Ozil in the hole, Flamini & Ramsey in pivot, Jack left? Marseille preview

Droit au But: Olympique Marseille vs. Arsenal pre-match

So we’re back for the 16th time in a row. We fought hard for it at the end of last season, successfully went through the prequalifying round yet again, and we are finally on the eve of starting our campaign to qualify, in arguably the strongest group, against Olympique de Marseille (OM).

A weak opponent?

And indeed we are up against some tough competition – Borussia Dortmund are top of the Bundesliga with 5 wins out of 5 and Napoli are, similarly, Serie A leaders, with 3 wins out of 3.

OM on the other hand, are currently ranked 4th in the French national championship table after 5 games; and one could easily argue that the French Ligue 1 is a step down from German, Italian, Spanish leagues, and certainly the EPL. In fact, it was mostly a one-team show last season, with PSG easily cruising through, finishing 12 points ahead of Marseille, and with Lyon trailing a further 4 points behind and being a shadow of their former self.

In addition, their current 4th place may not say that much about their level. They have had 3 wins against bottom of the table teams – Guinguamp are 15th, Valenciennes are 18th, Evian are 11th (who were in the bottom 5 before their latest win against the 17th); and OM lost home to Monaco. Finally, OM were dominated in their last game by 19th ranked Toulouse, and they struggled to secure a draw against the tide at the 87th minute. Valbuena had this comment after the game: “Arsenal? With what we’ve seen tonight, we are far from there…”.

In fact, post-game articles in French newspapers and sites (unfortunately, I have only seen Marseille in short game summaries – hopefully this will give Gerry the opportunity to provide more insight) have not been very positive about the way Marseille has been playing – even on their wins – apart from a good first half against Monaco. Incidentally, another thing that transpires from game reports is that they have consistently struggled physically in the second half; they conceded all their goals after half time.

So we’re good?

“Droit au But” – Straight to the Goal – is Marseille’s maxim. It also means Straight to the Point, and OM lives by it. They play to attack, and love a good fight and high intensity cup or other challenging games – I am not surprised that their best performance was against Monaco – and their good CL qualifying round last year (finished second of their group with only Dortmund qualified) also testifies of this.

The public in Stade Vélodrome is one of the best in France and they will push hard tomorrow.

They had a good, aggressive transfer market window: they bought Dimitri Payet from Lille, probably the best attacking midfielders in France last season; and Florian Thauvin, a very talented and promising 20 year-old and £13m AM (although he just joined and might start on the bench).

Add to that the always dangerous international AM Valbuena, the fast paced wingman André Ayew, and the finally-coming-back-to-form ex-ex-international CF André-Pierre Gignac, and you realize that they are very capable on the attacking front.

If their defensive stability has been questioned lately, they still have strong athletic material there (N’Koulou, Lucas Mendes, Diawara, Rod Fanni, Imbula…) some of whom will add to the threat on set pieces. They are supported by an excellent goal keeper (Mandanda), only edged in the French national team by Lloris; and then again some value Mandanda more.

Finally, and this is the feeling with some OM supporting friends, I believe that they are seeing this game as a must win as Arsenal is potentially viewed as the weakest team (compared to Napoli and Dortmund): if you think the French press and web are different fro, the UK’s, you’re mistaken… every bloody year is the year Arsene’s team is on the brink of oblivion. Although to be honest, the mood has changed since Prince Igör joined. But I digress.

The point is that they will want those three points and they will give it all they’ve got. It’s not in the club’s genes to go for a draw anyway.

So we’re not good?

OM have the potential, they are a better team on paper than 2 years ago when they qualified just one point behind us in front of Olympiacos and… Dortmund. But, if I ignore my anxious nature for a second…

…Things have been clicking well for us lately while they are struggling physically and technically as a team. Position for position, we systematically have better quality (I will give them a point for the goalkeeper though): we are a better team. We just have to be aware of their attacking capabilities, and be ready to deal with the intensity they will create, but we should aim for those 3 points ourselves.

Any points left behind tomorrow may very well result in a last chance fixture in Napoli, which my cardio and I would like to avoid; and a win would keep the nice momentum we have going, and give us some assurances before the probably more difficult games we have ahead.

Will Ramsey score again?

Will Ramsey score again?

Team Composition

Interestingly, OM  typically play in a 4-2-3-1, with a double pivot, Ayew doing runs on the right, Payet as a fake left wing combining/swapping with Valbuena the organizer, Gignac at CF, … kind of rings a bell?

Thanks to our injury record (!) I have a chance of getting our lineup right…

BK Arsenal OM

So in a few areas, we’re obviously one injury away from some tough choices…

  1. What if OG cannot start, or is injured during the game? Walcott up front, Ryo on the wing? Akpom?
  2. If TR7 is not fit, who would replace any of Rambo, Jack, Özil?
  3. Who would you like to see on the bench (and no, Santi,Ox, Poldi, Arteta and Diaby are not valid answers… for now)?
  4. What is your prediction for the game?

Written by: Alcide

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228 Responses to Ozil in the hole, Flamini & Ramsey in pivot, Jack left? Marseille preview

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Alcide, merci beaucoup for a very fine match report with a great analysis of our opponents. I love your line-up and I hope all are fit to start tomorrow. Back in a bit. 🙂

  2. AB says:

    Thanks Alcide. I agree with the line-up. And feel we have balance and quality enough that we should be confident of a strong performance and a win. Two ‘buts’. Will the team be fired up and confident? I would certainly hope so, but we do have a habit of switching off sometimes, especially where we are expected to win. The other but is around the risk of injury and our weak bench. On your specific question around mid-field injury, we move Jack in from the left and bring on either Gnabry if we are in need of/up for attack or Nacho if we need to shore up. Lets hope we can avoid further injury in the mid-field though until Arteta and Santi are back! Will we win? I am going for 2:1 to the Arsenal!

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Interesting point there, Alcide, that they might see us as the weakest opponent in the group. The thing that is so valuable is CL experience and Arsene/Arsenal have build this up over years. I reckon this will make the difference tomorrow, although Marseille are not inexperienced CL opponents either. It should be a very good match, with a passionate crowd, and two teams trying to play football.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    What if OG cannot start, or is injured during the game? Walcott up front, Ryo on the wing? Akpom?

    I would guess he will go with Akpom, although Wenger said Theo would e the obvious option if OG cannot play….

    If TR7 is not fit, who would replace any of Rambo, Jack, Özil? Good question…. Maybe Hayden gets a chance and Gerry is finally totally happy hahaha 🙂

    Who would you like to see on the bench (and no, Santi,Ox, Poldi, Arteta and Diaby are not valid answers… for now)? Dennis Bergkamp 🙂 …. Nacho is multi-functional and I hope Rosicky is fit enough…

    What is your prediction for the game?

    I don’t like doing predictions, unless I am totally confident…. 2-2, but hoping for a win 🙂

  5. Denis Tiemo says:

    I pray OG is fit as he said but not I wil like to see Theo of front then Akpom to play from the bench. 3:1 to arsenal. Ozil will get his first goal for the gunners

  6. Alcide says:

    TA, it is strange indeed, but (and again this has changed significantly since the signing of Özil), the french media has been for a few years on par with British press – most times when Arsenal was mentioned or featured in an article, it was about being on the decline, plagued by injuries, Wenger not spending and having lost his touch, making bad choices, losing key players, fans being on the verge of revolt etc…

    All this in systematic fashion (as it was fashionable in fact to put us down), and apart from PSG (the french oilers) in recent times, this treatment was only for “the french coach’s” team. And it’s not like the community of Arsenal fans would be large or visible enough in France to fight the exaggerations, or balance opinion.

    This peaked this year in my opinion (I say that on the perspective of many of my friends’ comments about Arsenal this whole summer, totally dismissing Arsenal, end of era type of things, although they are knowledgeable football fans… so I’d say the media finally took a toll on people’s perceptions. I will however make a disclaimer that the most serious and reputable media and commentators put us on par or above Napoli (they do consider Dortmund stronger).

  7. TotalArsenal says:


    I expected the French press to be more positive about Arsene’s Arsenal, but how is our manager perceived in France: is he liked, admired, or does he not have many friends in his home country?

  8. Alcide says:

    Globally (I won’t say more than that not to appear elitist) he is admired and respected, but, and oh how french people like to have a “but”, we sometimes like to not like our most successful, or at least be very critical, and are quick to attribute success to external circumstances or predict inevitable decline. With the media always trigger happy on the “sensationalist” headlines, the overall perception quickly becomes that “his time has passed in the tough BPL, he’s outdated and he should retire, maybe coach France”.

    It’s funny (although not surprising) to not have any news about TR7’s injury and expected coming back date – or did I miss something?

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Here is the Ramsey goal again – really nice to get away with such a bad first touch in a CL game, but good finish nevertheless! 🙂

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    That is different in Holland: the Dutch media and people take great pride in fellow Dutchman – footballers or managers – doing well abroad.

    My dad always tells me how he finds Arsene arrogant, unpleasant even…. I wondered whether that is the same in France….

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    The Rosicky Rocket might be our secret weapon tomorrow…. droit au but hhahahaha 🙂

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Time to hit the pillow, catch you again tomorrow – Arsenal will be playing in 20 hours! 🙂

    Sweet Ozil Dreams!

  13. Alcide says:

    I think that the perception that he is arrogant is not doing him much good in France 🙂

    Thanks for the video, I now completely remember that goal, and the joy of Arsenal’s fans in the middle of OM supporters in a Geneva Pub 🙂

  14. henrychan says:

    Alcide.. great post..
    I like your team.. but I prefer Miyaichi for LW than Wilshere.. But Wilshere is to good to be bench.. and I think you’re right.. he will play.. hehehe..
    But maybe Koscielny will be bench.. and Sagna will play along Mertesacker..

    Answering your questions :
    1. What if OG cannot start, or is injured during the game? Walcott up front, Ryo on the wing? Akpom?
    I think Walcott.. because Wenger will consider Akpom’s emotion after the terrible happen to his cousin..
    2. If TR7 is not fit, who would replace any of Rambo, Jack, Özil?
    What do you mean by that..?? I don’t think TR7 Wenger first choice.. he will be the replacement guy for Ozil or Rambo.. the whole season..
    3. Who would you like to see on the bench (and no, Santi,Ox, Poldi, Arteta and Diaby are not valid answers… for now)?
    Santi and Arteta..
    4. What is your prediction for the game?
    Arsenal win.. Cause we shall never lose again.. hahahaha..
    3-0.. Ramsey, Giroud and Walcott..

  15. Alcide says:

    Hi henrychan,

    Thank you 🙂

    On question 2 – I meant: if TR7 is still injured and not on the bench, and if we need to replace Rambo, Jack, or Özil during the game – who will come in?


  16. henrychan says:

    hehehe.. sorry Alcide..
    I think Monreal will come in.. and Gibbs will be play as a LW..
    the others ajjust depend on who is injure.. thanks..

  17. Patrick Ojok says:

    It is a difficult game there with Ayew, Valbuena and Payet. They also have a good central defence in Diawara but they will struggle given the technical ability of Arsenal quartet Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil and the pacy Walcott. Hopefuly Arsenal win it to keep the confidence to play the remaining trickly teams in Naples and Dortmund.

  18. jgc says:


    Great post! My quick responses in reverse order as no one cares if the outcome is good! 🙂

    4. Prediction: jgc-damus made it several posts back and likely JB won’t let me change it. So :: Marseilles, 2-0 Arsenal if Per, Ozil and OG are there,and AR plays and good, 2-1 or even 2-2 without Per. Ozil to assist on one, maybe Theo finally… No call if we do heavy rotation for any reason

    I’m leaning towards the new Arsenal score of 3-1 tho so wouldn’t be surprised.

    3. Bench of Nacho, Jenks, Ryo, Akpom, TR if available, TV and Arlene’s grand niece to fill out the numbers

    2. If TR not available then I’d bring in Nacho, move Gibbs up.. Unless game was in hand then. I’d bring in TV or Nacho directly to midfield and go defensive

    1. As above but then move Theo up front,…

    I’m hoping for the pub but anyone know of a stream?

    Cheers — jgc

  19. grumbachn says:

    Hi and thanks jgc,

    From Arsene’s (and Per’s) interview it looks like Per, Özil and OG are all fit and will be present… Bodes well then. No news on TR7, but I’m afraid it’s confirmed that Arsene’s grand niece has a sprained ankle.

  20. grumbachn says:

    Hi jgc, and thanks.

    From Arsene’s pre-match interview (with Per) it looks like Özil, OG and Per are fine and will all be present – so good news, 2-0 I is. While there’s however still no news on TR7, it’s unfortunately confirmed that Arsene’s grand niece has a knock on her ankle and has not travelled, her grit will be missed when we play Stoke.

  21. Gerry says:

    Alcide – Excellent pre-match, and I think you have said everything. Top marks.

    I do think we have a very good chance of winning, despite what I have been saying in earlier comments. I simply wanted to lower expectations that a win is a forgone conclusion. It is hard to tell how the shooting of someone so close to the senior management is having on them, especially as it has the hallmarks of a gangland killing? The likelihood that they will close ranks and be even more determined?

    However, over 90 minutes, if our team of battered bodies can keep going, the game will come back to them, and if we get a winner it is likely to be late on. I also can see us going down a goal or two in the first half because they play a similar game to us.They will be driven, as said in the write up, because they have nothing to lose. Tougher opponents down the line means for both sides this is a key game.

    After their opening match against Monaco, where they matched them man-for-man in the first half, I think they have struggled slightly to to find a consistent level of form regards their new acquisitions. A team in progress as it were, and this is where we have a big advantage. They haven’t had their ‘Munich moment’ where everything clicked into place, but they have the potential to be very dangerous if they do. With home crowd backing, they will put up a really good effort, so it will not be easy.

    Valbuena will pull the strings, and will draw plenty of fouls. Danger number one. Valbuena will take the free kicks … and he takes very good ones.

    Payet is a speedy little winger with a few tricks, and a bit like his opposite number, can still make the wrong decision on when to pass.

    Imbula has enormous potential, but is still on the steep learning curve. That said, the boy does have talent, and is big and strong in set pieces.

    I am basically repeating Alcide’s words here just to reinforce the point. Same too with their GK – he is a great shot stopper.

    So our team/formation? I saw another team layout, with the same players, and thought ‘That could work’. It was putting Jack advanced role down the right, linking with Theo, and having Mesult on his preferred side of Giroud, creating a nice trio with Kieran, and Aaron?

    Needless to say, it will be interchangeable, but I do see that as opening up a threat on the left, rather than the imbalanced approach against Sunderland?

    Q1:- Akpom is the natural player to replace Giroud. Offers slightly different skills than Giro, but he would get my vote over Ozil playing the false No 9?

    Q2:- Replacing Rosicky? If he is in contention to play, it will be in place of Wilshere, and in the more ‘natural’ role I have described above. In which case Wilshere would be his sub, or vice versa.

    Yes, TA@23.10 I would indeed be happy for Hayden to come on, probably for Ramsey?

    Q3:- The bench is what it is: Fabianski; Jenkinson; Vermaelin; Moneal; Hayden; Wilshere/Rosicky; Akpom.

    There is a case for Ryo to get the nod over Jenks with TV5 being available for CB replacement, Flamini could drop back if anything happened to Sagna, and then Hayden could slot in at DM. If Rosicky is not available, then Ryo looks a shoe in … unless Eisfeld has made the trip?

  22. Gerry says:

    Sorry I try not to do predictions. In the UMF I never include Arsenal matches for the same reason.

    Superstition is simply a prediction of a coincidence about to happen.

    The coincidence I predict, is any public statement I make with confidence, coincidently backfires and the reverse is the result.

    No further comment required … 😀

  23. grumbachn says:

    Hi jgc and thanks,

    It seems from Arsene’s pre-match interview that Özil, Per and OG are fine and will all be present… 2-0 it is then 🙂

    Unfortunately there are still no news for TR7, and Arsene’s grand niece has a knock on her ankle and has not travelled – I’m afraid we may miss her grit against stoke.

  24. oz gunner says:

    cheers Alcide, very good read! Appreciate it.

    I hope Mandanda doesn’t play out of his skin again because last time around both he and Mbia (no longer with club as you’d know) were hard to get past.

    Gignac has come in to some form again also after a few disappointing seasons.

    1. I’d give Akpom a go. Same structure just give him a shot. He’ll get chances given to him, up to him to finish them off.

    2. Um is there anyone left? Arsene might have to put on the boots.

    3. Ryo, akpom, gibbs, gnabry, Viviano, Frimpong, jenkinson

    4. 0-1 like last time around.


  25. oz gunner says:

    @ JGC

    I’ll be up so i’ll post any available streams if you need

  26. alcidech says:

    Hi and thanks jgc,

    It seems from Arsene’s interview that Per, Özil an OG are all fine and will be present, so 2-0 it is! 🙂 Unfortunately, there are still no news about TR7, and Arsene’s grand niece got a knock on her ankle and did not travel to Marseille – I’m afraid her grit will be missed if she’s still out when we play Stoke.

  27. geoffchase says:

    Thanks Oz

    will post if Im shut out at the pub! Fortunately the one belgian team lost last night (Anderlecht down to Benfica)… one can hope!

    cheers — jgc

  28. alcide says:

    Sorry for the duplicates… trouble between my iphone, wordpress, and limited brainpower this morning…

  29. Prince says:

    Great read Alcide and cheers for the insight into Marseille 2013/14.

    Hi BKrs, how are we? 🙂

    Im so looking forward to Champions league this season. Even during the ‘dodgy’ draw, i was suggesting that maybe it would be a good thing to be involved in a “group of death” and sure enough, you would have to agree that the teams we are due to play are no push overs….OM included. However, i have the upmost faith that we will qualify through to the knock outs (especially with our new maestro11), and in doing so make a huge statement by sending one of BvB or Benitezs’ expensive Napoli to Spursday night football to fight it out with the likes of Anzi Muchpavlovacatchkaka 😉

    Im soo glad we dont have to put up with the likes of Olympiakos….again for the umpteenth time 🙄 i mean seriously. I want to see the Emirates shining bright like a diamond in the North London night. I want the ‘swamp life’ from N17 to hear the roars echoing from N5, but truth be told, that ain’t gonna happen whilst playing against poor sides. Our stadium is silent
    when we play lesser sides and its boring to be honest. I mean no offence to these teams but compare playing Barcelona (that was ‘the’ christening of the Emirates for me) or Bayern Munich to say, Dinamo Zagreb, Austria Vienna or Olympiakos..again. That and the fact that Arsene bought us a new toy, how can you not be confident and pumped up to play the top teams? On a selfish note, Rolls Reus gets to audition at the grove and im sure Arsenes’ ears will prick up when considering that maybe Reus could actually compliment our play. He is just about benching Poldi in the national team and his link up play with Ozil is telepathic. On top of that, he is exactly the mobile forward to play with Giroo. (see Reus+Gomez) anyway, enough of the love in with Marco and as the professor would say “one game at a time”, so back to Olympique Mayonnaise and the post 🙂

    1. Walcott up front, Wenger said so. Does he ever lie? 😆

    2. Lil’ Jack. Im anyway expecting him to start on the bench. Im currently thinking that Arsene will start with both Gibbs and Nachos, so as to keep that little midget Valbuena quiet on our left. This way we will be compact and play with a slight tilt to our right, with Feo being our outlet (hope his got his shooting boots on 😉 )

    3. Suarez 😆 he would be the perfect super sub or impact player. Mind you, ive already gone on record to say that i reckon Arsene goes in for Suarez in January if we are in with a shout for actually winning big ears (favourable draw). Im talking a HUGE bid!! But, that also depends on Pools position in January. It could happen, never say never. Otherwise, we will be trying to pursuade Reus to leave his home town in the summer 😉

    3. 😀 Jack and the Boss. Arsene says Tommi is fully fully fit so expect him to play and get back to his best (which was a long time ago, but so very good) Im thinking Kozzer gets rested for Stoke and as for Jack, see no.2 above, and i wouldnt be against it either. Its worked before and i reckon Jack needs a break for whats to be a long marathon of a season, plus id say hes running at 70% at the minute so a rest and gradual minutes would do him good.

    Im so in love with this current Arsenal squad 😀 so versatile, so many combinations can be played in midfield ( when we get our players back of course) but in my eyes and with the form of some of our players, it Total football at its finest. (just missing Bitey and/or Rolls R…ok ill stop)

    4. My prerection for the game is a tight one. 😆 When i think of French teams i always think low scoring. If i have a punt on a French team i always go for an under 2.5 goal result. Think back to the last time we played them. Ahh yes, Ramsey saved a boring 0-0 result and us in extra time.

    Im not sure how there attack is playing at the moment. Are the Ayew brothers in form, i personally DONT rate Gignac and hed have to be lucky to score against us. Last time i think they played with L.Remy,and at the time i was a little worried, but not this time.

    Im thinking 1-0 maybe we kill it off with a second and thats it. However, if they fluke a goal/ equaliser, i still reckon we got too much ammo for them and we will always be a goal to the good, unless they leave it late 🙄

    @Glic, sorry to hear that your going through tough times at the moment with family what not…..none of my business. Either way mate, in my thoughts and prayers. God bless.

    Off for a well earned shower, my back is killing me 😦


  30. geoffchase says:

    PRince and Alcide et al,

    Prince: Interesting point that about stuffing valbuena. From what I read, if you do that, you stuff the entire club to a measure. Thus, Nacho – Gibbs is intriguing. Different from the usual AW approach so it will be interesting to see!

    Alcide: What AWs grandniece is out too! Damn those AFC physios, can they get nothing right!? I expected that at 5-10 years of age she’d be highly mobile, creative and have good energy and vision… We *will* miss that! 😀

    cheers — jgc

  31. alcide says:

    Thanks for the kind words Gerry, your post is a great complement and provides nice further insight on Marseille. You do the next one 🙂

    I am like you concerned about an OM first half strong performance (remember our win there two years ago – we suffered in the first half) – and as Monaco we may need to endure the storm for a bit.

    The concept of a “Munich moment” is exactly what concerns me – a first CL game against Arsenal is a great opportunity for them to prove themselves and make a statement by delivering a reference performance, and while their latest additions are not fully blended at the moment, the team still articulates around a skeleton core they have preserved over the last few years, so they can’t be that far away from clicking… and here I am being anxious again…

  32. alcide says:

    Some nice suggestions on positioning; I did put Jack on the left, but if Özil’s first game is any indication, I am fully expecting him to be regularly roam on left and right wings to combine with Jack/Gibbs and Walcott/Sagna, swapping the central role seamlessly with Ram and Jack… DAMN I wish Santi was here!

  33. James Bond says:

    that was a very enjoyable read and very insightful as a whole – many thanks Alcide, for giving into public demand and giving us what we wanted from you, well done !

    it’s good to hear that the french media also rate (slate) us this highly, so when they lose tonight, will they still be slating OM more because they lost to a team in decline ? ; )

    i’m not sure why the majority of neutrals are writing us off, may i remind everyone that in 2011 when we were in the same group – we came out with one of our most weakest teams /squads ever.

    compared to that squad this team we have right now is king.

    agreed, with your starting 11 – it’s just a shame that Gnabry isn’t registered as a CL squad member for the group stages and Zelalem, the bloke who took his place is injured till December (talk about bad luck , ehhh ?

    1: no OG to start – Theo up front with RYO on the RW, interchanging with Theo.

    3:in the continued absence of TR – we slot in the likes of Arteta / TV5 – i would encourage our skipper to bomb forward with his runs and have a go with his thunderous shots at goal, do a David Luis, if that makes sense ?

    5:hmmmm Fabianski—–TV5——Jenko ——–Nacho——– RYO—–Akpom—-the game changer aka Frimpong 😉

    that’s the best available bench we have until the likes of Artata (next week) and Poldi are back (very soon).

    also, there is positive news re- The Ox and Diaby, they are progressing rather well with rehabilitation.

    it’s that time of the week again where “The Visionary” dares to go up against “The Damus, JGC-Damus” , yep predictions time 🙂


  34. alcide says:

    Hey Prince,

    Good idea about Dourtmund – let’s trash them and kick them out of the CL, and sign Lewandowski in January – and why not Reus… or do we even need him ?:)

    Regarding the Ayew brothers, none of them stand out in the team at the moment. Expect André to have a number of runs on the right side… Gignac I never valued much, and was nowhere to be seen in the past few seasons (he was a bit overwight for a period), but apparently has regained form. He *is* dangerous though, uses his strong build well and can turn/sidestep, arm and shoot in a pinch.

  35. James Bond says:

    and from what i’m gathering from Gerry’s comments and your analysis @ Alcide is that OM sort of switch off in the 2nd half ?

    well, guess what then ? we would have been champions in England, had only our 2nd half performances counted 😉

    yep, yep, suits us perfecto !

  36. Prince says:

    I believe we are on a run of 9 consecutive away wins. If, rather when, we beat OM we will have matched our record set in the 04/05 season.

    No pressure boys!


  37. geoffchase says:


    It’s not a competition if you pick the same score I do! 😀

    jgc-damus (who also predicts that it may be hard to find it on TV in Belgium, but that’s hardly visionary.. sigh)

  38. Gerry says:

    Alcide, thanks for the suggestion but …

    I missed a week or so of French football when I lost my BT Sports 2 channel, which is the one they tend to show Lique Un matches on. Now I am restored I have a more rounded picture of the French league. It is noticeable that if any of the top teams fall away from their peak performances, then any team in the division seem to be able to embarrass them?

    Lyon did not play particularly well last time, and when they did have a moment or two, it was inspired by Grenier. But because the rest of the team were not on their game, Toulouse, who are a reasonable mid table side, probably deserved to take all 3 points, not just 1.

    PSG have only just started to click now, but they did not look that special early on.

    St Etienne have maintained a good level, but have yet to play any of the other title challengers. They are similar to us in they have a sound defense that can let in the odd goal, but their attack is all about team spirit. If they can keep going I can see them in the UCL next season?

    Marseille are a side that will not lose too many, but I think this CL is just a bit of a distraction from the domestic targets. Which is why they will really go all out for it tonight. But realistically, they know they may not progress. Put on a good show for the home supporters, but if that is not good enough, expect ‘B’ teams coming over to do the away legs? Different if they get a positive result tonight though. But whatever happens they can play without fear, which makes them dangerous.

    I guess I will follow it on the ‘Player, then see it early tomorrow morning. I hate those streams that fill your computer with a load of stuff you don’t need, or is healthy?

    Final word on Akpom. If he gets to start, it may take him a few minutes to get up to speed with everybody, but, he is an intelligent footballer, he will not be a rabbit in the headllights, and give him the same opportunities as Walcott on Saturday and we will be celebrating his first hat-trick! Getting him those opportunities will need the rest of attack to create space for him. Unlike Giro, he may not be as strong in the air, or with his back to goal, and that is what they should be practicing?

    A bit like Santi’s injury that was held back before the last game, I am a little suspect of the confidence that Giro will start, but can understand the reasons for it. But if you are asking me whether I would play him tonight and maybe miss the Stoke game? Well any doubts, save him for Sunday. If Akpom comes through this game with reputation enhanced, then he is the shoe-in for the Cup game against WBA?

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi guys, busy with work today, but just a quick response: great comments and well done Alcide for replying to every one!! 🙂

    I cannot wait till the game tonight. Nothing better than autumn CL games; so much better than Spursday Channel Five games hahaha 🙂

    Btw HH has been in touch: he is totally fine but just very, very busy at the moment. He hopes to be back blogging again soon. The hardest thing in life is sorting our your priorities hahaha 🙂

    Catch you later folks 🙂

  40. Gerry says:

    JB- I don’t think it is so much that they relax in the second half, and certainly not in this game.

    From what I have seen it is Valbuena. When his energy is expired from doing everything creative in the side, he slows down. The bits of magic that can happen in almost every other minute suddenly get spread over 5 or 6 minutes. And if he stops being involved the whole team don’t function as well. This is where Thauvin comes in.

    Don’t expect him before the hour mark, as he is not fully fit yet. Nor will it be a straight swap(for Valbuena). Instead they will run in tandem for about 15 minutes, having squeezed the last bit of inspiration out of Valbuena they can. So, they will either shore it up in the last 10 minutes, or go for broke with the other Ayew brother coming on.

    You will probably see what I mean as the match unfolds?

  41. James Bond says:

    The Visionary addresses The Damus in JGC :

    you’ve pretty much covered all the basis , so anything i would have chosen would have collided with yours but sure,

    since i’m feeling confident that we will go on winning our 10th game on the road,

    i’m gunner go for 4-1 to the mighty Arsenal !

    i see @ Gerry

    well, the amount of games we are having to play with more or less the same team week in week out , also makes us contenders for tiring or running out of gas as well, ha

    Re- Valbeuna, they seem to be over reliant on him, almost coming across as a one man team ? he does well, OM do well sort of a thing , isn’t it !

  42. James Bond says:

    thanks for the updates @ TA

    nice to hear about HH as well, hope he comes back tonight after we’ve won 4-0 or 4-1 🙂

  43. henrychan says:

    TA.. what happened to Glic..?? I missed the news..

    Guys.. We are strong away.. with our new yellow shirt.. look like bring more luck to us.. hehehe..
    We can beat Munchen.. then We can surely beat Marseille.. no doubt about that..

    I hope by the day We face Dortmund.. We will have all the injured players back.. especially Santi Cazorla..

    We will win this group with 14 points.. 4 win.. 2 draw.. hehe..

  44. geoffchase says:

    JB and Gerry,

    @JB: 🙂

    @Gerry: I figure we are not as tired, yet… we will see. Those still out there seem quite fit and have a history of it, AR, OG et al. Even Gibbs when not injured (different from lack of fitness).. Thus, for now I am less concerned and League Cup games and others will offer opportunities to rest to 1/week as well.

    It sounds more and more that how valbuena goes will determine the outcome.. should be fun to watch then.. Frankly, Arsenal have the firepower for 5-6 and a statement like RM made, and they could have made vs Sunderland.

    Thus, OM could come out very dfensive looking for the quick counter, tho it is not apparently their style. Reading that, if they come out full on look for an Arsenal goal early to really set the tone (if it happens). We certainly have the personnel to cut open an over attacking side very quickly and deeply..

    cheers — jgc

  45. henrychan says:

    Guys.. I don’t rate Valbuena that high.. I am sure Flamini and Ramsey will overcome him.. and with Kosc n Sagna.. they all know his style.. hehe..

    I think We really need to worry for Thauvin.. he is quick and very powerful.. only Kosc have enough speed to handle him.. but just afraid he might do something stupid.. eventhough usually he did great thing after foolish tackle in his last game..

    So.. We will win.. hehe.. Go Gunners..

  46. James Bond says:

    hell yeah @ Henrychan – now wait until TA comes and reminds us all about “one game at a time”, he’s boring sometimes, isn’t he 😉


    i hope you’ve taken into account the international games ? there were 4 according to my calculation in between the club ones ? it may have been a blessing in disguise for players like Gibbs, Arteta and so on but very taxing for the likes of Theo/Ramsey/Sagna/Koc/Giroud/JW/Ozil.Per e.t.c e.t.c

    hence my fears.

  47. henrychan says:

    Hahahaha.. Bond.. TA is unpredictable..
    He forced us to give a lot of prediction before.. hehehe..

  48. James Bond says:

    the mantra has changed i reckon,

    before we were not serious contenders for much but i take, now he wants everyone to behave and stop the jinx effect and so on, don’t blame him cause we will we will rock you (everyone who plays us, starting with Marseille today 😉

    and here come the motivational speeches, ha

  49. Gerry says:

    I just went on the ‘Sabotage Times’ site, and to the right of the article I saw a previous article I missed – DB10 on his most important goal – WC semi-final v Argentina – he scores the winner in the 90th minute.

    Well the chat that leads up to it is well worth a read … but the video? I think Totes must have got into the commentary box?
    See what you think, if you have not seen it already?

  50. James Bond says:

    so “The Visionary” was spot on with his 1-4 prediction

    Arsenal beat Marseille 4-1,



    now the cherry on top be if our seniors do the same !

  51. Gerry says:

    Yes JB, and did you read that Gnabry played as the lone striker? And scored a couple of goals to boot

  52. James Bond says:

    thanks for the link, no matter how many times you watch that video – it still remains ever green !

    indeed, i did – this kid is going places with Arsenal and taking Arsenal to the moon and back, provided he stays fit and we don’t make him our future captain 😀

  53. geoffchase says:


    Yes, crossed my mind.. Early season, excess is more good than bad building top match fitness. They will need soft weeks (1game per week) for 2 weeks I think, very soon, like over or after Orcs. Then recovered at higher level..

    That’s the goal of such things, and as we know a very personal and difficult one to manage. Even jgc-damus doesn’t like to predict that behavior! 🙂

    Equally, a big squad also means not everyone or even anyone is top match fit.. Weird balance that.. Perhaps one reason oilers don’t do as well at the gritty end of CL?

    Cheers — jgc

  54. James Bond says:

    who am i to argue with the Professor – course, this is your forte and fully agreed !

    i just hope our seniors can emulate the kids and repeat the result, this allows us a few early subs as well tonight !

  55. James Bond says:

    a bit off topic but very relevant to us , indirectly

    Coutinho is out until late october/ early november 😉

    he was their only true creator —– ooh la la, let the boring draws and drop of points commence at LiverFOOL.

    by the time the international break arrives, the will be outside the top 4.

  56. geoffchase says:


    For the worried and otherwise, this was VERY funny and worth a read pre-game so that psycho analysis isn’t needed post-game, regardless the outcome..


    A good quote includes :: “”It sounds like you take control of the experience of disappointment by preemptively becoming disappointed,” he told me. “You savor the anticipated loss when the team is down, a stance from which you can comfortably root for a win, without risking too much.” Viewed like that, the 1-0 lead is inherently less pleasurable.”Rather than enjoying your team being ahead, you manage the anxiety associated with them inevitably mucking up, negating the positive mood created through their lead … by spoiling it yourself. No more anxiety, just depression, and the familiar feeling of managing the weak sense of hope they might just pull this one out.”

    Which is to say we are never happy!

    Be happy!

    — jgc

  57. James Bond says:

    back to more pertinent things :

    a draw in the other game : naples vs dortmund, will be perfecto !

  58. James Bond says:

    i like it, nice 1 @ JGC

    and how very true as well !

  59. James Bond says:

    BREAKING TEAM NEWS – Marseille v Arsenal (1945 BST)
    Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud both start for Arsenal, while sports photographers can rejoice in the news that Mathieu Valbuena is starting for Marseille.

    PS: JGC, if you need a stream then let me know.

  60. James Bond says:

    Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud.

    Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Monreal, Jenkinson, Miyaichi, Hayden, Akpom

    Mandanda, N’Koulou, Mendes, Morel, Fanni, Payet, Romao, Imbula, Ayew, Valbuena, Gignac

    Subs: Samba, Mendy, Cheyrou, Lemina, J.Ayew, Thauvin, Khalifa

  61. geoffchase says:

    Thanks JB

    Off to local soon to see if Arsenal qualifies as important on their screens. If not I will drink my own beer for less money and post a request for a stream!

    Many thanks — jgc

  62. geoffchase says:

    Good teams out for both sides.. And so the crescendo builds to game time!

    That said, it seems only me and JB are excited, tho Oz et al down under are still sleeping!

    Cheers all — jgc

  63. geoffchase says:


    If you’re not hiding under the couch yet, watched that link… So, Gibbs to Ozil again? 😀

    Cheers — jgc

  64. alcide says:

    Couple friends, beer on the table, OM-Arsenal on TV, Napoli-Dortmund on the iPad, girlfriend away on mission… Check!

    Come on you gönners!

  65. Prince says:


    Gunners= yes, Gooners= yes…………….’Gonners’= NO WAY 😀

    Come on you rip roaring Gunners


    Total, great clip….cheers! 😉

  66. henrychan says:

    Guys.. Any link that really work.. hehe.. thanks..

  67. wandermoto says:

    Feeling good about the game tonight. The Nicaraguan barman managed to find an English live stream. GOYG!

  68. alcide says:

    French sports commentators seem to agree that “Arsenal’s weakness is the defensive repositioning when they lose the ball”… We’ll see…

  69. alcide says:

    Hehehe Prince, you did notice the diaeresis, right?

  70. Prince says:

    Alcide 🙂

    Morning Oz…. another comfortable win?

  71. oz gunner says:

    morning prince.

    I hope so. I think it’ll be a late winner reminiscent of Ramsey’s strike last time around.

  72. Prince says:

    Penalty by the letter of the law. If he goes down he is soft 🙄

  73. oz gunner says:

    theo looking dangerous thus far. Hope he’s got his shooting boots on today

  74. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey boys, Thanks for the stream, James…6 matches on the telly but not ours…Long balls to Theo seem to be working early…

  75. Prince says:

    If he gets 1 in 5 chances in the onion bag, he should average 2 goals per game with Ozil in our side 😉

  76. Prince says:

    Hey 17ht, How is you, fella?

  77. oz gunner says:

    haha what was that by gignac???

    true Prince, he’s magic that boy!!!

  78. Prince says:

    Where is Alexinho? Must be on ‘chef’ duties. Cravings and all that with the mrs..

  79. oz gunner says:

    it’s not a match day chat without 17, welcome

  80. 17highburyterrace says:

    Stream down…keep me posted fellas…Other than that I’m OK prince…How bout you?

  81. Prince says:

    Yeah im good mate. There are only two things i enjoy waking up at 4.30am in the morning for. In this order- the Arse, and fishing…

  82. Hey Oz, neither of my ‘puters will pull up Bond’s stream (which was working perfectly)… Like I say, keep me posted…

  83. oz gunner says:

    i’ll grab some more 17

  84. Prince says:

    Cagey affair so far. Typical European tie.

  85. geoffchase says:

    17 nd Oz

    I’m on Oz’s stream.. Workable… Occasional hiccups… Ok on fill screen but an ad in smaller versions… Thanks Oz!!

    Valbuena being a pain..

    Cheers — jgc

  86. Prince says:

    Ayew, free header, so close….not.

  87. Prince says:

    Valbuena is dropping deep. Its too early to press imo

  88. Prince says:

    Gibbs is playing well. Switched on. Kozzer yet to settle

  89. oz gunner says:

    better quality but in french and occasional yips


  90. Prince says:

    Jacks game is creeping back. Ozil influence, confidence?

    Geez, some of these calls 🙄

  91. oz gunner says:

    doesn’t get much better sorry lads. Heaps have been shut down due to copyright infringement, and others just keep skipping and freezing

  92. alcide says:

    High aim scores!

  93. Prince says:

    Ozil is not right tonight. His passes are short and he is flat footed. Still got the bug??

  94. oz gunner says:

    agree Prince 230 am demands a win, a loss this early or a boring draw makes the rest of the day ruined.

    2 kicks to the face…cheers for protecting that ref

  95. Prince says:

    Napoli 1-0 up against BvB

  96. alcide says:

    Higuain 🙂

  97. wandermoto says:

    We are getting hustled all over the pitch, not allowing us to play our natural game. Not sure if Marseille can sustain the pressure for the whole game. But we need to find our rhythm ASAP.

  98. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, only lost about half an hour of the match…but now I’ve got one…No real chances but for the header from the corner?…

  99. oz gunner says:

    could be the first time a ‘fanni’ has scored against us 🙂

  100. Prince says:

    Funny Oz, but i hope not. Fanni can score against the other two teams

  101. oz gunner says:

    you didn’t miss much 17, nothing of note other than that header

  102. geoffchase says:

    We’re back on D nicely and they are as active and energetic as advertised…

    Absorbing pressure well but not much showing… My stream kicks in and out so it goes…

    Cheers — jgc

  103. geoffchase says:

    Thanks all

    Was all Barca Ajax at the pub…. Isn’t that Neymar so cute!?

    Ack — jgc

  104. alcide says:

    Well, we weathered the first half… I do hope OM tires a bit, but mostly we need to relax a bit… So many little mistakes.

  105. 17highburyterrace says:

    Very unsatisfying with the stream stopping and starting. Sounds like it’s a pretty tentative match. Is that the first first half in which we haven’t scored this season? With nothing on the bench it seems good to get up a goal…

  106. alcide says:

    We’re only watching Napoli-DM with a distant eye, but it looks like Napoli is largely dominating and had most occasions based on the replays. Nice header from Higuain on the goal.

  107. 17highburyterrace says:

    Thanks James…The halftime ads are streaming well, so I’m hopeful…

  108. alcide says:

    Yep, but we’re not creating much, and their pressing is successfully causing many missed passes… Looks like everyone is playing below their level this first half?

  109. geoffchase says:


    Or they are over actively pressing, and thus will tire… As advertised by Gerry?

    Equally, good for the counter!

    Cheers — jgc

  110. alcide says:

    That’s what happened to them in many games this season – yesterday olympiacos overrun PSG in the first, with high pace pressing, and completely collapsed in second… Lets see…

  111. Prince says:


  112. 17highburyterrace says:

    Big letoff there…007 stream seems to be working…

  113. geoffchase says:

    they are oving less and we are pressing a little more… waiting for the mmeringue to crack!

    ever the optimist!

    cheers — jgc

  114. Prince says:

    😯 ZIL what a beautiful backheel

  115. oz gunner says:

    what a play only eclipsed by the save! damn you mandanda

  116. geoffchase says:


  117. geoffchase says:

    Scz just earned paycheck!

  118. Prince says:

    Should have pulled the trigger 🙄

  119. Prince says:

    Nice ball from Sanga

  120. oz gunner says:

    jesus thank christ for gibbs

  121. Prince says:

    Gibbs, your a gentleman. Thank you

  122. geoffchase says:

    we are too impatient I think.. attacking into numbers and dispossessed!

    sigh — jgc

  123. 17highburyterrace says:


  124. Prince says:

    Yes baby. Theo you little beauty

  125. alcide says:

    Whoohoo what a steal 🙂 good shot Theo!

  126. 17highburyterrace says:

    Terrible clearance but class volley from Theo!!!!

  127. alcide says:

    I was just thinking, perfect game to be dominated and score one against the tide…

  128. Prince says:

    Now they should really open up and come at us

  129. geoffchase says:

    Arrrgh, my stream froze and I saw the ball going through behind to someone on the back post and…. now it’s 1-0… can someone use old fashioned text please? 😦

  130. wwgooner says:

    What a strike. Hit it as well as I have seen him strike a ball.

  131. alcide says:

    So, at what tome do you think Arsene will do a Verm+Nacho thing?

  132. alcide says:


  133. oz gunner says:

    jesus go to the loo and you miss the goal, replay espn please!!!

  134. alcide says:

    Jgc, defender missed his backward header in front of his goal, Walcott at 50 degree angle had plenty of time (high ball) to arm and volleyed the ball in the upper opposite corner…

  135. wwgooner says:

    When Özil has the ball we look a lot more composed. Need to hold onto the ball and work the midfield with more commitment. Would like to see Flame get into the game a bit more.

  136. alcide says:

    And I missed the 2-0 Napoli…

  137. Prince says:

    free headers have got to be on target. Giroo misses a sitter

  138. 17highburyterrace says:

    Giroud header just wide…Napoli 2-Dortmund 0

  139. oz gunner says:

    buzz off you little twirp

  140. Prince says:

    Insigne! BvBs keeper sent off. Straight red. He will miss the game against us

  141. Prince says:

    Here comes Nacho

  142. Prince says:

    I hate sitting on a 1-0 lead

  143. oz gunner says:

    me too Prince. Although i rest easier after last season, the year before saw GLIC-like couch hiding on several occasions

  144. Prince says:

    Messi hat trick against Ajax. Whatever Christina does, Messi edges him. haha

  145. oz gunner says:

    flamini yanked down, that was bullshit!!!

  146. Prince says:

    Basel equalised against chelski. 1-1

  147. alcide says:

    OM finally seems to tire…

  148. Prince says:

    By a whisker. So close Ozil.

  149. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not that far off from Ozil despite the angle…

  150. alcide says:

    Woohooooopo Rambo!

  151. 17highburyterrace says:


  152. oz gunner says:

    he can’t stop scoring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 you beauty aaron ramsey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  153. Prince says:

    Basel 2-1 aheah of Chelski. I shit you not. haha

    and Ramsey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Broken the 04/05 consecutive away win record


  154. alcide says:

    Superb run from OG who took defenders away and cleared a path for Rambo

  155. 17highburyterrace says:


  156. alcide says:

    It’s tough for OM…

  157. 17highburyterrace says:

    This is a very nice way to open the group play, no?

  158. Prince says:

    10 bucks says Jose gets the sack 😆

  159. geoffchase says:


    jgc-damus has called 2-0 and it’s 2-0, and like the other damus, jgc has missed it with an average stream… ah well, replays later

    night boys!

    good news from dortmund and basel too so far..

    cheers — jgc

  160. geoffchase says:

    PS, thought Scz earned his keep tonite too… jgc

  161. oz gunner says:

    yep the deflection took it past mandanda 17.

    great news prince. Basel causing problems again and backup keeper against BvB (their second stringer debuted tonight)

  162. oz gunner says:

    nite jgc. I predicted 2-0 (originally) also…after copying jgc-damus’ prediction

  163. oz gunner says:


    should have taken giroud off, no point keeping him on

  164. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ryo on…Thanks for that Oz…This is working out nicely…

    4 mins et at the bridge…

  165. Prince says:

    Giroo and Ramsey have the best stamina of all the players i have watched this season across all of Europe… so so so hungry, i love the drive they possess…

    Oz, Napoli look like the real deal (going on the result)

    Damn, penalty…Grrrrrrrrrrr

  166. 17highburyterrace says:

    Pen called on Ramsey

  167. oz gunner says:

    frick off. Ramsey clear the bloody thing!

  168. alcide says:

    Rubbish decision

  169. 17highburyterrace says:

    Guessed right but pen was too good…

  170. oz gunner says:

    As much as i like BVB I hope they crumble like they did last time they were in our group. Napoli is good, glad cavani is there no longer though.

    Phew…thank goodness there wasn’t 5 more mins to play!!!

  171. 17highburyterrace says:

    Full time…

    Bummer to lose the clean sheet but a big 3 points…

    Chelsea still losing with a minute to go….

  172. proudgooner says:

    There’s only 1 Aaron Rambo, there’s only 1 Aaron Rambo, 1 Aaaaarrrooonnn Raaammboooo!

  173. Prince says:

    Unhappy with the non-clean sheet……………ahh, who cares…Great start!

    Basel look like dark horses 😆
    BvB peg one back via own goal

  174. 17highburyterrace says:

    10 road wins in a row is pretty impressive…But I think the home atmosphere will be improved after the big signing…not to mention good recent results…

    Did Theo look hurt coming off?

  175. alcide says:

    Apparently Basel didn’t steal the game either (although I suspect the Swiss tv is a bit biased). Abramovich with a large grin, not looking happy

  176. Prince says:

    Agreed Oz. Crumble enough to pinch Reus, Lewandowski. 🙂

  177. James Bond says:

    chelsea lose ahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahaahahahahahhaahhaaha

    the happy one ? ahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaha

    that was never a penalty, fcuking ref – go do one you aklsdji234823784232£$?”£$:£”$:”

    never mind, dortmund lost , so it’s not that bad

    what are the chances of dortmund not progressing ? i wonder.

  178. oz gunner says:

    Draxler goal after coming on…see you in Jan buddy. 🙂

  179. geoffchase says:

    Arsenal and Basel do the hard yards away.. Good news for both in early going…

  180. oz gunner says:

    hahaha Prince. That’d be enough to make me crumble at the knees and cry tears of joy!!!

    hahahaha chelsea!!!!

  181. Prince says:

    17, Theo seemed fine.

    Napoli looked bullish against us pre season. It can be tough going to Italy, and i never underestimate Benitez in Europe…

  182. proudgooner says:

    Theo goal, makes me very happy, out of anyone in the team who i wanted and who needed to get on the score sheet it was him. What a strike just what the dr. Glic ordered. Well done Theo son, what a screamer!

  183. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Bond, thanks for the stream–felt like I actually saw the 2nd half…

    I wonder if pulling Flams off might’ve contributed to the pen…That was his spot on the pitch…

  184. Prince says:

    Had my long black and its off to work. No rest for the wicked.

    Have a great day Gooners. Cheers for the company!!! 🙂

  185. 17highburyterrace says:

    I’m off too…Thanks fellas…Nice match!

  186. proudgooner says:

    Prince proper fan.. Fair play,

  187. James Bond says:

    no worries @ 17HT.

  188. r0blucci says:

    man of the match = sczcesny

  189. proudgooner says:

    good shout r0blucci,
    i would say him or Gibbs maybe , Flem did pretty well, very good defensive performance

  190. oz gunner says:

    Enjoy work Prince, pleasure as always. Suppose I better head off to work also.

    Enjoy the rest of your day gents

  191. proudgooner says:

    Rambo too has to be in contention for MOTM the boy is on fire, scoring goals and running his nuts off

  192. proudgooner says:

    Fair play to all the OZ gooners, it must be a challenge watching the matches with the times, all proper fans 🙂

  193. alcide says:

    Theo looked ok. Is it just me or that is harsh on OM? Until our first goal (and the opportunity for Theo was a bit lucky) they were clearly ahead in terms of chances, and intention, no? A bit like two years ago…

    Marseille played well for 70 minutes, and I thought we started a bit nervous, making unusual technical mistakes, missing passes, and then didn’t manage to withstand their pressing. We looked disjointed in midfield, and I don’t know if players were tired, but there was not as much movement off the ball compared to vs. Sunderland.

    On the other hand they didn’t have that many clear chances, more like opportunities, and we did relatively controlled their attacks, even as they engaged with many players offensively (kudos to them for that). That’s a big important three pointer though 🙂 and 10 away games in a row can’t be attributed to luck…

  194. James Bond says:

    it was like you and Gerry said, the 2nd half, OM seem to switch off

    right on the money both of you.

  195. alcide says:

    Hehehe well I wasn’t so sure about the second half thing at some point, until they showed a close up of Valbuena looking shattered.

    Wow Klopp got expelled for abusing the fourth referee, and to be honest, he looked like a rabid lunatic when facing that ref… I’m sure that’ll be on YouTube…

  196. henrychan says:

    Arsenal the mighty.. hehe..
    We shall never lose again..

    Sleep… sleeping beauty.. hahaha..
    See you all..

  197. henrychan says:

    Morning all.. still sleeping beauty..?? hehehe..
    Any video about lastnight game..??

  198. Gerry says:

    Morning All. I duly listened on the ‘Player, but now I find the full game will not be available until Saturday?

    So I cannot say too much about the game.. On the ‘bitesize’ Theo’s volley was a gem.
    Ramsey’s goal looked a bit like the Red Sea parting, just to give him a clear shot, and placed rather than power, I thought?
    And yes, the close up did show that Ramsey trod on the guy’s toe, and any contact with the ball was minimal – thus, I suppose the follow through(on his toe) is deemed to prevent a goal scoring opportunity? Lucky not to be carded?

    And that is as far as I can go.

    I’m not sure the BD result is a good thing for us. Not only are Napoli in an equally strong position as us, Dortmund will be all out to get points from here on? I am still of the view that we are fighting for the runner’s up spot, and I would have rather that been against Napoli than Dortmund. It just shows that Napoli are going to be no pushover, home or away?

    At least we are half way to getting our 6 points from Marseille. Now it is Stoke on Sunday?

    jgc – I liked the quite from the psychiatrist, except for the win part. If the team has exceeded your expectation level, you can be twice as happy as the guy who predicts a 4-nil victory, and it turns out to be only 1-nil?

    I am happy. How about you?

  199. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning guys, only saw parts of the game on a rubbish stream so hard to comment other than well done to the boys for grinding out a result. OM will feel wronged and quite rightly so, but that is what I meant with CL experience: Arsenal took their chances because they have done it so many times before.

    Out all day now, and hope to issue a post tonight. If anybody wants to write a post summarising their thoughts on the game last night…. don’t hold back! 🙂

  200. Alcide says:

    Hi TA!

    The overall feeling in french newspapers this morning is that OM deserved better, but were not able to translate their domination periods and opportunities into goals, while Arsenal were not convincing, didn’t show much, but were effective and clinical.

    They talk about the defender’s mistake on the first goal and rightfully compared it to Per’s moment a with Szczesny a few minutes before which could have been a turning point in teh other dimension.

    I like that we tend to manage to win these types of games lately, we need to if we want to get far.

  201. alcide says:

    Sorry – struggling with iphone…

    “They talk about the OM defender’s mistake on the first goal and rightfully compared it to Per’s moment with Szczesny a few minutes before which could have been a turning point in the other direction.

  202. geoffchase says:


    Overall, not a brilliant game but “winning ugly” is a necessity and I think we did it. Too tentative in first half or just weathering the OM storm of frenetic play.

    Second half, they quickly ran out of steam and it was ours to lose (and almost so with Per/Scz mixup?) ..

    That said, both goals were not necessarily trivial. Walcotts finish had to be perfect and was. As was ARs to enough of an extent. The penalty on replay on the player was S.O.F.T…. goodness, we should get home service like that at the Emirates! 🙂

    Gerry: not about to mix it up regarding the psych bits, but your point is valid I expect. I think they are just saying we always talk down to manage disappointment, which means for very good/great teams we are alwways talking about not winning or not winning cups, when we are worlds better than most anything (i.e. to the point of ridiculous)

    Or as PG has noted, “I’m happy” .. we won and so am I too, PG! 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  203. geoffchase says:

    BTW, here is Klopp’s audition for next Psycho-Slasher movie… very good IMO…

    Seems like only Draxler kept his composure last night for them

    fyi — jgc

  204. 17highburyterrace says:

    I can’t really comment to the match as I too was on the “rubbish stream”, esp. in the first half. It appears that US television is doing all they can to extract the very last dollar when it comes to “soccer” fans…This time, I refused to pay, and, er…I paid…for being cheap…

    Keep the reports coming alcide, they seem accurate so far…What I’m getting from the more Arsenal-centric reports is that we were poor with the ball, Ozil and Wilshere maybe not on the same wavelength, and that we looked vulnerable at set pieces, of which they got plenty. Did we get lucky to have a ref who didn’t really interject himself until the iffy call at the end? Or that their shots were inches wide or high? Was the pen called on (always running…) Ramsey just as unlucky as the deflection of his shot (which sent it into the corner of the net) was fortunate? Certainly nobody can fault Theo’s opportunistic but perfect volley which turned the match…Gibbs was there to clear the bouncer AND he put in the awkward ball that led to the opener. It was maybe a reward for being in on our best attack of all (the Ozil backheel) which required a world class save to stop…

    Sometimes, I guess, you have to go with the idea that you make your own luck or that luck is where opportunity meets preparation or some other platitude about that element of the game that is all too prevalent. As per usual, we need to continue “getting lucky,” esp. where fitness is concerned for the visit of the Orcs. I haven’t seen them yet this season but they must be at least a slightly different ball of wax (whacks?…) under Sparky. Like all English teams they will tend to keep pushing and trying and they’ve got some talent in the squad (former gunner Pennant, the little balding guy, Etherington) to go with the grit. Set pieces, of course, would seem their strength, with Crouch and/or Jones and the big (leg-breaking) fellas coming forward…It would seem a good spot for a renewed spirit in the home support to welcome our blockbuster signing, buoy the rest of the boys and relish our superior technical ability to either play high tempo keep away or methodically break down their lines and their fine keeper (Begovic). Like I say, I haven’t seen them play this year, so (as always) WTF do I know?…

    Anyhow, I’m gonna disagree with Gerry and say 3 points away on the opening day puts us in a fine position to win the group. Our first 11 (extending to 14–or more–soon enough, we pray…) can play with any team in any stadium. We want (and need) tests against real quality and (personally) I relish playing strong teams from different leagues. Bring ’em on, I say…


  205. Gerry says:

    HT17 – Yes I agree that were are in a better position now with 3 points, but not necessarily stronger position. The thing that has changed is we have to beat Dortmund at home just to keep up with Napoli? And thoughts of getting 4 points from Napoli I would think just shrunk a litlle?

    The other thing his, if Marseille cannot last 90 minutes playing us, then they are not going to get much change out of the other two are they?

    It would have suited us better to have Napoli draw or lose i think?

  206. Gerry says:

    jgc – I only saw then pen reply once, but it looked to me he definitely got the guys toe? And the ball was very reachable had he not been impeded? … Seen them given, and that was one of them.

    But as someone else said …’if Flam was still playing, it was his area of expertese?’

    Interesting stat from the Arseblog ‘By Numbers’ blog: Flamini did more metres than Rambo?

    Nearly a half marathon of them, yet I rarely heard his name mentioned in the audio commentary?

  207. alcide says:

    Draxler plays for Schalke 04, or am i missing your point… The link didn’t work for me but it’s all over youtube… Klopp is sure scary, and you can see the 4th referee moving backwards in fear 🙂

    We need to continue “getting lucky” – exactly. We’ve been constantly “lucky” (in our games – not injuries) since the win over BM, and of course I believe that is not just plain luck, but focus and accumulation of little details that have this edge. Just like when every countered ball free seems to always bounce close to players from one team (that happened at times yesterday…), I take it as a very good sign when it happens consistently.

    On the penalty, one of the slow motion close up replay clearly shows Rambo clearing the ball, and his foot only then landing on Ayew’s, as the latter missed the ball… not a penalty in my opinion.

    Gerry, I like the red sea parting image, and on the replay from behind the cage, you clearly see how OG’s clever run in front of Ramsey and across the box, with 2 defenders in tow, clears the pat for Rambo. A stealth assist if that exists.

    A good important three points extending a record streak, no injuries, what’s not to like?

  208. alcide says:

    Sorry for the typos!

    …countered free ball…
    …that *gives us* this edge…
    …clears the path…

  209. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gerry, that was me (with the comment about subbing Flams… 🙂 )

    Of course I understand what you’re saying about Napoli and a draw might’ve been the better result. Traveling out of the country won’t be that easy for Dortmund (nor Napoli) however, and I wouldn’t expect Marseille to just lie down in their home stadium. We, of course, need to do likewise and turn our stadium into a happy place if not a fortress. Despite all the “sell-outs”, Good weeknight crowds have been hard to come by given all the distractions in London and the fact that we haven’t appeared “truly” competitive. I know, however, that if I were in town, a ticket to see the two stronger teams (against our “good guys”) would be something I’d try to rustle up. Hell, even the younger French talent of Marseilles might inspire a night out–if, of course, the price was right. 😉 With the signing of Ozil maybe we’re primed to actually host a “big” European night (or three) at our new stadium…

    Without being too cavalier, I think we’re in a moment where we can indulge a little positivity and/or confidence about the team. We need more numbers in the squad, of course, but our first 11 has some resiliency about it, no? One match at a time, of course, and Stoke will surely wish to ruin the unveiling of Ozil in London…

  210. 17highburyterrace says:


    Very nice points on the two key Ramsey plays…(And the glory of it was that his goal made the Pen effectively meaningless…)

    If the pen helps keep AR16 a little more focused, i.e., confident, but not overly confident… then, longer term, it may not be such a bad thing. One thing you have to give both Rambo (and his manager…) credit for, is that he never seemed to lose his confidence. We may all have winced at some of those shots into row z, but he kept taking them… My gut feeling is that as one manager (Gary Speed) abandoned both his captain (and the rest of his world 😦 …) Ramsey’s other manager (AW) stood by him and helped him through a very difficult, if not career (and life) altering period, … (Another reason maybe AW is a better manager than some of us would like to think we would be… 😆 )

    I agree with JGC that it shouldn’t have been a penalty, but I also agree with Gerry that the one Ayew brother sold it very well and he did get trodden upon. Plus, it should be remembered that it was Ramsey’s heavy first touch (when putting his foot through the ball might’ve been the superior thought…) which led to the 50-50 play the ref chose to penalize… That he looked gutted by the call says that Aaron is taking the bad with the good and keeping his feet on the ground. For all his wonderful play, and his obvious dedication to keeping fit in the off-season, he still needs to remember that it’s a different game depending on which part of the pitch you happen to be in at any moment…

    Thanks again for the insider perspective and the French take on things… :thumbs up:

  211. alcide says:

    Thanks 17ht. I fully agree with you on Ramsey, and the nice thing is that with what he went through, this confidence will never leave him – even in bad times when it’s most important – and he will pull others up with his attitude.

  212. TotalArsenal says:

    Afternoon guys 🙂

    Am I missing something?

    If we want to win the group then BD losing in Napoli is very good news, no? The runners up of last year’s final are our toughest opponent in the group and BD losing in Naples is music to my ears..

  213. Fozzie B says:

    Evening pecka preeners!! 😀
    Thanks alcide for the right up and the follow up insider info from the French side!! A massive win for the gunners!!
    For me the key to the game why we looked off the pace was in Ramses post match interview.
    He mentioned that the pitch was in as many words “stodgy” and sticky and stifled their rhythm. So to conquer that away from home in the CL was good stuff and will keep that winning away from home mentality.
    To keep that going to our next away game in the CL has to be a real goal and if we get there we will be well primed with injured players coming back! Come on you gunners!!

  214. Fozzie B says:

    Oh yeah I forgot to say, I recorded the game on sky and would you believe it when I went to watch it it was split into 8 screens!!
    Arrrrrgggggggggg so gutted!
    So I’m sitting there in on a bean bag pressed up to the tv giving my under carriage a full dose of radiation!
    Just as well we won!! When I get diagnosed later I will look back to this game with fond memories!!!

  215. 17highburyterrace says:

    At least you got the 8 screens–FB… Over here we got 4 matches with the split screen, two on the additional free channels (Chelsea and Barca) and one you have to pay extra to get…

    Maybe you will end up with Ozil eyes from trying to watch it… 😀

    TA, Obviously, I’m with you…Why shouldn’t we be happy when Dortmund struggle? Yes, Napoli are strong, but so are we. I appreciate Gerry keeping our expectations low (the key to happiness in my book…) but, with each nice result, can’t we be permitted a tiny uptick in confidence?

    On this very theme, and given a little more writing time (and the same, ever-effective, espresso machine…) “you’ve got mail”…(as the disembodied voice used to say)…

  216. geoffchase says:

    17, Gerry et al

    My take..

    A. The replay I saw shows Ramsey got toe to ball FIRST, and then foot to ankle. FIRST is all that matters…

    B. in the same vein we are 3 home wins, draws away(?), from 12 or more points and easy qualification out of the group. That’s how valuable an away win is, and the loss of an away draw means difficulty but not insurmountable.

    Cheers — jgc

  217. TotalArsenal says:

    OGAAT Geoff OGAAT 🙂

  218. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers 17, I will read it now. 🙂

  219. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Fozzer, you always put a smile on my face, and it is not just the gravatar that does it! 🙂

  220. TotalArsenal says:

    Alcide 🙂

    You have been a gent today. Thanks for a very fine post and for responding to everyone with such depth and passion. Top stuff.

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