Arsenal – Dortmund: a beautiful game and great learning opportunity

So what have we learned from our narrow defeat against last year’s CL runners up? Almost nothing, other than this team is still a work in progress, but has made progress nevertheless.

Arsenal played with a bit more tension and less fluidity than Dortmund, and that in my view made the marginal difference. Klopp is a top-top manager: second best in the world after Louis van Gaal. He knows how to make his players play in a system of football with clear tasks and expectations per position. If a top player leaves, he will find a quality replacement in no time and gets them to fit into the system incredibly fast, and that is what makes him such a good manager in my opinion. Arsene is more laissez-faire in his approach to ‘system-football’ as he allows his players more freedom to ‘express themselves’.

Dortmund was a well-oiled machine and if and when they won the ball back, they passed it better round than we did. We struggled with fluidity in the first half as too many passes went astray and we suffered from continuous miscommunication between the players. The fact that they were a tat nervous did not help either. But the boys fought back slowly but steadily and deserved their equaliser.

We had a great shape in the first half and gave away little. However, in the attacking third we struggled to combine effectively as the continuous and ferocious pressure of the Germans allowed us less time on the ball; and then, you need certain automatism to kick in (as our opponents demonstrated so effectively to us last night) which are not fully there yet. This will come, though, and I am sure the team will learn quickly. It is these sorts of games that will speed the gelling and finding each other automatically up for us.

Now, we can say that it is the little things that make the difference in games like these, but this is the case in most games. We can also say we would not have lost this game with Flamini in the team, or even won the game with Theo and Podolski available. Maybe this is so, but we just don’t know. We can also say, we should have played for a draw and remain more compact at the back; and although there is merit in this too, we could also have lost the game with exactly that approach after which we would have said we should have played for the win – attack is the best defence and all that sort of stuff. Hindsight smindsight.

What is most important: compared to the Munich home game, Arsenal have made tremendous progress and with a bit more luck we would not have lost, possibly even have won, this game. The team has made a lot of progress in a short period of time.

But Dortmund did not reach the CL final last year by luck and once a team has humiliated a team like Madrid, collective confidence levels go sky-high, and this will last for a while. At times we played better football than them, but unlike us, they were always in control and played with a better established and ‘oiled’ system, and that’s why they scraped past us, I reckon. Nothing to be ashamed of, though.

So let’s not go on and on about certain individual players who apparently underperformed on the night, or whether certain players are far more effective in another position than they played in yesterday. Let’s also not use this game as a ‘yardstick’ how good our team really is and see failure to win as evidence that our good run until now is down to just playing the lesser lights of the footballing world (as if there are anymore lesser lights).

Let’s just see this as a great game of football, at the highest possible level, that we were not far away from winning. Let’s see it as confirmation that the team has made great progress in the last twelve months and more is likely to come. Let’s see it as a great learning opportunity for the boys without too much immediate damage done. Just wait and see how the team will progress in the next few weeks as a result of this game: Liverpool will feel the full brunt in two weeks time.

And with regards to our CL group, we are at least the second strongest team and that will tell in the end.

Written by: TotalArsenal.

51 thoughts on “Arsenal – Dortmund: a beautiful game and great learning opportunity

  • Evening baby gun gapers!!
    Thank you Cockie for hypnotising Wenger with your blue todger!! Wenger being an economist must have also been impressed with your doughnut abacus !!! I hope he is now loved up on your cookies in the tranny annex watching reruns your money spending tranny classics like “it’s in the handbag” and “cockbuster”!! hopefully the door of his tardarse will swing open in January if you have done your job well!!
    Off topic. Mrs P just said to me “why don’t you come to spin class at 7 in the morning … ?”
    I was like “you been toking up Cockies cookies from the bed bed sheets again?” She looks at me all serious and says ……
    “You’ll like the instructor she’s really fit!” I’m like yawning away ho hum … Then she says ” and she comes in front of you … Then says … Your not sweating hard enough … Plays with your nob till its really hard … Then she rides side saddle with someone else … Comes in front of you and starts all over with your nob again!!”
    Needless to say I have set my alarm for 5.30!!! Hahaha !!

  • Nice one Totes thanks for late post … Will read tomorrow … Good nite BK ballerinas!! 😀 😀

  • Hi

    IMO, you’re pretty much on. We hit woodwork twice and were close otherwise. We also made one mistake and they too got a great goal. In the end it also coulda been easily 2-1, bit to us… That’s football!

    I’m more confident we will improve then they will. They’ve not got the gelling yet to go or upside we do, IMO. So, next ones 2-1, but to us..

    We also won’t face a *better* team. As good, maybe yes, but better, not likely. So, good lesson. I’d be more concerned if we’d been truly beaten. This was just a draw in the loss column with “nuttin’ in-it” really..

    Cheers — jgc

  • Watching the game progress, I noticed that Arteta and Cazorla were showing signs of fatigue and Lewandowski’s goal was because Arteta couldn’t get across in time to shut him down and our other defenders ran out of steam. I also noticed that Szcezsney tried to make the stop for both goals like a hockey goalkeeper does,NOT like a diving Football keeper should do. Every keeper knows that trying to stop a shot with his legs is less effective than taking a dive towards the area the ball is headed for. As a former keeper and goalkeeper coach, this is a fundamental mechanical and technical error. It is something he’ll need to correct for the future.
    Great analysis TA and a very pragmatic diagnosis of what happened.

  • good analysis TA. we lost narrowly to one of the best teams in the world, and were generally unlucky. nothing to be ashamed of. also interesting is that Klopp and his players really have respect for our quality- you can see and feel it.
    they are better than any team in England that we will face. we just need to move on.- hopefully rest some guys, and win this weekend… and play better in our bigger matches coming up soon–
    Liverpool is an interesting test -they will really be out to prove something to us, we should prepare for them the way Dortmund was prepared for us. . I don’t care about cap one cup –I hope we use all kids there- focus on the league, because I think we can win it.

  • Hi all..
    Quick post..

    Agree with you TA..
    Compare to Munchen game last season.. We are much more better..
    We dominate the game.. just unlucky enough to win..
    One unreasonable referee decision.. two times block by goalposts..

    And we certainly will fight back..
    We can beat Munchen away.. and so will we this time..

    Go Gunners..

  • Sorry TA, I have nothing to add really from what has been said already.

    BD played their game very well, but we can play better. Quick passing is the way to beat quick pressing. That we did not managed until late on. By then I think Dortmund were settling for a draw … unless an opportunity came their way.

    Hindsight says we could have done a lot of things different. I find the Wilshere one the most baffling though. If Wenger knew he had ‘jarred his ankle’, as being reported now, but if he knew that at the time … Well… ?

    it is not worth pursuing. OGAAT is the way to go.

    WeeD – I think you are wrong on the goal. I have seen many keepers do what Szcz did when they are not certain hey can detect which way the striker is going to shoot. By staying on your feet keeps the options open and can leave a doubt in the striker’s mind. By doing that splitz thing, covering the ground shot on both sides, getting the backside down to stop it going underneath him, and use the upperbody to block, or retrieve a spill is quite a good technique. Diving against a proficient striker would have simply opened up a shot in the opposite corner?

    Plus, I don’t want JB to think he has some fresh ammo 😀

  • Talking of JB – I just read one of your from yesterday, and I quote ‘I did the math …’

    Err, excuse me, I said all of what followed the above before our home tie with Dortmund, and stressed why a draw was better for qualification than the risky win/lose scenario.

    Not that you can really play for a draw against a side like Dortmund. Now, not only do we need to go out there and win, but win by more than their 1-2 win here. Mind if we beat both Napoli and Marsielles we are back in business, but only if Dortmund drop a couple of points from their next three ties?

    On your rotation of player, for CP. I agree with some, but AW will not go that far. Still waiting on a possible wenjury with Wilshire, and Sagna too, as he had a big game after tweaking a hamstring. So they may be his only changes? My fancy is, he will put out the strongest side, hope to get an early lead(3 goals?), then rest at least two at half time. Rosicky and Ozil probably. Could be a chance for Eisfeld? Gnabry will likely start, so Monreal at LB and Gibbs push up to wide left? Just may be Zelalem for 20 minutes? Get him fit for the COC?

    The others can be on the bench for the COC, and we should be okay for the next 3 games.

    But I am getting ahead of myself … OGAAT!

  • ah, Wee-Donald,

    you have redeemed yourself .

    the manner in which he conceded the first goal, was very similar on how he let’s the penalties go in, he does the samba , shakes his ass and then wrong foots him self, finds himself glued to the ground and watches the ball go in the back of the net..

    however, after the ball went in, his reaction was sheer hilarity, he’s throwing fists and pumping them in the air at his team mates, supposedly at Ramsey ?

    utterly pathetic that.

    i won’t talk much further about the 2nd goal.

    but people – Hear Hear what Wee- D has posted.

  • I think even during the game I had mentioned how they “boxed” the player with the ball.

  • Hi Gerry 🙂

    yeah, you made a good point before about the draw at home, but i was talking about getting a draw when we visit them in 2 weeks time, that may not be a bad result for us at all as i am backing our boys to win vs Marseille with a big margin at home and then win vs Napoli to top the group, even if we draw against naples, we are still in the driving seat and have qualified , at least.

    i’m counting on Rafa to win another Europa league 😉

    re- CP

    then it’s a good point…

    i was looking at the invincible season and here are some of the numbers from the back of my head..

    our goalie played 37, henry played 36, toure, 35/36, cashley cole 30 + along with the majority…freddie was near 30, the genius played 21 .

    the point i’m trying to make here is that i’m beginning to warm up to the notion of not resting many players for the PL matches and against Crystal palace, so i’m with you all who want 2/3 changes at MAX as opposed to me wanting to rest 5/6 …

    i also must confess that the reason why i wanted to rest 5/6 was due to me having a fairly strong team vs Chelsea on tuesday – why ?

    because i feel that if we win against Chelsea on Tuesday then that goes a long way psychologically in any competition, as it’s an AW vs Jose thing and so far, AW is in the back seat in the head to heads ? we gotta start to put that right and it starts from tuesday for me.

    saying that, i reckon Giroud will score his first hat-trick on saturday !!! now let’s hope, he doesn’t start on the bench 😀 although the last time he started on the bench, he came on for the last 15 minutes vs New castle and nearly scored a hat-trick , ha

  • nice one @ TA

    all agreed and to be honest with you, it won’t be long before teams started fearing us again and talking us up – i don’t care what the pundits or so called experts say about Arsenal needing to learn and blah blah blahdi blahdi blah – just look at the reaction of all the Dortmund players after that win ? it was like as if they had won the world cup

    they knew they had gotten lucky and didn’t deserve the win more so than us , but such is football

    when we get a few more players back from injury, i am confident that we can not only win but win BIG by inflicting some serious damage.

    for instance :

    Top scorers : at least 3 arsenal players right up there

    top Assists : at least 2 players right up there

    that is what wins you matches, goals scored !

    unfortunately i can’t say this or i would have loved to have said Top number of Clean sheets : Arsenal but i’m very realistic, as you already know 😉

    Fozzie B, must have had a jolly good day today , ha

  • thanks for the link @ Alcide

    a mighty fine analysis of the game and one that clearly shows our lack of organisation and awareness / alertness to situations

    we were at fault for being “too casual” on tuesday night.

  • The good news is if/when we mange to beat the “box”, there is space and opportunities open up. Even kicking the ball to the other side of the pitch (TR did it twice) clears space for players to run into, and collective movement (what we missed most defensively and collectively I thought) where even well organised defenders cannot entirely control.

    You could feel (and see in a few occasions) that a couple of good passes opened up real opportunities. I’m impressed by their pressing, not so much by their defense (as in the back four+1).

    I can’t add much to your post TA, it’s great as usual. I’ll just mention that if I did talk about players bad performance, i always see that in the context of the game, not as a personal dislike. The only thing I’d add, is it could/will be a very different game – tactically, roles could be completely reversed. As such the *could* be better – but I think you’re right, and the way they played away suited their style better, and it could be our turn to steal the game.

  • on tuesday’s game

    what did we make of OG VS Lewandowski ?

    for me, OG was head and shoulders above Lewandowski.

    which basically tells me that Lewandowski will not be an improvement on Giroud or will be adding to our squad this January, hence my original thesis on him still remains – get Suarez or Rooney and we talking the right type of players.

  • Alcide – Nice one from Squawka. I actually prefer it when they only throw in the stats after they make their case from the ‘actuality’ – if can excuse that expression – rather than just pure stats.

    It does go with what I said earlier about quick passing. If they put 3 players on one, that in effect means that that they have 2 players out of position if they don’t win the ball. The quick pass to Ozil was on?

    Like I said yesterday, my intuition leads me to think that Ramsey is best when he is on instinct, It is a bit like, i am told, what cocaine dos to the system, it speeds up the actions and adds to the confidence. Instinct and confidence is a deadly combination when executed with skill. This season Ramsey has stepped up another level or two, and I don’t believe it is coincidence that his two poorest games, well part of the Norwich game, and most of this one, are not linked to the fact that he has had to drop deeper. The alternative view might be the ‘bubble has burst’ from playing too many games. But that is hard to reconcile how improved in both games later on when given the freedom higher up? A point Squawka make in their report.

    In saying that I was not pointing the finger at him, just observing the difference. It was the manager that gave him that role?

    It was strange for me commentating on a game I watched live, as opposed to listening on the ‘Player, then viewing. Knowing when events were coming up I would be conscious of the way they described things, and so looking out anomalies. I really ought to go and view it again. In my pre-view I said that BD would attack down the wings and expected our backs not to get forward… yet there they were?

    Better move on. Our next game is there to push our tally in the league even higher.

    As for the COC, if we play all our big guns in that, you can guarantee Chelsea may respond? I would rather we go for the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ and both teams start with mostly academy players. Strong bench by all means, but neither side wants to stretch their first team with big league and CL games coming up?

  • nope, both as bad as each other @ Glics

    so let Chelsea Respond @ Gerry

    we have enough quality to beat whatever Chelsea put on the pitch

    they are playing Man City on sunday at 16:00

    and then they play us on Tuesday.

    we play CP on Saturday at 12:45

    there is plenty of recovery time for our big guns until we play on tuesday and less time for the Chelsea big guns to overcome a few niggles and knocks.

    what i’m trying to say is that , we should really go for it without any fear or any agreement of sorts

    at the end of the day, if we win the COC , then no one gives a tosh about who fielded what side, who fielded a reserve team, it says TROPHY WON.

  • Macko – Just to follow up your point from yesterday.

    The Squawka report kind of backs up what I was saying yesterday about Arteta. When he has an outlet ball to play forwards, one which the excellent Flamini would normally provide?, then he will use it. But in this match BD did their job of taking the passing space as well as press the players, so he had a tough time, especially from what they said about Wilshere’s positioning?
    But like you say, we can leave it there.

    That puts your visual impresson TA, rather out of kilter with others, not just 17HT. Desi Gunner, was equally critical, and did not put it down to the injury either. Perhaps you and me both should view the game again?

    For me it is not about losing. Or focusing on individual players, other than seeing where we can avoid similar happening again?

  • JB – Yes, we have the easier run up, but then we play Liverpool, wheras they go to Newcastle. The following week we go to Dortmund while they are at home to Schalke, who you may recall they have already beaten. The following Saturday we go Man U while they are at home to WBA.

    Can you be a little more consistent on your rotational policy? We need league points. We particularly need points from ‘Pool and United as well as Palace, and we want at least a point in Germany?

    I think I would rather play kids against kids before going on that run of games. If that stuffs our chance of the 3r tier silverware, then I’m happy to take that risk.

  • i am consistent with my rotational policy and have toned it down to 3 players (and then 3 get subbed after the first half to give a run to our 3 starters on tuesday) @ Gerry

    i have given my reasons for it as well in detail,

    and the changes i have mentioned for Saturday, ensures that we win and win big on saturday and then have a decent team vs Chelsea on Tuesday.

    it’s irrelevant who chelsea have after us, as i couldn’t care less after tuesday about their opponents.

    every game of football is important and we must go out to win, with our foot on the accelerator , i just feel that we have enough quality and squad depth PRESENTLY to cope with the likes of CP and Chelsea, if we play our cards right.

    it’s one week at a time for me as oppose to OGAT.

    let’s worry about LiverFOOL and Dortmund on wednesday.

  • Head and shoulders!!hahaha priceless Cockie!! 😆 well I must say I’ve no need of “Pole bashing” as I feel rather liberated from this mornings spin class!!! 😆
    I know “Pole bashing” brings a lot of relief to you JB!! Haha!! Just make sure to clean up after you or are you accountants too nervous to point out another mans stain!! 😆
    Actually they were pathetic really – but I’m just a muppet 😆
    Nice post Totes and I think the team didn’t up the gears enough as Gerry has mentioned but went into their shell after Santis shot was blocked around the 75 min mark. They Half pie attacked and half pie defended and paid the price with a fitter and more disciplined team. Wenger admitted he kept going for the win but this was in personnel only-he should have been barking from the sidelines from the 75 min mark or at least doing a French poodle version of Klopps rabid dog impression!! 😆
    I hope the academy guys get a full run in Cockies cup…. Psychologically if we can win that with the kids we will be flying and if not then we’ve saved our personnel for the PL.
    But if le prof can put a full strength out for Bradford then I expect he will for chelvski too!! 😀

  • TA, what a fantastic post.

    My sentiments after the game centred around “Progress”

    That’s what its all about, making the right moves forward both on and off the pitch.

    As for the match itself, a close and hard fought contest between 2 good teams, and won by the one who defended without mistakes.

  • Bondy, Fozzie has just sent me an email detailing his distress at the constant derision you adorn on our Polish keeper. Hes very upset about it, the stress is making him losing fur. If you keep going at this rate poor Fozzie will soon be known as “Furless Fozzie Transplant”

    What have you got to say about yourself?

  • Oh dear… he’s losing fur which means pretty soon , he won’t be able to use Head and Shoulders for longer.


  • anyhow, i’m more gutted for AW as the team failed to make his birthday, a one to remember… i’m hoping they will make up for it by putting on a mighty fine show in their next 5 matches – as a late birthday treat of sorts !

  • On the subject of Poles…..if Szczesny and Fabianski were giving each other a 69 ( in Poland this known as the North and South Pole manoeuvre ! ), would the magnetic strength be so strong that Arsene would not be able to pull the Poles apart ?.

  • Thanks guys 🙂

    Felt I had to write something about the game somehow and these were my thoughts yesterday evening.

    Tonight we will have a precious beauty from the Belgium-Fide Kiwi! 🙂

  • Great post, Total. It feel good to be back on Bergkampesque after being away for a few months, for work.
    Anyway, we all know what happens, we got “sucker-punched” in the guts while going all gong-ho for the winner. It was very bittersweet as I felt that we had Dortmund by the neck in the last half hour of the game and made them look like a fairly normal team. That was our problem though, wasn’t it? We were so super confident of scoring the winner that we forgot our number one priority: “Do Not Lose The Game!” As Wenger said, we were “naive”. Dortmund have great players who can punish you in less than a minute. That’s what they do, that’s what they are mostly known for. Yet, we played into their hands. Both our fullbacks when missing with Gibbs trailing badly for the cross and Sagna not even in the picture. Against a team like that, they should alternate going forward, not both at the same time.

    But overall, we played better than them, especially in the second half. I hope Ramsey learns that having too much confidence can sometimes make you a little too “cocky”, you feel you can do anything, you feel unstoppable until you are eventually stopped and brought back down to earth. It was drilling into my head by my University Coach that you never ever Ever try to dribble the ball in your own box or close to it. You get that ball out of there in a hurry and regroup as a unit. I hope Ramsey learns from this and doesn’t beat himself up too much, because we need his confidence and goal-scoring this season. I have a good feeling he will redeem himself with a brace against BD in the return leg.

    Two important observations that I have: #1 is that although I love Jack Wilshere (I even have his jersey!), he should not have started this particular game. We badly needed width to stretch out the Dortmund defense but he offered us none. He kept coming inside and not giving the fullbacks especially Sagna on the right, any outlet. Things improved dramatically when Santi came on, although that could be also due in part to BD playing cautious. Hopefully, we will have Theo back as another option. #2 is that in the first half, our pressing was aweful. we were playing way too close to the CBs and gave them too much time on the ball even though we were the home team. Plus those Germans never seem to tire!
    If we take the game to them the same way we “humiliated” both AC Milan at the Emirates last year and Bayern Munich in Munich earlier this year, and keep the same intensity throughout the game, I have no doubt that we will win in Dortmund.

    This is only a minor blip that will be forgotten in due time. Let’s regroup and show everyone (I am talking to you, big-mouth AVB) that we mean business this season.

    6-nil against Palace!

  • steady there now @ TA – he’s American 😉 only pointing it out because Fozzie get’s a bit sentimental about the Kiwi connection, ha

    ahahahahhahahahahaahhah @ TCM

  • Sorry Totes…..I didn`t realise we were at another post, with so much activity, I feel like VCC at a Railway lost property shop full of Zimmers after losing one and trying to control a boner………..not knowing whether I`m coming or going !

  • If Tottenham can secure a safe passage tonight, it will allow them to focus on their Premier League challenge in the next few months. They are currently fifth, three points behind leaders Arsenal, but Andre Villas-Boas is unconvinced by his side’s north London rivals so far this season – suggesting they are yet to be fully tested.

    “We will see the big fixtures coming now for Arsenal,” said AVB. “They have only played us so far and they have both Chelsea and Manchester City to come, and Liverpool.

    “I suppose the fixture list at the moment is in favour of Manchester United as they have played all the big teams so far, apart from us, so that will give them a chance to bounce back, for sure.”

    AVB mind games?


    get out of her you wanna be who said ” we won’t be repeating the same mistakes as last year and lose out to Arsenal for the CL ” guess what happened ; ) history repeated itself !

  • Here’s one to generate some debate in the tap room tonight. Which Premier League team has the best squad? Jan Vertonghen believes Tottenham can lay claim to that title – pointing to the quality of players they manage to turn out for the Europa League. After all, Emmanuel Adebayor can’t even get a game these days.

    “You have teams like City, United, Arsenal, who have very strong squads, but I think our strength is our bench,” said Vertonghen.

    “We have the same situation in the Belgium national squad. We can bring players on to the pitch who are unbelievable and we even have players who are not available at the moment. Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal have very strong squads, but ours is one of the strongest, 100 per cent.”

    oh dear, some please give this deluded Pansie a biscuit or a Cockie ; ) he’s comparing his squad and team with Arsenal ahahahahahhahahahaaahahhaahhaha after they have spent 110 million to replace ONE PLAYER


  • Sorry Bondage, but I have to agree ( I have previously posted it anyway ) with AVB that we have had an easy start. However, the Spuds haven’t had an exactly hard one their selves ( apart from us and Chavs ), but what I`m really interested in, is too see what happens to the Spuds at the end of the season and next season if they do not get CL. They have spent big for players who wont want to keep missing out on CL football and can they perennially keep spending more money than us with no end result ?. More misery to continue in N17 ?.

  • how dare you side and agree with the ENEMY @ TCM – where is Glic ? what have you done to him 👿

    you’re only as good as what’s put in front of you, the teams we have faced have all been decent teams, one that can or may have already beaten other teams and will most likely be holding the likes of Spuds, city, Chelsea back.

    you will come on board with the Arsenal revolution after we beat the likes of LiverFOOL and Man utd at old toilet.

    no worries.

  • As for squads…..imo, Chavs and City have the strongest…….then us, Manscum and Spuds equal, but also, if we didn`t suffer from so many injuries, we would be up with the two first mentioned. As for Manscum, although not as strong, they have always had the ” Presence ” factor, the Reff factor, that something you cant put your finger on which always gives them an edge. Have they lost it with SAF retiring…who knows ?. Write them off though at your peril though !.

  • i have already written them off before they had kicked a ball 😉 too late for me it appears, ha

    look at it this way, it’s better to have won as many matches as we have and accumulated the number of points we have and being number 1 as opposed to dropping points and being mid-table .

  • Yes Bondage !…….The defining games to see whether we are the real deal or a babies squeal !…,.but first the matter of Palace and a full strength team to annihilate them !…….as long as my Cockie hypnotism hasn`t worn off yet !…….Arsene……look into my………

  • Bondy, i have noticed a latent angryness in Cockie recently. Perhaps he is gettting muddled with his other pet fetish “Latex angryness”?

    No way can Totnumb Hotspurt squad can be compared with Arsenal. Basicaly we are class and there..errr.. whats the right word…Shit, yes, thats it, there SHIT

  • Hi TA. Yes, agree with the sentiments here. As time has worn on since the game, my sense of disappointment has moderated. If we played that game 10 times we would draw most, win a couple and lose a couple; we shouldn’t take too much from it, other than we were competitive against top opposition.

    As for the games ahead, I am a believer in momentum and the boost that winning gives a team, even when tired. So I am squarely in the take no chances space for the CP game – play hard from the off and aim to have the game won by half time; if we can rest players then, wonderful, but lets take no chances with PL points. On to Chelsea – well it depends on how we have played and fatigue levels; but the same principle of trying to build winning runs holds true. If we have to rotate, then lets go the whole hog and play the kids.

    I keep reading, here and elsewhere, people arguing that we must start beating the top PL sides. I would love us to of course, but looking back over recent seasons, it is not these games that has really cost us, its the many points we have lost against bottom of the league teams through basic complacency. Imagine 60 points from our games against the bottom 10 sides and where that would place us in the race come the end of the season? Top would be my bet!

    One game only for now – lets stuff CP properly, and move on from there.

  • Evening ringpiece revellers!! 😀
    I am now officially a shaven haven muppet much to Mrs P’s pleasure!! 😆

  • JB and TA

    And in America just now so responses will be weirdly delayed. Apologies in advance!

    JB, just right. They are only tested by us and Chavs. You forgot a key aspect. And found wanting…

    We will see… I am again per my above not too upset. I call last game a “draw in the loss column” that could easily have gone our way with some better luck. Annnnd, we werent 100% on all game so… I am still confident enough.

    cheers — jgc

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