but need to do a bit of research for it – your table comes in handy. 🙂


    jgc, does this mean i can now add on my CV that i have the approval of a Proffessor. hahaha

  19. jgc says:

    Thanks TA,

    I agree on spread, if only because while class is forever (DB!) 🙂 .. Form is temporary and if you have spread of goal scoring you have hopefully less to worry about..

    I can email the excel if you are keen, just let me know.. It was interesting as I didnt expect what came out.. but we put more of our shots on goal into the net than ManU, which would indicate that we need to generate more such, as we have about 50 less shots and 37 less on goal..

    That to me indicates the need less for strikers (tho a new one might be nice!) than a need for whatever it is, that special something, we are lacking that generates chances..

    cheers — jgc

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    jgc, Liege or Luik is Eastern Belgium and I know it well. I grew up not far from there. Hope you manage to see the Everton game. Maybe you could send us some notes on your ‘experiences’ in the pub (any Gooners there, atmosphere or not, how did they treat you etc etc).

  21. Red Arse says:

    Super Post Match report, HH!!! 🙂

    I cannot find much at all to disagree with there.

    Now that the anguish and tension of watching the match live has eased and with the 3 points nestling in our pockets, so to speak, I have given some cool consideration to what is what.

    We were definitely by miles the better team, but that is in the context of a poor game by Arsenal’s standards, frankly, however exciting the finish was.

    That said, having looked at the recording of the game, I was at first struggling to figure out what was wrong. Suddenly, the memory of that Barca CL game sprang to mind.

    We have a good professional team of players, and with one or two exceptions, they are a credit to themselves, even if they are not all top, top quality. What we do not have is a Messi, or a new Henry, or a new Dennis who have that little bit of extra class to turn a game.

    Barca were dominating their game against PSG, but resorting to tippy tappy cross field passing and becoming frustrated when they could not make progress.
    On came an unfit Messi and his very presence changed the aura of the game, and one little bit of magic from him transformed the game.

    That is what we are missing — someone who is a bit special — to change a game in which we are dominating but using a blunt instrument to unlock the door.

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    jgc, in all competitions we now scored two more goals than the Mancs…. And more than any other team (as far as I know).

  23. glic says:

    A monster spear coming out of the bush !, sounds like a euphemism for our mate Ollie !. hahaha

  24. Mk says:

    Bit harsh blaming gibbs for Kamara tripping himself up?

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Terry 🙂

    A very balanced comment from somebody who actually was at the game. Loved it. 🙂

  26. jgc says:

    Thanks TA and TMHT,

    TMHT: yes, you pass! 😉

    TA: I only looked at PL goals for whatever reasons, figuring that COC often features more squad players and level of competition is variable, while CL is all top teams.. That, and if the debate is around if we can compete in the PL for a championship, then…

    Anyway, given recent talk of Jovetic and others, I thouhght I would add

    Santi Cazorla 12 98 33 0.12 0.36
    Olivier Giroud 10 96 35 0.10 0.29
    Jovetic 12 97 35 0.12 0.34

    Jovetic, on this one set of numbers alone looks a lot like Santi and not too different than OG

    Just a quick 2p..

    cheers — jgc

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi RA, Ox is our Messi hahaha 😛

    Hi GLic, I should have known that would get you going! 😛

    Need to walk the dog (no euphemism GLIC!) – Catch you later. 🙂

  28. glic says:

    “A blunt instrument to unlock the door” !. It must be Euphemism Sunday !. I`ve just used my Hedgehog gutter brush to clean the drain pipe !. hahaha

  29. glic says:

    Right, out for a run to test my calf`s. It`s back to 5-a-sde footie on Thursday`s and for all my incredible skill, it`s ineffective without the fitness, as Arshavin should testify !.

  30. VCC says:

    Fine analysis and player ratings Highbury Harmony. You have found your niche. 🙂

    Fabianski… ratings 8….(your ratings 7)
    Made one save with his foot that kept us ahead. No chance with the goal. Performed well.

    Atrocious crossing. Would expect someone of his standing to improve this part of his game. He obviously doesn’t practise this part of the game.

    Verm & Kos…..7…(7)
    Adequate performance from both centre backs.

    Days as a top class RB are dwindling. Did OK, nothing spectacular.

    Showed nerves of steel when taking the penalty under provocation.

    Decent performance, but will never make a top class midfielder, as his lack of pace will hamper him.

    Poor today, never at the races. To be fair to him, he should never have started. Wenger must shoulder the blame on selecting him from the off.

    Poor first touch when going round their keeper. Could have given us a great start and foundation to push on today. One he will rather forget.

    Fouled the full back when heading onto the offside Walcott. Never got a touch to the secong goal = Own goal. Poor for 80 minutes.

    Always pulling the strings and energetic. Sublime through ball to Gerv that should have got us on our way.

    Injected some much needed pace into our approach. Unsettled, and made the Norwich defence panic with his appearance. Up until his inclusion, their back line were having a stride.

    Should be given a start at CF. Took his goal well.

    Should have started instead of Wilshere. His drive, athletisism and freshness was a big influence on our team.

    Great stuff HH. 😉

  31. Admir says:

    Hello, Gooners! 🙂

    HH, I mostly agree with your ratings. Perhaps Ramsey deserved better mark.

    One thing that I’d like to add is horrible refereeing yesterday. Ramsey was fouled in preparation of counter-attack that led to Norwich goal, Walcott was offside when Giroud flicked-on before Podolski’s goal, Bunn could get at least five yellow cards for time-wasting (Graham Poll would give him at least three 😀 ), a Norwich player made a bookable foul in similar fashion like Sagna and didn’t get any booking and perhaps Sagna should have been sent off for that mistimed tackle when he got injured as well (he had one yellow card already). Penalty decision was the good one as it was obvious that Giroud’s shirt was pulled. Decision not to give a lot of yellow cards to Norwich players for protesting wasn’t.

    It was the best possible warning before Everton game, the one that didn’t cost us any points. 4-2-1-3 with Wilshere operating in the hole didn’t work well and I have a feeling that Monreal’s absence was another reason (apart from Rosicky’s) why Cazorla didn’t produce some of his regular magic.

    Podolski also looked rusty, his first touch was as heavy as it can be, but he rose as time went on. It’s interesting how even a missed shot can improve player’s confidence. Remember that Van Judas’ dribbling and chip from outside the box that hit the post against Sunderland last season. I always thought that was the most important moment for his last season’s form, it was the moment when he realized he can do everything he can think of. Podolski’s volley that hit crossbar yesterday was that moment for Poldi – he combined well with Oxlade-Chamberlain before Giroud’s tap-in and scored a goal despite pass from Walcott seemed to be too late.

  32. marcus says:

    Halllooooo gooners,
    How about that win last night eh? Up until the penalty I was almost shitting my pant..hahahaha.
    Great post HH, but then again aren’t all your posts? I have to give a special mention to Arteta. Yesterday he showed what he can do when playing alongside a reliable DM/defensive player. YES, I called Ramsey reliable. At the moment he is undroppable. His energy, work rate and ball winning antics have won me over.
    Finally, the Ox and Poldi. You get the sense that we would be much more dangerous in the final 3rd and score much more if these two were starters. I like Gervinho but I’ve always said he’s too inconsistent and unreliable. If it was the OX who had those early chances, we’d have been 2 nil up at half time. Giroud is a fantastic player but he just doesn’t get enough goals to keep him in the side. I mean within minutes of coming in, Poldi struck the bar with a fierce shot. Apart from his headed efforts, Giroud did not even get a shot in. How about we give Poldi a run as our CF and see what happens?

  33. marcus says:

    Also, it is now worryingly obvious that Kos and Verm is our poorest CB combination.

  34. Highbury Harmony says:

    Thank you all for the fine comments and the very kind words! Unfortunately, the post was a little rushed and player ratings may be off by a little bit.

    I will respond to each of you later in the day, when I have more time 🙂

  35. Highbury Harmony says:

    Marcus and VCC, thank you for the kind words! All agreed re: Giroud not being my option to start either, but it’s something I’ll live with the rest of the year. Next year will be very unhappy for me if he’s still a starter though…

    VCC, my rating for OG had to be relatively high since he still produced “statistitics”. If it were up to me, he would have gotten a 6 because he never scored that goal and showed up for 10 mins.

  36. 17highburyterrace says:

    Very nice match report and I hope HH enjoys Miami….I’m actually up in the middle of the night here in California having had a difficult “match day experience” which revolved around the (frustrating) match, having to entertain early morning ski partners with a dodgy espresso machine and then having to leave the match to wait for other skiers at the trailhead(!!) At least I got to see the penalty go in and my lovely wife called me with score updates the rest of the way…. Knowing the result had been eked out and that I had a watchable television waiting, made my long day of recreation (so I cannot complain) more manageable. PPP (and others….), I appreciated the passion, but geez, let’s not go all Millwall on our tools and appliances….

    There’s so much to agree with in the match report (and in the comments!) that I don’t know where to start….I think the statement on AW’s dilemma re: rotation is spot on. Damned if you do, etc. Jack has a looong way to go before he can run the offense in a Cescy style and the slow pitch didn’t help. Likewise, I think the reason that he and Santi appear to be unable to make magic happen together had plenty to do with Nacho being rotated for Gibbs. I’ve noticed that Nacho tends to present a bunch of really natural outlets for Santi while Gibbs is more focused on getting forward. He’s got that great cut-back move (from the by-line) but often stalls with the next touch because he lacks confidence on the right foot. Overall, a lot of the offense died down the left….

    The subs did bring urgency and the refereeing changed the match. It was a classic case of “home-cooking” and that linesman (name?) should get a statue as the three points were huge. Arteta’s pen was (very) fortunate and maybe Poldi’s blast (moments before) had softened the keepers fingers. Much as we’re praising Lu-lu and the Ox for bringing energy to the proceedings we shouldn’t look past how both bungled their first touches out of play. Credit to them that they kept on pressing and made us forget them.

    And for me, in the end, it was that continued spirit (plus the call) that made the difference. As much as people make fun of Arsene for all his talk of collective spirit and belief and the other cliches, this team has got it. (The flip side, of course, is that we had to clear our schedule so that we’ve only got this unburdened run-in against lesser teams,,,,And we still conspire to make matters as difficult as possible!!) This is why I think we should take a measure of hope (along with a big dose of realism) going forward. We need a little injection of true quality (1 or 2 players), but if everybody is playing for each other it could come from anywhere. Compared to the “assembled” teams above (and around) us this intangible could make up for what we lack…

    On that note (and as my comment grows too long) a word of love for O.G….I understand all the frustration with the big fella but I think people need to cut him a bit of slack. He’s a striker so the quirks (the fake injury hand waving….) and the petulance (on display yesterday watching Gervinho….) and the absurd self-love come with the territory. He’s not very good with his head, he doesn’t run well and he’s very one-footed. He also, however, continued pushing hard and battling deep into the match (no hand waving yesterday….) and it was his effort on that (ill-gotten) corner that turned the match around after his chest down to Poldoski failed to do the trick. Also, I don’t think it’s his idea to be a target guy for route-1 play, (which was more of a factor when Sneezy was doing the keeping) but he’s made the effort. Yes, if Bendtner (or Arshavin, or lots of people….) had Ollie’s work ethic he might be just as good (if not a whole lot better)–but he doesn’t…. I think his lay-offs (which I prefer to his speculative shots a mile over the bar) will improve working with Theo and Poldi (Gerv’s season, I fear, is over….) and if anybody suffered from the Jack/Santi conundrum yesterday (neither was aggressive enough getting into the box as Ollie tried the one-two….) it was the big fella….(TMHT’s comment rings very true here, I think….)

    So there you go….3 big points and we can look forward to Tuesday….Back to bed, maybe….

  37. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, thank you for the kind words! Unfortunately, I am about to head out but wanted to say thank you again for allowing us to share our thoughts on this magnificent blog :).

    Also before I head out for my flight, TA, just a heads up that I’ll be in and out of response this week (especially for the OG article). There seems to be one every week and each one infuriates more than the last.

    I will take a new approach to not be too harsh on him and will not reveal my opinion. Seeing him on the pitch makes me too upset and I’d rather not allow my disdain for him ruin what I’m sure will be a well-written article :). I’ll take a page out of Herb’s book, who by the way has been a gentleman in not coming to challenge other’s opinion or further slate our manager/players.

  38. Highbury Harmony says:

    TMHT, JGC and Redders, thank you for the fine compliments :). Responses like all of yours is what inspires me to write posts!

    I will try and respond to each of you later in the day.

    Brief note: TMHT, you make a good point about OG and one that is valid about isolation. I’ve said before he just doesn’t fit our style of play and is better suited in a two striker set, because of his lack of pace to drop back. One of the reasons I dislike him is because of that and he forces too many strategical changes to areas of the game we are simply not good at. We won’t challenge for the title with him leading the line.

  39. Highbury Harmony says:

    And on that note, I’m off 🙂 and with it my last critical comment on OG.


    Hi HH, hahaha, i am convinced you will crack and have a pop at giroud. I give you 2 weeks max.

    I completely get what your saying about Big Olle. in fact i dont think your over the top at all, just expesssing concerns that if we are honest all feel.

    When we talk about balance of the side, overloading the midfield etc the biggest question centers around Giroud. Can we reach the heights with a center forward who primaraly only comes alive when in and around the box? I realy dont know.

    For me there are 2 Girouds (enough to give you nightmares hey HH? hahaha). there is the all round footballer, who in my view is distinctly average. Then theres the “In the box” Giroud, a right handful who scores and makes goals.

    One paralell i an recall is when Ibramimovitch played for Barca. At times he done well for them, but he didnt last to long there either.

    Horses for courses my friend. Last year when Barca were trying to break down a 10 man chelsea how they could have done with the big sweede that day. There lack of physical presence certainly cost them.

    i share your concerns. The optimum solution is to purchase a red hot skillful and mobile striker and have Giroud as an option as well.

    Lets see how it pans out.

  41. oz gunner says:

    Great match report HH, love the new rating system also, really makes it clear.

    Bullet dodged, 3 points, hahaha the scum.

    @ Others

    Afternoon. Feel free to have a look at the petition doing the rounds.

    HH seems to have softened in his approach…i feel it may not last unless the petition meets its quota. So far there is 5 signatures…need 10 more guys. cheers.


    hahaha, brilliant Ozzy Baby

    Dont forget to send a search party out to bring Zimmerdine back. hahaha

  43. davi says:

    On the set piece goal, can we also admit that it was cleverly done by Norwich? Perfect defending can stop any goal, I suppose, but it was well worked. It seemed intentional the way most of their players pulled our defenders towards the goal with their movment while Snodgrass(?) played a relatively flat cross which Turner perceived and got the run on his marker. It wasn’t a goal based on shocking defending this time, it was more down to a well worked set piece IMO.

  44. Admir says:

    HH, I have an extra poster of Olivier Giroud in natural size. Are you interested in it? 😀

  45. glic says:

    I should imagine he will only be interested if it has a Hologram Hampton !. Which just by chance has his initials HH !. hahaha

  46. AFC says:

    Good report HH.

    We were extremely lucky to get the 3 points. That finish from Podolski. He finished like the beast we know he is. Jack was disappointing and you could have a point about Santi and jack not being able to work together. Could we see another Gerrard and Lampard situation. Who knows? Let’s just beat Everton and then we can be more sure of CL qualification.

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sorry about the overly long post—I don’t get as much screen time as some folks, so when I do, I maybe try to pack too much in….

    Also, of course, I’m new here so I don’t know all the deep held feelings about our big French fella, but I think Mr. Transplant sums it up very well. Our big guy needs a wide awake number 10 who can get by people on his own. Santi, for all his two footed skills is tiny and lacks the outrageous kind of acceleration a small guy needs. Jack’s in the same boat but needs the ball on his left. Rosicky is the opposite but his best shooting days are behind him (I fear) and the shots he does take tend to have a bit of trouble finding the target. This is where all the talk about Ox playing centrally comes from, but that’s a long way off. In the meantime, Theo can do his best to wake up, Lu-lu to stay healthy and enthused and we’ll muddle through. For the fantasy guys, Messi is the guy I’m imagining so I say we should buy him….

    I can completely understand how OG’s antics rankle and it reminds me of the past 5-6-7 years of reading the comments about Arsene. If you’ve turned off on a character all the little things really get on one’s nerves. The place I used to post the most would go crazy on the “mental strengffs” and “lacked that little bit of quality,” etc., etc. Since I’ve been posting here, it’s 3 points every match, but maybe you guys have a few Junior Piers who will pop up at the next poor result….

    To repeat the list of Giroud’s failings would make this post even longer….The positives are shorter. Like Arshavin he’s remained uninjured (despite all the shameful flailing about) and I think he works out in his off days between haircuts (mirrors in the gym and all)…. I know there’s some debate here about performance and fan support, but I think those Liverpudlians who wrote that song about him have done him a big favor so it seems he’s been able to overcome all the bad stuff that people say on the internet…. Confidence is just about everything for a striker and it helps that some folks seem to like the guy. That AW has made him “undroppable” serves the purpose for this season, but (as others point out) it will not take us up to the desired level. For me, he’s done well enough as a focal point in a (let’s say….) very high expectation environment, and seems like he will continue to do so until he truly gets hurt. At that point we can see if the various “internal solutions” have merit, in the meantime we have the several spears idea to get us to the line….In the overheated world of planted transfer stories I have serious doubts about the external solutions, but that’s just me, not to mention something to worry about after we take care of the business at hand…

    Heh, heh, “business at hand” and OG…. the two topics seem to be inseparable….

  48. Highbury Harmony says:

    About to board the plane soon, but that is a very fine comment 17ht!

    All agreed on OG and you’ve captured my view exactly. Definitely some positives in his game but they are few as you stated. I’m at that point where you described it won’t matter what does anymore!

  49. Highbury Harmony says:

    Oz, my stance hasn’t softened I’m just choosing to not engage in a debate that will surely agitate both sides. Plus, looks like more and more people are seeing the light and are deterred from OG! The only satisfaction I need 😉

  50. Highbury Harmony says:

    What he does anymore**

  51. AFC says:

    17HT, the cons of Giroud are currently weighing out the pros.

  52. VCC says:

    Hi De Hi All Gooners.

    Great comments through the day.

    UMF update may be tomorrow morning. That alcoholic Vicky is having a BBQ in his back garden and by the time he has consumed half a shandy he will be any body’s 😉

    Catch ya’ll later guys.

  53. 17highburyterrace says:

    AFC, the espresso machine is working well this morning so I have to expand on your assessment….

    At the moment, Giroud is undroppable, same as Koscielny, Sagna, Arteta, Ramsey and Santi. The other 5 positions are all up in the air. Wilshere came back with a thud, Nacho (I think) would have made life a lot easier yesterday and I think we’ve rung what we can out of Gervinho, which means Theo (or Ox?) is back in for Tuesday. Will Poldoski get his spot back? Only if Wilshere doesn’t….They both might sit if Rosicky’s injury was really just a rest day….(And Fabs is one Flappy away from a sudden return bout of the Sneezes….)

    I know what you guys are saying about Giroud’s limitations but he withstood the spotlight on those early season misses (3rd would be clinched by now had those early days gone better). Unlike a “real” scorer, he snaps at his chances (on his one good foot), but remember what Lu-lu did with his first one yesterday. Oh to have RVP back in the fold. Unfortunately Arsenal was not going to be held to ransom so he could get a final contract akin to Tevez or Rooney (or a bit better than Nasri….) Also, we’re not going to be buying anybody with similar demands no matter what the papers say….

    There are other big guys out there with similar limitations but Ollie has morphed into a bit of team player and mixes the preening with some real work. I imagine you’re in the camp that atmosphere and confidence shouldn’t matter, but they do. On that account, I think it’s fortunate that Ollie is white-skinned. Somehow he gets Hey Jude sung for him and nobody seems to mind his ridiculous my hand-is-a-speared-fish thing. Gervinho goes down once (fouled actually) and he gets a face full of Joey Barton…..

    So, no great shakes is our boy, but he’s stayed fit, helped out as a target for Sneezy’s (poor) distribution and our general inability to play it out of our own half and gotten a whole lot better at looking for the pass/layoff/one-two than ALL the rest. Forwards are expensive and Arsenal have money (so they say….) so I don’t think we’ll find someone who has a better first year for less than twice what Ollie cost. Compare that to a player like (also undroppable at the moment) Ramsey who we could easily improve upon for 5-8 million pounds….(To AR16s credit, he seems to have morphed into a willing squad player, whereas OGs limitations mean he can only play in one spot). Yes, I hope management/scouting/god can unearth that hidden gem who can step in or that the internal solutions can stay fit and/or produce at a higher level, but I live in the real world and think those are expectations that will lead to disappointment….

    Anyhow, no BBQ here, but (maybe) a little more to chew on….

  54. jnyc says:

    Good ratings, a little low on walcott. For me.giroud is a little slow to get off a shot around in general, but makes himself important in his team play.

  55. AFC says:

    17ht, I know we are not going to buy Falcao, I think we will not even get Jovetic unless Wenger surprises us all which is why is annoys me when Wenger waste money on guys like Giroud. I like him as a squad player and no more. Wenger said Giroud is a classic number 9 and could have played in the PL 20 years ago. Really? I can see Giroud will never become no world class striker and Wenger has 30 years experience but he cannot. Look what Remy is doing. I would rather have had Remy anyday. Even Berbatov. Wenger has his reasons for not signing these players which are probably good so I will leave it at that.

  56. AFC says:

    Obviously Berbatov was never happening I would have liked to see Remy at Arsenal. Wenger made a mistake signing Giroud in my opinion. Monreal, Podolski, Santi all good signings. Giroud far from it in my opinion. Decent but not good.

  57. 17highburyterrace says:

    AFC….Still a moment here before my day gets started….

    Conflating “Giroud is a classic number 9 and could have played in the PL 20 years ago,” with “world class striker,” is a serious twisting of Wenger’s intent. If we’re a team looking to replace a world class mercenary, er, striker with somebody who can help us get 4th in the English league than a throwback is maybe what we need. Please note that he didn’t buy Andy Carroll for 35 million…. At 26, having worked his way up from the lower leagues, of course he will never be world class. Is Koscielny world class just because Pep mentions his name?….

    I can see the reasons you like Remy and Berbatov (the rich man’s Arshavin?….what’s his salary to workout ratio?….) but Wenger is tasked with putting together a team (italics, or maybe all caps….) where it gets tough to indulge those who are off on another track. It’s different from just plugging a set of talents or stats (or whatever) into positions on a team sheet. Not saying that that’s what you’re doing (winky face)….but I think it’s an easy fallback for a lot of observers…..

  58. AFC says:

    17ht, who do you see Wenger signing in the TW?

    He has said if someone special comes aong he will fork out but I cannot believe this. Buying someone expensive with high wages will ruin Arsenal whole wage structure etc. If he pays a player 150 a week for example all the other players will want pay increases could lead to numerous players leaving etc.

    Your thoughts?

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    17HT – very fine comments this afternoon. I would love it if you would write a post for BK. 🙂

  60. AFC says:

    TA, going back to one of my earlier post. With Rosicky missing last match because of a small injury do you think this could develop into a trend next season where Rosicky plays 1-2 matches and then is out for 1-2 matches?

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    Maybe AFC, and I would sign up for that right now. What about you?

  62. AFC says:

    TA, I think it may be time to sell him and give his position to the Ox. The Ox can finally play where we feel he will play best. Then someone like Gnabry or Elsfield can be promoted.

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, Ox is a very different animal compared to Rosicky. Ox plays the first violin while Rosicky is the conductor. If we could get Rosicky to play 50% of all our games next season then that would be bliss.

    Ox on the other hand still has to learn a lot, and unless we go to 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2 I cannot see him getting much time in the centre of our attack.

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    Forgot to say it is exactly the experience of Rosicky that we need to hold on to desperately. He has been the difference recently and has earned his fees back in the last few games, if you ask me. More of that please, Tomas! 🙂

  65. AFC says:

    I definitely think we can get 1-2 more years of Rosicky at his best. We do need to him to stay as fit as possible so he can pass on his wisdom to the younger players. All of our young players, Wilshere included could learn a lot from him. Hope he can stay fit. 🙂

    See you in about 45 mins.

  66. AFC says:

    TA, next season I could see us start matches with a 4-2-1-3 formation. So we would line up with the Dm holding and Arteta next to him as our deep lying playmaker, Wilshere as our AM, Santi on one of the wings playing in a free role with Podoski on the LW if Santi is on the RW or Walcott on the RW with Santi on the LW with our new forward leading the line.

    Then when we need to be more attacking we could change to a 4-1-2-3 formation with Arteta or our new DM holding and the Ox or Rosicky coming on to play with Wilshere as our two players ‘in the hole’.

    Do you think this could be the way forward?

  67. AFC says:

    Glic, you have brought very good news. We should invite some of those fans to this site. 😀

  68. AFC says:

    Guys, and that is a reminder that no matter how low we fall, we will never fall as low as the Spuds. 😀


    These Totnumb fans are right sad bastards. All this talk of fixing and conspircys to hide there own inadequencies just proves there paranoia and self loathing.

    Blaming everyone but themselves, they have to invent some crap to make themselves feel better. Accusing the lino Richard West of corruption is just a joke.

    i have know Westy since he first started posting on “The Bald Truth” forum 3 years ago, lovely bloke.

    Infact, when i found out he was a prem lino i arranged a night out in Brentwood. We had a great time, and later that night, to make the experince even more memorable, i innocently used some chlorofom on Westy and injected him with Heroin.

    Westy wasnt feeling to well at this point but fortunitly i had arranged with Pete the tranny to take him round his place to feel better. I also luckily had a digital camera so managed to record the nights events in great detail, telling Westy that the photos would make a great present for his wife.

    Westy had such a great night that he constantly shows his appreciation by transfering money into my bank account, top top geezer. I found out he was lining our game and wished him luck on having a great game, which he did.

    Take that Totnumb fans. hahaha

  70. AFC says:

    TMHT, have you ever heard of a team finishing 3/4 in the league after match fixing/bribing officials?

    I haven’t. It would have to be Spurs’ fans to try and make shit up.

  71. AFC says:

    TMHT, if anyone was fixing matches it would have to be Spurs. Paying defenders to allow Bale to score their crucial goals. Ha! 😀


    Course not AFC. These totnumb fans are paranoid and delusional.

    If they knew Westy like me and Pete do, they wouldnt be coming out with all that crap. haha


    AFC, in all seriousnes tonumb have a very bad reputation in terms of transfer dealings, player tapping up and poaching.

    They have always behaved like a bunch of parasites, yet like to throw aspertions on a great club like Arsenal in some ridiculous attempt to justify themselves.

    They are also a bunch of closet homosexuals. hahaha

  74. VCC says:

    Terry…20:22……….LMFAO 😀

  75. AFC says:

    TMHT, and to believe people were saying that there has been a power shift in North London. This season Spurs have not improved. They have been the same average Spurs they have always been. With us, Chelsea and City playing so poor at times they have been under the false illusion that they have improved as a team and will get into the CL. Maybe when I am dead in 50 years they might get into the CL again. Luckily for me I will not be around to see it. 😀

  76. AFC says:

    TMHT, I actually pity the spuds. I pity them so much I will give them one piece of advice. Is Real are so stupid to actually offer near 50 million for an overrated homegrown player who has only performed in the losers league and against poor teams this season in the PL, grab it with both hands and use this money to buy yourself 2/3 good quality players from overseas like we have done in the past.

  77. AFC says:

    * If

  78. Mike says:

    I’m sorry but I have to say it … If Wilshere was French or African or German all of you would be singing a much different tune about him, instead of saying he is a great player that is just going through a dip in form or needs more time to recover his form after his long injury spell you would be honest and say his contribution in attack is ONLY 3 assist and one league cup goal. He is just not as good as you all want him so badly to be. For cripes sake you all want to get rid of Gervinho so badly but he was away to the ANC half the season and out of 12 app he has 5 goals, Jack 19 league app and 0 goals.
    And in Cup games even Arshavin who only played in 2 has matches jacks 1 goal
    Even our New Left back who has played only 7 games with the team has more league goals then Jack (only one but since jack has scored NO league goals) ANd OK jack is a Midfielder so maybe his game is assists well that stat is not much better with only 4. OK then so maybe he is a beast of a DM well that would be fine except he is NOT. And OK maybe he is contributes so much more to spur on the team but HOW exactly does a Attacking Midfielder that has less assists then good DM mids in the league and NO goals helping the team?

    Rosicky who has only 3 starts and 2 app as a sub has league games and 2 goals and with 2 CL games has 1 CL goal. and he is playing in essentially the same role as Jack when played. So tell me if Rosicky was fit for any of those other 19 games and got the start over Jack I wonder how many more goals Tomas would have.

    Sorry but the 32 year old Rosicky is a better player then Jack you can go on and on about his commitment and how many complete passes he makes if they are sideways or backwards who cares. Or go on about how he dibbles past 1 or 2 players in midfield driving forward. But you forget to mention that right after that his loses the ball and has to dive in to try and win it back and gets called for a foal. Or his final pass that might create a goal scoring chance is just horrible. (one of the reasons for his Poor assist stats is his final ball is just not good enough.) He is NO number 10.

    And against Norwich Jack is back and Arsenal returns to the same slow passing and ineffective attack as before. I’m sorry but I wanted a fit Tomas and keep Jack on the bench until he can contribute in attack with real attacking contributions like GOALS and Assists. And I am ONLY singling out Jack because of all the hype every PRO Wilshere supporter puts on him. HE IS NOT as good as you all want him to be. And when he is in the Squad Arsenal are not as good as they could be with a truly talented Attacking Mid (like Cesc Fabergas was for Arsenal)

  79. Bond James says:


    If Andy Carroll was £35 million then Bale is worth £70 million, he is actually the best british player regardless of the price.

    let’s not forget that bale has scored against us on both occasions, let’s not say that he has scored against poor teams this season :D: we have a decent defence.

    yep, it pains me to say the above and the fact i rate a spuds player this high but truth be told, no matter how much we deny it, the guy is carrying SPUDS on his own and very consistently even better than RVP did last season for us.


    Fab match report ,i am so chuffed for Fabianski as well, his save was crucial maybe when we look back at the end of the season and could pin it down to one moment then for me it will be his stop using his legs, after we had just taken the lead.

    re- Ramsey, you know when he gets high praise and ratings based on first half performances, that usually means the rest of our players went to sleep or were not up for it, but yeah Rambo did a decent job, switching him to RB was a stroke of genius from wenger considering Sagna was on a yellow already.

  80. AFC says:

    Mike, agreed. Most homegrown players are overrated. Bale, Wilshere, Rooney all examples of players who are overrated by the British media.

    BJ, I do not rate Bale. He has done it for half a season but because he is Brtitish the British media make out like he has been playing the way he has for 3 years. Bale is just in form. There is a huge difference between a player in form and their level of performance and a players who playing at their average level. When he gets Spurs into the CL and he scores the winning goals against Bayern, Real etc and get them through by himself then I will rate him.

  81. AFC says:

    BJ, all of this rubbish about Bale being one of the best players in the world is pissing me off. I could name 30 players better than Bale.

  82. Bond James says:


    “when he gets spuds into the CL” i hope that’s a never ever then, ha ha

    oh yeah, i’m biased and i do hope Everton lose on Tueday but then they go on a decent run and win their remaining games to push both Spuds and chelseki out of the top 4:D:

  83. AFC says:

    Mike, in my opinion Jakc is no number 10 just like Clev of Man U is not. Jack in my view is a box to box midfielder.

  84. Bond James says:


    go on then, let’s hear the “30” better players than Bale in UK.

  85. AFC says:

    BJ, that is why our national team is so shit and you could go further and say that is why all the other British national teams are shit. British players are overrated. It is as simple as that.

  86. AFC says:

    BJ, I meant 30 better players in the world right now.

  87. Bond James says:


    i disagree, going by your logic then that should make Argentina the best team in the world, they do have a couple of decent players , no ?

    football is a team sport, unless and until you play as a team and work your socks off, you won’t win – i suspect this seems to the problem just not with British national teams but plenty of international teams out there.

  88. AFC says:

    BJ, England have no quality players. Jack might become a world class player but at the moment he is not. You tell me the quality players England have to choose from.

  89. Bond James says:


    really ? there are 30 better players than Bale in the world ? this will be interesting, let’s name them and shame them, shall we 😀

  90. AFC says:

    BJ, course football is a team sport but you still need quality in the team to help you win things. A lot of England players are made to seem better than they are because they play with quality foreign players who make a lot of British players seem better than they really are.

  91. Bond James says:


    Quality players don’t necessarily make a quality side ( look at my Argentina comment earlier to get a gist of it) – sheer hard work, team play and dedication does – suffice to say all 3 lack in the current England

  92. Bond James says:

    HH & other readers,

    Apologies for hijacking this article.


    Mike, thats the biggest load of rubbish i have heard on hear.

    When Wilshere is at his best he is phenomenol. Ask Xavi and Iniesta.

    I dont want to bang on about going to games, because its unfair on those not as fortunate as myself and you dont need to in order to judge a player but its obvious to me you have never been to a game in your life. Watching him live close up you would see how good he is.

    When Wilshere is fit and Firing he is our best passer, best dribbler, and the most inteligent player we have.

    As for his stats, he is just emabarking on his career so at this stage there meaningless.

    And its got nothing to do with him been English, thats just a bonus.


    And another thing, next time you come out with a view dont insult my intelligence and everybody else by saying we only rate him because hes English

  95. AFC says:

    TMHT, Wilshere is quality but I think what Mike and myself were trying to say is that the British media overrtate Brtish players so to a degree Wilshere is overrated, not a huge deal overrated but still overrated.

  96. AFC says:

    BJ, please bear with me. 🙂


    AFC, overrated by who?, the media maybe, but not by me or thousands of other arsenal fans that know what he is capable of.

    Mike was implying that it was we that overrated him simply because hes English and ime telling you now i rate a player on what i see not on some media hype

  98. AFC says:

    1) Messi
    2) Ronaldo
    3) Xavi
    4) Iniesta
    5) Falcao
    6) Rooney
    7) Van Persie
    8) Ramos
    9) Vidic
    10) Auguero
    11) Pirlo
    12) Fabregas
    13) Cavani
    14) Buffon
    15) Casillas
    16) Neuer
    17) Suarez
    18) De Maria
    19) Lavezzi
    20) Imbra from PSG
    21) Mata
    22) Bast Sw from Bayern

    BJ, there are 22 I will get back to you with the other 8.

  99. Highbury Harmony says:

    I’ve been banned from using my laptop for BK hahaha, but she never said I couldn’t use my phone! The weather’s beautiful here, Terry if you’re nice I might even take a picture of some of the ladies for you (topless beach too hahaha!)

  100. AFC says:

    Sorry TMHT, I did not know Mike was implying it was us who was overrating him. I personally said that he is overrtaed by the British Media and the British pundits.

  101. AFC says:

    HH or anyone else, could you please help me choose 8 more players who are better than Bale? It would be much appreciated. 🙂

  102. Highbury Harmony says:

    Mike, I disagree with your assessment on Jack, he’s 21 years old and just came back from a 14 month injury layoff and resembled somewhat the player he used to be earlier this year. Statistics aren’t the whole story with players and you should know that his contributions when on-form are far greater than any other individual on our team. He is slightly overrated though, but he’s well worthy of the hype.

    But haterrss gonn hate! Hahaha!

  103. rufus says:

    AFC you’re clutching at straws mentioning Rooney and Vidic. PSG have got at least six players better than Bale.


    No probs AFC……………but why havnt you included Wilshere in you list to BJ. hahaha

    HH. you jammy git. Very nice. if you need some advice on how to take realy pervy pictures without bringing attention on yourself from the ladies or the police, let me know and i will give you some tips. hahaha

  105. Bond James says:


    agreed, we often forget that wilshere is a young lad yet he is years beyond his age when it comes to him playing on the pitch.

    Mike, Wilshere is that one player any team in England would love to have, rest assured, you can put him in any position on the pitch and he will give his 110%, he was awfully short of being match fit yesterday yet you can not question his determination and grit.

    for me wenger said it best, you put wilshere out and his kit is all dirty.

    look back at the england vs brazil game, he was somewhere near his true self after playing a few games and you could easily see an extraordinary player amongst the rest of 21 (suffice to say there were a few other “over hyped players” by their media or fans – Neymar, anyone ? )

    yet wilshere was the one who got all the plaudits and rightfully so.

    wilshere is still young and i have no doubt that he will be played and deployed in most positions as part of his development, wenger does that with his younger players, i’m sure sooner or later Wilshere will justify all the faith placed in him by everyone.

  106. AFC says:

    Rufus, if you could name them that would be perfect. 🙂

  107. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, it’s hard to argue about Bale not being top 10 considering his form this season. It’s a what have you done for me lately sport and he’s delivered the goods this year.

    I would only rate Messi, Ronaldo, Iniesta, Xavi, Ibra, RVP and Cavani over him right now. Schweinsteiger, Falcao, Ozil, Gotze etc would all be on par with him or maybe even slightly below.

  108. rufus says:

    Mind you so have Basel, they outplayed spurs.

  109. glic says:

    Pervinho of Brentwood is better than Bale !.

  110. AFC says:

    HH, that’s what I am trying to say. He is on form at the moment. But form aside he is nowhere near the best in the world. You do not judge a player when he is on form. You judge him over a period of years.

  111. Highbury Harmony says:

    Terry, some bloke just tried to take a picture with his phone and he got caught and is wing arrested! Hahaha! Off to bask in the sun, will join you gentlemen for more footy discussion later tonight :).

  112. Highbury Harmony says:

    Getting arrested*

  113. AFC says:

    BJ, what I am trying to say is that Bale is a good player. Of course he is. But he is not a brilliant player and one of the best in the world. He has only been playing well for about half a season. If he continues to play the way he is playing for a number of years then I will rate him. Until then I cannot class him among the worlds finest.

  114. Bond James says:

    since i’m a gooner it’s only fair if i name a player who’s better than bale as well,

    yep, even David Beckham is better than Bale.


  115. VCC says:

    Stretch………when you next see Richard West, can you ask him if he can officiate at the Emirates Sunday 28th April, KO 16:00.

    We are due to play against that crowd from Old Toilet that day.

    Can you blackmail him for me please.

    Tell him straight, that I demand =

    3 penalties in favour of the Arsenal

    One red card for Rooney

    And when the players pass the officials and shake hands before KO, tell him to kick that Judas right up the jacksy. 😉

  116. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC @19.14

    Yes, I expect something like that next season but with Giroud normally leading the line, and Jovetic in the hole! 😀

  117. rufus says:

    BJ You mean better at being overrated ?

  118. AFC says:

    TA, what is your view on Bale?


    No problem Vics. if he makes a fuss, that picture of Tranny Pete injecting Heroin up his jacksey should do the trick. hahaha

  120. AFC says:

    Rufus, glad to see someone thinks Bale is seriously overrated. 🙂

  121. Bond James says:


    i don’t want to turn this article into Bale but bale has been delivering the goods for Spuds on a regular basis and more consistently.

    note, how Messi used to play on the wings and was doing ok .

    then comes Pep and elevates him, gives him a free role and plays him more central – yep, the making of Messi 2008 onwards.

    Bale – a Left back primarily , was doing a decent job – them comes AVB – gives him a free role in the team and he responds rather well, delivers when it matters the most

    how many of us still wish he was out for the season when he first got injured a few weeks ago ? l’ll be honest and admit that i wanted him out for the rest of the season because if there is one person who could get spuds into the CL then it’s bale.

    good players often need service or decent players around then, special players always create things out of nothing or when it matters the most – what makes it even more astonishing is that he was playing LB for most part of his career.

  122. AFC says:

    BJ, I admit Bale has been delivering for Spurs. But for me to truly rate him he will have to deliver for a number of years like all great players have. I did not rate Messi until he had delivered year on year out. If Bale performs for the next 2 years then I will rate him.

  123. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, I reckon Oz is the best person to play in Giroud’s hole…erm I mean play with Giroud’s hole…erm I mean pass his balls into Giroud’s hole hahaha!

  124. Milo says:

    I haven’t had time to read all the comments, but if anyone is worried about Jack Wilshere, they shouldn’t be…He played in Gibbs with one perfectly weighted ball and that pass alone was worth the rest of his 45 minutes. I think he’ll be just fine. It’s not like he doesn’t know that he played badly. He’s not stupid.

  125. glic says:

    There`s one thing I want more than the CL spot and it`s the Spuds missing out on CL, so some of us can go on that Spud site I linked earlier and give them a good roasting.
    Please Dennis make it so !.

  126. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC

    I think Bale is a very promising talent, who is given a free role, has many fine qualities, and is performing well this season. But I agree there are many football players ahead of him right now. I reckon he will be a Manc next season, though: either a Glazer or an Oiler….

  127. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, I have a feeling you are going to have one hell of a night today! 😀

  128. AFC says:

    TA, and that is why it is too early to rate him. Likewise with Wilshere. I need to see Bale perform on a yearly basis before I can consider him amongst the world’s best.

  129. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Mike 🙂

    Good, heart-felt comment and if you are looking at Jack as a nr10 right now, then you have a point. Always be careful though not to stereotype. 😕

    I am not British and I can tell you right now that the Dutch would love to have Jack WIlshere in their team; within 2-6 years they would either win the Euros or world cup.

    Jack is playing as a midfielder in 4-3-3. There are three attackers for goals and assists. Jack’s job is to make the switchover quickly and to get the whole team into fine attacking positions, with bursting runs forward, quick passing and deadly through balls, He can conduct play like very few can, but he was a bit disappointing in yesterday’s game. However, I recommend you watch the game again and see how disorganised the team was with very few players sticking to their positions and everybody just wanting to be centrally/in the box.

    For a conductor that is simply mayhem.

    Mike, there is little doubt for me that our team will be build around Jack, Theo and Santi, and (hopefully) Jovetic going forward and Jack will become our biggest driver of them all. 🙂

  130. 17highburyterrace says:

    Didn’t Richard West help Arsene with his coat zipper yesterday? On the telecast he was messing with it one minute and then suddenly it was alright. Perhaps there was a little quid pro quo with Dick in the dressing room between halves. Can any of the match attendees tell us any “zipper” stories?…..

    To answer AFC from way up above, I think how we finish the season will determine who we buy. If we can get up for 3rd I would hope a big money offer for Sagna would be the first order of business (2 years at 80-90K/week). After that, I really can’t say. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are deals in the works. Like you’ve said, whatever buys we make are likely well off the radar. My advice is to not try and be the blogger who breaks the next M’Vila deal. I used to post on that guy’s site and it’s gone completely dead…. I have my frustrations with management, but I don’t pretend to think I’ve got all the info….

    TA wants me to post something (oh geez.)…. I guess that means I should send him an e-mail? Is there some sort of protocol posted somewhere? How much do I make per word?…. (Winky face, eh, and I’d hate to mix love and commerce….)

    And speaking of salaries….If we must talk about British players (other than our own guys) how much should Bale get per week? If Theo makes 100k/week is Bale worth 150? 200? 250? How many eggs should Spurs plop into that basket?… He’s got a hell of a left foot and lack’s Theo’s squeamishness about diving for pens… That’s gotta be worth something. Jack makes less than Theo but (it could be argued) the upside seems (far) more apparent. The hype machine influences observers and help sells “product.” Additionally, “potential” has to be factored in. Yesterday is gone (baby) and past performance doesn’t guarantee future results (as they will tell you in the brochure) but it’s all we have to go on…. I’d like to think that football isn’t just another marketplace and that we would keep the players I love (see Sagna, above) but the glory (quotation marks….) of our modern world is that everything can be bought. On that note, I’m no financial wiz (at the moment my wife is doing our taxes while I watch the final round of the US Masters), maybe RA could help me out with my obsession relative to salaries and how Arsenal budgets them. Transfer fees (and kitties) seem like tools the media uses to whip up the modern fan, now that nobody blanches at the pounds per week…. Somehow, I think a lot of our “dry powder” will be used to keep players despite the fact that such actions hardly sell papers or generate web-hits….

    Next (must win) match in 45 hours (or am I confused)….

  131. TotalArsenal says:

    17 HiTe

    You simply send a word document, or just all your text in an email, to (see also ‘Contact Us’ at the top of the site) 🙂

    Minimum of 500 words and maximum of 2000; between 800-1200 is ideal for good blogging. Once I received your email, I will get back to you with what to do next etc.

    Hope that helps 🙂

  132. AFC says:

    17ht, you should write something for this site. You will enjoy it. 🙂

    When TA asked me if I wanted to write something for Bergkampesque I did eventually write an article weeks after he first asked. Initially I thought I would do a one off article but the great reponses, debates and discussions led me to writing 5 more articles (I believe my 6th post is coming out on Monday). I am just enjoying writing articles for this site and I would be happy to hear your views and join TA, myself and all the other great wrtiters from all over the world who are writing for this wonderful site. 🙂

  133. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks, AFC 🙂

    Your post will come out tomorrow morning. Hope that is ok with you?!

  134. AFC says:

    That’s fine, TA. 🙂

  135. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA/AFC…. It’s all very flattering (cheers!) but we’re in crunch time here so I expect a lot of emotion over these next several weeks. Maybe when things settle down over the Summer…. (3rd place secured, Jovetic deal announced, etc., etc…. winky face there for TA)…. Like I said, up above, I’m too new here and I like playing the Mike Jones (Dick West?) role of good luck charm. We’ve won every match since I started commenting here and that will not go on forever. .I’m curious what goes down when results go a little wonky (though I can wait–forever–if need be)….Keeping up with the comments (in the good times) seems a tall task as it is….

    Obviously I think it’s super-cool to have so many great writers throwing so much energy into the project. Sometimes I actually like getting away from the internet for a few hours or even a whole day (or several!!)….Kinda reminds me of my youth….

    In the meantime I’ll be looking forward to the Olivier Giroud post (with exclusive photos, no doubt)….Not to mention our next match (!!!!!) in 44 hours (confirmed–I CAN do my own research, maybe)…..

  136. TotalArsenal says:


    Long may your good luck charm continue! 🙂

    Don’t worry about emotion; either showing it, or it being shown on the site. Until now, we have always had a good balance and just decent, well-mannered bloggers. Just give it a go and I am sure you will love it! 🙂

    Yes, it is great news we are playing again in 44 hours, and that is what I like about you, 17HT; you like to focus on the here and now footie we are playing. 🙂

  137. AFC says:

    I’m off now. TA and everyone else, speak to you tomorrow. 🙂

  138. VCC says:

    Morning all…….where’s the night crew?

  139. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning VCC and other third in the League Gooners! 🙂

  140. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post

    AFC tells us how we can strengthen our CB cover from within. A fantastic recognition of a fine and loyal Gunner! 🙂

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