Reintroduction of Arteta has disrupted the squad


Now let me begin by saying that I like Arteta and he is a good player. The game against West Brom was a difficult one by all measures. I still think it is a game we could have won had we had taken them as seriously as we did Napoli, especially in the first 15 minutes. We were in complete control but looked like we were toying with them, rather than trying to score, unlike against the Italians. Anyway, credit to the team for winning the point in the end.

We have been playing very well, up until we met with the baggies. So what changed? In my opinion, it is the fact that Wenger has forced Arteta back into the team, without really looking at the balance. Against Napoli, we needed a double pivot to neutralize the threat posed by Hamsik, and it worked perfectly. Against WBA however, forcing Arteta alongside Flamini had a number of negative effects. First of all, it meant that Ramsey and Wilshere were pushed out wide. Wilshere had a shitter of a first half and it is only until he was brought back in the middle that we began to feel his presence.

As for Ramsey, we know he’s played wide before. However it has its downsides. Firstly, on the wing his movement is somewhat limited, and more so when playing in front of Jenkinson. This is because Jenko always bombs forward so Ramsey had to do a lot of covering work which in the end shackled him. Secondly, his influence and energy in the middle of the park which (dare I say) has been one of the main reasons we have dominated games, was sorely missed. You see Arteta is very good at reading the game and calm it down from deep, but lately it seems that’s all he’s good at. Do you know that against WBA he attempted only one forward pass in the opposition’s half, which was intercepted? All he does in pass sideways.

Arteta is no where near as good at dispossessing players as Ramsey and Flamini are. That’s what has made that partnership so good. Flamini will sit in front of the back four and Ramsey will support him when needed but then bomb forward and cause havoc on the other end. Ramsey also presses the ball very high (to great effect) which helps us win possession in very dangerous places. Both Flamini and Ramsey have a tenacity that neutralizes physical opponents. Yesterday you saw how we were bullied in the middle. Let’s not forget Ramsey’s goal threat is neutralized when he’s played out wide. Given his form, had he been played where he’s supposed to, he could and probably would have won us the game.

Second of all, bringing in Arteta gave Flamini the license to roam forward and this gave Sessegnon the space he needed to really terrorize us, which he did. When Ramsey and Flamini play together, they both know that Flamini protects the back and Ramsey moves forward. And because of Ramsey’s incredible engine, it works even when we are under pressure. Arteta just sits deep. This meant that Ozil was largely isolated and was therefore crowded out and neutralized. This made West Brom’s defending very easy. With Wilshere and Ramsey out wide, Mulumbu just needed to take Ozil out and they had a handle on us.

Flamini was the one (of the defensive two) going forward and let’s be honest, he’s no Ramsey. He had a few shots on goal which he hit straight at the keeper. Ramsey would have done much better. Even putting all this logic aside, if there’s a player who this season has earned the right to play where he feels most comfortable, it’s Aaron Ramsey. This game was very similar to the one we played against Marseille, except in that one Ramsey was played through the middle and won us the game.

To conclude, I will reiterate that I have nothing against Arteta. The thing is with the form of our three central midfielders (Flamini, Ramsey and Ozil) it is unfortunate but he is the one to lose his place, at least for now. I feel that we showed great character to salvage a point. That said, this is a game that could have gone either way and that shouldn’t be the case. If West Brom were better goal scorers, we could have lost. There’s a saying that goes ”if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. The team is anything but broke so changing one of its fundamental elements will only disrupt a flow that has been steadily building over the past few weeks.

On the plus side, Spurs were humiliated yesterday. COYG!!!!


Written by: Marcus.

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119 Responses to Reintroduction of Arteta has disrupted the squad

  1. Dylan says:

    It has! It really has. Despite the quality Arteta brings to the squad, he HAS disrupted the flow of the team! Nowt we can really do though…

  2. AB says:

    Totally agree. Wenger has been trying to get Arteta back up to fitness and part of the team, but he has made change against the basic rule that you pick form, unless there is a very good tactical reason. I can’t swear it cost us the points, but it made us less fluid and cohesive moving forward. I would really hope we don’t stick with this mid-field set-up for the Norwich game.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Marcus. A very fine analytical piece about our midfield play and how Arteta’s reintroduction is causing problems to it.

    But I don’t agree, at least for the moment. 4-5-1 is different from 4-2-3-1 and I believe Wenger and Bould wanted us to play compact and soak up pressure. The five midfielders we fielded are excellent for this normally.

    It is to be expected that Arteta will need a bit of time to get settled into the team again AND work out a good balance between him and Flamini. It also did not help that Wilshere was constantly fouled and is finding back his best form again. Ramsey can motor on everywhere but just was not fit enough to do his usual running and pressing yesterday. Flamini flagged a bit and Ozil was also not at his best…. and OG missed a couple of good chances…. and that is why we did not win.

    Let’s give Arteta a chance to get back to his fine form and maybe in the end you will be right that FLAMTETA will hold us back in these sort of games. Too early to tell though, and I think we’ll see this combination a lot more this season, and both Ramsey and Wilshere will be rested/rotated more, as Cazorla and Theo will be our first choice ‘wingers’, I reckon.

    —–Back Five———–

  4. Jeremy says:

    I totally agree with you,I think Arteta’s style of play currently is a liability to the team.
    When I saw him alongside the Flame in the starting XI,my thoughts were,he’ll have an offensive game.I rem him popping a shot in the 1st quarter of the game and was expecting more from him but he disappointed.
    I have also noticed Flamini has accumulated 4 or 5 cards,I jst don’t know when he’ll be suspended which means Arteta will be back at CDM and I fear he’ll totally disrupt everything.

  5. Thanks Marcus Monster.

    I think you are spot on.
    I would say my ideal sitting combo would be Rambo as the B2B and Jack as the sitting main stay instead of Flamini, he has the pass and the tigerish tackling as well and gives us the awesome Quadruple with Ozil and Santi . So here it is Cockie crumble munchers, Monsters team to conquere ( with current squad and not Monsters ideal January and Summer SQ acquisitions ! ) the Prem`.






    Nighto !.

  6. AB says:

    TA. Yes, agree with the general sentiment – no criticism of Arteta, and after the last 2 years we need him fit and on form; but I still feel he has been rather rushed in. We will need to rest Flam as well – I think we may have been in danger of over-using him of late, so some rest now will do him good. The DM spots will become really interesting when (ha!) Diaby comes back – only partly joking, as I have a quiet hope that he may do an RVP on us (without buggering off for cheap thrills that is).

    No argument on your front arrangement, though I think Ros or Ox (when fit) may feature regularly at times this season. Pod, Ox and Gnab will be impact subs in the main. Stacks of options up front, but fewer at the back. Whilst we will be after a striker in January (though I remain doubtful we will find a quality one), we should be looking to get some quality young talent to develop for the future at CB – question for BKers: who are the best two 19 year old CBs across Europe, for us to invest in?

    Back to the point – no criticism of Arteta warranted; but lets keep up the competition with selection a due reward for quality form.

  7. Arsenal_VCC says:

    Marcus – those were my thoughts exactly immediately after the game. But, eventually I leaned more towards TA’s views. It is too early to tell and Arteta has to be worked into form. I was expecting Wenger to rest Ramsey and sub Arteta for him in the final 30 mins. The overall slightly lethargic display could be due to the drop that generally occurs after a big game played well. Anyway, good time for the break I feel.

    I agree with all the great points you raise for the future – the potential to perturb the team balance. Unfortunately, it does not look like Wilshere is anywhere close to his fitness / form presently. So, will we carry two people who need game time but are not in sync with the others? Hopefully Santi & Theo don’t make it four! 🙂

  8. Fozzie B says:

    Nice one Marcus and I agree Arteta is taking longer than I imagined to settle back but I believe he will find the balance of working with the Flame. I believe Flame will get a strategic yellow next game so he will only miss the eagles before our show down with the big guns! Cynical I know but I cannot see us surviving without Flame against the big boys!!

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    All good points, AB. Getting Arteta back into the first team is of strategic importance and Wenger knows it is a marathon not a sprint. Form comes from playing and Arteta is one of our best footballers as nobody should forget how pivotal he has been for us during the last two seasons (as you said as well).

    Diaby………would be lovely but I am not counting on it for one minute.

  10. Fozzie B says:

    My first choice is definitely flam-ram and then flam-shere, or flame by himself and ram rocky above .. Good night bk ballerinas! 😀

  11. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good post Marcus and (obviously) a lot of folks were thinking along the same lines. Coming back to full fitness only gets tougher as you get older (trust me, I know…) and Arteta might be suffering there. The fact that he has never been called up for Spain suggests two things: 1) that maybe we expect a little too much from him and 2) he should have a nice two week break to do better in the upcoming matches…

    Fozzie Bear, I think, hints at the only bit I would add to your post. That Flamini benefits from a lenient ref, while Arteta suffers from the same. Lee Mason isn’t quite as bad as the younger cue ball who did us on opening day (Anthony Taylor) but a lot of Mikel’s game depends on body positioning and slowing the tempo with fouls near the center circle. Some refs, the better ones, IMO, love to call those fouls as it helps them control the match and show the players what’s allowed and what isn’t. For what it’s worth Ramsey (similar to Flams) likes a tussle (i.e., benefits from a lenient ref), Wilshere, on the other hand, plays for the foul and needs a ref who won’t swallow the whistle. Of all our MFs Rosicky is the best at working both angles–getting in for some sly tackles on defense, reacting to contact when he’s on the ball. Some might call all this cynical, but it’s a part of the game. Oh, I forgot Ozil. So far he seems like he’s adapting to this element of the English game. The way he battled Mulumbu (rather than playing for the whistle) and made the pass to Giroud which led to the goal (a pre-pre-pre assist 😀 …) was the play of the game, I thought. Finally, Wenger *should* know his refs and make personnel decisions accordingly, I think, rather than use them as excuses post-match…

    When we signed Flamini I thought Arteta would be the one to suffer and sure enough he came down (cough, cough…) with a thigh injury…Now it might be Ramsey, who hopefully won’t sell himself out for the Wales manager who stripped him of the Captaincy. Selection problems (hopefully) will abound with The return of Theo and Santi. Diaby, talent wise at least, was the one Arteta stepped in for when we bought him just two years ago. At that time, Ramsey and Wilshere were the guys we were hoping might fill the big hole Cesc left behind. Now, of course, we have Ozil and things are far, far happier…

    It’s our right as fans to fully experience all the ups and downs and, around here at least, we seem awfully supportive. Still, some writers come out more when things are going well and others when the shoe is on the other foot (or drops off completely 😯 … ) I ALWAYS enjoy good, thoughtful writing. so I say: Keep on writing, Marcus, even if we’re not dropping points…

    😉 😆 Cheers!

  12. P says:

    Spot on. And unlike some other managers, Wenger won’t change things that are obviously not working. Frustrating. Come on Arsene, I know you are now standing up, which is positive, but please be proactive, there’s nothing to be ashamed of, we all make mistakes, it’s how we react to them that matters.

  13. Rohan says:

    It has to be either Flamini or Arteta with either Wilshere or Ramsey in midfield … especially in games where we need to be more offensive and create more chances .. Playing both Flamini and Arteta cuts down on our offensive mobility and the opposition defensive players can just concentrate on Ozil and have a greater effect on slowing him down … Flamini and Arteta together could be useful when deployed against the big teams like Dortmund , Chelsea , City etc. !

  14. geoffchase says:


    Interesting. Let me say first up, let’s not over react. I’ve watched the game now and my thinking is thus:

    A. We lost shape, it was good but not great

    B. This was compounded by WBA attacking narrowly rather than across wider parts of the pitch, with focused numbers. That can punish some looseness.

    C. It was also compounded by our shape not being as aggressive at putting men in front of the ball with intent or good support (shape, see A).

    Add it up and you’ve a touch of fatigue.

    IMO, no reason to worry overly or wrote anyone off just yet.. Arteta coming back and tired, flam and BFG over played perhaps. Same for AR and perhaps TR with his later appearance.

    Thus, the break so well timed for us for that as long as spurs et al don’t get sorted! 🙂

    I’m less worried, and credit to WBA for a good game plan on attack!

    Regarding jgc-damus, well we coulda maybe had another… But, yeah more a struggle and again WBA played a smart game plan.. Credit to them…

    We however, got the point! Last fee years that was a loss we didn’t need or expect… Another reason for optimism … And we’ve more choices in mid coming back!

    Cheers — jgc

  15. geoffchase says:


    By my C, against Napoli we were aggressive and quick about getting back in front on defense AND ensuring at least one person attacked the ball, also quickly..

    We didn’t so much vs WBA. To me it’s clear on the watching…

    Cheers — jgc

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    All good points Geoff and 17 🙂

  17. taiwo oghenah says:

    You are absolutely spot on. I thought I was the only one that noticed the change in balance of the team. I had to ask myself where Flamini was when I didn’t see him in front of d back four. I agree with u that Arteta should drop for now. Arsene should stick with d winning team. Gunners for Life!

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    P 🙂

    I hope your comment is ironic; if so, it is a corker!

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Thank you Arsene: with dropping two points you have blown new life into blogging! 😉

  20. john says:

    I personally think that the flamini arteta is are best bet against bigger teams, against smaller teams it might be better to go with a more offensive team. That said, I don’t think it was playing them two together which caused us to draw. First of all, you have to recognize that WBA played a hell of a game! I was surprised to see them play that well(they did beat manu at OT) and I felt like Wilshere, Ramsey, and Ozil were not at their best(not that they had a bad game and some of them were played out of position) Overall I thought it was a hard fought game with a lot of positives to take out of. I thought the whole team showed a lot of bottle to gain the point.

    When and if we have a full team my preferred team would be

    back 5
    Ozil Cazorla
    Walcott Podolski

  21. hitul says:

    Bang on! With the rising standard of our team he is standing out as a solid mediocre CM who would look better in a lesser team – as at Everton, no disrespect. He loses possession far too often. Fine for the bench and as a tactical option where needed. Hopeful Wenger selects on pure merit and contribution to the teams shape and balance.

  22. alcide says:

    Superb analysis Marcus. I agree with most everything, and in particular about Jenks bombing forward (Sagna knows when not to push) and not having a great day (but he’ll come nicely) having a large effect on our offensive motion.

    I’m however with TA about Arteta, let’s not forget too quickly how important he has been in the past seasons. He just got back and needs to find a new balance when played with Flamini; curiously I thought that he would be calling the shots in attack mode, with Flamini staying deeper, but as you mentioned he did not find his passes going forward, and theh pivot ended up putting the handbrake (maybe voluntarily – WBA was dangerous?).

    But I do believe that (albeit in a relatively defensive setting), he could be quite effective with Flamini in launching offensive play from behind, as he has in the past.

    The options we have with Rambo, Flam, Arteta, Jack are excellent news in any case, and we sure need to be able to rotate if we want to go the distance – can’t play our best team every game, or no one will be in form come December.

    Now I just want to see Santi and Özil on the pitch together,,,

  23. panther says:

    I thought it was a unecasserry decision by Wenger to plate Arteta and Flamini in the same midfield. For me it should be one or the other unless Arsenal are playing the top quality teams and even then I think either Ramsey or Wilshere,:should play along side Flamini or Arteta.
    I would play Flamini with Ramsey or Arteta with Wilshere

  24. Scared-Ninja says:

    In general I agree with 90% of the content on here,but today thatnot the case. Whilst I agree with your conclusions from the WBA game I don’t agree with the base conclusion. Here is why:
    A) before his injury walcott and gnabry for 1 game provided the natural width needed
    B) against Napoli even though Arteta+Flamini played and Ramsey played out wide (just like v WBA),Ramsey was able to exert even more influence than normal thus I don’t necessarily buy the “if he plays out wide he struggles to influence” line of thought
    C) excluding Sagna (and Jenkinson is basically like-4-like,though not quality wise ofcourse) the only chnage to our line-up was Wilshere coming in for Rosicky who though not a winger is fairly comfortable out-wide and he tracks back well
    D)Wilshere came in;had an awful game (1 brilliant pass to OG and delflected goal aside) and did not offer the width or support to Oezil Rosicky did in Napoli game as most moves broke down through a misplaced Wilshere pass or him holding onto the ball for ages and then tumbling to the floor crying wolf (partly why he did not get some deserved FKs/possibly pen)in 1st half, also Jack’s tracking back is superfaecial (sp) at best
    E) because Gibbs knows Jack doesn’t track (and Jenkinson is gung-ho) back as well as Rosicky and Theo to a lesser extent his forward penetration is restricted,reducing our width even further
    F) Jenkinson, God bless him, is all heart and very little guile and skill,so try as he might his forward runs don’t offer much of a threat

    From the above,I would say (Sagna aside) the real problem we had was Jack Wilshere coming in and disrupting team,not Arteta. Not because Wilshere isn’t a great player,but because in THAT position Rosicky is better than him. And if we are being truly honest, going back as far as the beginning of last season I would say Rosicky and Arteta both command a place above Wilshere purely on consistency of performance.
    Disclaimer: Sorry I know its awfully long,but I can’t sleep 🙂 I love Wilshere and think he is destined for Legend status but I’d like him to be chosen on merit if he is to start.

  25. zuma says:

    u have a point. So how do we let mr wenger to know that

  26. Tony M says:

    Very well spotted. Arteta will slow the game up from the back, when more often than not because our opponents press us high up the pitch, we need some who can open the game up from deep.
    You mention the Ramsey engine, but I think this does the lad a disservice.He is a highly technical player whose long game is as equally good as his short game.
    Quite often he will open the game up with a quick one – two or a little flick. And, his passing is better than Wiltshires, who it appears seems to be turning himself into a legend in his own mind

  27. Mukesh says:

    Wasn’t it the same combination which played against Napoli? Agree that with Wilshere and Ramsey wide on, we haven’t utilized the width as much but I though the interchange of places were more efficient in that game. Our pace was super in Napoli game. For this one, I think, we should give credits where it is due, which is to West Brom team, which really played well.

  28. Mezut says:

    There is no point talking about this.

    Clichy played for years, despite actively and blatantly disrupting our defence.

    I would not hold my breath on Arteta being demoted from the ‘technical leader’ role, anytime soon.

    The boo boys went for the easy targets in Ramsey and Gervinho, players who atleast showed up for the ball, and tried to make something happen, regardless of the result. While ignoring the cautious, momentum destroying, one man handbrake machine.

    Watching him pass the ball straight back with immaculate technique to Per Mertesacker under no pressure, is one of the worst things about being an Arsenal fan right now.

    Arteta is so cautious, in his last season, he made Song into an attacking midfielder. I rest my case.

  29. Daniel waiswa says:

    I totally agree with you. The team dynamics were greatly affected and it really showed because we had a first have to forget. Arteta is good but the team has gelled with the new midfield and changing that killed our fluidity. AW should maintain the table topping squad not go tinkering with a working formula. The side way passes reminded me of the game against Norwich last season which we lost as we only passed sideways and never really penetrated.

  30. Trophylessgunner says:

    I dont know why wenger is disorganizing a organised team. I swear we are going to drop more points with arteta & flamini, flamini and ramsey is the best, but arteta/ramsey can also work. Flamini/arteta r for only a few special games.

  31. Eliot says:

    We should remember that if this line-up *is* required in the future, it needs competitive practice. This was it. We’re (luckily) in a position where we can make that lineup. If we get to a crunch game without having built that understanding then we’re screwed. The places that Spurs (and others) failed in recent seasons were great starts, but poor finishes. If you knacker your best team, your best team become less than best.

  32. Ilias_ A says:

    I will have to agreevwith the last comment. Jack was the main reason why we didn’t command the game as expected. He tends to run into people and loses the ball on more than seven occasions which disrupt the momentum of our game. NOT Arteta!

  33. Marcus says:

    Thank you all for your comments. For me, its not that Arteta played badly. Its that he’s play is becoming increasingly one dimensional, based on sitting deep, reading the game and making simple passes that begin moves. The fact that he doesn’t make ambitious forward (or diagonal passes) like JW, Santi, Ozil or Rosicky, doesn’t carry the ball forward like JW, Rambo or Rosicky, hasn’t got the tenacity in the tackle or the work rate of Rambo or Flamini and doesn’t go forward even when we are dominating proceedings makes Flamteta perfect when we are playing against a superior team and we need to soak up pressure but takes away our creative flair when we are in the groove and need players to pile on the pressure. In that first 15 min spell against WBA we should have made more of our domination and would have had we played Rambo centrally and probably TR7 on the right. Arteta (for lack of a better way to put it) plays the simplest and safest pass available to him. This is good at times but it is what differentiates him from the likes of Santi and Ozil who will make a pass that all of a sudden creates a scoring opportunity.

  34. Xavier says:

    Good post Marcus.
    True, Arteta had a down game and I somehow felt like he didn’t really know what his role was in the double pivot. But the double pivot of Flamteta is something I reckon we’ll see quite a bit o’er the course of the season. Not every time. Just often. And I take the Westbrom game as a test of its effectiveness in the premier league. I mean, if it can’t work against an in-form and confident (after beating manU away) Westbrom in their home, where would it work? 😉

    Anyways, the real headache for me is not which games Flamteta needs to be employed. It’s for Wenger to figure out which games needs fineese(arteta) or pure steel(Flamini). :D.

  35. Marcus says:

    You have to understand that a team of Napoli’s stature doesn’t go into games to defend. They come to impose their own game. A game that basically revolves around Hamsik. By snuffing him out, we were able to curb their attacking threat but they didn’t change their game. That is why we were able to dominate. WBA’s first priority is to stop us playing. We made it easier for them by playing Flamteta rather than Rambo centrally.
    Also, note that Ramsey has gone 2 games without a goal. What has changed in those two games?

  36. Marcus says:

    I think you missed my point a bit. Arteta didn’t play badly. I am analyzing his contribution to the team even when he’s at his best.

    And by the way, there’s a snippet of information I got during the game that i forgot to put in here. Did you know that going into the WBA game, Ramsey is the player that has made the most tackles in Europe so far this season?

    Which enforces my point even more. When Ramsey is played centrally he does everything. He will go back to defend AND will dispossess the opposition, he will run with the ball up field allowing players to make dangerous runs and he will score himself. Usually, his Achilles heel is making that final pass but as per the Napoli game, it is obvious he’s learning fast. Believe it or not Ramsey and Flamini are as solid a partnership as they get.

    Another quarrel I have with Arteta is that he relies solely on reading the game to win back possession. What i love about Ramsey is that he will HASSLE and HOUND the opposition into making mistakes and it works. Arteta is guilty of allowing players to run at him and once they are past him, we are in trouble.

  37. b says:

    Good analysis guys, i thought Rosicky was introduced rather late. Wilshere though he scored shd have been substituted in first half, he wasnt helping the team at all. We needed quick decision making to counter westbrom. My best formation would have rambo/flamini with Rosicky, walcott, podolski, ozil and giroud. BENCH with carzola, arteta,wilshere for home games. THE away games depending on opposition would have carzola in.

  38. macko says:

    Arsenalis brilliant when we play quickly forward and when to Arteta will be able to forward the balloons fast and forward he will be valuable to the team, but his play slowed the stimulus packages and I think he should play number 8 in front Flamini, not to its height, he must realized that the last season and finished and that since arriving Flamini his defensive midfield role and finished and for me if I had to choose one person for play its roleI would put resume Jack to his real role just ahead of defensive midfielder, Jack is more powerful, accurate and hard on the man quite the opposite of Arteta with all due respect I have for him!

  39. Gerry says:

    Marcus – Time is short, so I’ll be brief(ish).

    I can agree to some extent, having only just watched the full game, But I agree more with Scared_Ninja.

    Arteta will always play to keep possession. If there is nobody ahead in a good position, likely as not the pass will go backwards or sideways. The missing piece was Rosicky. More so than the absence of Sagna, although that had complications for Ramsey.

    The other factor, and it has nothing to do with the tosh about fatigue at the start of the game. Ramsey got a knock on his knee in the 16th minute. Six minutes later he gets treatment. From that point on he made no long runs. Just a few short bursts, with and without the ball. Don’t blame Arteta for being (more) negative/conservative. With AR16 shot and TR7 missing the engine has lost it’s drive. If that is the ‘fatigue factor’ you are looking for, there it is … and repaired when Rosi came on for Ramsey .. i rest my case.

    Now the argument that WBA offered a different threat to Napoli I find strange. Sessingnon was every bit as dangerous as Hamsik. Leave him alone and he will cause you trouble.

    I will make one thing clear after my comments yesterday. WBA played very well. They played ‘our type of game’ better than we did. That said, we should have gone out there with a bit more thrust going forwards from the start.

    Prediction: If Ramsey plays for Wales, which I doubt, we might not see him for a while yet?

  40. Savas says:

    i really enjoyed reading this article and i agree with it – your technical breakdown was spot on and well written, your points were valid and i also felt the selection of Flamini and Arteta was perfect for Napoli but not for WBA!

  41. macko says:

    if we had lost you would have had the same analysis??

  42. Tee Man says:

    The reason why Arsene pushed Flamini further up the pitch was because he had already been yellow-carded, which would be risky because he could get a red card if he had to sit deep trying to breakdown or stop the opposition from counter-attacking us. If not, Arteta would have been moved further upward because he’s a bit more technical than Flamini, and believe me Arteta would have scored or done better than Flamini with those chances that was kicked straight to the keeper’s hand.

  43. Marcus says:

    My first disagreement comes where you say ‘Sessegnon was every bit as dangerous as Hamsik’..Those two aren’t even on the same plane of existence. Sessegnon is a live wire no doubt but Hamsik is a world class player.

    Secondly, I beg to differ when you imply that WBA and Napoli offer the same kind of threat. You see, Napoli is a top European side so when they meet Arsenal, rather than try and stop us playing, they play their own game. WBA on the other hand know that they are way below us in stature. As such, they try to win the game by stopping us playing ours, rather than playing their own. It is the reason why the EPL is the toughest and most exciting league.

    Finally, to some extent you prove my point further when you say ”Arteta always plays to keep possession”. It is one thing to have the ball, it is another to do something meaningful with it. Arteta’s set of skills are useful when we are under siege because his way of keeping possession slows down the pace of the game thus taking the pressure off. Thing is, when it is us who are pressurizing opponents, it has the same effect. When we aim to increase the tempo in order to break down the defense, Arteta slows down the game hence taking the sting out of our attack. Also, he is very conservative in his passing especially in the opposition half. He will pass sideways or backwards forcing us to build again which in a game that is at 1-1 and we are looking for that killer goal, is immensely frustrating.

  44. Marcus says:

    As if to prove my point even further, Ramsey is the barclays player of the month.

  45. JM says:

    Aaron Ramsey and Arsène Wenger have been named the Barclays Player of the Month and Barclays Manager of the Month respectively.

  46. As for me,i feel wilshere shouldn’t have started the game against westbrom instead wenger should have used rosicky,wilshere scored the equaliser but he wasn’t fit for the game,if he had started with rosicky,we would have won the game

  47. ephson says:

    I think all have been said.. it’s indeed the fact and no doubt

  48. bonaroca says:

    Bonaroca:- I think that at the moment there is no place for Arteta. One has to bear in mind that this is an Arsenal team which have players who are inclined to move forward and can’t afford a schemer who keeps the ball at his feet and then passes the ball when the opposition have fallen on the defence. OsmarcarO

  49. macko says:

    Marcus excellent comment on Arteta

  50. haha, think you all know better than AW, unlikely. To say that Arteta pushed AR and JW out wide, when you consider the amount of positional interchange there was in the mid/att against Napoli, it is obviously not as simple as just MA coming back. Support the team, manager and players! Lets make some (+ve) noise!!!!

  51. JM says:

    Arsenal’s new PUMA SE kit for season 2014/2015?

  52. H says:

    Expecting this comment to be moderated as I can’t see a single comment ridiculing this straw argument. Anyways, why not throw a coin off a cliff? We decimated Napoli. The system works. Take aim at Wenger’s placement of wingers instead. We didn’t use a natural winger. Theo and Cazorla are needed. To criticise Wenger with hindsight here is ludicrous in my opinion. After such a fine run of results the to suggest changes now is wrong. Arteta: “Now let me begin by saying that I like Arteta and he is a good player”. He has the best pass completion rate in the league last year don’t you know? That kind of player you play.

  53. GoonerC says:

    The article is alright but some of the Arteta bashing in the comments is a joke. He’s been arguably our most consistent player for 2 years!

    This is why I often hate fellow Gooners.

  54. Gerry says:

    Marcus – I wasn’t putting Napoii on the same level, or even in the style of play. But you raised the point that Flamini had a job within the twin pivot, to keep Hamsik quiet. I simply offered up Sess, as an alternative here. Not that they were on the same technical level, but simply ‘if left alone, they will cause problems’?

    I simply find it very hard to digest, on the back of a game where we played immaculate football, the very best of the recent times, imo, when this same double pivot was in operation, you can openly say that Arteta slows our game down?

    To mind you have to look at the other factors. No comment on the Ramsey knock I note, but a strange one on him being player of the month? Even before I watched the full game, I said the highlights bit I saw on BT Sport, I never heard his name mentioned. I am just glad there was a reason for it.

    Jenks not Sagna at right back was another change, but I did not think that affected Arteta’s game much as he played on the left side mainly. Jack, did not contribute much in the first half, so with Ramsey ‘not running freely’ for 30 minutes of that half, you have the major links between defense and attack weakened. These are the additional circumstances that should be considered. Remember, it was Ramsey who came off for Rosicky, not Arteta.
    At this point I should correct something I said yesterday. The was an early substitution, on the 58th minute, so clearly the bench realised they had not solved the problem at half -time?

    You also have to give credit to WBA. Their players joined into their attacks very quickly, and closed down players quickly. We did not manage that until the early subbing, and the change with Wilshire coming inside. That is when we became a threat, and could have won it with the two penalty appeals?

    I’ll give you an example from the COC game of where keeping possession is better than hopeful ball forward. This is more a Gnabry v Jenks comparison, but it serves to illustrate the point.

    Gnabry down the right, just inside their half. He has an acre of space to run into, but he looks up and sees only Giroud in the box. So instead of blindly running down the line with a hopeful pass in the middle, he turns back, passes it back and waits for a better opportunity.
    That was clever play.

    Finally, somewhat ill thought out comment, you link the lack of Ramsey scoring to the presence of Arteta? The mere fact that he was involved at some point in every goal scored, and playing a proper midfielder role, but not scoring in the Napoli match, and this game, carrying an injury for the most of the time he was on is down to this one player?

    Sorry Marcus, I think you are clutching at straws there. Like I said at the head of my earlier comment, I can agree on some points you make, but the overall conclusion, no.

    My disappointment from yesterday, based on audio commentary, highlights, and a lot of other comments made. Now with the full game fresh in my mind, and the missing links in midfield, for whatever reason, it was a good point salvaged by a very hardworking team.

  55. Tee Man says:

    The reason why Arsene pushed Flamini further up the pitch was because he had already been yellow-carded, which would have been very risky because he could get a red card if he had to sit deep trying to breakdown or stop the opposition from counter-attacking us. If not, Arteta would have been moved further upward because he’s a bit more technical than Flamini, and believe me Arteta would have scored or done better than Flamini with those chances that was kicked straight to the keeper’s hand.

  56. JM says:

    Flamini and Arteta DM/CM double pivot is not the main issue.

    The 2 following .gif links at my next two posts will show what we are missing in the penetration of our attacking play against 2 banks of defensive lines:

  57. JM says:

    (1) Oezil’s goal vs Napoli

    Ramsey’s cross from right; first-timed volley into goal by Oezil

    Key: Our “auxillary striker” Rosicky’s intelligent attacking run (without ball) at both Napoli’s CBs, occupying them, leaving enough space for Oezil to trigger the shot.

  58. JM says:

    (2) Wilshere’s goal vs WBA

    Giroud to Rosicky; Rosicky assist for Wilshere’s goal.

    Key (again): Our “auxiliary striker” Rosicky’s off the ball running into WBA’s centre defence and his intelligence in occupying the attentions of WBA’s CBs, while also giving Wilshere the space and time to fire a first-timed volley and score his goal.

  59. JM says:

    That is what our experienced players doing the role of “auxiliary striker” – Walcott/Podolski/Cazorla/Rosicky can provide in our attacking third, and what the rest of our younger players AoC/Wilshere/Ramsey/Gnabry/Miyaichi can learn from.

    The art and intelligence of playing/moving without the ball, while doing damage against the opposition’s defence at the same time.


    Fascinating write up Marcus

    When Arteta returned from injury I did not envisage he would form an axis with Flamini. It did cross my mind that in certain games e.g Utd away or at stages were we needed to preserve a lead a substitution could pair them together.

    Your point about the isolation of Ozil is a very good one. Lets face it, we just did not have enough answers to Albions resolute defending

    Maybe it was the wrong balance in the middle or the fact we had Jack and Aaron wide, I don’t know?

    But what I do know is that, apart from women were I am a self proclaimed expert though I live in a loft and dine on Ready Meals, these are good and exciting questions to ask.

    Like I said yesterday, it shows how far we have come that despite having so many attacking options injured we were disappointed with a hard fought draw.

  61. kapel jonathan says:

    The game was okay only that wenger did bad to play jack and rambo wide and secondly playing both Artata and flamini in the deep role which weakened our attack.Thanks

  62. James Bond says:

    nice one , Marcus and congratulations on getting such a high volume of comments – well done.

    no, it’s not Arteta whose disrupted the balance of the squad, actually he’s given us additional options and a very good headache and option to use , where we want to control games from out Midfield ..i.e. go into half time with 0-0 , however , it is only AW and his selection for the last match which has left me baffled really – he had an 18 year old lad who scored a brilliant goal and then boom, he gets dropped on the bench vs both Napoli (understandable) and then WBA (not much sense there) – in essence he took away our width and someone who could have really helped jenks with the defending bit as well….

    so no, i’m not going to blame the Arteta- Flamini partnership as we have enough fire power to choose from after the internationals, to stick with both and run absolutely wild on other mid-table/ lower table teams, the key for me is PACE

    we can afford to have them both in Midfield only if we have the likes of Theo/Poldi and Rosicky – someone who can run behind the defenders and a player who speeds it up

    so in essence, what i’m saying is that we need to use this combo very wisely in the future – it can still work wonders and deliver the goods for AW , a very nice problem to have

    and let’s not forget, they were only playing for the 2nd time together, so there was bound to be confusion there as to who goes forward and has a proper go – do bear in mind that Flamini can playing MF/Defensive/Offensive/RB/LB – so he is more of a roamer and free role type – same as in Santi but the difference is that Santi does more work offensively as Flam’s does it more defensively.

  63. B johnson says:


  64. lagerback says:

    i can see that ramsey and wenger deserve the pfa award for the month of september.ramsey have been playing wide around and his game improving

  65. James Bond says:

    thanks for that JM and nice to see you back after a while !

  66. James Bond says:

    B Johnson,

    why is Walcott an idiot ?

  67. Xavier says:

    Lool. B.Johnson. Please elaborate more on how Walcotts an idiot. I’m curious to see how you convince us of this beautiful fact.

  68. Marcus says:

    Please note that I don’t blame Arteta for anything. In fact for someone still getting match fit, he did pretty well. My concern is that when He and Flame are paired up, we lose some of our attacking bite.

  69. James Bond says:


    we can still retain our attacking bite , however, for that to happen – the things i have mentioned in my first comment should be looked at

    it’s all to do with formation and using the right personnel –

    a 4-3-3 (4-2-1-3) is the way to go for Flamteta – instead of a 4-5-1

  70. James Bond says:

    but yeah the “idiot” Walcott is expected to be back on the 19th vs Norwich

    that is when the “Crazy” double footed genius of Cazorla returns as well the 19th

    also that “Photo Crazy” Poldi on the 19th

    @ B Johnson

  71. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    Marcus.. great post.. 100% agree with you.. hehe.. sorry TA..

    Arteta maybe an AM years ago.. but two years with Wenger.. he is our solid DM.. and not that easy to turn back his way of playing into AM again.. so don’t do that.. We have enough AM or more Attacking DM in Wilshere.. Ramsey and Ox.. or even Eisfeld..
    And We have Gnabry and Miyaichi for winger.. even Rosicky can do more great as a winger than Ramsey or Wilshere.. so play the exactly the same 4-2-3-1 formation that Arsenal is best at.. Don’t forced the players to play in the position that they can’t give their best performance..

    Arteta and Flamini must not play together.. just like Gibbs and Monreal.. or Vermaelen and Kosc..
    Flamini or Arteta won’t complain if they must change one to another.. Podolski also never complain for Cazorla on his position.. isn’t he..??

    With Flamini/Arteta/Diaby in one side and Ramsey/Wilshere/Ox in the other side of our double pivot.. he have a lot of combination to choose.. No need to forced Flamteta to play together..

    And the good news is Cazorla and Walcott will be back soon.. Rosicky.. Arteta and Flamini all can rest during theinternaional break.. We can be a very different team after the break.. hahaha..

  72. James Bond says:

    anyone got a list of players away on international duty from Arsenal ? the one on the official site is not updated , i guess.

  73. Gerry says:

    JM – Thanks for your info, particularly the off ball running of Rosicky.

    Of the 4 returning players I think Poldoski is going to be the most interesting. Unlike the other three, he is more a second striker than a winger, or a CAM on the wing. If he can get on the same wavelength with Ozil it could be magic? However, if the talk of another striker coming in during the next TW, I fear it will be his position that he takes up, particularly if it is Reus or Draxler?

    On the other hand, if Giroud gets injured we could have an all German striking quartet that would be the envy of many; Reus Podolski, Gnabry, with Ozil creating. Tasty 😀

  74. Gerry says:

    Just on that thought, if we can assist Dortmund out of the CL, they might be more willing to Reus go, even though he would be CL tied. We just have to be careful that they don’t push us out. by needing a result against Napoli in the last group game?

  75. Gerry says:

    JB – Are you waiting on Ramsey by any chance?

    I am pleased that Gibbs got the call. At least it will be good to have more Arsenal interest on the Friday game.

  76. James Bond says:

    no the british squad i am well informed on, Ashley Williams was the latest withdrawal from the welsh squad

    it’s more to do with players representing other countries really…

    am happy for Gibbs but he’ll be on the bench i reckon and then back on saturday as i expect Cashley cole to be back in the England squad.

    @ Gerry

  77. TotalArsenal says:

    Once again, super good post and great title too! 🙂

    It never stops amazing me how quick we can pull conclusions and believe in them. The knee-jerk nature of football blogging is something I don’t enjoy very much but I am still amazed how many agree with the conclusions of your post, Marcus.

    But well done for capturing the mood and thoughts of the fans in a well written and structured post.

    I fully expect Wenger to start the same eleven in two weeks time btw (if fit). Just to prove a point 😉

  78. JM says:

    Arsenal players going on international duty with national senior and U-21 teams (unofficial):

    Germany – Mertesacker, Oezil.
    * Reus, Guendogan, Sven.B and Schmelzer (Dortmund) all pulled out with injuries. (Our next CL opponents)

    Belgium – Vermaelen

    England – Gibbs, Wilshere

    Wales – Ramsey

    France – Koscielny, Giroud

    Spain – Monreal

    Poland – Szczesny, Fabianski

    Denmark – Bendtner

    England U-21 – Jenkinson

  79. Gerry says:

    Marcus @14.44 – I thought the Napoli game, and things being said after that, was that that because we had a solid defensive partnership at the back with that pairing, that allowed the likes of Ramsey, Ozil, and Rosicky to go forwards with more freedom? And of course they joined in occasionally.

    JB – I am not sure the written format help very much because they all can pop up any where there is space, or creating danger as in JM’s point of off-ball positioning?

    The WBA game was not one to measuring future performances though. I read the Ratings averages elsewhere, and Ramsey only had a 5.8, compared to his recent 8.0’s. That is how much an impact his knock had on his game. I even think, when I watched ‘The Breakdown’ analysis on the ‘Player when he thought Ramsey should have got closer before the cross came in for their goal, that the Ramsey of the last month would havedone, But so close to half time he did not want to make a tackle in case it put him out for a long time?

    It is possible that Wenger is playing a canny game with the Wales selectors by letting them find the injury, and sending him home, preferably before they play him 🙂

  80. Gerry says:

    JM – Is Screaming Lord Boruc still Polands No 1 GK?

    Re the Dortmund group, am i right in thinking Gundogan has been out with his neck problem all season/ The others might just be ‘Juppjuries’?/

  81. Gerry says:

    TA@16.04 – Agreed.

  82. Geremew Berhanu says:

    Yes you r right this was the reason which make me very angry durring sundays game.

  83. Chris66 says:

    I think the choice may have had more to do with other factors such as fitness. Rosicky played in the week and has been struggling for fitness so the option of starting him out wide may not have been there. With Cazorla and Theo out then the only option was either play Gnabry or push Jack out there. After the double pivot worked so well against Napoli I think Arsene just made the conservative choice with the view of being able to switch it up in the 2nd half like we had against Marseille and Swansea. He also probably wanted to play 2 players who will be getting a good break during the inter lull in Arteta and Flame.

    More fit players may have led to different choices.

  84. Gerry says:

    RIght, I am off dog walking. not far as we got a bit wet this morning. I just had a look at Savage’s thing on us having a plan B … unfortunately it should have been Plan A 😆

  85. James Bond says:

    very interesting and useful that @ JM

    especially the injuries to BD 😉 nice

    yeah, and to add to that Ramsey one @ Gerry

    he was sort of playing up in the games before that as well, with a few knocks and seen to be struggling but he did complete both the matches before WBA though…

    i’m hoping Wales are smart with use of Ramsey, maybe play him on friday and then rest him for the tuesday one ?

    i fully expect the Germans to do that with both Per and Mesut, play them on friday – qualify and then voila, rest on tuesday

    France one is more tricky though, due to Benzema’s poor form.

  86. James Bond says:

    Boruc deserves it @ Gerry

    he is a very fine keeper and it just illustrates my lack of belief in Sczny that much more, not only do we need a top proven and experienced keeper at Arsenal but having an international number 1 , also helps.

  87. JM says:

    Dortmund injury list:

    Reus – Intraarticular ligament crack initiation in ankle joint (ligament damage in his left foot)
    (Out for 2 weeks)

    Sven.B – groin strain (Out for 10 days)

    Guendogan – Rehabilitation after surgery for compression of spinal (return date unknown)

    Schmelzer – Out till middle of Oct.

    Sahin – Raptured Ankle Ligament (Out till end of Oct.)

    Kehl – Out till end of Oct.

    Sokratis – return date unknown

    Piszczek – Rehabilitation after operation (Out till end of Nov.)

    Sarr – fractured toe (return date unknown)

    Hofmann – return date unknown

  88. Mike says:

    Sorry, I didn’t catch which major football club you’d worked for as a top coach/manager. Please tell us so we know where you became a more knowledgable football expert than Mr Wenger

  89. JM says:

    Southampton are sitting at 4th at the table, with only 2 goals conceded, and 2 points behind. Artur Boruc is their GK. (Their CB pairing of Fonte and Lovren with support from Shaw and Clyne on both flanks are solid).

  90. James Bond says:

    Boruc has kept 5 clean sheets so far out of 7 – that in itself, should be able to tell you volumes really

    i see, so Dortmund have quite a few injury worries, let’s hope Reus isn’t back for the Emirates trip, i don’t mind him playing in the return leg though @ JM

  91. James Bond says:


    Marcus has expressed his own views and opinions based on what he has seen,however, just because AW is the best manager in the world, doesn’t mean that everyone else can’t analyze his tactics and point fingers at him, no ? he is not immune to that nor is anyone else in world football or public viewing.

    he has written a fine piece, according to him which was relevant and justified, some have agreed and others have disagreed – each to their own

    if you disagree with his views that’s fair enough but in my opinion, it’s harsh to ask him about his expertise as we are all passionate gooners here


    Yes, its very difficult been a football manager.

    Just after my first wife divorced me i was very down, not because of her, coz of my daughters.

    A group of friends of mine, i think in an attempt to bring me out of my depression offered me the opportunity to manage a new team that had just entered the sunday league

    At that time I would have said yes to joining a womens knitting group, so i said yes.

    They were all like “It will be brilliant Terry”, “everyone respects you Tel”, “your the man for the job Terry”, all that kind of crap.

    Anyway, just before kick off for the first game, i named the team and had 4 subs. Thats when things started to get nasty. One of the subs. “your the man for the job Terry”, took particular offence and muttered “Prick” as he walked past.

    After about five minutes we went a goal down and this sub yelled at me “that wouldn’t have happened if you had picked me Prick”, I said, “What did you say?, i thought i was the man for the job”, he replied “”your the Prick for the job alright”

    The first half was a nightmare. We went four down and i had to endure constant nasty remarks from “your the man for the job Terry”

    During the team talk “everyone respects you Tel” started giving instructions on changing formations, so i intervened with “hold on a minute, i decide what we do here”, he was like “yeah yeah, no ones gives a shit Mancini”

    Anyway “Respect” bought on “man for the job” and the wanker scored with his first touch. He came storming up to me and screamed “pricccckkkkk”

    Obviously, enough was enough, so i threw of my sheepskin coat and steamed into him.

    The referee sent us both off and ended up abandoning the game whilst the FA gave the points to the opposition.

    Afterwards the Tossers blamed me for failing to control myself, and so ended the shortest managerial reign in Sunday league history

  93. jeff wright says:

    My view maybe in the minority on here but I think that Wenger got it right playing both Arteta and Flam .WBA are a strong side in midfield and rather than costing us points I believe that the combination of Arteta and Flam actually won us a point.
    That WBA French striker – whose name escapes me – also helped by missing two good chances after our defence was carved open . Just as well that he did – otherwise we could have been on the end of a spuds type result.
    A point was a good result in the final analysis though , even Arsene said so , but some people are never satisfied!

  94. James Bond says:


    i mean sorry @ TMHT


  95. hahahaha Stretch…….I take it you`re not thinking of divorcing the second Mrs Mancini…..once bitten twice shy !.
    However, if Total ever gives up the managers job of Bergkampesque……………`re the man !.

  96. TotalArsenal says:

    The king of anecdotes is at it again hahaha 🙂

  97. Ra says:

    I still maintain this is all very simple: we dominated the 1st 20/30 minutes,same as against Napoli. Only difference,against Napoli our attacks did not break down. Against WBA they did break down,and no they were not slowed down,they broke down,and we all know whose fault that was…if you refuse to acknowledge it,that’s on you. Go watch the 1st 20/30 minutes and count how many times our attacks broke down at Wilshere…Partly not his fault as he was out of position and over and above that playing in a position Rosicky plays far better than he does,and played brilliantly v Napoli before being taken off.
    Necessarily there are other factors: e.g. Ramsey knock;Sagna absence BUT honestly if Jack had played as well as Rosicky did in that same position v Napoli we wouldn’t even be having this discussion,hence I will ignore that “wilshere” is my phone password and acknowledge without scapegoating him that we drew because IN THAT POSITION Rosicky is better than he is.
    As for the Flamteta pivot, I do think it is necessary for tough games v top opposition like Napoli,EPL Big 6 and some other games v other tough EPL opposition (especially away,as on Sunday) and in this catogory I include teams like Southampton,West Brom and Swansea. Meaning,for 70% of games I’d go for Flamini-Ramsey or Flamini-Jack as I think most seem to agree on, but confident in-form WBA away is the type of game I would go with Flam-Teta.

  98. B johnson says:



  100. James Bond says:

    B Johnson,

    steady now

    you do realize, he was our best player last season, yes ?

    what he has done for England ? well what have England done without him ? not much

    least , with him playing for England, England at least play “proper football” instead of playing a very boring and dull long ball game, that takes the likes of JW out as well.

    in regards to his delivery, indecision and him being frustrating to watch – then yes, he needs to be better at all those things, however, he was the best English goal scorer last season and he can only get better, with Ozil finding his timely runs and ones that he bends coming in from the right….

    for me, he needs to better his goal scoring record and shooting abilities, all of that which he may well do before this season finishes.

    he wanted to play through the middle because maybe, he can give us Option C ? truth be told, he is a much much better and improved player – but one who still remains very frustrating to watch because of the positions he gets himself in and then fails to show something at the end for all his “intelligence” and hard work by scoring – i’ll give you that

    but to call him an “idiot” is not cool – he tries for the team 110% every time, and it is for all to see, if not with his offensive work then his defensive work.

    he is also the best crosser/feeder to Giroud int his current team.

    last but not least, i believe a slight tactical shift may help him in more ways than one – switching him from the right flank to the left flank may increase his goal scoring but at the expense of his crossing / assists.

  101. James Bond says:

    ahahhahahahaha @ CM

  102. Fozzie B says:

    Evening manhood marvellers!! 😆

  103. Fozzie B says:

    Stretch thanks for the coaching story!!! I was following you right up until the sheepskin coat part and then I had a blackout!!! Got a bit too sexy for me!! (As a kwi) Hahaha 😆
    That talk about knitting reminded me of the time I woke up at the Chinese naked in Portugal recently!! You will remember the story guys .. There was no food and no chopsticks!!! 😆
    Later when I came round in the cell, after a strong pinching sensation in my spleen I ended up letting rip and pinned animal to the wall with the lost pair of chopsticks!!! “There’s your drumsticks” I said, “don’t say I never look out for you!! 😆
    Well a similar thing happened in an old people’s home once!!! 😆
    To cut a long story short … Same story line …. Knitting group … Wake up naked …. Wake up cell … Pin Animal to wall with knitting needles!!! 😆
    Animal loves me cause I always get him his drumsticks!!!

  104. jnyc says:

    Rohan on October 7, 2013 at 23:00
    It has to be either Flamini or Arteta with either Wilshere or Ramsey in midfield … especially in games where we need to be more offensive and create more chances .. Playing both Flamini and Arteta cuts down on our offensive mobility and the opposition defensive players can just concentrate on Ozil and have a greater effect on slowing him down … Flamini and Arteta together could be useful when deployed against the big teams like Dortmund , Chelsea , City etc. !

    I totally agree with every word. i was disappointed to see both Arteta and Flamini in the line up for west brom- i thought a traditional winger like Gnabry would have been my choice, and Rambo more mf. i prefer the flamteta in big matches as was said, or against more dangerous attacks.

    If we get to a point where we are mostly healthy in mf, a nice rotation or a late sub by one or the other to hold a lead would be beautiful. And would keep everyone fresher.

    I hope Arsene rotates when we have the opportunity.

  105. Ra says:

    This is a serious ,if potentially blasphemous,question: IS WILSHERE THE NEW RAMSEY? (Or if you want Gervinho)

  106. James Bond says:


    no, Wilshere is the new Wilshere – coming back to full fitness and peak condition, after taking a battering week in week out by taking rugby like tackles.

    he’ll be fine, for now he needs to do be the “game changer” from the bench when we have a fully strong squad to choose from, just like Theo once was a “super sub” or an impact sub if you may.

  107. James Bond says:

    Evening @ Fozzie mark 3 🙂

    Rohan & Jnyc

    i’m not too sure about that, i wouldn’t be so hasty in writing the combo of Flamteta off after a mere 2 games together ? provided, we can get our wider players back, i still see them delivering the goods

    one thing that no one touched upon vs WBA was that our Free-kicks/ corners were very down, largely to do with poor ref’ decisions the free-kicks, hence the set pieces did cost us to an extent i believe

    and the lack of corners were apparent due to no WING players as such.

    interesting observation that by moi but i’m sure it was an obvious one anyway, ha

  108. Fozzie B says:

    Off topic … This reminds me of home and the Cockie monster at the same time 😆

  109. Fozzie B says:

    Don’t worry it’s harmless – just deck maintenance 😆

  110. James Bond says:

    wtf ahahahahhahahahaahahahhahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahaha

  111. Fozzie B says:

    Why thank you JB Greystoke man of mystery!! 😀

  112. James Bond says:

    behave yourself!!!

    ahahahahahhahahahahahahahahhahahaha that was hilarious but i guess all done on purpose 😉

  113. Fozzie B says:

    Interlull already got me stir craze JB 😀

  114. James Bond says:

    don’t blame ya @ FB

    but hey, let’s look at the bright side , this is the last one , no ? or must they have a break in november for the play-offs ?

  115. Fozzie B says:

    Interlull has come at a crucial time for the team for once so I’m happy bout that!! Hey JB is this what you look like with your long locks? 😆


  116. James Bond says:

    that be telling 😉

    New post New POST !!!

  117. TotalArsenal says:

    Greedy guts 😀

  118. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

    ‘Mair puts everything in perspective again with a typical Giraffe kind of post (four firm feet on the ground but with great vision). Let’s leave the naval gazing to Cocky and look at the beautiful landscape behind and in front of us instead! 🙂

  119. B johnson says:

    James Bonb,

    I appreciate the response, but to say Walcott was our best player last season is diabolical! He scored 2 hat-tricks against 2 poor teams. CAZORLA was by far our best player last season. Walcott is a very average player and poor player – why can’t you see that? As Chris Waddle said – he does not have a football brain.

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