Pod delivers, Giroud, Rosicky & Theo show their team-value, Santi and Ramsey class: Fulham Match Report

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We’re only happy when it rains – We’re only happy when it gets complicated! 😉

I was not very confident for our encounter with Jol’s Fulham today. I believed a combination of our fatigue from playing/travelling midweek and Fulham’s good start, as well as an ‘in-your-faces’ approach to the game by them, could prove too much for us. I was hoping for a win but counted on a draw.

My biggest concern were the lack of defensive midfield skills and formational indiscipline, as was so apparent against Villa last weekend. But I did not need to worry, as I had somewhat forgotten that Arsenal play more compact and disciplined in away fixtures compared to our home games, with defence and midfield moving up and down the pitch as a well-drilled double-unit, leaving very little space between the lines. This meant Fulham were given very little chance to penetrate the centre of our midfield and pounce on our potential frailties there.

It also helped that we played with three in midfield, where Fulham tried to play in a more traditional 4-4-1-1 formation; as a result, the Cottagers were often outnumbered, outmanoeuvred and outsmarted by our boys today. It was clear that Arsenal are a team and Fulham are a collection of individual players who still need to get used to each other.

Our team:

Arsenal v Fulham August 13

First Half

Arsenal started with the right tempo and clearly had the bit between the teeth. After ten minutes, Rosicky produced a fine ball over the Fulham defence to Theo; the Englishman did not hesitate for a moment and shot towards goal from within the box, but Stockdale was equally responsive and made a decent save. Arsenal then put a lot of pressure on Fulham with a number of Walcott corner kicks in quick succession, and it was really good to see that we were a real threat from these set-pieces.

It was also good to see that Szczesny was successful in finding OG on a number of occasions, but unfortunately the Frenchman’s headers did not end up near a fellow Arsenal player in most instances.

We were playing well and dominating early proceedings, but it still needed a bit of fortune to get the ball past the inspired Stockdale. Ramsey tried a shot from well outside the box but OG was in the way, despite him trying to make himself sparse. The Welshman’s drive hit Giroud’s leg, which fortuitously led to the Frenchman assisting himself. He pounced on his gift like a tiger and lifted the ball over the goalie with both style and composure: 1-0 to the good guys!

As can be expected, this early adversity gave Fulham new impetus to have a real go at Arsenal in this game, and we lost a bit of our initial concentration and intensity of play. However, Szczesny was focussed and decisive when he had to be and made two fine, instinctive saves from efforts by Taarabt and Duff in quick succession.

Good link up play by OG then led to a decent shot with the outside of his foot by Santi from outside the box, but it was not hard or precise enough to trouble Stockdale. At this stage, Cazorla was still looking a bit rusty, and he gave away a dangerous free-kick just outside our box. Our wall was poor but somehow we got away with it as Riise’s ball is smothered in the wall, and a relieved Szczesny can make an easy save.

During the second part of the first half, Arsenal start to look a bit tired and Fulham find more and more a way through the centre of our midfield. Luckily, Taarabt is desperate to shoot himself from outside the box on a number of occasions when there were better options for him, and all his efforts are wasted or dealt with by our Pole in goal.

Ramsey picks up an unnecessary yellow card which put him in a precarious position for the rest of the game. Luckily, the team played some fine counter football and especially Theo showed great composure and drive at this stage of the game, although his ball to Gibbs, after a run to the Fulham box all the way from midfield, was the wrong option.

Cazorla also started to find his feet and composure in the latter part of the first half. He was more and more enjoying his free role, and when he found himself not far outside the Fulham box with the ball, he had the vision to place a precise ball into Theo’s path. The Englishman takes an instant shot which is parried by Stockdale, albeit towards the outside of the Fulham box. Podolski is at the right place and the right time – after he started the attack in the first place with his ball to Santi – and shoots the ball high and precise into the Cottagers’ net: 2-0! And the fans sang with all their heart: ‘He scores when he wants’ 🙂

The goal was reminiscent of a Bergkamp goal more than a decade ago:

Second Half

Fulham came out with renewed desire and impetus – Jol is good at pep-talk – hoping to score an early goal in the second half, as to get the crowd behind them and start an onslaught on the tired legs and minds of our Gunners. But it is all quite toothless and Jol’s substitutions also do not have much impact, at least initially.

We start to look quite tired after sixty minutes, but once again our attackers come to the rescue. OG collects a ball brilliantly from defence at the half way line with three fine touches. Once again, Theo is there to collect his pass and drive forward towards the Fulham box. Theo plays the ball to Santi who takes it to the by-line, after which he lays it back to the onrushing Podolski. The German is allowed to take a first touch which enables him to trigger his brilliant left cannon of a foot for a well placed, and yet very hard, shot into the keeper’s left corner: 3-0 to the yellow and blues, and game well and truly over! 😀

The fans go crazy and serenade the likes of OG, Ramsey and Podolski with great passion: you can sense the happiness of the away support all the way into our living rooms. As John Lennon sang: Happiness is a warm Gun(ner). 🙂

Fulham do not give up entirely, and despite some very fine positioning and reading of the game by both BFG and Sagna throughout the game, they get caught out for once by a bit of magic from Berbaflop. The naturally blasé Bulgarian received the ball with his back to the goal near the by-line; he takes a touch, turns and shoots/passes towards goal – all in one, smooth move. BFG is too slow to react and Szczesny is only able to get his hands to it, but he parries it across his goal line, where Bent is very grateful to slot the easiest of chances into the net: 1-3.

Bent, apparently a big Arsenal supporter, has now scored against the mighty Red and White with five different clubs. I wonder how he feels about this unenviable record?! 😕

Fulham tried to push for a second goal after that but Arsenal brought on Jack and Nacho to firm up our midfield and defence. There were even further chances for us to score a fourth goal, but especially Theo lacked the killer-instinct of The Pod to take full advantage of his own hard work as well as the opportunities that came his way.

Conclusions:

  1. The Pod announced himself onto the new season with two goals of the highest quality.
  2. Giroud, Rosicky and Theo worked very hard, and often unselfishly, for the team today, and especially the Englishman showed a different side to his game against Fulham.
  3. Santi grew into the game and together with Ramsey he was real class today: both produced a master class in modern midfield football play and made the likes of Sidwell and the former Spud-Smurf look very ordinary.
  4. When Arsenal play away, we are more compact and disciplined in our defensive duties, and as a result, we appear to be less dependent on having a strong DM in our line-up. However, it remains to be seen whether this is the case against the stronger, and more settled teams.
  5. Sagna impressed once again at CB and it looks like he and the BFG could form a very fine partnership if need be.
  6. The FB’s, Jenks and Gibbs, played with good discipline and were full of energy and enthusiasm throughout the game.
  7. Today’s game was ample evidence that we have a number of attackers who can score and produce assists, which makes it hard for the opposition to eliminate our attacking threats. This could become a real strength again this season.
  8. The team already has good fitness levels, the players find each other relatively easily at this stage of the season, and there is a really good togetherness in the team.
  9. More players are required to add strength in depth.
  10. The team would still benefit from a quality attacker: especially a winger who can also play in the middle, or a nr.10 who can also play on the wing, would be very welcome.

A good game to watch, some pride restored and some real pluses to take from today.

Written by: TotalArsenal.

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86 Responses to Pod delivers, Giroud, Rosicky & Theo show their team-value, Santi and Ramsey class: Fulham Match Report

  1. James Bond says:

    fantastic, absolutely 5 star article @ TA

    to add to your post match, i would like to add a few observations of my own…

    – santi much better in MF as opposed to the left wing

    – maybe playing santi and wilshere together without a proper DM isn’t wise , or unless Wilshere is back to his usual best !

    – Rosicky sacrificed a lot of his forward play in trying to press and close down the opposition

    -Theo , he needs to be finishing his chances and needs to be more clinical ,if he wants to be one of the best wingers in the country, the amount of chances he had, he should have at least scored twice in this game.

    other than that, i think i am looking more forward to next sunday, it will be a great match without bale , one where i reckon we will be restoring most of our pride back 😉 we play on tuesday, spuds play on thursday , we will have have a couple of extra day’s rest as well !

    and hopefully before sunday, would have added to our squad

    roll on tuesday !

  2. bc says:

    I hope wenger sticks with 433. I believe it suits our players best and actually increases our options. I also have no problem with sagna as our 4th centre back as long as we sign 1 more experienced defender, 2 would be ideal. For the 3 in midfield wilshire arteta ramsey cazorla rosicky diaby and frimpong would usually be enough but with 2 out injured and frimpong and wilshire not really 100% I think anpther body or again ideally 2 is required. Up front there is walcott giroud podolski gnabry sanogo chberlain and ryo. Again you would think 7 would be enough but with chamberlain injured plus gnabry sanog and ryo unproven ideally 2 more are required here too. Finally we need another keeper then allow martinez to go on loan.

    Here’s my realistic choices: cesar, uchita, sakho, flamini, cabaye, lamela, turan or capel

  3. James Bond says:

    also, our team was set up in a very interesting way today, we had our FB’s really high up the pitch, offering us plenty of width on a narrow pitch – was really good to see

    PS: everyone make sure to watch match of the day (when it’s available online/websites), you will love it, you had Mr. Linekar with our favourite Harry the Rednap spud …some great analysis by Hanson (worth a watch).

  4. Milo says:

    I thought Santi was magic today, he wriggled out of soooooooo many tight situations!!! He, Coutinho, Mata and Silva probably have the quickest feet in the Premier League. They are able to use their agility to constantly shield and beat defenders, even in the middle of the park! They aren’t blessed with huuuuuuuuuge amounts of pace, but their quickness in thought and deed, more than compensates for any true lack of speed in their running.

    I don’t think Santi should be pinned to one position or another…if he is played through the middle or the wing, he still contributes!!! 😀 His defensive play is underrated for me, in that he gets the side out of sooooooooo many difficult situations with his dribbling and passing ability!!! 😀 Some of the stuff played out from the back four to the midfield, was magic today, and he was in on a lot of it!!! 😀 No, he’ll never be confused with Genaro Gattuso, but he DOES put in a shift defensively, even though he never tackles anybody!!! 😀 Pretty hard to do, but he does it!!! 😀

  5. Glic says:

    Well done Totes, nothing to disagree with imo. I would add that due to the scuba diving conditions you would have expected play to be slightly uncharacteristic from normal, but we still managed play the Arsenal way and to great effect !.

    I`ve always liked the way Rosicky plays with such tempo and a ready made replacement imo would be Ozil. If I could have a RM player, it would be him , not Benzema or Di Maria !.

  6. Milo says:

    JB, would you mind providing me with a link to their analysis on Match of the Day, if you can??? 😀 I love hearing them trash us, and we still stick it to ’em in the end!!! 😀 It’s good to love to hate people sometimes, anyways, right??? 😀

  7. James Bond says:

    i will do it as soon as it’s available, you gotta wait for 2 days i reckon….before it’s available…

    you will love it , as one of the analysis was on Santi…. 😉 @ MILO

    PS: again, well done TA, love it when you mix football with philosophy and use John Lennon songs to our advantage ahahahahaha

  8. ProudGooner says:

    TA,
    All agreed, i to was a little worried before the match , it really was an important game even if we drew we would have been 5 points behind already and the media would have been a nightmare.
    It was a great game for us, i don’t know about you but i already have my eye on the spuds match. If we play like that we should do well;
    COYG

  9. ProudGooner says:

    MILO,
    Above link is for match of the day live now

  10. AB says:

    Glic – totally agree about Ozil; he would be my choice of all RM players. Someone will have to make space (release cash) at RM; seems like it could be pretty much anyone. I am sure AW will be looking in there, but fear MU are more likely to stump up the hard cash in the end.

  11. AB says:

    I wish I had the same sense of optimism about the Spuds game. Lets hope they are still ‘forming’ as a team. But they have a real physical presence about their midfield which we lack. Both teams will look to conserve energy mid-week – but again, Spuds have more options (due to squad depth) as well as the comfort of a 5 goal lead from their first leg. I think our guys will care more about the game though, having been with Arsenal for long enough to know how much the game matters. I cant see another 5:2 result though, sadly; but hoping for a hard fought 2:1

  12. AB says:

    I’m sure Harry made exactly the same comments last year……., guess he thinks if he keep saying it then, by the law of averages, its got to come true some time! Hardly incisive punditry though

  13. Bongo says:

    AB

    A great result for you, I thought the game would be closer. I think you are right to worry about Spurs squad depth, but Spurs are also worried about the new signings gelling.

    As a spurs fan I think it would have been better to play you in a couple of months time.

    At least you are at home, this in my opinion should give you the advantage as while your squad is smaller than ours, most of your first team is available, and you have some serious talent. Are you up for it though?

    Well if anything at least the North London derby has more significance now, which is only a good thing eh?

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheRedundantSoldier

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheer for comments until now guys; I’ll get back to you tomorrow. 🙂

  15. Mike says:

    I notice no one is mentioning the fact I believe Giroud scored 9 goals in 6 matches now. And two in two games in the premiership.
    Figures could be wrong but he seems better then last year. He look like his enjoying himself more

  16. ProudGooner says:

    him chimney chim chimney chim chim charoo who needs van persie when you;ve got Giroud! 🙂

  17. oz gunner says:

    Absolutely top notch TA, hard to top that match report.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the game last night down at the local. Everyone stuck to their task and it was a great team performance.

    Pod is back baby! PP you must be stoked (not sure if I can use this word given the vile team that share its spelling).

    Santi enjoyed the freedom, and boy did he make fulham’s plodders like one speed. Even with puddles all over the pitch he had the ball on a string.

    Reading back over the comments someone mentioned cloning Sagna (1 for CB and 1 for RB), i couldn’t agree more. I was suspect last season. I definitely am not anymore, he’s doing great down there!!!

    @ Proud

    No use trying on the Giroud front with HH. Been there done that.

    @ HH

    You can hide behind the ‘I picked on theo, ramsey, etc etc also’ and ‘plan B’ all you want but it’s plain as day you don’t like him. You make excuses for his goals all the time, and unless he’s involved non-stop he’s invisible. Once you’re called up on it you attack the person for ‘not understanding English’ or because you think you have some divine right to. Heck chuck in a ‘because you want to blow him also’

    If he kicks 30 in a season it’ll be:

    “- 12 were lucky
    – 9 were penalties he didn’t earn
    – 4 were keeping errors

    Therefore he scored 5 goals…see he is a plan B after all and I declare he’s not good enough!!!” 🙂

  18. oz gunner says:

    @ Mike

    it does look like he’s not trying as hard as he was last season. Hopefully the weight of BSR has gone from his shoulders so he can play his nature game. Looking forward to what he can do this season.

  19. Highbury Harmony says:

    Oz, if you carefully read through the posts, it was purely constructive criticism on his game. I will not let my feelings towards a player affect how I assess their individual performance. I could love a player as much as possible (like Jack or Ox), but if they have a poor game, I will not be afraid to criticize them. Just because we won today does not mean that I was entirely happy with each individual players’ overall games.

    As an example, I am not an admirer of Ramsey’s game, yet I find ways to compliment him when he plays well. I am also not a big fan of Per, but when he plays well, I will also compliment him.

    The difference between Ramsey, Per and Giroud? I genuinely did not believe Giroud played well today or last game. Since when was the overall assessment of a player’s game based solely on scoring 1 goal?

    Yet somehow, there is an individual poster that fails to understand that and continually just says “yeah you can’t criticize players when we win. OG scored so that means he played well”. I reiterated my stance on numerous occasions, yet that individual poster still failed to grasp what I was saying.

  20. Highbury Harmony says:

    And on that note, I am done discussing this.

  21. oz gunner says:

    I’m not questioning your stance on other players or suggesting he is not open for criticism. Of course he is as are others (if they weren’t we should just close down the blog and go on our merry way). What I’m saying is he cops it from you regardless of his performance. If he by some miracle receives a compliment from you it comes attached with a negative.

    You claim that your feelings don’t affect your perception of players but I’m yet to see otherwise when it comes to Giroud. From day dot you’ve given him a hard time (I’m sure some part of that comes from me (and probably others) giving you a hard time about about it early days.

    But as you say it’s a mute issue, it’ll never change regardless of his performances so it’s a non-issue from this point on

  22. oz gunner says:

    Also no point when you’ve admitted to being a sadist that enjoys winding people up 🙂

    In that case then does PG win for pissing you off? 🙂

  23. Highbury Harmony says:

    Oz, I thought OG played well vs. Liverpool last year in the second half of the season, against Blackburn in the FA cup and he did very well vs. Fulham when we tied 3-3. Those are the games that stick out the most in my head right now where I’ve openly stated that he had a good game. Other than that, I generally walk away feeling that his performances are somewhere in the range of ok to below satisfactory.

    I thought he was ok today, but nothing special. I believe he can become more involved in the game and not so peripheral, but perhaps that is just me.

    Anyway, I refuse to discuss this or anything else further.

  24. Highbury Harmony says:

    Best of luck to you all and I hope we do well in the TW and for the rest of this season!

  25. Highbury Harmony says:

    game vs. Brighton is what I meant 🙂

  26. Milo says:

    I still don’t see the need for all this conflict regarding Giroud…Not everyone can be a fan of every player in our squad (like me 😀 ) and not everyone can criticize (HH) or see other’s criticize our players (PG) It doesn’t mean anyone is right or wrong, even if each of you thinks that you yourself are right! 😀 So just leave it alone, is what I say…No need to wind each other up about winding other people up (OZ 😀 ) I know HH has wound me up in the past, but whatever…who cares, there’s no one keeping score here on who wins the most arguments, or who winds the most people up, now is there??? 😀 Why can’t people comment without having to fear other people commenting or criticizing their contribution??? (Unless said person says that Wenger is a pedophile or something inane like that.) I expect to see that on sites like Goal.com…not here…but people are people no matter what site you are on I guess, right??? 😀

    If it’s rediculous to you, it might not be so rediculous to the poster…You can point them in your direction, but if they resist, then leave it alone…That’s how I work on here anyways, and when we lose I’m not even a regular poster, in fear that I will be torn to shreds by all the people who don’t think like me…This shouldn’t happen on a classy site like this one, should it??? But life is life and not everyone can get along, I see that!!! 😀 It’s just hard to see people who cheer for Arsenal get so hard on each other, when in the end all we want to see is what’s best for the club, even if we have a multitude of views and perspectives on how to accomplish our goals.

  27. oz gunner says:

    @ HH

    so because you have a disagreement you are storming off and not returning? Surely you are more mature than that?!

  28. oz gunner says:

    @ Milo

    I agree completely. I just don’t see the point of winding people up intentionally (HH) yet then personally attacking someone who has a differing in opinion. Yes we are all passionate sods who are high strung at times (TW especially), but no need to attack someone personally.

    Anyway it’s over and done with now. I have nothing against HH, personally he’s one of the most knowledgeable football fans I’ve come across on the blogosphere, and I respect his opinion greatly.

    Now are you going to respect my opinion Milo or are we going to have to fight!!!! 🙂

  29. oz gunner says:

    Back to the Arsenal…

  30. geoffrey mubita says:

    We want new signings despite the win! One CB, DM,AM,GK and a striker! Tho We are happy with the current squad’s performance at feranabace and craven, honestly playing against the citizens,manu, chelski,liverpool & spurs I m very sure this team can be torn apart. Where do u want to take the money meant for new players?

  31. VCC says:

    Fine report Total.

    Santi was a close second to Ramsey for MOTM. I’m loving Ramsey growing in confidence and composure.

    After the early days of me criticising him, I’m glad to eat my hat. I hope I do the same with Giroud.

    I want Wenger to ring the changes for Tuesday, I’m sure some of our young guns will cope with Fener. Gnabry, Sanogo, Akpong, together with Monreal will enable a few getting a well earned rest. Even give Zalalem a run out in the second half if all looks well.

    The big test comes next Sunday. I can’t wait.

  32. Macko says:

    Hello my friends, everything is said by TA, very good comment nothing to add 🙂 Iam a only happy to our victory I was thinking it go me too be hard but we have the talent in our team all due deference to our detractors;)
    Podolski formidable on this kind of action it has a awful left foot I am happy for him and I hope he stays with us 🙂
    GO GUNNERS

  33. jgc says:

    All

    Great match report

    @HH and @Oz: I’m extending my Theo stance on OG. If he keeps scoring I’m not going to question the specific whys and how’s. Especially, if we keep winning! 🙂 I’d like a new scorer not only for depth but for a different look up front so we are more and more multi-dimensional

    @Bongo: courage for coming to the site and interesting comment! One flaw, we are the leagues best defensive team… AWAY from home… For whatever weird reason, so your comment makes sense but only up to the part where we play at the Emirates! 🙂 .. Still there’s too much history in these matches for the intangibles to matter

    @TA: great report!

    Cheers — jgc

  34. macko says:

    HH ca fait a long time that I think that Giroud did not have ask to be unquestionable level holder our team it lacks any the bales of head on his release guardian, it is technically very poor with the ball at his feet, never the place where he faudrais, not enough involved in certain actions and above all problem reading of the game BUT it often has an Flash in the match that makes score a goal 🙂
    I think the conccurents can really be a good way for this boy to evolve 🙂

  35. Gerry says:

    TA – I think your conclusions are spot on, and I only have minor quibbles with your report. So a very good read. 😀

    One of the things I would query was your reference in the first half to ‘tiredness’?
    Could it not be that this was a conscious ploy in not losing a one – nil lead by too much pressing for the second goal? Rather, a bit like in cricket(JB?), waiting for the ball coming to us? A Plan B if you like. Compress our defense, but not dropping back too deep, and use the counter attack the way it has been done to us?

    I also thought that Fulham were suffering from new signings not fully at one with each other, and you quite rightly highlighted Taraabat as being the main culprit. They also failed to use the wide players to any great effect, until late on, after they introduced fresh players, lost Taraabat, and switched one out wider.
    Prior to that I though Sagna had the Bulgarian n his pocket all game .. but still the bugger got an assist. 😈

    This is another minor aside. Apart from an otherwise hard working game, Jenks was caught ball watching when he should have had a better idea who was just behind him, and allowed him an easy tap in?

    The final thing was the subs? Why, for instance, was Giroud taken off, and not the more fragile Rosicky? They were still a threat from set pieces, and Giro also put in a good shift, as you noted in his team effort? Indeed, most of ‘during-the-match’ comments were screaming for Frimpong for Ramsey, given his early yellow card. I do agree with HT17(?) that said he was probably window dressing and not fully fit, as I don’t think he has played in the Reserves/Under 21’s this season?
    But why bring on Jack at 3-0 at all? I know the bench was light, but I would have thought Gnabry might have occupied the right sided players more, and used Monreal or Gibbs more for the DM-ish role?

    But these are just my other thoughts. As everybody said after the match, they all did their bit, and many could have got the MOTM award. Great win/3 points

    Catching up on the post game comments, if I were to guess HH, I would suggest that your astrological sun sign is Scorpio?

    I am very much with the man from ‘down under’ on Giroud. You do make comments on Giro’s play that you do not make on others. Yes, you may declare that players you see as having an average game, and tell it like it is. But with Giro, you do seem to let your, well known, feelings about Giroud and the team spill into making extra and often undeserved comments, which you don’t for similarly marked down players?

    Let me refresh you. Sometime, well into the game, you commented that you had not noticed that Rosicky was playing? If that is not being invisible, to you at least, as JB pointed out, he was actually doing the more Arteta role, but there were no follow up comments. Just put into the ‘Average game box’? Which is fine if that is your view, but the argument was, you almost seek out every bit of negative play when it is Giroud?

    You picked up on his attempts to thwart the ex-Spurs git we all hate .. ‘ a couple of turns and Giro fell over’. But what you don’t say is that for a striker, he did a damn good job at holding up the attack so the rest of the defense could get set?
    It is that sort of nit-picking that I and probably, Oz too, finds a bit inconsistent and unfair?

    Alcide – I want to thank for giving the stats for Giro at Montpelier. What was it again:
    29 goals scored with his feet, and one header, and that not from a cross, during his Ligue1 ‘Golden boot’ season?
    Very impressive would you not say HH? 😀

    So perhaps we are not playing it to his real strengths? Not his heading ability, but his feet? So far from being Plan B from the bench, with the proper partner(Saurez-type?) we could correct that and see 30 goals from him, now he is in his second season?
    Willing to give him a chance HH?

    I’ll bet there will be a sting in the tail now? :;)

  36. JM says:

    I hope that Olivier Giroud can be our Filippo Inzaghi. Unspectacular yet a reliable source for goals.

    That is all.

  37. oz gunner says:

    As always Gerry a really good mini post. Said all the things I’m too dumb to articulate.

    I just don’t like the idea of a ‘plan B’ sitting on the bench. Why not have plan A,B,C…all on the pitch. Personally I think we have our defensive structures right (like the Arteta – Ramsey style in central midfield). With Giroud he can hold the ball up, stop the CB’s from implementing their physical power on our smaller players (whether that’s pushing back or creating a diversion (he needs to be covered for his aerial threat)).

    Theo delivers pace and has the ability to score a fair bit.

    Podolski (prefer a Marco Reus type or Suarez type because of their pace) who can offer width if needed and clinical finishing ability.

    Santi – sets up play and is a danger from distance.

    I just love how it all works at the moment. I just think it causes a lot of headaches for the opposition as it offers a little bit of everything.

  38. VCC says:

    Hi Bongo……welcome to the site. It’s nice to have sensible dialogue with level headed football supporters. It’s very refreshing imo. You make some valid points.

    I happen to think you have one of the best mid fields (on paper) in the premiership, the question is will they gell and accept the occasional, inevitability of sitting on the bench.

    That’s AVB’s biggest job, in that department.

    To turn your side into top four/three/two/one positions. I feel you need a left back, one more central defender and another striker.

    AVB has spent the Bale money wisely.

    Next Sunday will answer plenty of the questions Arsenal and Spurs fans are asking…….can we compete with the big boys this season. I say bring it on, I cant wait.

    In your eyes as an outsider, where would you strengthen this present Arsenal squad? if any.

  39. Prince Paprika says:

    Arsene sprinkles a little magic dust into Arsenal. Now, all we need is a little magic dust at the negotiating table. 🙂

    Gday BK, how are we? 🙂

    Hi Total, top shelf mate. Covered absolutely everything in the game and i have zilch to take you to task on. Thats a good thing. 🙂

    “4.When Arsenal play away, we are more compact and disciplined in our defensive duties, and as a result, we appear to be less dependent on having a strong DM in our line-up. However, it remains to be seen whether this is the case against the stronger, and more settled teams.”

    So very true Total, and very observant. I have compared the Rambo- Wilshere combo to the Stevie Mee- Fat Fwank combo where at times it has looked ugly and suspect. Yesterday was a different story, as it was in Turkey and Ramsey has come in leaps and bounds and im sure that Wilshere will hit his strides very soon. However, as you say it remains to be seen how successful they are/will be against the top dogs.

    I love what we are seeing on the pitch at the moment. (I dont like what we are seeing in the negotiating room) I actually wish we had a run of games away from home. Is that a bad thing? These players seem to be finding a bit of self belief, and it seems to be going a long way, especially if they are as good as Arsene says they are.

    I too have found a bit of self belief through the way we are playing. The way we played out from the back reminds me of the football of old. Wengerball from the back. Even WS had great distribution, releasing on angles and starting a counter, it was great to watch.

    I Love Santis feet! (NO, i have been cured of all my weird fetishes)

    Prince Poldi was purrfect, but its what i expect. He is the best finisher in the squad and if its laid on a plate he will send it packing! We dont have many players in our squad in whom id have the confidence in their finishing from a distance- whilst the ball is still rolling. Maybe Arteta now, and the last bloke would have to be Arshavin. I suppose that places extra importance on Poldi and him staying with Arsenal and fighting for his position.

    I LOVE Santis feet!!

    Our whole team played fantastic football, but it was far from perfect. We still lose our shape at times, but i like our seemless transition from 4-3-3 to 4-5-1 when we retreat and keep it tight in the middle. Some say that Poldi is lazy at tracking back, but if you watch closely, both he and Walcott will only run back to a certain point so as to keep our shape, then if need be will cut in and tuck into the midfield, eliminating the angles and enforcing the press.

    Rosa was disciplined, and resisted the urge to go kamakaze, and i ALSO LOVE SANTIS FEET 🙂

    The whole team stepped up and its a great boost to our confidence, especially with the NLD around the corner. What we are seeing at the moment is Total football. Its not quite there yet and still needs some tinkering and a few reinforcements to complement the current team would not go astray. 🙄 But im happy!…for now. I suspect Fulham to have a poor season and i judge their side as a bunch of ‘has-beens’ but we got the job done and keep defying the critics. As they say, its Onwards and Upwards.

    COYANT!
    (Come on You Arsenal Negotiating Team)…………..NO?………………I’ll get my coat. haha

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha Prince – COYANT! 😛

    You should write a post: Why I want to kiss Santi’s sacred feet! 😉

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Fine comment Gerry and good observation of Arsenal retreating in their shell rather than being tired during the second part of the first half. However, it allowed them to get into dangerous positions and if Taarabt had been more of a team player it could have easily let them back into the game.

    Also, an excellent observation of Fulham’s lack of use of the wings. If you play 4-4-1-1 you need to use the wings and Fulham did not do so till when it was too late.

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    JB – agreed on Theo taking his chances yesterday. That was the only part missing, but I liked the way he played as a midfielder today, taking the ball all the way to the opposition’s box on a number of occasions.

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    bc – good comment. That is some list at this stage of the Torture Window…. 😕

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Milo, Santi thrives in freedom/space: he can play anywhere

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Glic – agreed the footie was very good giving the state of the pitch. Ozil…. good call: he is still to deliver on his potential, but then I am hoping Cesc will be back here next season…

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    PG – yes looking fwd to the Spuds match but also to our Fenerbahce game in which we can hopefully see some of the bench players getting a proper chance

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    Milo at 2.39am – very fine comment and, as I have noticed now on a few occasions, for a young lad you are very wise. 🙂

    HH is a great blogger who lives and breathes Arsenal. It does appear to some he does not like OG very much, BUT first and for all, he does not RATE him very much.

    I am guessing he is worried Arsene will not buy a better striker this season and we will have to make do with OG. Some would be happy with this and some do not. We can get a bit defensive about our players and feel that they are being attacked from a personal point of view rather than a professional point of view. Knowing HH a bit, I am sure it is not really personal but professional: he does not rate Giroud enough for a first team ST position and is desperate for the club to make an improvement here. This is the point he tried to get across but his inability to convince others of this led to some frustration and it all got a little bit bitter.

    Sometimes it can be frustrating if you feel your point of view is not understood but it is always important not to get personal or insulting, as per Milo’s advice.

    I am hoping HH will be back soon to share with us his expert and passionate views once again, which I know we all enjoy.

    COYG!

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    I think Aston Villa are the team I want to see relegated this season – I really don’t like that prick Lambert and good to see them losing twice now.

    Such a shame we did not manage to get Benteke though: now he would have been a very good additional option in attack…

  49. jgc says:

    TA et al

    Finally, saw some highlights, was in Bruge at game time… Anyway, I ver much liked that lineup and formation. The ability to clog the middle as a 4-5-1 allowed pressure without risk, or much less. Pace out wide meant we could counter quickly.

    A complaint? I’d like to see that more with more balls to OG, pref at feet for either hold up and wide to pace in middle third, or for him to try and turn or light dish off near the edge/top of the box. I think we don’t use his size and strength enuff that way. A few balls into feet in the box will force defenders to him (large guys like that are a pain! Or should be), freeing him to release shots from Poldi, Santi, Theo et al… Others have alluded to this for goal scoring but I think it’d create space AND better chances

    IMO Rosicky played extremely professionally in a more rearward role…

    Now Ramsey just needs some mentoring to still be threatening without the cards. That’ll bite at some point otherwise.

    Cheers — jgc

  50. jgc says:

    TA

    So, Benteke next ear then? 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  51. jgc says:

    Gerry

    Rosicky may have been left simply since he’s going well and more full games will get his regular game fitness higher? Could be something along the lines of both building fitness for some, and keeping others loose (eg Jacks short run on)… IMO, it would depend on the players exact situation that is difficult to tell from hereabouts.. 🙂

    Just a thought — jgc

  52. macko says:

    Were we have steal during the match against Aston Villa with the same referee yesterday it would have ended a nine and one we would have exploded, the bastard!!

  53. jgc says:

    Macko

    Hopefully, he stays in the lower league! J’espere que cet referee reste dans le prochain bas ligue.

    — jgc

  54. jgc says:

    Desole ce referee, je pense?

  55. Dylan says:

    Great job TA. 🙂 A number 10 who can play on the wing? Juan Mata! 😉 A winger who can play through the middle? Di Maria! 😉 Let’s sign both! 😉 hahahaha

  56. Gerry says:

    OzG – I thought you were doing okay, but the opposition resorted to ‘cyber bullying(again)’
    Ha ha

    Yes, the team had a lot going for it in all areas. However, I am still not convinced on the Ramshere partnership. If we should happen on a decent DM, i.e. one that can defend as well as play decent ball forwards, he too will have to sit back when paired with either of the other two? God, it can’t be that difficult if a free flowing AM like Rosicky can manage it?

    Prince P – I never got around to Poldi’s game. When he plays that old fashioned inside left position he can excel. He looked a bit lost when Giro went off, I thought? Part of him wanted to keep to that channel, and the team I think were expecting somebody to be in the middle?

    The point about getting the right striker in, and I am with JB on this, Suarez was the ideal ‘type’, and would get the best out most of our strike force, and vice versa. I think this is why AW got so hooked on the idea, before knowing fully about the ‘small print’. That type of player would be great for Poldi too, if we follow HH’s theme of playing clever balls to feet?

    We would need a creative midfielder to do that, because, at the moment, despite his quick feet, Santi can blocked off. Having an alternative, and I would not rule out pushing Arteta forwards as a short-term fix, would spread the play more?

    However, all these players want game time, so it is a delicate balance with rotation?

    As for the game on Tuesday. I would not expect too many changes in the starting line up, at least until we add another goal, or half time, whichever comes sooner?

    The last thing we want is them scoring early, we get a key injury, or get taken down to 10 men so everybody ends up having a really hard game? Therefore, my guess will be a couple resting, probably Gibbs and Rosicky, and one youngster, Gnabry to keep Poldi fresh Sunday game. Unless there are fresh injuries to be announced the line up will be:
    Szcz
    Jenks – Sagna – Mert – Nacho
    Ramsey – Wilshere – – – – – – – – alternative – Hayden – Ramsey?
    Walcott – Santi – Gnabry
    Giroud

    Fab for Szcz, Hayden for Mert, Zelalem for Santi, Akpom for Giroud, Frimpers if fit.for Jack/Ramsey, Bellerin for Walcott(in my dreams, ha ha), Sanogo for Gnabry.

    That should see the job done in the first half hour?

  57. Dylan says:

    I’ve got it! Here’s our title winning squad!
    GK: Szcz
    RB: Sagna
    CB: Kos
    CB: Mert
    LB: Gibbs
    RDM: Cesc
    LDM: Jack
    RM: Di Maria
    AM/CF: Mata
    LM: Santi
    ST: Benzema

    That is the answer to all of our problems! Who needs to defend with that front line! 😉 hahahaha it’s time for me to wake up now. 😉

  58. Gerry says:

    glic – when you have finished watching, and scouting our targets at the Lille game, can you tell me if you still get ESPN on Freeview channel 34?

    I am going to think about suing BT over getting BT Sports channels for ‘free’, as I lost ESPN on August 1st, and I lost BT Sports 2 on Friday. No matter how many times I re-scan, I still only get the same 122 channels, of which I think about 30 are radio stations. For a time I got the BT stuff on the 507+, although the picture might break up occasionally, but usually I had them on 057/058/059 numbers without a problem.

    I am hoping that is it just the current high pressure weather system that is causing it, but I doubt it. I get my signals from South Wales, but I do have a direct line of sight to them, so that has not been a problem, except for the lack of local news.

    Cheers

  59. Gerry says:

    High Dylan …wakey wakey.

    Yes it was just a dream 🙂

    On your preview:

    I am glad you took my thoughts in the spirit it was meant. I was not trying to tell you how to write you previews, more getting the framework right.
    Once you nail that, your style is your own. But if you are going to talk of things like, the game and how you think it will unfold, it does need to be tied, as best you can, to the players that are likely to play. If that makes sense?

    It does not mean you cannot have a ‘preferred’ discussion, if other players are in. But it helps if you are clear on which is which.

    For instance, you made a good case for playing Podolski, and a correct one has it happened, but to replace Giroud was one step too far.

    But that is only my view. You can always write well no matter how it is structured. It was just food for thought.

  60. Dylan says:

    Fair enough Gerry. 🙂 I thank you for your suggestions. 🙂

  61. Gerry says:

    That’s okay then 😀

    Just remember the AW rule number 1: Minimum unforced changes.

  62. jnyc says:

    Dylan, i think di maria could be amazing through the middle, cesc like, great touch passes, lobs, long shot, through balls. To me, better there than on wing.
    TA, glad u mentioned it, but we really need to work on our wall. That could have cost us big time. And it could in the future. Mistakes killed us vs manu and chelsea last year.

  63. James Bond says:

    Good Afternoon you gooners !

    no Henrychan comments today ? oh Henry where art thou ! ! !

    Macko – i like your style !

    HH,PG,OZ, Gerry et al,

    boys boys boys,

    all of you are box office stuff, sometimes our thoughts and comments get lost in translations and we all tend to stick to our guns … no party is in the wrong or right, at the end of the day football is a passionate sport with even more passionate supporters (most of them anyway)… i am no peacemaker myself as i love a bit of controversy and to be honest with you 2 (HH & PG), i helped myself to some nice and crispy salty Popcorn whilst you 2 were going at it full throttle 😉 right let’s cut through the chase, HH , time to come back and i know you’re reading this, as i intend to keep shouting your name at the end of every comment i post (yeah, you should know by now that i do post a fair amount of comments) , come back and maybe we can discuss Glic 😀

    Gerry,

    i would be looking at giving Theo a rest and starting Gnabry – Ryo might also be an option for tuesday i reckon

    i don’t know but i get the feeling that we really want to win on Tuesday, perhaps that has some bearing on how teams shape up in the pool which gets lined up for CL group stages ? i.e. if we finish at the top of Qualifying, winning both our games with a healthy goal margin, we have a better chance of finishing top dogs and in the process having some sort of advantage ? (correct me if i am wrong), even if that is not the case then a win in front of our home supporters plus the extra monies for winning should be motivation enough…

    there are a few players, like Sagna, Gibbs, Theo , i am concerned about fitness wise, so maybe KOC comes in for Sagna and then Sagna comes on for Per once the job is done ? it’s a tricky situation that depends on how we go about things in the first half….

    Sagna reminds me a lot of Lilian Thuram – solid and dependable in that role – i like it !

  64. James Bond says:

    Macko,

    how dare you come in between JGC and Gerry @ 08.25

    argh 🙂

    yep, we could have done better when we didn’t have the ball and when we did have it in the 1st half, we should have kept it a tad better @ Gerry – yep, we were no doubt fielders in the outfield waiting for them to give us the ball or make a mistake

    but that’s ok, all part of a plan to tire them i reckon, ha

    i’m more sort of frustrated at Theo, gets him self in such promising positions but his shots either lack power, precision , accuracy or just that clinical touch when it comes to pull the trigger ? i have noticed that he likes lobbing his shots or plays them in the air as opposed to driving them low , say like Poldi ? he needs to keep watching more videos of King Henry – sorted 🙂

  65. James Bond says:

    no Micah Richards on the bench for Man $hity – interesting.

  66. Dylan says:

    JB, let’s sign him up! He can’t be happy on the bench. 🙂

  67. Dylan says:

    *not even on the bench

  68. Dylan says:

    Dang. Aguero says he’s staying.

  69. James Bond says:

    you know i would love to @ Dylan , if it was up to me Richard the Gunner would already be down at the emirates – he loves Arsenal.

    interesting game this at the lane – it’s 12 vs 11 (ref’s a spud for sure) .

  70. James Bond says:

    half time – nil nil

    Paulinho is a quality signing – Capoue not bad either – they have presence in the midfield and our lads will need to eat plenty of weetabix from now till saturday, ha

    Kun . A doesn’t need to leave man city @ Dylan, he has everything there, he is the no.1 and box office – loved and adored by the fans plus the massive wages .

    PS: Highbury Harmony come back mate.

  71. James Bond says:

    the 12th man – ref gives a spuds a penalty for a blatant townsend dive (bale who ? ) , should have been a yellow instead of a penalty.

  72. macko says:

    James Bond, Théo is my favorite player and he necessary to understand that just get married currently therefore he did not too much the head to game 🙂
    When he goes to open his account of goal we can no longer to stop it;)
    Gnarby still a little young to replace Theo by against left little be very interesting;)

  73. jgc says:

    Macko

    Then Theo should be relaxed and, ahem, clinical!
    Soit, Theo dois être son calmé et clinique (je pense)!

    🙂

    – jgc

  74. jgc says:

    All

    City down 2-1 at 82 mins to Cardiff. Those disappointed in AW can hire Pelligrini before next week? Just in fun! 😀

    — jgc

  75. jgc says:

    JB

    More seriously, re Theo, I agree on all counts with you and Gerry, but figure he does score. More would be nice, but his 25 EPL goals + assists last year ain’t useless and we will get more this year barring injury or Messi signing…

    Thus, I’ve decided not to stare too hard as it only makes me frustrated by my lack of understanding of how he does so well anyway. Ie if he was always off, he’d stink, but he doesn’t. S, he does get it right plenty or is just really really lucky… I can live with either! 🙂

    And would prefer more, but every year we get some more, so…

    Meanwhile, Liege a city of 200,000 is having a 500,000+ street dance party parade, which you may be able to hear where you are… I’m 1 block away 😦 No sleep for Brooklyn tonite!

    Cheers — jgc

  76. macko says:

    patient jgc that’s three match we play;)

  77. James Bond says:

    ah,

    3-1 Cardiff

    Man $hity – you can have all our supposed guys (Jovetic ) but like i said, spend 150 million on the team but that doesn’t necessary mean you’re better than us

    this season will be very very interesting if we manage to string in 4 positive results in one stretch, starting from next sunday (spuds also got lucky with their narrow win)

    3-2 it finishes

  78. Wengerball says:

    For all and sundry Messrs “No touch Ramsey” and “Spend Spend Spend,…” Cardiff City(2) vs (3)Man City (with their addition of Fernandinho, Navas, Negredo and Jovetic this Summer) is your timely answer.

    This is The EPL… form is temporary, class is permanent.

    In Arséne I Trust… and Arséne Knows Best…

    COYG! 😀

  79. Wengerball says:

    For all and sundry Messrs “No touch Ramsey” and “Spend Spend Spend,…” Cardiff City(2) vs (3)Man City (with their addition of Fernandinho, Navas, Negredo and Jovetic this Summer about £90M) is your timely answer.

    This is The EPL… form is temporary, class is permanent.

    In Arséne I Trust… and Arséne Knows Best…

    COYG! 😀

  80. Prince Paprika says:

    hahaha. I would have thought that a billion pounds spent over 2-4yrs could buy you a winner in newly promoted Cardiff. Apparently, it cant even buy you an equaliser 😀
    ………….glad we’re not playing them on the rebound next wk.

  81. James Bond says:

    Macko ,

    i don’t want Gnabry to Replace Theo, i want gnabry to be used so theo get’s a much deserved rest – bear in mind that he played against man city , then for england, and the 3 games of the season – we need to manage him as well since he is injury prone.

    JGC,

    all solid points but hey, why not join in the fun ? when in rome do as the roman’s do, ha

  82. Wengerball says:

    Sorry, was caught up in the Poznan Celebrations…

    Cardiff City (3) vs (2) Man City…

    Sorry to any Cardiff fans enjoying BK…
    😉

  83. James Bond says:

    Poznan ? @ WB

    where are you based, if you don’t me asking @ WB

  84. Milo says:

    I am with whomever said that we SHOULDN’T change too much of the squad for the Fenerbahce match!!! I have a feeling that tie is STILL not over…IF they score first, it will be a very interesting match, I think. It also depends on who is refereeing the match, unfortunately. I don’t know if a stricter style of refereeing suits us or a more lenient one does, but I know for sure a biased one does not suit us because none of them are Gooners it seems…Even the European ones who will be reffing this particular match! 😦 hahahahahahaha 😀 We also do NOT play well at the Emirates, and those who will show up hoping for a thrashing, MIGHT be a little disappointed, especially if they manage to pinch a goal before us. As we have just seen with Cardiff City against Manchester City, respect for your opponents is paramount, even if they do indulge in match fixing!!! 😀 I would keep things as they are for now, and then make some changes if we score first.

  85. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

    Marcus has written an excellent short post on how to get the best out of Podolski’s strengths. Enjoy 🙂

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