How should Arsenal line up to beat West Ham?

Arsène Wenger will listen to constructive criticism about Arsenal but not opinions based on hunches

After a couple of tough weeks it is time for Arsenal to bounce back with a full-blooded, quality performance against the Hammers. We might not be ready yet to put the bigger teams to the sword, but as Manure has demonstrated often enough, we don’t have to do this in order to become champions. The next games against West Ham, Newcastle United and Cardiff are our bread and butter games this season.

Win today with a convincing performance and the wind is back under our wings. We mustn’t grumble or sulk about the last few weeks but just concentrate now on our next fixture with the discipline of OGAAT: three points are at stake. Sammi Allerdici will do absolutely everything to deny us a win today and only a fully committed performance will get us there. This game will have the feel and intensity of a cup game, with both the Hammers and Gunners having good Boxing Day records.

It will be interesting to see who Wenger will start and what sort of formation he will go for. It looks like Koscielny is back in contention, and nobody got injured on Monday so the Frenchman has a strong group of players to choose from.

It was quite a surprise to see Flamini rested on Monday; maybe Wenger did not want to give Dean a half decent excuse to send one of our players off (no risk there with Koz and Jack πŸ™‚ ), or he just was not impressed with the fellow Frenchman’s slightly under-par performance against the Northern Oilers. I reckon we will need him back though, as Arteta had a hard, knackering game just three days ago.

TV5 did well against the Chavs and it will be interesting to see whether he will get another game or whether Koz will return tomorrow. My gut feeling is the latter but I would be happy to see Tommy getting another game.

Who will play in midfield and on the wings is another good question. Will Ozil get rested, and if so, will Cazorla play in the hole? Will Pod and Theo start this time round, or are we going with four or even five midfielders? And will Giroud get another start, or will we try Theo or Pod up-front?

I feel Arsene will not make too many drastic changes as he will want his ‘A-team’ to get back to winning ways, but I could be wrong.

  1. What do you reckon will be Wenger’s line-up and formation today?
  2. If it was you, what formation would you choose and who would you play?
  3. What is your predicted half time and final score?
  4. Who will score for us today and who will assist (if any)?

Written by: TotalArsenal.

Please also check out this great blog by a blog-friend of mine with the godly name of Dennis, who has a real passion for football shirts:

He also recently set up a dedicated Arsenal Kits page, and you will find yours truly back at the bottom of it:

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332 Responses to How should Arsenal line up to beat West Ham?

  1. Gerry says:

    TA – Snappy and to the point. That is what I will be.

    I think you are wrong about Sam going all out to beat us. They play West Brom in two days time, who also play again some 60 hours later. Which is the more likely they will pick up points?

    They will give it a go, but if they go 2-nil down he will bring on defensive subs.

    Just finshing my cofee back with a possible line up shortly …

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Good point, Gerry. But they play at home and Sammi loathes Wenger, so best is to be prepared for a tough encounter.

  3. Gerry says:

    Right, the changes need not be a great problem, as those ‘rested’ will be on the bench, thus available if needed.
    Szcz; Sagna; Mert; TV5; Nacho; Flamini; Walcott; Cazorla; Ramsey; Podolski; Giroud.

    Bench: Fab; Jenks; Frimpong; Gibbs; Ozil; Bendtner; Gnabry

    Thinking behind it – Arteta rested completely. I am sure he would love to play the Flamteta, but safer to rest one, and play the other. Frimpong is insurance against Flam not making the 90. Gibbs if needed. Ditto Ozil, but expect Santi to shine, and do an Arshavin if h is the ‘main man’ again. Bendtner to sub Giro to keep team shape. Gnabry on for Pod, possibly as a double sub on the hour.

    I expect us to go ahead in the first half; Santi and Pod. Therefore suggested subs will be safe enough?

  4. Gerry says:

    TA – they are at home on Saturday too? He is a pragmatic manager, get the points first and worry about beating us when their position is safe.

  5. Gerry says:

    Oh yes, Q3 Giro and Walcott assisting.
    Giving the final score is predicting a result isn’t it?

  6. James Bond says:

    nice one, TA

    but you are mistaken if you think that fat sam is going to go for a win, if you think Jose.M plays ugly, then Meet Fat Sam who puts the G in Ugly, there was a reason why I had predicted WHU going down back to the championship, it’s their manager and style of play – boring and dull, actually, I much rather watch paint dry than be a WHU supporter.

    anyhow, Koc won’t be involved today it appears

    so I’m gonna go for this and keep the obvious there.

    Jenks……Nacho……………Flamini………….Santiago ………Podolski………….

    at the expense of, Sagna, Gibbs, Arteta, Rosicky and Ozil.

    5-0 Arsenal.

  7. Afternoon Arsenes Arse Ache Acceptors ! πŸ˜†

    Looking at previous comments, Totes, I think your secret project is definitely….splif smuggling as you kept referring to Fozzie as Cockie !. Yes, it`s suspicious that one site can have two such fruit cakes from another planet, but I`m from Mars and Fozzies from Uranus !, which I think is where you are also importing your spliffs from as only you think that it is ….good shit !. hahaha

  8. Gerry says:

    No changes at all!!

  9. James Bond says:

    TEAM NEWS – West Ham v Arsenal (1500 GMT)
    Carlton and Joe Cole both start for West Ham as Sam Allardyce starts with a recognised centre-forward – unusual for him.

    Arsenal make just one change from the 0-0 draw with Chelsea, as Tomas Rosicky is replaced by Santi Cazorla.

    West Ham XI: Adrian, O’Brien, Tomkins, Collins, McCartney, Jarvis, Nolan, J Cole, Noble, Diame, C Cole

    Arsenal XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud

  10. James Bond says:

    there is a change @ Gerry

    Rosicky out and Santiago in

    hello Glics:)

  11. James Bond says:

    Rosicky has been completed rested, I wonder If he’s being saved for Newcastle away ?

    can I just say this nice and early, I hope AW has a plan and the plan is to win this game in the first half and then rest 3 players nice and early (Ramsey, Ozil and Arteta/ Giroud) because IF it doesn’t go according to plan then this will be a 4th game in a row, where we will be discussing AW’s Tactics or the lack off.

    in Wenger we trust, come on you gooners !!!!!

  12. Hi Commander !.
    We are in a shit EPL vein of form, so we need to do something different otherwise we will be even more points behind like for like than we currently are !. I`m going to try a new slant to rally the troops and introduce a war cry before each match and if it works and betters our like for like results from last season, then it will stay !.
    By kind permission of JB, I have translated the cry and it just so happens to be Swahili for COYG !.

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow just the one change and still no Flamini

  14. I made that 4 cries, so it should be 4-0 to the Arse !.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Cockie, I am convinced you are from the same cyber egg as Fozzer – two butters with a phallic complex is too good to be true πŸ™‚

  16. James Bond says:

    i like Phil dowd, glad we got a fairly unbiased ref for a change.


  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi James, good points re resting players after the job is done. Fingers crossed. UTA!

  18. ‘Morning boys…Boxing day…What a tradition. Here we have nothing…except maybe deep sales on Christmas gear for those who just can’t miss a sale…

    United SERIOUSLY getting by on their wits and very lucky to not drop points at Tigers (Hull City?–What’s the official name these days?)…

    I caught up on last night’s great discussion about the Chelsea match and while I understand the idea about not falling into a Mourinho trap, I also don’t understand what’s going on with playing only 11 in that match and then sending 10 of them back out today. I’m happy to go with the idea that Wenger is thinking long term and I’m also OK thinking that we may have had some fitness issues which hampered the line-ups I would have liked to see–Flamini hurt now, Walcott not ready before… Still, some head scratching for me–not a good thing for the guy whose forehead gets bigger with each passing day…

    But that’s all in the past and today is about today, so go on you reds, etc… (!!!!)

  19. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA, I’d say those nutters both use plenty of butters, so no foul, play on, I say… πŸ˜€

  20. James Bond says:

    I Just watched most of our players take shots from outside the box to test sczy, and guess what ? Poldi looks lethal, what a left foot – it’s absolute dynamite, hit the post as Sczny watched and then he rocketed one to the crowd from outside the box

    and all the other players shots, Sczny saved with ease : )

    play Poldi in this one @ AW

    come on !!!

  21. alexgunners says:

    Good Evening guys,

    Hope you all had a wonderfully Christmas and that we all receive our presents today.

    3-0 to the Arsenal


  22. James Bond says:

    Hi 17HT: )

    utd got gifted a goal by their former trainee/player and then a red card for valencia – the ref should have added more time to the injury stoppage time, IMO

    anyhow, they are not our rivals, let them fight it out with spuds and newcastle, for the Europa league

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha, yes 17, they love their butters.

    Not very surprised Wenger sends out same team, and let’s hope they all have a good game.

  24. alexgunners says:

    Here we go, The teams are coming out

  25. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Alex (How’s Bella? Flashing the smiles yet?…) Hey 007…

    This West Ham line-up looks poor–How old are those Cole brothers?… Still, we’ve got to break down their bus…I’m looking for some Messy to Theo and Geo…Agreed about trying to get some Lu-lu love as well after the hour mark. Also, time for Santi to try some long ones (shots AND passes…) or shaping and slipping as he used to do… This fixture was a good one for him last year as I recall…

    Coming out of the tunnel into the bubbles….

  26. alexgunners says:

    Hi 17ht,
    All is great here. Bella is certainly flashing the smiles, has been for a couple of weeks now. Thank you for asking. How have you been?

    Agree with you guys, Let’s get Poldi out there and watch him score a screamer with his left foot in the second half

  27. James Bond says:

    blimey, TR is injured AGAIN πŸ˜†

    really, it’s not even funny anymore ahahahahahahahahhaha – I feel like crying πŸ˜€

  28. Fozzie B says:

    Good afternoon Hurting and Harrassed Hampton Hammer Henchmen!! πŸ˜†
    Thanks for prematch Totes!!
    JB do you have a good link for your furry friend?
    COYRRG’s !!! πŸ˜€

  29. alexgunners says:


    There are several links available, hopefully a couple of good ones for you

  30. 17highburyterrace says:

    I’m OK…bit of a tough holiday with our ancient dog failing and the family trading turns with the flu… My 11 year old wasn’t flashing too many pre-teen scowls yesterday (still VERY excited by the Xmas stuff)…

    Looks like a quick pitch in East London and Hammers willing to go forward…

    Theo goes to quick for Santi’s throughball…

  31. Fozzie B says:

    Man I can’t believe only one change? Like you say JB, can only hope he is going to make wholesale changes later or we will be toasted by the Geordies!! Ozils eyes will be popping out of his skull!!

  32. Fozzie B says:

    Oh wait they already have πŸ˜†
    Thanks JB πŸ˜€

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    Early FK given…Clumsy from both players (C. Cole and Rambo)…

    Ultimately we defend it away… Set pieces would seem the big worry today

  34. alexgunners says:

    Definitely sounds like a bit of a tough time. Sorry to hear. Things can only get better, Well lets hope so anyway

  35. alexgunners says:

    Looked like OG should’ve had that header.

  36. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good chance there on the Sagna cross…Giroud not quite getting the Salmon shape for the header…

    We’ll be fine, but thanks Alex…

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    We’re looking just a tad flat and have given another FK…

    Goals will be had today, the first one being important….

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    Santi looks bright early on…Rambo a bit less so… C’mon fellas!

  39. alexgunners says:

    Rambo seems off his game of late. He needs to turn that form around

  40. Fozzie B says:

    Thanks Alex πŸ˜€ this pitch will suit us thankfully! πŸ˜€

  41. 17highburyterrace says:

    Santi close with the long range header…Corners not very effective but at least the action is at their end now…

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil’s got some SKILZ! Just a routine possession touch, but it opened my eyes this early morning… Santi, however, off with his…

  43. Fozzie B says:

    Singing “we’ve got a BFG” nice and loud!! Love it!! Haha πŸ˜†

  44. 17highburyterrace says:

    That’s a lot of shirt, my friend… First card of the day…Our set pieces aren’t amounting to much (yet)…

  45. alexgunners says:

    We are having a lot of touches but the final ball is yet to be produced. We will get there

  46. 17highburyterrace says:

    Little bit better and Theo’s pace doing it’s “threat” thing and helping to instill fear in the open game… We still need better balls at the end and that first goal…

    Looks like Sunderland are a goal and a man up at Everton….

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    Long ball from Sir Chez to (little) Sagna leads to a chance… Santi off target from distance, however…

    Giroud, ponderous and wide after the through ball from Messy…

  48. alexgunners says:

    There seems to be a lot of frustration creeping up with our players. We need to just settle and pass the ball around quickly. We are a little flat going forward

  49. 17highburyterrace says:

    C’mon Rambo…got to do better after brave work from Santi deep…

    Offense breaking down in the final third… Santi and Theo (as one would expect…) look bright and eager… Giroud, Ozil, Ramsey a little bit less so?…

    Defensive injury for West Ham?

  50. alexgunners says:

    would love to see Poldi and Gnabry up front in the second half

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    We need to stay calm, goal will come. πŸ™‚

  52. 17highburyterrace says:

    Agreed, Total… One before the half would be a tasty treat….

  53. alexgunners says:

    Great play by Ozil and Santi.

  54. 17highburyterrace says:

    Freaking brilliant from Ozil…(and Santi…) pass too quick for Giroud?…

  55. 17highburyterrace says:

    TV5 well forward, dives nicely to win a FK…

  56. 17highburyterrace says:

    Arteta close after Santi smashes the 5 yard wall… Looks like nil-nil going to the half…

    Uh oh, lefty FK given the other way for TV5 handball….

  57. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sir Chez saw it and was calling for somebody to pick up Nolan… bit of a let off…

    Giroud almost Gervinho-esque whiffing at Gibbs nice cross…

    Half time,,,

  58. alexgunners says:

    Gervinho-esque , could not have described it better.
    OG just has to find his string shoes again and it will all start happening for him

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Deserved a couple of goals for that display but Ollie is not sharp…..

  60. James Bond says:

    for all those on the Giroud bandwagon, saying week in week out what a brilliant HOLDING striker he is,

    I ask them, be honest with yourselves, and reflect on his first half performance here, any other striker including bendtner could have scored least once or connected, hell, even my NAN could have scored one of those.

    PS: banter – hold your horses, ha – but on a more serious note, we need a holding midfielder and not a holding striker πŸ™‚

  61. alexgunners says:


  62. Admir says:

    How many chances Giroud needs to spurn before he scores? I’m one of his biggest fans but he is always one step to slow. If we had a proper striker instead of him today, this one would have been put to bed by now.

  63. James Bond says:

    and as mentioned before , we failed to kill off the game after having a good 4-5 golden chances to do so, we have to up the tempo and we may end up winning handsomely but you have to ask, at what cost @ Newcastle ?

    Bring on Poldi please @ 60th minute

  64. alexgunners says:

    Completely understand your frustrations, we already have the Pod who can now come in and help get some goals. As for OG, he does need to score but it will happen. He offers more than just striking but he definitely could be more clinical.

    We need someone more in the mould of Eduardo. Suarez or that ReallyVilePrick unfortunately are in a class of their own and are hard to come by.

  65. James Bond says:

    you lot often think that I criticize OG without merit and because he’s a decent holding striker and puts in a shift, everything is alright – no, it’s not – any other striker playing for Arsenal would have had a hat-trick next to their name as we speak

    we may well go on to win and OG may yet go on to score 3 or 4 goals, but it won’t change my stance on him one bit – he’s a limited striker , one that does not fit into our style of play.

  66. James Bond says:

    fully agreed @ Alex

    we need someone like a Tevez, Suarez, Aguero, Lukaku, Benteke, Hernandez , Costa.

    you know that him playing so many games and being jaded doesn’t hold merit either, especially after a 9 day break as well – those were bread n butter chances for ANY striker, holding or mobile

    I wonder, what young Dylan makes of his 1st half performance so far ?

  67. alexgunners says:

    He is limited and Arsenal as a club have been successful when we’ve had multiple scorers from different positions. This was happening earlier in the season but it has started to dry up a bit. We had Rambo, Ozil, OG and even JW getting in on the action but as all teams do we are having a dry spell.

    I am not saying that OG will not cut it in our team but we do need another option of a more clinical striker who can take us to the next level

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    You need to just support, JB, that’s what you got to right now.

  69. James Bond says:

    that is it, I hope all our Giroud talk will pay dividends and he comes out and scores a brace or even more goals in the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half @ Alex

    cOYG, come on giiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrroud, you can do this !!!

  70. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, fresh coffee has been pulled…

    To me this is a carry-over from the discussion about managerial tactics. Fat Sam obviously told his boys to play and to try and earn some FKs and corners… As such we should be doing better on the break and down at their end when they regroup. Giroud looks a liability in these situations because he’s not fast enough to really get out on the break nor is he there to do the finishing. The hold up guy gets caught to deep on the pitch…

    My guess is that Fat Sam will try to press for 5, 10 or 15 minutes but then work for nil-nil if it’s still on tap. I would like to see an early move for Poldi, but I haven’t seen him in training so I’ll also trust the manager…

    Press hard and get the early goal seems the preferred route…(I’d love to see Santi rewarded for lots of good work in the first period…)

    Some interesting red cards getting shown around the league… Remy missed a pen after the one up in Toon-land but then gets a deflected goal…

  71. Admir says:

    I want a new striker in January but it won’t happen before 31st January, if it happens at all. I’d go for Miroslav Klose – a short-term signing that would add goals and co-operate well with Ozil and Podolski.

  72. 17highburyterrace says:


    Sir Chez spills it…


  73. alexgunners says:

    The bus will officially be parked now.

  74. James Bond says:

    i’m glad WHU scored…and the lesser I talk about the manner in which we conceded (Sczny) the better.

    now expect a reply.

  75. 17highburyterrace says:

    That’s not what I meant by “an early goal”….

    Bad pass from Theo, and then a pass directly to the West Ham player from Mikel…

    Must. Do. Better.

    On the plus side, there’s time to do so πŸ˜€

  76. alexgunners says:

    what the hell has happened to us defensively, we are being carved open

  77. 17highburyterrace says:

    That should’ve been two…but it should be zero if these hammers refuse to pick a post…

    Giroud goes post, but wide from an impossible angle….

  78. alexgunners says:

    definite handball inside the box. Should have been a penalty

  79. 17highburyterrace says:

    Point blank range, Alex, so it would have been harsh, I think…

    We just need some better final balls…Mind, they should have two goals if they had better final balls themselves…

    And a third gilt edged chance for Hammers…

    We need to punish them for NOT parking the bus… Or are they starting to, as they clear to no one?…

  80. James Bond says:

    2nd yellow, come on , take it out, REF

    come on!!!

  81. alexgunners says:

    @17ht, Yes it was point blank but i am a very one eyed supporter

  82. James Bond says:

    ffs that should have been a sending off, ffs ffs

    why fucking why wasn’t the 2nd yellow given

  83. 17highburyterrace says:

    FKs fooling nobody…

    Cole misses a gaping goal…How many more let offs will they give us?…

  84. alexgunners says:

    We have been really lucky!!!!!!!!!!
    Rambo is having a shocker, losing the ball in the midfield and not tracking back. This is the 3rd time this half it has happened

  85. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gotcha Alex on the Hand ball…

    Just gotta get this goal and they will melt…

  86. alexgunners says:

    It is time for some changes. Let’s not wait any longer

  87. 17highburyterrace says:

    Double Save!! Ozil and Santi looking good but it’s just not happening… Big half hour coming here…

  88. James Bond says:

    bring on the Pod and Gnabry for Ramsey and Theo

  89. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ramsey hurt and coming off…Or not? WTF? Let’s not lose 5 mins doing this change…

  90. James Bond says:

    Managers and tactics

    big sam takes off one of his defenders as he was on a yellow

    where as we should have taken off ramsey 5 minutes ago, didn’t and he gets injured

    and now we bring on the Pod

    baffling tactics , once more.

  91. 17highburyterrace says:

    Poldolski instantly hurt?

    Great tackles from Mert then Arteta…Need that equalizer, eh…AND THERE IT IS!!!


  92. Admir says:

    I believe we need a new striker ASAP. Poor management from Wenger proves he should not get a new contract untill he deserves one.

  93. 17highburyterrace says:

    Double save and then that (from the Hammer’s keeper)

    Now for the winner…Poldolski blasts but high…

  94. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil and Poldi look a happy pair..

    THEO!!! # 2 with the head!!!!

  95. alexgunners says:

    All credit given to Walcott, reacted quickly after the deflection from the defender

  96. alexgunners says:

    nice by Santi ad Poldi, unfortunate that he didn’t finish it

  97. 17highburyterrace says:

    Poldolski cross had pace and bend… Lucky deflection or great reaction from Theo? Rambo off seems the key? Keeper saves from Lu-lu…

  98. alexgunners says:

    As i said earlier, Rambo really was having a shocker, just do hope that the injury is not to serious tho’

  99. 17highburyterrace says:

    Santi almost curls it back with his left…

    More, more, more, I say… πŸ˜€ We’ve got the winner, now to gloss it up a bit…Taylor has a good left foot…Can’t give them any FKs…

  100. 17highburyterrace says:

    Let’s put this one away (get a 3rd…), but did anybody else think that Rambo almost looked a little bulky, like too much weight room?


  101. alexgunners says:

    Gotta love him

  102. 17highburyterrace says:

    There’s your hold up striker!! Great lay off from Ollie!!!

  103. alexgunners says:

    I agree, weight room or xmas pudding????

  104. AB says:

    that’s the one we wanted – welcome back Pod!!!

  105. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil off, Flams on…

    Glad that nobody got bitch twitchy…This one was in the bag the whole time, I guess… πŸ˜‰

  106. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alex, I agree with your thought about Theo’s adjustment on the 2nd, headed goal…if we’re gonna go on agreeing with each other…

    Nick Bendtner to finish those chances Giroud couldn’t?…

  107. alexgunners says:

    i was surprised to see theo on the end of that deflected cross. Theo never contests any headers. If he intentionally adjusted, then all credit to him. If not, I will take the goal whichever way it comes πŸ™‚

  108. 17highburyterrace says:

    So, Ramsey (and Rosicky) enforced rest might be a good thing? Good chance for Jack to come back?…

    Nicky wide and never once looking for Theo on the break…

  109. 17highburyterrace says:

    Arteta giveaway…Think he might take a rest (bench place) at Toon? The West Ham goal will be blamed on Szcz but Arteta passed the shooter the ball…

    Mert SCREAMING at people with a minute to play (I love it!)

    Uh, this is why Bendtner doesn’t get more minutes…

  110. 17highburyterrace says:

    Full time…And they take us straight to Goodison where Sunderland look to win a big 3 pts…

  111. James Bond says:

    we are TOP of the league !!!

    why ? because AW brought on Podolski, the injury to Ramsey was a blessing in disguise ? I would certainly say so, with JW coming back

    I said it at the top, Poldi should play on evidence of his warm up free-kicks, soon as he comes on, the tempo of the game changed and the Pod could have scored 3 goals himself

    in all honesty, we should have scored 5 plus goals in this one

    but I am not gonna complain or moan since WE ARE THE TOP OF THE LEAGUE


  112. alexgunners says:

    Gotta love our BIG F@#KING GERMAN
    all heart, passion and 110% Gooner.

    IMO Arteta needs to be given a spell on the bench. The guy has given his all in his time at our club but i feel that he is starting to struggle. He still has a part to play but i feel that he commits a lot of unnecessary fouls as a result of not being able to keep up.

    All i can say is that we really needed these 3 points and we still have a lot of work to do. I am not calling for major buys in the TW but we need to address our mentality and strength in our games.
    We are half way through our season. All we have to do is match our results and guess what??? We might actually be champions again

  113. alexgunners says:

    Sunderland cost me 5 out of 5 on my predictions.

  114. James Bond says:

    more like Tim howard cost you @ Alex

    and this is why we should play 4-3-3 sometimes @ AW – there is no substitute for real pace and venom provided by Theo on the right and the Pod on the left

    I’m sure, most of the gooners will be worrying about Ramsey but I honestly believe, it’s a blessing in disguise, gives a chance to the lad to rest up and keep his head down for a little bit – has been trying a lot of needless and fancy stuff lately, which was not needed at all

    with Koc coming back, Flamini fully rested, and both theo and Pod on fire – enter Newcastle πŸ™‚

  115. alexgunners says:

    Big game agains the bar codes. We need to get all 3 points.

    @JB, right you are, I have tim howard to blame

  116. Gerry says:

    Well my plus points, apart from the win:

    Santi was fine once he became the ‘main man’

    I cot the scorers and assisters right, if not in the right order.

    K. Gibbs unfortunately deserves a rest,, will Nacho cope?

    Note Sam’s first sub after they scored … a defender.

    Before you knock Giro to hard, he did give Poldi an assist?


    Oh if I wasn’t feeding the dogs at half time, may be my lucky scarf would have kept us a clean sheet?

  117. Admir says:

    Great victory in the end. πŸ™‚ It’s funny how many things repeated from the same fixture last season – we played it after a home game against Chelsea, we conceded first again, Cazorla looked lively again, it was Walcott who completed a come-back and Phil Dowd was the referee. Unfortunately, Rambo got injured – just like Gibbs had gotten last season.

    Oh, and Joey O’Brien should have been sent off in the first half IMHO after that foul on Vermaelen.

  118. Back from Bath…..know we won, but not the score, so will now watch it on BT Sport as I recorded it !. What a way to watch stress free games !. hahaha
    Still 4 points worse off ( to be confirmed by my accountant fiend JB ! ) like for like though !. hahaha

  119. James Bond says:

    Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, Toure, Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Silva, Nasri, Negredo. Subs: Milner, Dzeko, Javi Garcia, Clichy, Pantilimon, Nastasic, Boyata.

    Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Cissokho, Henderson, Allen, Lucas, Sterling, Suarez, Coutinho. Subs: Brad Jones, Toure, Agger, Alberto, Aspas, Moses, Smith

    yep, man for man our subs bench is stronger than both Man city and Liverpool

    what is all the fuss about us not having enough squad depth ? someone please explain ?

    we have enough squad depth to compete with most if, not everyone – just look above at the 2 teams subs benches

    it’s not the sub players fault or squad players fault , if AW doesn’t use them more often.

  120. James Bond says:

    behave yourself @ Glics πŸ™‚

    we are TOTL, so let us hope for a miracle (a draw between man $hity and LiverFOOL) or Liverfool getting an absolute thrashing , both will do just fine.

  121. macko says:

    @ 007 Giroud hat trik lol πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  122. 17highburyterrace says:

    We rode our luck a bit there but it worked out and, hopefully, will show that we’ve got a measure of character. Newcastle will be a much tougher test…

    Yeah, I hate to say it but I’ve got a bunch of respect for Fat Sam. His team is down to bare bones and the injury to their defender couldn’t have helped. We’re getting there ourselves and I think we have to hope that Flamini isn’t nursing a knock. His screaming (in French?…) will be a key up there in Newcastle.

    This is one with enough attacking moments to make an enjoyable re-watch…and we still have no snow, so maybe I’ll watch it again. Certainly, I was a bit harsh on Arteta for the goal, but I was just trying to spare Sir Chez the full measure of his spilled catch…

    At the other end, Giroud just doesn’t have the quickest feet and Theo gets his tangled with the ball quite a bit. There was A LOT of luck on the first goal–the ball popped up nicely and then they let the straight dribbler (somehow) go in…The 2nd one, however, was nice…

    Finally, before we start saying that Poldolski must start, his running looked even more iffy than I remember…The flip-side is calmness (to pick a cross or a post…) but would he look good against a team that hadn’t already been run ragged? Santi, I think, still get the call over and Giroud won’t get sat unless he picks up a Weng-jury in training…

    City-‘Pool kicking off…

  123. James Bond says:

    Hi Macko πŸ™‚

    well, you can laugh at me but what else can I do, other than get behind the players and wish them well, ehhhhh

    I said it before, it’s not Giroud’s fault that he is playing as Holding striker, when we don’t have another striker to compliment him, however, the Pod came on and he looked slightly better.

  124. 17highburyterrace says:

    The bottom line is that it would be really sweet if we had a forward who 1) could run with the ball, (beat players off the dribble) AND play the correct final ball, 2) give shape to our attack (i.e., hold up play and provide a target for long, pressure relieving long balls), 3) AND move his feet quick enough and gather himself for one touch finishes, ideally with his head and (both) feet…

    Let’s rate strikers in all three categories–but the key is you have to watch them every minute of every match, not just in the highlight reels…Yes Giroud would rate poorly, but so too would Theo and Poldolski and Bendtner. (I’m not sure how many–in the world–would really make the grade if we held them to this standard…) Maybe if we could melt them all down we could mold (mould?) a truly great striker. At least Giroud (and Theo) kept working today so that by the time Lulu came on the Hammers were ripe for a beating… Bendtner was too selfish to enjoy his cameo, I thought…Maybe looking for his January move a bit too eagerly…

    Wow…Linesmen helping City at their home stadium again…Oil money greasing a pocket or three?…

  125. 17highburyterrace says:

    Whoa…Pool draw first blood…Coutinho cool as a clam or calm as a cool, or something…

  126. AFC says:

    Hi guys, πŸ™‚

    My thoughts on both matches:

    On the Chelsea match, I’m in two minds but leaning towards TA’s thoughts. Thank God Wenger did not fall in Mourinho’s trap. You could Mourinho was pissed after the match because we played him at his own game which was shown by his comments about us playing boring football. However could we have done a little bit more to win match, I do not know but I am happy with the draw.

    Really happy we got the three points against West Ham. I was clueless as to why Wenger chose not use the players (Flamini, Podolski etc), we rested against Chelsea but it all worked out.

    On Giroud, I think he has enough support. Many are calling for him to play up front in a ‘2’ but in my opinion he already has that support when Walcott is playing on the RM/RW and plays that role of a hybrid winger/supporting striker. With Podolski on the LM/LW or Walcott on the RM/RW he should have enough support.

    Many are calling for a world class CF/ST and I agree. I world also say we are missing that world class DM destroyer. Still a lot of work to be done on the squad.

    On to the next match where can hopefully get another 3 points. πŸ™‚

  127. 17highburyterrace says:

    City equalize–set piece… A draw would be sweet… First Suarez dive, not bought…

    With Everton and Totts dropping points at home and United sneaking all three on the road, it’s all gonna get that much tighter… So’ton and Toonies both win so they stay up there too… 1-nil for Jose and boring, boring Chelsea. Roman may WISH he had a manager who knew how to blend his purchases into a pleasing style, but (like EVERYBODY…) he hates losing even more…

    City have issues on defense…Lescott may have cost an extra 50% over what Kolo did but both of them (plus DiMichelis)…are old and iffy…

    Oooooh…Suarez does soooo much but this time Coutinho can’t finish…Good save from Hart….

  128. James Bond says:

    City the one man (Aguero) team are standing up : )

  129. 17highburyterrace says:

    Spoke too soon there, 007… πŸ˜€

    Ball from Navas splits Sakho and Skrtl…and Negredo spins one off Mingo’s hand… match over but for bitey boy…

  130. James Bond says:

    liverFool will score, don’t worry about that and a Draw will be perfecto

    in all honesty, it should have been 2-2 after that brilliant bit of work from suarez to set up Coutinho a few minutes earlier.

  131. James Bond says:

    Hi AFC,

    well many want a striker but I want a Goal keeper first – then a DM and then a Striker, but I’m one of a kind and in the minority here, ha

  132. James Bond says:

    agreed with the voice of reason aka 17HT on his thoughts, well summed up and put.

  133. 17highburyterrace says:

    Coutinho is quite the head-down, selfish player, no?…

    Did HH say his wife had given and boss (la jefa y el jefe…) had given him a little leash to do some blogging this festive season? He’s got to like all these Spanish (league) tech-style players in this late match… Maybe he knows who we could buy to help us out… Unfortunately, Carlitos Vela is both cup tied and didn’t enjoy his time in North London…He needs a road back to the Mexican team, however…

    That’s the whole problem, AFC…There isn’t anybody to buy in the window, I fear…

    But correct me if I’m wrong, please… πŸ˜€

  134. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oooh the silence is deafening…There must really be NOBODY we could buy…

    Equally, watching Suarez play with the rest of those Liverpool guys is worth some cursing at the the telly…Sterling at least is very young…

  135. AFC says:

    Sorry 17 gotta go but there are players available. Song should be available and could act as a long term replacement for Arteta and could cost around 8-10 million. There should be decent strikers around the same level as Giroud who could come in till the end of the season on loan and there are a number of young defenders who could be signed.

  136. James Bond says:

    considering 17HT is getting restless.

    the Β£100 million and reported Β£130 million release clause is in place , only if another club wants Suarez when LiverFool are in the top 4 (CL) – imagine if there’s a clause in there that states Β£50 million plus commissions (agents, e;t.c on top ) if Liverfool fail to finish top 4 , with Suarez wanting to leave / putting in a request.

    : )

    Hart won Man city the game today, well done lad – big match player this boy πŸ˜† now watch the whole press go bananas over his display.

  137. 17highburyterrace says:

    Yeah, it’s a bit earlier in the day here… πŸ˜€

    Sorry, AFC, but if the ship has sailed on Carlos Vela, Alex Song coming back to Arsenal is the Titanic… Just because he’s in a FIFA 14 advert (standing up on the virtual bench as Messi dribbles through a maze of players…) doesn’t mean he’s worth anything, esp. to AW…

    Nope, the only sort of player I could see us buying (assuming no injuries, real or imagined…) would be a young, winger/forward type. If Giroud and Poldolski can’t lead us in a running game and Theo can’t play up front by himself (Bendy is even worse or gone on Jan 1…) we could use “one for the future”… Names please. A defender for the future (at the right price) could also be an idea… Sorry, but I just don’t see us plugging a gap with a veteran looking for PT before the WC…

    Any news from the sauce about players out (sale or loan), Bond?

  138. Admir says:

    Miroslav Klose – he is not cup-tied, he is Ozil’s compatriot, he has had great time in the national team playing next to Podolski, he is an intelligent player who can create a chance and score. He can be a stop-gap option before the summer.

  139. What a pleasing match that was !. Some lovely football and well deserved in the end and for once the stats are a reflection on the game………………….66% possession, 29 shots and 10 corners…….were West Ham at home ?.
    The main reason for such a splendid display………….The Commanders War Cry !…….I shall put it up again just before the next game !. hahaha

  140. Fozzie B says:

    Yes very good win!! Shame Rambo will be out for awhile but as JB says he looks larboured a little so hopefully the break will do him well. As Cockie says, finally the stats match up to the dominance we had and for me the key stat is shots 29 and shots on target 8 … Much better and boy have we missed the clinical stiker of poldolski!!
    Theo will take a lot of confidence going forward.
    Shame Chalvski got that cheap goal in there but great we are TOTL!!
    At airport now, MarleyKaze neatly tucked away in my pocket!! He was high on adrenaline from my blood after the game so he smoked the biggest splif I have ever seen and has passed out! Not looking forward to when the bastardo wakes up though!! He is going to have the munchies from hell!! Haha!! πŸ˜†
    Speak to you guys back in the UK!! πŸ˜€

  141. TotalArsenal says:

    Have a good journey Fuzzer. πŸ™‚

  142. They will never let the Bastard out of quarantine, the frothing at the mouth fcuking nutcase !. MarleyKaze will be alright though, he probably has some blood relatives already here !. hahaha

  143. Gerry says:

    I said before the match, if Flamini does not start in this one there is something they are not talking about?

    Yes, Rambo. It has been a risk to keep playing him, but with JW suspended, and the possibility of the above, throw in Rosicky not being asked to start two matches in a row ….. ?

    I did suggest before this tight run of matches AW might use TR7 and AR16 for half matches for all 4 games. But once Rosicky played the full on against Chelsea, I thought we might see Frimpong on the bench. But, again, it comes back to the doubt over Flamini, that Arteta started. Given the bruising he got on Monday, that too was a risk?

    So, if we/he cannot trust Frimpong or Hayden to do a job, silly talk of a new GK at the top of the shopping list is way off the mark? If you can stop people from getting clear shots on goal is surely a better option. Not to mention the Man C way of scoring more than the opposition. Add to that, we have a young goal keeper who will only get better … and we are paying him Β£100k a week in that belief. Do you, J B, minority of one, think we will pay a world class GK any less than that, and have one sit on the bench? Come on, stop your petty prejudice and get real. It isn’t likely to happen.

    We have much more serious issues, that may, or may not get resolved this window anyway.

    It is another 5 days before we get our first signing unveiled. Probably quickly followed by a second, and one may just be on the books to make their debut in time for the Totts FA Cup game. In the meantime we have a tricky outing up to Newcastle … if we can get up there while the gales are blowing?

    Once somebody has written a review …. has anybody written a review?

    Or are we going straight into preview mode?

    To solve this problem repeating, as Totes prepares for his journey beyond the wall (Hadrian’s), I’ll put my hand up and do the Newcastle review, unless anybody else is keen?

  144. macko says:

    @ 007 I’m not laughing at you but I just want to point out the wrong match Olivier Giroud I know as usual you will find it full of excuses but the facts are there it does not have the level for Arsenal !!!
    by very good game against Theo Walcott super back from Lukas Podolski who showed us a left winger is very important for our team πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    we are first in the Premier League we won the game so I say more πŸ˜‰ we must continue on the same tempo and do not make mistakes because the teams behind us are trying to ramp up πŸ˜‰
    happy holidays to you English friends πŸ™‚

  145. Morning Muvver Mound Munchers ! πŸ˜†

    That’s better Totes…….a background Red that matches every Arsenal item around my desk, it just smells of……………The Arsenal !.

  146. James Bond says:

    petty prejudice says Gerry , ah

    all the players that play for Arsenal, play for Arsenal, I do not hold a personal grudge against anyone of them – Yes, I do my critical analysis whether we win, lose or draw which is based on “without prejudice” – Whether I have been watching a different goal keeper in all these years or in the LAST 4 GAMES or I need to get my eyes tested , as there is only one thing Sczny is good at being consistent and that’s making ERRORS or poor goal keeping decisions.

    There are 3 weak spots in our team, that can be strengthened , and for me the priority is the GK positioning, you say you do not see it happening at 100 k p/w, and I say, it’s been done before and we’re not the only club who will be doing it either , this is where the Manager needs to come in, not just for a GK position but other positions as well – Arshavin, anyone ? – Fabianski is on a 60 k per week, let’s not forget that either.

    I can do the math but I’ll spare everyone the long post, in short, yes we can afford to bench high earners for the better of the team, big clubs do that , as this is what champions and big clubs are not scared to do when someone is playing below par or is so consistent at making 1 or 2 errors in most games and not all – this league has always been tight, and the EPL was decided on goal difference 2 years ago, hence every little mistake or goal he gifts away needs to be scrutinized that much more even if the attackers bail him out, most of the time –

    Big clubs can make such decisions and last time I checked, we are on the biggest 6-8 clubs in Europe ?

    it’s no secret that I don’t think Sczny is ready to be a keeper of one of the biggest clubs in Europe, without competition and it’s no secret that I rate him or Giroud to be players at a big club like us.

    so yes, when I say a GK for me first, then a DM and then a striker, it’s only because Giroud least does some decent defensive work and holding work as a target man for now, even If he doesn’t fit our style of play as such.

    Macko πŸ™‚

    agreed, but you do know that the reason Giroud might not be as sharp may well be due to the very fact that he has no competition as such in the team for him ? hence we often end up talking about his defensive qualities instead of attacking or finishing ones

    I still reckon he could do a better job coming on as a 2nd half sub for us and being a super-sub ?

  147. Dylan says:

    I’m sorry lads, I was watching the game at a friends house yesterday and had no internet. The most I got from this match is that Giroud needs to be dropped for a match or two and Podolski, Theo, and Nicky B need to start against Newcastle without a doubt. Our lineup should be this:

    Nicky B
    Podolski Ozil Theo
    Flamini Wilshere
    Gibbs Kos Mert Sagna

    (Hopefully the spacing isn’t messed up, but you’ll understand anyway.)
    If this doesn’t work, we can easily put Theo at striker and put Santi on the wing, but I’d really like Giroud to be truly dropped from a game. Much like Szcz was and Szcz said it helped him so maybe it’ll help Giroud.

  148. Admir says:

    When it comes to goalkeepers, I’m with Gerry on this one. We already have a top-drawer goalkeeper who has earned us a lot of points this term and who earns 100.000 pounds per week. There have been constant rumours about Iker Casillas but – despite the fact I consider Casillas as the best goalkeeper in the world in the last 20 years – I think it would be illogical move for us. Casillas would demand a serious wage and it’s not exactly too smart to have two expensive goalkeepers on the pay-roll given that only one of them can be on the pitch.

    However, a world-class striker is something completely different. It would be perfect if we could find a striker that possesses qualities of both Giroud (link-up play, aerial prowess) and Podolski (finishing, shooting from the outside of the box).

  149. James Bond says:

    don’t be surprised if one of Rosicky or Santi play in the hole behind the striker at the expense of Ozil , though @ Dylan.

    both of Rosicky and Santi will start and interchange in that no.10 position, I reckon and the Pod will come on in the 2nd half as a sub.

    you heard it here, first πŸ˜‰

  150. Now this is where I confess as not to be in the league of my esteemed BK pundit Bastards !. hahaha
    I thought Giroud did OK !. Worked his socks off as usual !, laid on Pods goal !, got into goal scoring positions and from what I saw, most passes were just a little too out of reach for him, but I`m not going moan about Ozil not finding him more precisely !. Yes, he had one snatch shot at goal and he was totally pissed off with himself for it, but overall he was a handful . It would be interesting to know if the West ham defenders thought it was an easy game against him, half the time they were chasing shadows !.
    I even thought it was harsh on MOTD last night when they said Szczesny was at fault, saying the first shot was only side footed !……..I remember, Ozil scoring a side foot shot against Nipples which nearly broke the net !. Still would not change Szczesny for anyone, all goalies make mistakes !.
    As for Transfers, imo, if Dafty would have bid Β£50m in the summer gone for Suarez instead of the amusing Β£1 over Β£40m, I`m sure ( judging from the form he has been in ) Suarez would have made an enormous difference, probably only the one defeat Vs Villa and my like for like logic would have not caused you Bastards any bashing of your Bishops !. hahaha

  151. Newcastle is not a game to rest anyone !…..they are one of the current form teams ( 7 wins in 9 games ). If players are to be rested, then do it against Managerless Cardiff at Home !.

  152. Gerry says:

    Dylan – Agreed, Giroud does need a break. I really hoped yesterday we would see Poldi and Gnabry on while Ozil was still on the pitch. However, I also wanted Ozil to rest yesterday, and I do not think we lost anything in the last 10 minutes, so I slightly disagree with your line up.

    No1 GK
    Sagna – Mert- TV5- Nacho
    Arteta – Flamini
    Walcott – Santi – Gnabry

    Bench: Fab; Jenks; Kos; Gibbs; Wishere; Ozil; Giroud

    Thinking; Hope Kos will be an unused sub(missing from the bench yesterday); Gibbs cannot do 4 games in a short space, Nacho here and Cardiff, Gibbs back for the Cup.; Wilshere is a possible starter, but wasn’t too clever last time, he can be cover for either Arteta(likely) or Flam, and start next time; Ozil on only if we are desperate; Giroud ditto.

    For those liking formations, more 4-4-1-1, or 4-4-1-1 where the first has Walcott and Gnabry wide in the ‘4’, and Santi behind Bendtner, but perhaps Santi deeper and Gnabry ahead of Pod?
    Still very flexible. Out ball to Sagna, but preferably shorter to Mert, Flamini or Arteta. who get it to Santi quickly so he can use the best option of the front three, plus wingbacks. With the twin pivot Santi need not drop back to much defending?

    Mind, it will be more likely Bendtner will be AW’s pick and Gnabry will only make the bench if Giro does not travel. if Ozil does not travel, then Rosicky will be on the bench.

  153. James Bond says:

    πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„

  154. James Bond says:

    those eyes were for @ TCM

    and I hope you have a safe and pleasant journey into the U.K as the weather has been dodgy again (as usual). @ FB

  155. Not sure what those eyes refer to or mean ?, but I`m guessing by that look, you have had a nice accident in your loin cloth !. Jungle Porn is an acquired taste !. hahaha

  156. Gerry says:

    Admir – Agreed. It is not a question of high priority at this stage of our transition.

    We need good bricks to add to our very good foundations. Then we can be thinking in terms of ‘big club’ in the financial sense, once these back up/starters are in place. it is a slow progression from making up from a under resourced club, but with a solid base, to get the the ‘oiler’s’ level of having two world class strikers in every position?

    My argument is that we have much more pressing needs in three or four areas before you get to a very good keeper, plus sound back ups.

  157. Gerry says:

    Yes TCM, that did Ramsey a lot of good didn’t it?

  158. You`ve lost me, Gezzer !….what did ?…..Jungle Porn ?. hahaha

  159. Gerry says:

    The players to rest for the Cardiff game will be plentiful enough, unless you want us to play a reserve team?

    Sagna; Mertersacker; Arteta; Walcott (3rd in 6 days); Giroud and Ozil?

  160. Gerry says:

    Keep playing players that needed a break. We have been through the rotation bit before.

    We may be lucky and get Ramsey back before our next CL in February. Who else do you want to knacker from over playing them?

  161. Gezzer, you make it sound like it was me that picked the team !. hahaha

    Ramsey picked up an injury, not sure if it was anything to do with being knackered !, but imo another player who would rather be playing and also imo, I thought he was OK yesterday until he went off !. As you know, I side with JB on the “Fatigue” issue, so if it was up to me, It would be 1st choice eleven every game !. It just so happens we always get our fair share of injuries to give all players a chance to play !.
    So, I suppose my answer would be…….all our 1st choice eleven to get knackered from “overplaying” !.
    Did I tell you I could run like Forrest !. hahaha

  162. Gerry says:

    TCM – I just did a quick bit of research on the upsets/surprise results;

    Everton made one change from their away win at Swansea. They left out Barkley.
    Our keeper spilled a ball after playing every league game. Howard got himself sent off, and I think he is their regular keeper? Relegation fodder Sunderland were good value for their win.

    Spurs made two changes after beating Southampton, only drew with WBA, who were a much changed team .. and also managerless.

    You don’t think there might be a connection do you?

  163. Still not sure what you`re on about Gezzer !, but I will take a stab in the dark and figure you mean the two teams that won were rotating and the ones that lost were “fatigued” !. Who needs Clouseau !. hahaha
    I too have done a bit of research Gezzer and I also watched MOTD last night !. From my research………………..
    Possession……Everton 55%….Sunderland 45%
    Shots………….Everton 25……..Sunderland 13
    Corners………Everton 11……..Sunderland 2
    All this despite Everton being down to 10 men for more than 65 mins !. Howard being sent off has nothing to do with “fatigue”, more to do with him being the last man of defence when bringing a player down !.

    Possession…………..Spuds 64%…..WBA 36%
    Shots…………………..Spuds 20………WBA 7
    Corners……………….Spuds 12………WBA 2
    Using my cock for some Vulcan mind meld logic and having seen the games, I can only come to one conclusion and being that football is a funny game, both Sunderland and WBA were fcuking lucky on the day !. Simple as that !, nothing whatsoever to do with fatigue or not rotating !.
    I will chalk that up as another victory to the logic and common sense of Monsieur Monster !. hahaha
    I think you need to research a bit better Gezzer, remember last time trying to tell me Reading beat us ! hahaha

  164. Highbury Harmony says:

    Thank god for Prince Poldi!! That game really changed once he stepped onto the pitch.

    Some quick comments from when I saw the game (Trying not to pick on individual players but some of our play was shocking at times):

    1. What was Gibbs doing when Cole scored? Just another passenger along for the ride…
    2. What has happened to OG? I’m guessing either a lack of confidence as he hasn’t scored in a while or is fatigued from playing too much. Still, aside from the assist, I expect more from him and it’s clear we need another ST of some sort to at least rotate in come January.
    3. We can’t stay healthy; just as Podolski and Walcott come back into the line-up, Ramsey is out for the next three weeks!
    4. Does Podolski start some games at ST if we don’t buy one? He seems to be more effective from the left wing or as a SS and wasn’t as noticeable as the lone ST, but do we take another chance with him there?

  165. Gerry says:

    Possession means b*llox if your players are not sharp enough to do anything with possession?
    Nice try, but these two clubs are near the top of the league, the other two are in the bottom 5.

    So what makes you think we will be ‘lucky’ against Cardiff if we use the same lot of players.

    But as you said, you don’t pick the team, neither do I. I was backing up my thoughts as to why I would field the different players.

    Apparently we have 93 points in the last calender year, which is better than all the rest. I think your logic would say we will win the league?

  166. My logic would say that if it was in one season, then probably yes !, but having 10 great results at the end of last season and 10 at the start of this season wont win us the league !. A full strength Arsenal team versus a managerless one point above the relegation zone Cardiff team at THOF !. I will put that to a vote of the BKers……..don’t think your going to win that one either !.
    I know for a fact Stretch has it as a 5-0 !. hahaha

  167. Gerry says:

    Neither will the – 4 points you keep blathering on about lose us the title.

    Same logic, different twist?

  168. As I said Gezzer, I don’t make the facts up, they are there for all to see. The facts are we are -4 points worse off than last season like for like !. A stat which may only prove decisive at the end of the season when we look back !. I`m just supplying current facts which you cannot argue with !.

  169. Gerry says:

    HH – You don’t think that Cazorla playing in the central position had a greater influence?

    As for Poldi, I agree playin centrally is not deal for him, particularly on his own.

    it seems it is a choice of Bendtner playing the similar role as Giro, big, central hold up guy, or have someone close to Podolski so the ball can be played to feet?

    Or, as isuggested above, have Gnabry ahead/alongside of Poldi, as a twin striker option?

    With the twin pivot behind they should manage that okay.

  170. Gerry says:

    Glass half empty though?

    Calender year, best team in the league …but both are irrelevant.

    Oh, while you are talking facts: Did Everton have a fatigued Giroud in their side …
    25 shots, no goals?

    Spurs get 20 and 1 goal 0n 36 minutes nothing thereafter?

    Funny how we scored when fresh legs were brought on … no coincidence you understand?
    Just saying …

  171. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry, I think it was great to see Santi through the middle yesterday as his lack of speed out wide tends to hurt us and he needed a good game after not having the manager’s full confidence the past few weeks. He tends to play more through the middle than out wide as it is anyway, while Ozil is more adaptable and can play a variety of roles.

  172. All just a load of what`s between your dogs legs !.
    The better teams lost on the day. Just like Chelsea winning the CL, having a rich owner bought them all the luck in the world against both Barca in the Semi and BM in the final, spending Β£1 billion on all the rabbits foots, 4 leaf clovers and black cats etc` in the world ! …… sometimes luck is on your side. Both Sunderland and WBA will count themselves fortunate on Wednesday !.
    You can say Giroud was fatigued and I can say the passing was not spot on enough !. Our thoughts are opinions and not fact !.

  173. My fact about the like for like is neither glass half empty or half full, just fact !.
    May be we should do as you would wish and play the unknown risk of the likes of Hayden and Yennaris !. Top SQ !. hahaha

  174. Gerry says:

    HH I think there is a bit more to it than that.

    With Ozil playing, he is seen as ‘the man’, and the ball gravitates to him. But since he too has started to fade, suddenly Santi became the controller, not just a bit part player moving around to suit Ozil. Then he began to shine like he did at the end of last season. That is why I wanted to rest Ozil and play Santi on Thursday.

  175. Gerry says:

    The trouble is we will be the ‘better team’ when we play Cardiff, at home, just like Everton and Spurs. By then they might have a new manager in place, and like Sunderland and WBA, their team will be fighting for survival.

    I just want a team to play that is as fresh as it can be, not like Everton and Spurs, who probably like you, thought they would win their games with their strongest 11 against such lowly opposition?.

    That is the difference.

  176. AFC says:

    HH & Gerry, do you not think switching to a 4-2-2-2 formation would solve all our problems? Giroud would get his support from one of Walcott or Podolski, Walcott and Podolski could play up front together in a ‘2’ in the absence of Giroud, we could rotate Giroud, Bendtner, Walcott and Podolski in the ‘2’.

    Ozil and Santi would have more space to operate centrally and one would not be ‘pushed out of the way’.

  177. With the stats the Spuds had, my logic tells me they were all over WBA like a rash, not because they were “fatigued” !…..with stats like that , logic says it was WBA who were the “fatigued” ones !. I bet you could go back and find an early game in a season where the team with all the possession and shots, corners etc` lost !. Would that be “fatigue” or like I`m saying….just those sort of games ( and lets face it Arsenal have had a few over the years ! ) where the opposition were just plain lucky !.
    And who knows whether Cardiff have been rotating or not, we should be too good for them, simple as that. Teams are usually around the bottom for one reason…….they`re not good enough for this division !.

  178. James Bond says:

    Popcorn, anyone ?:lol:

  179. James Bond says:

    πŸ˜† *

  180. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry, even when Santi plays he seems to lack the same level of creativity that Ozil has to unlock defences. Santi is a great player that can spot slick passes every now and then but I find he is not as consistent at finding others as Ozil is. It is true that Ozil has started to fade, but I thought he was pretty tricky and had the vision back yesterday – he would have produced a couple assists had it not been for Giroud’s shotty finishing in the 1st half.

    Santi will never be the “man” nor should he be; he’s an excellent top tier complementary type player who can contribute in a variety of ways, in addition to goals and assists. The game against Liverpool he was incredible and a lively presence all over the pitch even with Ozil through the middle, so it’s a matter of getting him to be that motivated game in and out.

  181. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, our players struggle with the concept of playing “2” up front. It often seems that both Walcott and Poldi both want to play as the lone ST, but neither have been able to exert their influence there and are clearly better suited for the wing.

    I do entertain the idea of playing both Ozil and Santi centrally so we could have an unpredictable attack where we could break down defences from anywhere. However, it still remains to be seen if they can co-exist in such a role. Talented players like playing with other talented players so I’m sure they could find a way to make it work πŸ™‚

  182. Gerry says:

    AFC – I don’t think anything is going to fix our problems at on fell swoop.

    As I see it, Ozil needs a break. We have Cazorla who can be the creative hub. The way we play with the midfield, moving around, alternating positions, and wing play from the backs, it can indeed look 1-2-2-2-2-2 ; which translates loosely as: GK= 1; CB’s = 2; DM’s = (2nd) 2; Wingbacks =(3rd) 2; AM’s =(4th) 2; ST’s(5th) 2.

    The 4th pair from my team above would be Santi and Theo, and the front pair Poldi and Serge. But flexible to be a 1-3 or a 3-1, and with the advance fullbacks as a 1-5 or 5-1.

    Why I like the idea of trying Gnabry in the middle is primarily to keep Poldi in his best position of semi wide left, and Walcott the mirror image from wide ride coming inside.

    These are options we could use until a new striker signs in January, or as you say. continue with Bendtner until the summer?

  183. Gerry says:

    HH- My thoughts on Santi were primarily geared to this next match and perhaps Cardiff too.

    Long term, I think it will be more a psychological barrier that stops them working as a ‘pair’, rather than the physical one on the pitch. Neither are defensively skilled to allow one to play deeper, so it is who commands the movement around the pitch that dictates a ‘pecking order’, and that plays against both really?

    Your point on Poldi and Theo, is mine with have Gnabry as the go-between?

  184. AFC says:

    Hi HH, πŸ™‚

    You could be right about Walcott and Podolski wanting to play the lone ST and they are better suited to the wings. I think Ozil and Santi will find a way to co-exist.

    Hi Gerry, πŸ™‚

    It probably will be best to keep Podolski and Walcott on the wings where they can play that inside left and right roles. I am happy to persist with Bendtner if Wenger wants to keep him until the summer. I do think he should get more game time and could make an impact in 2-3 until Giroud is back at his best.

    Gotta go guys…

  185. AFC says:

    * make an impact for 2-3 games

  186. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry, fair enough I didn’t realize you were talking about the next two matches, I thought you meant long-term…Ozil is due for a rest, but I’m sure AW finds it difficult to sit him when the player himself is likely asking to start. Despite neither being exceptionally defensively, I do applaud their occasional efforts to come back and help out defensively. Of the two, Santi is a little craftier when stripping opponents of the ball though. I think they will be able to co-exist but that Santi is still trying to find his footing after his injury lay-off, while getting used to the team succeeding without him there (wasn’t the case last season).

    Gnabry as a go-between is an interesting theory, so who would play up front? Or is it a fluid front 3?

  187. Gerry says:

    Last Point – bit of both. Gnabry mostly around the centre, as he has the build to power into the box. But he also has a bit of pace, so could switch wings with Theo, leaving Poldi in the middle.

    As I said earlier, I was sorry he did not come while Ozil was on the pitch, just to test it out. It might do Gnabry’s WC claims no harm if it comes off ?

    If we do get a run in the Cup, then I would also like to see Eisfeld tried alongside Giro, as I get the impression he plays better the stronger the team around him, and he could be our ‘chicarita’?

    The other one that does not get tried, but might also play better in the team than in practice is Park?

    I am beginning to wilt. I was awake at 4.0am so I shall disappear shortly

  188. Gerry says:

    Night all

  189. Gerry says:

    From night all … to Good Morning all,

    So I guess we are all rooting for Palace today? A bit unrealistic hope that they can do what 9 other teams have failed to do … but stranger things have happened. Especially if the ManC players go out there and think they only have to turn up to win. Unfortunately, no doubt there will be almost a complete change in personnel, which the ‘oilers’ can afford to do.

    The thing is, the title is back in our hands. We win at Newcastle, we stay ToTL .. into the New Year! I always thought it was the team who topped the New Year table went on to win the title? Now it seems to be Christmas. Is that another media thing, or just me?

    Presumably we get to hear of the scan results on Aaron Ramsey today. I will be relieved if he is out for less than 6 weeks because of the the way it happened. Long into the game, so not a warm up issue. No other player involved, so not a simple twist. Instead, pulled up sharply after bringing the ball forward and making a pass. Not just a twinge, but a real painful one, and that on top of the number of games played …? I’d say 3 weeks, very lucky. But 8 to 10 weeks, our sort of luck?

    But as one door closes, AOC can open another one?. However, as I said yesterday(above), it is in that DM assisting position that he will be missed most for his energy at getting back and tackling.

    Personally, like 17HT, I prefer him higher up the field where he has been in devastating form for all bar the last couple of weeks or so.

    Yes, Jack Wilshere can do a good job there, but at times there is an immaturity about his play when he drives forwards. he can take the ball too far, and lose it. Or someone else can lose it, and he forgets to come back an mark his area/man. It is probably something that AR16 learnt in the ‘wilderness years’ that JW has still got to go through? If Jack plays alongside either Arteta or Flamini I would hope that AW ties him down to a ‘not beyond the halfway line’ policy, to reinforce his defensive duties, and teach him to pass early?

    So, for our match tomorrow, away from home, my guess is AW will stick to a game plan of not losing first, then winning it if we get the opportunity. So, I think he will risk a few players to play this extra game with the following side, providing there are no injury concerns:

    ——————————— Szczesney ———————————

    Sagna ————–Mertersacker—————Koscielny——-Gibbs

    ———- Flamini———————————————- Arteta……..

    Walcott ————————- Ozil —————————- Cazorla

    ——————————– Bendtner ———————————–

    Similar to the last game, Podolski to come on for Ozil or Bendtner, depending on who is struggling. And likewise, Gnabry for Walcott or one of the other pair if we are looking to win it late. Wilshere the defensive sub if either Arteta or Flamini want out, or even a start if either cannot make it. But if they are okay, then Monreal would be the other defensive sub. Rosicky may be on the bench, depending on how well he has recovered from his previous game. The other usual suspects will be there, but I expect Giroud to be given a pass, and not travel.

    That is how I see Wenger playing it. My suggestion is a bolder plan with better rotation, at least I thinks so? Do you argue with me or AW?

    There you are Totes, the basis of a preview, you can get on with your packing … πŸ˜€

  190. VCC says:

    Morning Gerry……That’s a big call to leave Giroud out altogether. I’m not sure Mr. Wenger will go for that one.

    I’m in the rotation camp. We should utilise our squad much more, by using Gnabry/Monreal/Bendtner(?)/Hayden/Eisfeld.

    Even if it’s only after Wenger’s famous 70 minutes.

    Our players are over used imo. That’s when you get injuries. Now look at Ramsey. Perhaps next will be Ozil if he doesn’t get a break/rest. Then maybe Mertesacker.

    Now we have players coming back from injuries, lets use our full squad.

  191. 17highburyterrace says:

    Morning Gerry, VCC, Anybody else? I’m up crazy early (dog issues as Gerry might understand…) Luckily there’s football on… This festive stuff is madness…

    It seems as if the league is using this period to divide up nicely into two halves or at least a group of 8 at the top and 12 who are not at all safe. We’ve got one of the eight, in their stadium, so it will be tricky. I believe Total is on the road, headed for the Arctic Circle, so I’m not sure what’s on tap for a match preview. Seems like Gerry’s done a decent enough effort above and he’s even restrained his more radical ideas about rotation. I don’t really understand the bookmaking situation in England, but I would guess long odds could be found on Nicky B starting tomorrow’s match, if they could be found at all… πŸ˜€

    Just giving you grief, Gerry, and otherwise there’s a lot to agree with… Like you I think the bigger changes will ring for the Cardiff match. Ramsey’s muscle problem will likely keep him out until the schedule tightens up again in February and, like you say, hopefully the likes of Rosicky and Flamini were being rested rather than nursing something. With Poldi back strong (at least to close matches) maybe the Ox can do likewise. Wilshere’s “passions” (and his middle finger) should be well rested and raring to go… The key to this whole period is avoiding replays in the FA cup–either go through or go out. This is where the rotation gets tricky esp. given that Spurs will have plenty of their new guys trying to impress the new boss…

    But that’s a week off… Jack and all the up and comers (Ox and Ramsey, esp.) can learn so much from Ozil and Santi– When to carry the ball, when to one-touch it and that you don’t have to do one or the other. The English tradition is to carry it forward with pace, but sometimes taking a touch or two and slowing things down can really work, esp. if you’ve got the passes to find runners or cross to the other side of the pitch. Given that we’ve only got one forward with any (real) pace at all (Theo) taking that time to get others into the attack can be priceless… A little more possession, calm and methodical, I think, will be the key to getting result after result as we need…

    But that’s looking longer term…. For tomorrow I agree that we should try to keep things tight (i.e., start Flamini and Arteta, as suggested…) though I’m feeling the saliva already flowing thinking about long cross-pitch passes or blistering throughballs from Santi and Messy to Theo (or with a hold-up touch from Giroud). I was at that 7-3 match this (exact) time last year but the Toonies are a much stronger team these days and we are at their place. Cabaye is looking Arteta-ish pulling strings from the back. Remy and Ben Arfa have taken turns carrying the scoring load and both can be very dangerous. They’ve got some guys who seem all talent and no work (Demba Cisse) and visa versa (Gouffran). None of those guys played in the goal fest a year ago (to the day) and they held on for an hour+ through Demba Ba’s goals in his final match with the club. This one will be a cagier affair but I’m confident we can contain their attack with better defense from front to back. Intercept their communications by starting Giroud and Flamini. Koscielny and Vermaelen both speak French, non? so either one will work… My hero, Bacary Sagna, got toasted a year ago by Gabby Obertan, but I don’t see that happening this time, though he speaks with his boots and braids, more than his mouth…

    West Ham-West Brom kicking off…Ooh, early goal, Rte 1 to the Cole Brothers… Should spice up the proceedings…

  192. Gerry says:

    VCC- Yes I agree with you on what h should do, but I don’t think he will.

    I think he might just let Giro have a good break with Poldi back and use Bendtner for continuity, to save him before the tide turns against him in a big way?

    This was my earlier thought on how I would like AW to go:

    No1 GK
    Sagna – Mert- TV5- Nacho
    Arteta – Flamini
    Walcott – Santi – Gnabry

    Bench: Fab; Jenks; Kos; Gibbs; Wishere; Ozil; Giroud

    Thinking; Hope Kos will be an unused sub(missing from the bench yesterday); Gibbs cannot do 4 games in a short space, Nacho here and Cardiff, Gibbs back for the Cup.; Wilshere is a possible starter, but wasn’t too clever last time, he can be cover for either Arteta(likely) or Flam, and start next time; Ozil on only if we are desperate; Giroud ditto.

    For those liking formations, more 4-4-1-1, or 4-4-1-1 where the first has Walcott and Gnabry wide in the ’4β€², and Santi behind Bendtner, but perhaps Santi deeper and Gnabry ahead of Pod?
    Still very flexible. Out ball to Sagna, but preferably shorter to Mert, Flamini or Arteta. who get it to Santi quickly so he can use the best option of the front three, plus wingbacks. With the twin pivot Santi need not drop back to much defending?

    Bit different from the likely AW line up?

  193. 17highburyterrace says:

    What are you smoking, Gerry?…Seems like you’ve been bitten by the Fozzie’s little friend… πŸ˜€

    Look, I agree that we need to rotate, but we also want to try and win the match, no? We’ve been playing with a 5 man MF almost all season and now you propose a 2 man… (Santi, I guess could be construed as a 3rd MF, but he will tire quickly, if too much is asked…) It’s inventive, I will give you that…

    Like I say, I don’t know the bookies, but I’d give even odds on Bendtner being gone on Jan 1 or starting THAT one (the one he might actually start, IMO)… Odds that he’ll start tomorrow, I would guess would be 15 or 20 to 1, at best….

    I also love the faith in Gnabry, but having seen him start two matches: Swansea and WBA (both away, one in the league the other in the COC) I would say that he needs plenty of help–as you would expect for an 18yr old. Don’t get me wrong, he can do a job (as he did as Swansea), but playing him without additional MF outlet guys would be something to try in 1 to 2 years time, He wasn’t particular effective, I thought in the COC match… But maybe we’ve been working on it in training? Sorry, with matches every other day, that too is a dream… *Maybe* he’ll get a shot against Cardiff or Spurs; even in those matches I would guess it would be as a sub, if we’re chasing a result…

    Nope, sorry, the main group goes again tomorrow…

  194. Gerry says:

    17HT – Sorry to hear of your doggy issues – always a bad time with the holiday period …

    The football can be a distraction, so I’ll come on to your objection.

    When I laid it out as a 4-4-1-1 I see that as a 4 man midfield. but even as as 4-2-3-1, it is not particularly outrageous? When you throw in the two wingbacks it looks remarkably like a -2-2-5-1?

    As you clearly missed this post when I first put it out, you have probably have not read my replies to HH, where I say that I would actually have this line up as a flexible one, but primarily having Gnabry in the middle and use the space to left and right for Podolski and Walcott. All three are pretty good at helping out defence, and as I expect us to try and hit them on the break, They seem the ideal candidates for that?

    I think Rosicky missed the bench last time with an injury, so it is touch and go whether he starts tomorrow. For me, Newcastle’s weakness is their defense, if we can attack it quickly enough.

    It was only my preferred option.

  195. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gerry, where are you? WBA on top now (through Anelka 😯 ) and I fear for Fat Sam (and his chewing gum)… Will he be the next to go during this managerial Reign of Terror?… Jussi J needs to make some assists, and quick…

    I hope you realize I’ve got nothing against you or your ideas… And, in the end, our main group may run out of steam. That’s the trouble with competing vs the silly money squads. City and Chelsea loan out the likes of Barry, Sinclair, Moses and Lukaku while we nurse a guy like Bendtner back into the team (Adebayor, who I rate well above Nicky B., was sold by City at a huge loss)… They’ve also got players like Rodwell, Dzeko, Jovetic and Javi Garcia (Mata, De Bruyne, Schurrle, Eto’o) to match our Gnabrys, Eisfelds and Haydens… Bit of a gap there… City or Chelsea, could put out a 2nd 11 who might give Newcastle a match. Sorry, but we can’t… This is a structural problem that must be addressed with schemes like FFP or a reform of the roster/loan rules… Much as we’d like to, wishing it away (or believing our kids are better than they are…) doesn’t make it true…

    Better to spend one’s time dreaming of all the incoming transfers, if you must… πŸ˜‰ πŸ™„

    One match before the window opens, so we must use the resources at hand to give ourselves a chance to get the result. Playing your line-up would mean ceding the MF and trying to play only on the break. As Bond might suggest that’s probably not the sort of pressure our keeper is likely to withstand… You propose a front four including Lu-Lu-Lu, Lucas Poldolski… Did you watch his running at West Ham? He looked worse than a lot of the guys who’d been on the pitch an hour longer… Fresh enough to finish ’em however… πŸ˜€ I’d look for him to try and do likewise tomorrow… In truth I don’t see him starting many matches for us, except, maybe in the FA cup or if Giroud goes down, though, truth be told, he did start in the 7-3 a year ago…

    Newcastle are a good team and it won’t be easy. Unlike a year ago they’re coming off a 5-1 vs 9 man Stoke City rather than a 4-3 barn-burner against ManU… Methodical, possession-driven technical superiority will be the way tomorrow. Ceding those qualities to the Toon would be a mistake, IMO…

    Anyhow, finish walking the dogs and come out and play (blog) with me…

  196. 17highburyterrace says:

    Haha, Gerry, you are there…

    No, I try to read all the comments, but I do tend to lose track of some of the ideas which seem, er, “more inventive”… Indeed, busy time and the sleep hasn’t been good trying to prevent overnight accidents… All the tougher with everybody else making merry. Our old girl is getting close, but she still shows a ton of spirit and enjoys her daily outing (and rests comfortably, I believe)…Making time for her seems worthwhile, but maybe I need more going on in (what’s left of) my own life…

    Point is, I don’t mean to make this a pissing contest, just a good discussion…Ooh, West Ham giving it an effort, but Foster is up to it…

  197. 17highburyterrace says:


    (Foster not as good there…) 2-2

  198. 17highburyterrace says:

    FAT SAM LIVES… 3-2 Maiga to Nolan…Maybe it’s better to have a manager who the team will fight for?…

  199. 17highburyterrace says:

    BEAR OH HEEEEEE NOOOOOO!!!!! 3-3 Who says they only score in American Football!!!!

  200. Gerry says:

    Sorry Ht I am switching between the racing/ I only came back to check the two W’s score ..

    Quite a game it seems?

  201. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow, 3 goals in 4 minutes… Lordy, I could use this draw as I fall further behind the peloton in the UMF standings… WBA on the front foot now…Berahino FK just outside the box rattles the post!!!

    It’s frustrating, but we need to use our powers of observation to inform our hopes and the harsh(er) realities of our situation. We can, maybe, compete for the principal trophy (the league title) with the deep pocket teams. It’s very likely unrealistic that we can truly make an effort on multiple fronts. Much depends on the luck of the draw(s) and we weren’t very lucky in the CL nor in the COC and we’ve got a tough opener in the FA cup. I think drawing the defending champs in the CL is good. Hopefully we play those matches with a nothing to lose mentality. Whatever small element of depth we have is likely a result of having played them in the same round a year ago… LIke I said above, avoiding replays in the FA cup seems essential…

    Changing topics (and proving that I was reading…) you gave a hint that we’d be unveiling our Jan signings early on…Was that a tease (for 007, maybe) or are you onto something?…

  202. Gerry says:

    Now 3-3, which suits my UMF better, if not Big Sam?

  203. Gerry says:

    Not a hint, just hopeful that targets that are not talked about have got agreed contracts ready to sign. I think, and hope, IG is up to speed now?

  204. 17highburyterrace says:

    Berahino subbed for Sessegnon instead of (sleepy) Nic Anelka… That was rather insane firing Steve Clarke, no? Of course, if we lose tomorrow we’ll have people baying for the head of AW…

    The end to end is slowing down and a draw doesn’t really help either team (but it probably doesn’t hurt them either)… It’s still just the halfway mark of the season…

    90th min now…

  205. 17highburyterrace says:

    *or draw* I meant to say (about tomorrow’s result and firing AW)… Wests, Ham and Brom, finishes 3-3…

    Who are we talking about?…Assuming Gazidis has done the work, I would think it’s safe to talk freely… πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰

  206. Gerry says:

    No HT it is never safe to talk. I put my hopes in a coded cryptic quiz a while back.

    I’ll be back in about 5 mins. Just had the Welsh Grand National, but one moe big one to come.

    No Rooney for Man Utd … They must be playing for the Draw πŸ˜€

  207. Gerry says:

    Right I’m back – I bet you are just off for a ski run now?

  208. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nope, I’m here…Still no (real) snow…We’re looking at a whole month with none…

    Can we talk, is it safe?…

    Should I call you Szell? Hey I need the talk…We’ve got some serious bus parking in these Manc games…

  209. 17highburyterrace says:

    We can talk transfers, we can talk rotation, we can talk tomorrow’s match… You choose…

    Re: the latter two…I think there’s a lot of adjustment that happens when we try to play Giroud and Theo together and it’s a real work in progress…Ollie is good at layoffs but almost always back out to our left as he did for Poldolski. Santi, could be the beneficiary if the Newcastle defenders aren’t committed to blocking his longer efforts… I’d like to think he (OG) could take a rest, but from what I saw at West Ham, I don’t see the fitness of Lu-lu being sufficient. We looked poor at the end when he was up front alone with Bendy out right…Bendy (IMO) is hardly a like-for-like replacement. He’s a runner, albeit a slow one, and his possession touches are not nearly at the same level. Given how poorly most folks rate Giroud, it’s a pretty damning assessment of Big Nick…

    Norwich pressing but not executing their touches well enough…Only match with a goal is Villa-Swans…

  210. Gerry says:

    Sorry, an unexpected diversion. Went to feed the birds outside and found a distressed pigeon.

    Now snugly in my cage for such occasions, although he may be too far gone. He has a full crop but little energy. If a warm and dry night does not see him pull through wee ….

  211. Gerry says:

    Taking your last point first. Yes NB23 is the like for like, which is why I think AW will pick him tomorrow. Also the ‘bounce’ factor that happens in racing, might be another good reason for keeping Poldi to come off the bench.
    The ‘bounce’ explained: When a horse comes back off along lay off and performs exceptionally well in its first appearance, then pulls out again shortly after and runs badly it is the ‘bounce’. they need more time to recover. Two days is not a lot, even though he only did 25 minutes? I reckon another 30 mins will see him sorted.

    Before I was going to feed the birds I was reading this link;

    It seems everybody is going for the bruising midfielders? In this case Tiote.
    Remember him, and his 40 yard, once in a lifetime shot?

  212. Gerry says:

    I wonder what the price tag is on Balotelli … and does it come with damge insurance/

  213. Gerry says:

    Rushing my posts again grr!

    I see we are in second place on the BBC table because ManC are at a 0-0 drawing stage.

  214. 17highburyterrace says:

    Pigeons?… Good luck there… We might try and get some laying hens going in the Spring…

    Both Manc teams using the “patient” approach…At least the teams their playing actually have managers…(It could be the key to their success, in the first halves, at least…)

    I do remember Tiote and he and Cabaye arguably measure up quite well with our twin pivot…In other words, not an easy match…

    I was arguing that Bendtner is hardly like for like with Ollie, so, IMO, if you want to rest the BFF (Big French Fella…) the best approach is Theo up front as a pressure relief, chasing long balls. Getting Krul off his line, isn’t the worst tactic, either… So, if we were to rest Ollie (we won’t) I’d play a 5 man MF with Flam, Arteta, Santi, Ozil and Jack…

    Uh oh, half time reports suggest that Anelka goal celebration is an anti-semitic gesture…

  215. Gerry says:

    I’ve just read the headline Arsene Wenger believes in rotation. That would have TMC choking on his munchies?

  216. James Bond says:

    Oh well done you 2 !

    some interesting notions presented above.

    so let’s cut through the chase and keep it simple, as I try to find a right balance to keep everyone a happy chappy (Festive season spirit ehhh

    right, 3 player rotation bit is something that can do us no harm, any more than that and it disrupts the cohesion of the team in my opinion – this is something Gerry and I have discussed in his article as well

    what we know is that Rosicky was fully rested for Newcastle – hence he has a good chance of starting…and I’ll bench Ozil for this one

    JW should be raring to go and slots in for Ramsey

    so that’s 2 out of 3 done, yes ?

    now onto the 3rd one – it’s a tough one but I am not going to change our FB’s and instead bring back Koc at the expense of TV5.

    sorted ? everyone is a happy bunny ?

    not quite, as we haven’t discussed Giroud, well Poldi might not be ready to play on the wings just yet and still needs more minutes under his belt, so he will be used as a Sub again, and might well come on for Giroud ?

    which means that Poldi might be starting as a striker against Spuds in the FA cup game, sets him up nicely with the Ox on the left wing.

    I don’t think AW will be making more than 2 or 3 changes at best, due to his stubborn nature but he has promised Ozil a break, which might begin from tomorrow onwards, and he gets rested against Cardiff , Spuds then back for Villa (2 week winter break, sorted ? ) – and he also plays a part in tomorrow’s game at some point ?

  217. Gerry says:

    I take it from the last comment you are watching these things live? I have to make do with text messages.

    Bendtner is like for like regards the rest of the team. Play Walcott in the centre and you lose the outlet ball. He cannot beat 2 defenders. The only successful way would be to drop the ball behind the defenders for him to run on to, but the space for doing that is limited, and one defender will tend to lie deeper anyway.

    At least Nicky B can hold the ball in a similar way to Giro. He can even take it wide to open up space in the middle?

  218. Gerry says:

    I see Hull have scored first ..

  219. Gerry says:

    No, I hope Ozil doesn’t play at unless absolutely needed.

    Jb you don’t say who JW displaces out of the Flamteta, as I would go for that. I think we need to match their bruisers?

  220. Gerry says:

    It’s a Hull riot 3-0 or shout that be ‘rout’

  221. James Bond says:

    JW for Ramsey @ Gerry

  222. Gerry says:

    I would not disturb TV5 after he commits to stay either. Use that sub up front, NB23 for Giro.
    Agreed on the Poldi 2nd half. It opens the way for the double switch Poldi and Serge for Theo and Bendy?

  223. Gerry says:

    More routing – 4-0

  224. Gerry says:

    JB But who is he paired with, that was the question … out of the Flamteta’ pair?

  225. Gerry says:

    would yo believe it, both Mancs score!

  226. Gerry says:

    and Hull again … 5-0

  227. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gerry, yep, we get all games live over here…just sign over your (or your wife’s… πŸ˜‰ ) paycheck to the satellite company… United break the deadlock and likely the spirit of Norwich… Much as Hull have with Fulham (5-nil…Wow!)… Jonjo Swansea can’t get a second at Villa… Finally a breakthrough at Abu Dhabi North, too…

    Hey Bond…Is it safe? Can we talk? (About transfers or anything you choose…)

    If Sicky is miraculously recovered from his “injury” I think it would be for Santi…The most like for like, for Ozil, if you ask me, is Jack Wilshere…(and a change I think we could see for the Cardiff match…)

    Gerry, I get what you’re suggesting about Bentner and Ollie as like for like, I just disagree (completely)… Just because they’re both big and slow doesn’t mean that Bendy can function in Giroud’s stead… That’s why–or another reason why, on Jan 1, it would be good to announce that we’ve signed a striker AND Bendtner has gone off to Villa or Swans or West Ham or WBA (assuming Anelka gets his 8-10 match ban for the gesture…) or any of the other teams who need a forward at his level… Odds on this happening, I would suggest are just about as long as Nicky starting tomorrow, I would guess…

    Anyhow, we’ve got some wildly differing opinions about how to do the rotation business, but the only one that matters is Arsene’s…

  228. Gerry says:

    Couple of adjacent headlines – Newcastle should not fear Arsenal, followed by Arsenal should not fear Newcastle πŸ˜†

  229. Gerry says:

    Looks like Hull have gone goal shy, they haven’t score for ten minutes.

  230. Gerry says:

    Re NB23 – I did say in relation to the rest of the team. i.e. no disruption to how they have been playing.
    The two are very different otherwise. NB is a better header, tend to have a shot given the opportunity, and not too shabby at keeping the ball.
    Giro has ‘team ethic’ written in him like a stick of rock(candy, for you?), and always puts in a shift.

  231. Gerry says:

    Spoke too soon; Hull 6, Fulham nil

  232. Gerry says:

    Just awaiting on the Mancs, then I’m off for a short time.

  233. 17highburyterrace says:

    So, to be clear…My team for tomorrow would be Same back 5, Flamini, Arteta, Ozil, Cazorla, Walcott and Giroud. In other words, the only change from Hammers would be Flamini for Ramsey. Much as I enjoyed that 7-3 a year ago, Newcastle were a completely different (and far inferior) team that night and the starting combo of Poldolski and Theo (Santi, Arteta,
    Wilshere and Ox-Cham also started that night…) It was a Kos-Verm central pairing that night, and shipping three suggests AW will not be resting the BFG tomorrow, either…

    Giroud *does* look tired, and he’s got some issues to begin with. In racing parlance if RvP (Suarez, Aguero, etc.) is a Stakes runner, Ollie might be one for the handicaps or allowance races. (Bendtner seems one for the latter sorts if not out to pasture–at the very least he might try something different with the mane?…) The miracle is that we’ve nursed Ollie all the way through the Poldolski time out and nearly to the window… My deeper worry is that there just isn’t sufficient respect between him and Theo for them to be effective together. I need to watch for it, but it seems like they both look for the pass unless it’s to each other… 😯

    That’s a big scoreline at the Etih…er, KC stadium… Both Mancs happy to take the points if not the big number of goals… That should be our approach for the midweek match. Tomorrow’s is far from “in the bag,” I fear…

  234. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well, nobody with whom to watch the footy–and it’s even on the network TV!! Where are Fozzie and the Cockie Monster? The furry freak brothers can surely come out from behind the sofa for Cardiff-Sunderland?…

    If nobody will blog with me, I sometimes review my own posts…I’m starting to think Jack will play tomorrow at the expense of Flamini (if he’s nursing something) or Arteta who is, maybe, started to nurse the long-tooth (getting old). In general I think we still, unfortunately, “need” Arteta on the offensive side, even if his athleticism might be short of what we crave in a true DM…

    Oh yeah, early goal…Cardiff… Game on…

  235. Just back from Tesco`s where I saw the last cheesy baguette on sale on the lonely shelf, but so did another man !…..I made a quick leap and got to it first !. His wife moaned and laid into the poor bastard, all he could say was…..” I was “fatigued” darling !….if you had rotated me with the milkman or postman, I may have had more energy and beat the bastard with the Arsenal shirt on, to the last cheesy baguette ! “. hahaha

    I`m gobsmacked Fulham lost !…… they had made 6 changes from the 2-1 win at Norwich !….yes I know……it`s unbelievable and goes against the whole meaning of life !. I`ve had to phone Arsene and break the news to him !, He thanked me and said…..” Sacre Bleu !…I woz goings to playz Nikki up front and our little pea Eyesfeld in zee hole wit Hayden und Ye ye narris toure as Dee em !…….French connection UK that ……..I will playz moi`s best team instead ! “. hahaha

    I see ManU are back to grinding teams down….4 on the trot !… I said, they have never been out of the top 3 in EPL !.

  236. Gerry says:

    Not rising to the bait cockie

  237. Apparently, Niki B was the Danish junior 100M record holder ( read it somewhere, and when I read it, he still held the record ! ). I should imagine he is still quick…sprinting to his Β£52K cheque each week just to make sure he didn`t dream that someone that average could earn so much !.

  238. Gerry says:

    I’m eating, be quiet, or talk to HT

  239. 17highburyterrace says:

    Yeah, talk to me, Cockie…

    Gerry, he’s just joshing, don’t you know. Those are some radical ideas about rotation you’re throwing out there and if players were horses it’d be all the more depressing. Takes big money to keep up with the owners who put out the Stakes runners year after year, no?

    Or mabye your are joking yourself…What with the “I’m eating” reply. Nom nom nom says the cockie, when he’s not talking about how the sky is falling… I think playing the extremes of the rotation debate is a bit too much. We all support the manager so let’s see what he does and hope he gets it right… Still, the story of the cheesy baggie gave me a chuckle…

    Speaking of Baggies…

    Anelka, was saluting his anti-semitic friend, he just didn’t realize that it was an anti-semitic salute he was giving… 😯 If the Duck Dynasty guy gets a reprimand here in the land of free-speech, I think Anelka might be in for a long sit down…He’s a little smarter than Joey Barton (with the moustache–Hitler moustache?–salute) or he ought to be…

    If Cardiff can keep their result they’ll be well chuffed (and satisfied to roll over?) for the rotation match (against us, in midweek) or will they be inspired for the fight? O-gaat, of course, if anybody wants to discuss our match tomorrow…

  240. Also heard a rumour that because of the recession, there could be many football teams joining together to stop further clubs going under !.
    The two Bristol clubs are thinking about a merger with French Ligue 1 side…Nice ! and will be known as Nice Bristols !.
    A merger is on the cards between Arsenal, Hull and Coventry ( which should please Gezzer ) and will be known as ….Arse Hull entry ! and Italian side Bologna, Scottish teams Inverness, Motherwell and Englands Portsmouth will merge to form……Bologs In Mothersmouth !.
    Possible Liverpool and Spurs merger will form…..Thieving Ugly Bastards !. hahaha

  241. 17
    You say Totes is off to the “Highlands of Sweatysockland”!. Did I miss a comment as I don’t recall him saying it, unless it was an email !.
    Does he wear a Dutch Tartan ?….clogg design, made from the finest woven spliffs ! and someone remind him he has to toss the caber, not suck it off !. hahaha

  242. James Bond says:

    sorry for misreading it @ Gerry – was doing a quickie before with plenty of things happening around me, ha

    I think it comes down to If, AW feels that Arteta can play 3 games in a row, which I feel he may not be able to do – in an ideal world it be Flamini and JW – however, I won’t be surprised if both Arteta and Flamini start and one of JW/Rosicky start on the bench.

    it’s a tricky one and it also tells you that we have a lot of good options and combos , that can win us the game hence the Ramsey one came at the “right time” – the lad deserves a bit of a breather.


    It was my mistake for believing the BT commentators that had Rosicky down as “injured” at that moment, I was laughing as I couldn’t believe Rosicky could be injured AGAIN after another match of high intensity – but Later that day, AW in the press conference said that he had decided to rest Rosicky hence he’s not injured.

    ahahahahhahahahahaahaha @ TCM

  243. James Bond says:

    some interesting results today

    which tell me one thing, without Rooney and Yaya – both the mancs clubs are no better than a mid-table team.

    good news , Yaya will be off to the AFCON soon and like usual, their will come back to their usual top 4 slot or 6 slot without him – and also Aguero and a few other peeps .

    only a matter of time, I be very surprised if they are top 3 by the end of January – watch this space.

  244. Stretch phoned me to say….” If any BKer has found an exhausted Pigeon, could they please return it as he hasn`t finished shagging it yet ! “.

  245. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gotcha Bond on the Sick-jury…Indeed ManCity lacked a lil’ someting w/o Yaya today…

    Yep Cockie, our fearless leader, he of the clog-ged feet, is on the road, bound for the shortest days he can find…Maybe he’s actually a vampire 😯 I’ve been communicating with him via…(wait for it)…

    the back-channels… πŸ˜†

    Cardiff still up a goal but the foes are not completely sundered yet… Keeper, in fact, is the only reason they’re not level or worse…

  246. James Bond says:


    also, the games vs Newcastle are the ones that are a must win, considering our inability to get favourable results against the top 4/5, still.

    bear in mind that Newcastle have already won against Chelsea and Man Utd, and another top team I guess, let us stop them in their tracks tomorrow.


    transfer talk ? well, how do you fancy Cabaye as Arteta’s replacement ?

  247. Listen hear Loincloth Loiterer, I told you there is no African Nations Cup football this winter !.

  248. Gerry says:

    No HT, just my evening snack time. Right the match tomorrow.

    We need to win. Not only that, we ought to win … if it was not coming on the back of a tough couple of weeks.

    I don’t think they are great shakes. Remy might be dangerous up front, but not in the Aguero/Suarez league. Cabaye, dangerous at set pieces, but we have defended those okay recently? Who else???

    Anybody know who the ref is yet?

  249. James Bond says:

    looking through the training photos, I couldn’t find Ozil @ Gerry.


    ahahahhahahahahaahahaaaha @ TCM is on fire and in very fine form as usual, poor TMHT πŸ˜€

  250. James Bond says:

    I think it was Lee Probert, if memory serves @ Gerry or another anti Arsenal

    but it was an anti arsenal ref, that bit I’m almost certain about…I read it on tuesday .

  251. I`ve got some Transfer info, although it is of the Barca youngster kind !.
    As you know Arsene has a fetish for young Spaniards !. In the past we`ve had Cesc Fabregas to the Arsenal…..Hector Bellerin to the Arsenal…….Jon Toral to the Arsenal….my sauce tells me of an exciting youngster……. Juan Neal……….Juan Neal to the Arsenal !.

  252. James Bond says:

    ffs no AFCON

    kill me !!!

    that’s bad news then, ha

    no worries, when was the last time yaya toure got injured πŸ˜€ must be due an injury soon !!!

    cheers for that one @TCM bearer of bad news.

  253. 17highburyterrace says:

    I was liking the Cabaye talk back when it was happening…Our corners and right-footed FKs would certainly improve… That ship has sailed unless we pull out the Gaz-Prom ruples, however…On the other hand, he’s been more valueable to Toon than the Bel-Fro has been for Mr. Moyes…

    What say you, 007, to our crumb-muncher as ManU grind out victories?…Boring, boring, but a little early to write them off, I fear…

    Afcon, Cockie, is on (in South Africa rather than Libya, but still on) according to my sauce…

    Working on a new avatar for tomorrow’s tough match…in honor of Ozil and another character from around here…

  254. James Bond says:

    this one is for 17HT, as the little birdee tells me you’re quite good with real estate and so on. (anyone else with knowledge about such things, please go ahead and give your 2 cents as well) minus Glics πŸ˜†

    is this a good deal ?

  255. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gerry, Ben Arfa is a real (if overly selfish) player but Gouffran is the opposite and keeps a keen eye out for rebounds and is a bit of a fox in the…Oh, I can’t even say it, as it will overexcite the Furry brother… Like I say, Cabaye can flash in a good set piece… Debuchy (somehow) got the nod at RB over Sagna in the crucial French qualifier…

    On the plus side, like us, their support is tough on them so they can get nervous at home…

  256. You are correct 17 !…..I`m very surprised being it a World Cup year !.

  257. James Bond says:

    ARGH @ TCM

    had it not been for 17HT aka the voice of reason, I would have believed you yet again

    so the good news is back on , Yaya toure will be gone for a month or 6 weeks, hence all is well again.

    don’t worry @ 17HT, Mancs will have to play a few tougher matches soon, so expect draws/losses again – normal service will resume soon and I still fancy Spuds /Everton/Liverpool/Man utd to fight for the 6th spot !

    Cabaye is an interesting one, IF you wanna get Cabaye then that tells me, bad news for one of Santi or Arteta.

  258. Only Nigeria and Ghana of African WC teams play in it !. So Yaya will still be here !. 😦
    Will Chavs lose Essien and Mikel ?.

  259. Gerry says:

    My view on that property link is that you have no guarantee that the tenant stays put, and if you were planning not to use it for the lifetime of the tenancy you are paying a whole lot money for the pleasure of owning it?

    The usual thing with owning holiday property is that you are unlikely to ever use it enough for the money you could go to a five star hotel. They are an expensive luxury unless it is going to be your permanent home.

  260. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sorry Bond, I don’t know Florida…Ask me about California and I can tell you something… In our property bubble, the biggest areas of foreclosures were Florida, Las Vegas and the Central Valley of California. The climate of all three is only acceptable in cooler weather…My advice is do a stop over on your way from Brazil–and bring your wallet…

    Having followed the discussion of rotation, I don’t think either extreme is good… I don’t want to say it, but the Ramsey injury could be a B-I-D as he was looking like he was trying too hard. Gerry’s mental fatigue may have been an issue too, given that you need a different one (mentality) to play at different depths of the midfield–Take chances at AM/Wing man, never as a holding/outlet guy… Luckily, as our big scorers from this early season get tired, the guys who gave us goals last time round are coming back…As long as they’re all (or mostly) ready for the tough matches coming in Feb, March and (hopefully) beyond…

    2 nil to the (Vincent) Tans…

  261. Gerry says:

    OMG we lose Frimpong!

  262. Gerry says:

    Well if Cockie has his way, we might get our own version of Vincent Tan?

  263. Funny enough Property is one of my loves. I have built from new, designed and restored properties for a number of years and if wasn`t for my “trouble and strife” and her “lovable” horses, I have no doubt it would be a huge money earner for me !…………..Bitch !. hahaha

  264. Gerry says:

    HT – Ben Arfa is one of AW’s previous recommendations, but there is no guarantee he will play tomorrow. He did play in their walkover at Stoke, but is a bit like Rosicky, cannot play too many games close together?

  265. James Bond says:

    yes , Gerry, that’s solid advice but the numbers are too good to be true, if you notice they say it’s a $200 k reduction ? Also , I know that part of the world is often a hurricane away from a disaster , hence it’s risky – but the numbers did caught my eye and thought it might be decent for a holiday home.

    I see, @ 17HT – but Cali , the property market is always on a high or rising steadily, isn’t it ? but yep, I may just have to do that –

    A lot of folks in The UK have over the years, invested in Spain and then later regretted it as the facilities and so on, were not taken into the equation and it sort of back fired on some of the people I know , hence I thought best to ask you or anyone with more knowledge about the property in the states.

    it’s good that Cardiff are winning, it means they don’t come to the Emirates with fear of relagation, just yet.

  266. Gerry says:

    I take issue with my mental fatigue .. I only get that when I have done a particularly hard Sudoku.

  267. James Bond says:

    here you go @ 17HT

    West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka
    West Ham 3-3 West Brom
    Nicolas Anelka
    “This gesture was just a special dedication to my comedian friend Dieudonne.”

    Anelka, 34, made the ‘quenelle’ – which has been described as an inverted Nazi salute – after West Brom’s first goal. The French government is trying to ban comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala’s shows over his use of the gesture.

  268. Vincent Tan looks like the typical stereo type Bond villain !………just lacks a fluffy pussy to stroke !……alas he left the hopeless shaven haven missus at home !.

  269. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bond, I’ve got this little box up on my screen where I can do searches for info…I think it’s called google (or something)… The cockie, however, dug even deeper… Heh, heh, “dug deeper”…) Sunderland need a Seb Larsson special sooner than later if they want back into this one…

    Gotta agree with Gerry on trying to score a vacation property with a tenant at that price (or trying to be a landlord from distance)…Association and management fees will eat your profits even if you manage to keep a tenant…

    Now, if you could afford something in my neighborhood (generally 3 to 10x the price of the Florida property–Think the high end of the range, if you want something on the golf course or up here at the Lake and I could help you out personally… Natural limits to development and price pressure from the google people in the SF bay area *could* make for a good long-term investment… It’s a bit of a hump to get here, however… If I were in your boots, I’d be buying a cortijo in Andalucia…My people in Granada spent @ $100,000 for wine/olives/small concrete house and pool 20 mins from the City, 1 hour to the coast, 1/2 hour to skiing…The current value they told me, was less than half that amount… Finally, even if the property is free, and you don’t need a tenant… I’d be wary of the maintenance on a cheap (wood) house in humid Florida…

    Gerry, haha, I meant Ramsey’s mental fatigue, not yours…It was your allusion to the “mental fatigue” (even in darts or snooker) I was referencing…but perhaps, now I’m the one not sure who’s kidding whom… πŸ˜†

  270. James Bond says:

    or Tan looks like that fella in the hangover films ? the bloke with a monkey minus the mustache ?

  271. Gerry says:

    Yes looking at the photo I think he will get a reprimand, but not bring an overtly political gesture into the game.

    At least they were not playing Spurs?

  272. Gerry says:

    *for binging an overtly blah blah blah

  273. Gerry says:

    That is my mental fatigue showing up early …

  274. Crap at cryptic clues, but find Sudoku easy, even the hard ones, but kept doing so many that I bored myself off of it !. Same with Solitaire, just had a run of 15 on the trot and now have bored myself to bits with that as well !. The missus complained about it, then tried one and now she`s hooked !.
    Not the biggest “tool” in the BK tool box, but definitely a sharp one !. hahaha

  275. 17highburyterrace says:

    Fabio Borini collapsing at half-time seems the extra bit taking Sunderland out of this one…Hopefully it’s not anything serious…

    Agreed about odd-job Tan there Cockie—What would you think if Usmanov demanded we play in all white (maybe with blue sleeves?…)

    OK Fletcher gets on the end of a cross…83rd min but still on then?…

  276. James Bond says:

    indeed, google is king however, there is no substitute for real time intel and sharing views with people with well versed knowledge like Gerry and yourself @ 17HT (I would have included you Glics but I don’t want you to post another youtube shout, ha

    cheers both of yous !

    back to footy then ,

    2-1 (Fletcher).

  277. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oh come on Cockie…I’m sure you could get “to” or “too” tattooed on there if not the whole word…

    You could tell the ladies it stands for “tool” if not take me “to” your leader or I’ll take your sister “too.” Working with the tools at hand seems better than always wanting more… And, when at sea, it’s more about the motion than the size of the bow-sprit, or something…


  278. 17highburyterrace says:

    Larsson already subbed, means nothing from the right…I think Cardiff can hang on here but they don’t look too tough for midweek…

    Ben Arfa, Gerry, like Delofeu, can strike in an instant. As such, even if he doesn’t start, I’ll be bitch-twitchy until the points are secured…

  279. Gerry says:

    Cockie – I do the D.Mail Sudoku online … whenever there is a story on NewsNow that I want to read. Just zoom up to the Coffee Break item on their banner.
    They usually start with the one star ones at the beginning of the week, and work up to the 3 star by Friday. I took over an hour to do a 3 star one, but Sunday they put up a 5 star one and I did it in 22 minutes. I think it is a bit like crosswords, if they are set to the way you solve them then they are pretty straighforward. Luckily, with the Mail ones you can use the ‘save’ facility. I often find if I take a break and come back to them I find what I want very quickly.

    I play spider solitaire when I’m listening to the audio commentary on the ‘Player. I have a 43% success rate from something like 7,000 odd games.

  280. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo !.
    What if Silent decides to do it ?
    If any Bastard were to change our colours, our name ( apart from reverting back to Royal Arsenal ! hahaha ) then that would be my lot !. I don’t get the Cardiff supporters, first call of action and a simple one !… one ( fans ) buy a red shirt….all turn up at games with blue ones only and if that doesn`t work, then boycott games !. I know that is a bit drastic, but, he would soon change his mind !. Same as Hull City….boycott the games if you feel so strongly !.

  281. James Bond says:



  282. 17highburyterrace says:

    2-2 AT THE DEATH!!!

    Death blow for the Villainous Tans!! They’ll be shattered every which way. Who will take my Tenner on a Bendy hat-trick for New Years Day?…

  283. Gerry says:

    Let’s see how he does tomorrow first, he might get a red card for Knutting krul, or should that be cruel to the knut?

  284. 17highburyterrace says:

    Don’t worry, Cockie…Like his father-in-law (Sam Walton, founder of Wal-mart) Stan Kroenke is in it for the long-haul. (Unfortunately both are a far more sinister sort of Villain, than the ones Bond disposes of with each flick…) Arsenal are a far better brand than our (current) team would suggest… We should have a leg up on the newly promoted teams and the mega-lo-dreams of their (comparatively) low rent owners…

    OK, must get my new avatar going…

  285. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gerry, my money (or at least my mouth or typing fingers) says Nicky will be fortunate to get to warm up along the sidelines tomorrow…

  286. Hahaha 17….I only jest….to keep the goonerettes at bay !. hahaha

    Anyway, what sane person would want to change the best and most iconic shirt colours ever !.

  287. Gerry says:

    I know it is not funny for our near neighbours, but they have dropped into the bottom three on goal difference thanks to the Hull rout?

    Serve them right for going for a United reject as manager?

  288. Fcuk me 7000+ games !. Not enough rotation !
    Talking of which, I must rotate Screen with TV and keep Mrs Monster happy !. Bye !.

  289. James Bond says:

    our near neighbours also have a lazy player aka Berbatov, who’ll no doubt be available in January.

  290. 17highburyterrace says:

    Before you go, cockie…The bug eyes don’t really show up on the new avatar so maybe I need to keep working on it…And, of course, I go for something else for New Years day when Ozil takes a bench place… πŸ˜€ …

    Gerry, Not seeing much news on Frimpong…Did his Christmas lights get turned off?

    I’d take Berbs in the window (at the right price, of course), just gotta keep him and Jack supplied with cigs…

  291. James Bond says:

    ahahhahahahahahahahahah @ TCM

    I bet , If you lived anywhere near Gerry and his dogs, you would be plenty “fatigued” due to endless running @ Glics

    TA – where art thou –

    Fozzie B – hope you had a pleasant journey.

    laters, everyone !

  292. 17highburyterrace says:

    Here’s the full image…might have to do some cropping…

  293. Gerry says:

    In answer to my unanswered question:

    The ref is one Lee Probert

  294. 17highburyterrace says:

    Slightly better with the avatar…but not good enough…

    Lee Probert is not the best, but also not the worst… Needs to work on his posture and not just pump the iron…What say the Untold ref watchers?

  295. Gerry says:

    I have just lifted this from Untold:

    To sum up – this will be a very difficult game for Arsenal to get points from, Newcastle are starting to play well, particularly at home. Mr Probert seems to have a general bias in favour of home teams and a complete and utter phobia against Arsenal. Given these I believe that a draw will be a good result and a win superb for the Arsenal.


  296. James Bond says:


    check the comment I left at

    James Bond says:
    December 28, 2013 at 18:31
    I think it was Lee Probert, if memory serves @ Gerry or another anti Arsenal

    but it was an anti arsenal ref, that bit I’m almost certain about…I read it on tuesday .

  297. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA is off to the Highlands according to my sauce, Bond…We might be on our own here…

  298. 17highburyterrace says:

    Geez, our leader is AWOL, we’ve got a “bad” ref and Gerry says if we play our best team we’re screwed for the season ahead…(And cockie’s off to search for crumbs…)

    This is dire and still 18 hours to kick off… 😯

    Time to pull together BK brothers…

    Group Hug? πŸ˜€

  299. Gerry says:

    Yes, it seems a good case for putting Bendtner in the firing line ha ha … Sorry Nicky B

  300. Gerry says:

    I put myself down to review the game too. but I can only do that if I get to see it early enough for the Monday readership …. Aaarrrgh, it is going to be a nightmare!

  301. Gerry says:

    I’ve just checked on the Player, the whole game is available Mon AM. If that is around midnight, great. 6.0am, not so good.

  302. Gerry says:

    i see, the rats have deserted the sinking ship …

  303. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gerry, thanks for keeping me company (somewhat, at least)… High noon here and I should get out and chop some firewood. With the soil all warmed up, I could also dig my girl a final resting place, instead 😯 😦 Hopefully she’ll wake up, come out and give me a little company… It’s all a little TOO bittersweet, that’s for sure…

    Have a good night…Our match is tough, and I don’t think we should underestimate it. Luckily we have the advantage of being the better team… πŸ˜€

    My communication with Total suggests he’s on the move today but maybe settled for the match and posting stuff afterwards…Truth be told, I’m not “Total-ly” sure…No matter what, I would advise against getting stressed with the Arsenal blog-work…

  304. Gerry says:

    I’m sorry that it was a bit on and off. I know how you are feeling right now. Remember the good times, perhaps plant a bush or something that brings back happy memories. Trailing will not be the same for quite sometime, but keep the love, although that is what hurts.

    All my thoughts are with you …

  305. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening fine fellow Gs

    Just arrived at our holiday home in Highlands after a long journey and a puncture to front wheel tyre in a very dark area. Lovely house with just stars above us and five lights in the far distance. Got iPad working and will try lap top next to see whether I can issue a post.

  306. James Bond says:

    sounds more spooky than lovely @ skipper


  307. TotalArsenal says:

    Just quiet Jambo and the views in the morning should be spectacular! How are you feeling about tomorrow’s game?

  308. James Bond says:

    you know me , Skipper – always positive,

    it may not be a 5-0 but it may end up being a 3-0 to us, depending on Giroud’s mood.

  309. TotalArsenal says:

    Am positive too, but Flamini must be fit o play. Flamshere in the DM pivot? Maybe Ollie will be rested…

  310. James Bond says:

    yes , Flamini and Wilshere with Rosicky coming in for Ozil , which keeps the hole very fluid with both Rosicky and Santi slotting in, like a dream with Theo on the right

    Giroud, I’ll start with Giroud tomorrow, he will do well tomorrow (Gut feeling) and then the Pod comes on as a 2nd half sub for Giroud.

  311. TotalArsenal says:

    I reckon Ozil will play again, but is Rosicky fit again? I love to see:

    Theo – Ozil – Pod

  312. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey there, Total…Hopefully you’re getting settled and that by tomorrow evening we can once again address you as ToTL… πŸ˜€

    Don’t know how much reading you want to do but there are some decent back and forths between the rotators and the best 11 sorts in there amongst the real estate advice and crumb-bumming… Personally, I think it’s a tough one but, if we can make our own luck, a good result will be ours…With the two Manchester teams doing the boring, boring (and Chelsea sure to try and do likewise) we rather need to do whatever we can to secure our own up there…

    Sorry, Bond, I don’t see Sicky starting this one (Smoking Jack, flying fingers and all is too itching to show he–and Theo–are the future of England)… Arteta to sit (Flams to play and translate the Neufchateau team talk… I think Ollie plays this one, Bendy either gone or for a hat trick on 1st January…

    We know what must be done, so now we must, in the immortal words of the French/English Capitan (Jean-Luc Picard/Sir Patrick Stewart…) MAKE IT SO…. and show who has the best French team in England… To the barricades, or something… πŸ˜†

  313. James Bond says:

    Rosicky was never injured, AW confirmed he was rested – the confusion was caused by the assumption made by bt sports.

    according to AW (HINT) , Koc is fresh, Rosicky is fresh and JW is fresh (3 changes).

  314. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi 17 πŸ™‚

    Tough one indeed, but I have a good feeling about this one.

  315. TotalArsenal says:

    Good news then – a fit TR7 is a fine weapon to have

  316. Must be tough,17, I don’t even want to think about ever losing my pup, I`ve never known a bond like it .
    This is going to be one tough game and I cant see us winning, they are the form team, a draw would normally be a good result, but only a win will keep us TOTL and anything other than a win will make my obsessive like for like stats worse !.
    Whereabouts are you Totes ?. I want to google the location to see how beautiful it is !.

  317. James Bond says:

    sorry to hear about your loss @ 17HT

    I think Gerry called you(TCM) and Glics , RATS.

  318. Night Totes McBastard !. hahaha

  319. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bond, it hasn’t happened as of yet and we just came back from our afternoon walk… She’s still working hard to pee over other dog’s markings even if she can’t see what she’s doing…

    Indeed, what a pup she has been…Including this final gift…giving me an excuse to stay home while wife and kid are up visiting the in-laws… πŸ˜€ So I get a nice final (quiet) bonding period. If I can nurse her through to their return, we’ll celebrate her 18th birthday together on Jan 1. It’s not an accurate birthday as she was a pound dog (or “rescue” dog–what do call it over there?)…but still pretty impressive for a dog of 80 lbs… No jokes about girls turning 18, in this one instance, you monster… Anyhow, thanks for the kind thoughts, I may need more when the time comes…

    Cockie, from which side of the sofa are you gonna watch this one?

  320. James Bond says:

    apologies then and don’t forget to take plenty of pics with the doggy, memories are forever.

    I guess the reason why you feel a bitch twitchy is due to them winning 5-1 the other day with 9 men stoke ? they would have struggled to win , had it been 11 vs 11 , I reckon.

    I don’t rate their RB as highly as Sagna , we should be able to keep him plenty busy, especially If rosicky / Santi and Theo are playing in that “3” – interchange.

  321. 17highburyterrace says:

    Thanks Bond re: the dog…

    I agree that Toon got lucky that Stoke reverted to type (and the referee took control). Indeed, It looked a tough match for them before the sending offs…

    No, I’m just comparing them to a year ago and the match I attended. We’re better but they’re better as well and playing at home with a “homer” ref… I was really just trying to bring Gerry back to reality about how much we should rotate. His suggestions (IMO) would have ceded the MF battle and had us playing on the break–not to my liking…

    Cockie can go on and on about points vs last season but some teams go up and some go down. These (smaller) clubs also struggle having to play on Spursday nights. This season Toon are free of that issue and coming into this match off a much easier one than the tough one which they barely lost (4-3) against Man U… They will be much more mentally (if not physically) fresh and seeing this as a real opportunity to take points off a top team…

    A final worry is that they’ve got a far superior keeper than we do… so we’ll likely need to create 5 times the chances they do… πŸ˜‰

    Confident, yes… Just trying to stay within reason, so nobody has to get bitch twitchy… :double winky:

  322. James Bond says:

    agreed @ 17HT

    yep, not sure what’s gotten into Gerry lately, I think Glics is beginning to get to him πŸ˜† I think he also called me and glics – Rats πŸ˜€ but it’s all jolly good, all a bit of festive fun and banter .

    he’s a massive Gnabry fan, as am I but as you or someone else pointed out, he will be unleashed against the spuds when Theo is rested and Ox is played on the left ? that will be a real 4-3-3 (mouth watering stuff, with Ox on the left, and Gnabry on the right with the Pod up front ? ) JW can be the no.10 against spuds – how’s that ehhhh

    ahahahahahhahahahaa nice one ; )

    you must be well happy with Santiago returning to form ? it all started with him finally taking a pop at goal from range , which led to Ozil missing a sitter on the rebound, he should have scored that one hence my point about us taking more long range shots from distance or outside the box – Santiago gets my vote for that.

  323. James Bond says:

    yeah, what a game that was ehh 7-3 ? lucky you, ehhhh

    but if memory serves, Newcastle players were JADED that day as we got a rest due to no WHU GAME ?

    history repeated itself nicely…how ironic that even last year, we had WHU and then NEwcastle ? also, we won with a similar scoreline 3-1 against WHU , what are the odds on another 7-3 πŸ˜€ albeit, away this time and not at the emirates ?

  324. James Bond says:

    let us re-live it once more , shall we…

  325. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey 007, don’t know if you’re still up, but that match WAS fun, after the twitchy part went away…The best part was meeting a blogger (from my previous home blog…) and being treated to Turkish food ahead of the match up in the Finsbury Park area where he grew up…

    As for the match itself… Another uncomfortable element was the way Theo saluted all corners of the stadium as if he was saying goodbye. Giroud (in a sub role…) should’ve had a hat trick too, if he was any good… πŸ˜† πŸ˜‰

    The whole performance wasn’t particularly convincing esp. when compared to some of our 2-nils this season. Those big scorelines are fun but it’s just plain weird when EVERY shot goes in… What happens in the next match when they don’t?… Confidence sags, that’s what… 3 points is 3 points and the rest is gloss…

    As such, 3 points is the key tomorrow… Rest up, eh… Hopefully we get a match preview from Total as he seems to have connectivity, if not more… Night, night…

  326. Gerry says:

    Yes, JB & HT, that was a fun reminder ..

    So what was about them having the best keeper .. he let in 5 to our 3.

    I will just run through the three goal shall I? :

    Wilshere shamefully ducks, and the ball spins off is back giving Szcz no chance from the Ba free kick.
    Koscielny inadvertently diverts the ball into the scorer’s path, when it might have gone behind him? A simple tap in for Marveaux, with Gibbs poor on the defensive cover, but after Sagna was roasted by the average Obertin.

    Their third was again a cross from their left side to the far post, and Gibbs again at fault.

    Wilshere somewhat redeem himself with the chip over towards the far post, where their (superior?)GK failed to clear it, so it came back for Pod to nod in.

    Sagna was not in such great form as he is now – but whether he will be after 4 games is another matter? – He did however retrieve it with his cross for the final goal?

    Gibbs too, after allowing a tap in for their 2nd & 3rd goals, put in a great cut back for Walcott to make it 4-3?

    Somewhere in the mix, Chambo reminded us of what a great player we have missed this season, and unless I am mistaken, he was younger then than the equally talented Gnabry is now? Giro scoring his only goal outside of the Capitol too. it is indeed a funny old game …

    So, Szcz, blameless for all three goals. Sagna back to his very best. Gibbs too is in great form. Mert back in the middle to organise the defense. Pod and Theo both looking sharp. Santi to run the centre show. It only needs Jack to show he is a year older, and hopefully wiser, to put this mid table side well and truly in their place?

    We need to win this, and it will help if we don’t gift them 3 easy goals. The ref, who probably has a view on foreign players being being softer than southern fairies who roll over screaming with a tap on the shoulder, and will enjoy them get a good kicking … but that goes for both sides?
    The Untold stats show he does have a ‘home’ bias, and an extreme negativity towards Arsenal. But what might just swing it, is the two very public calls against the refs during matches, and that might mean they will not want a third such outcry? Not entirely without hope, as Mr Probert has been negative when Newcastle are away from home, so he he may just hide his home bias to make it a level playing field?

    Look forwards to the TA preview, now we know he has arrive safely and the laptop works.

  327. Gerry says:

    !7HT – I am glad your girl is still hanging in there, I wasn’t sure how to read your sentence ‘i hope she wakes up and joins me out here’, but thinking it being more spiritual than physical.

    If, from what you now say, I suspect she had a ‘stroke’ in the night, and has now lost her sight?
    She may yet surprise you further and keep going for a little longer. Their sense of smell help them navigate quite well in familiar situations, and the quiet time with you will build her confidence no end. Hang in there, enjoy every moment you can …

    Catch you later

  328. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post

    From divine views of a Loch and ancient mountains, I send you this preview. πŸ™‚


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