Newcastle v Arsenal match review + player ratings and MotM

NEWCASTLE v ARSENAL

Theo Walcott

Brief summary:

Arsenal started very brightly, and with some very slick one touch passes, they moved the ball about with great authority. But as often happens, very little in the way of clear openings.

Krull was a bit slow to clear and Rosicky forced a poor kick and Arsenal were again passing the ball around in the final third. In the 7th minute Walcott got body checked by Tiote when on a one-two run at goal, but the ref ‘did not see it’, but it should have been a yellow card for Tiote.

It took a great pass from Cabaye to Debouchy, who got first run on Gibbs to bring Newcastle into life, but that cross was cleared comfortably enough. Much of our attack was going down the left wing as either Rosicky or Wilshere were working that side with Gibbs. However that proved to be a weakness for Arsenal as Debouchy was able to exploit the space behind, with Gibbs playing catch up. Both Sissoko and Remy had some joy down that wing in the first half, but mostly each side cancelled each other out when it came to scoring opportunities.

In the 9th minute, Rosicky had had a great strike on target, but straight at Krull’s midriff. On the 20 minute mark Arsenal won their first corner after another bright piece of slick passing, but was finally cut out as Walcott ran to the byline. Nothing resulted from the corner though. Giroud got booked, rightly, for tripping Tiote, rightly, as Tiote was breaking forwards, but injured himself when it appeared he tweaked his other ankle on the following run through. Meanwhile, Cazorla was still on the ground from the previous tackle where they had won possession, but no foul was given?

Newcastle finished the half with a flourish after a Cabaye attempt was touched over by a fully stretched Szczesney. From the corner a few dodgy moments, but finally the ball was cleared. 

So honours even, and the half-time score remained at 0-0.

The second half started much the way the first had been. Some occasional nice bits of play which eventually led to one misplaced one and the resulting lost possession, and this from both sides. It looked like neither side would break this pattern, and it was Newcastle who turned to Ben Arfa for the first substitution, although Arsenal had Podolski, Gnabry and Jenkinson warming up.

There were a few more tackles going than in the first half, and Tiote escaped a booking for doing what Giroud had done in the first period. Then came the free kick which Walcott sent a beautiful aimed ball in from about 35 yards out from just left of centre. It was a not too high curler that was on target, but one that Krull would probably have saved. However, Giroud made a perfect run across his defender, and from the camera shot from behind the goal you could see Krull saw him coming and went fractionally to his right, expecting Giro’s header to go across him. Instead it was a little glancing header to his left that meant his previous movement the other way left him so that neither outstretched leg and hand could prevent the goal. Fair play to Giroud, because in the last few matches such a touch might have easily gone agonisingly wide, but he kept faith and was duly rewarded.

That seemed to spark Newcastle into the more physical stuff that got them some joy in the first half. It was Cabaye who got annoyed at Rosicky who just pushed him away. No card on this occasion, but when Rosicky tried to nip possession of him a few minutes later, Cabaye made an agonising cry of pain, although the replay clearly showed that it was Cabaye’s shin that hit Rosicky in the calf. No surprise that Rosicky waved that one away too. But when the much bigger Tiote came up to remonstrate, Rosicky looked him in the eye and told him ‘to go forth and multiply’, in the abbreviated form. The ref booked him, it appeared on the topping up procedure, rather than the tackle itself.

It was a late tackle on Gibbs on the sideline that seemed to catch him on the top of the foot. Not dissimilar to the one that caused all his metatarsal problems a few seasons back. However, I noticed on the next Newcastle attack Gibbs had a definite limp. Whilst I don’t think it is too serious, a crunch toe may be? So it was no surprise that he was subbed by Ateteta, although the Arsenal fans were caught a little bewildered. As indeed was the defence. Flamini thought Sagna would come across to left back and he would go to right back position. Instead, Flamini dropped in at left back, given the absence of Vermaelen from the bench. This confusion arose again with Jenks coming on for Walcott, and played ahead of Sagna. Later on, after Newcastle had brought on all of their subs, Bendtner also came on to give Giroud a well deserved rest.

In between these actions there was a bit of goalmouth activity at both ends. A delightful chip pass by Cazorla for Walcott inside the box; he lobbed the onrushing Krull perfectly, only for Debouchy to clear with a top class piece of defending, heading from under the crossbar to clear it. It came back out to Walcott, whose second shot Krull saved, but he too only pushed it out to Giroud. He hit it with his right foot back across goal and it was cleared. To be fair to Giroud, the ball came at him quickly from only a couple of yards and he was in no position to turn his body around to make it a shot from wide of the post, and even less time to get it on his left foot.

At the other end, a sharp ball into the Arsenal nearly ended badly. The target for the cross was dealt with by Sagna’s low header to Mertersacker, but Szczesney had made the decision to come for it, but would not have made it had Sagna left it to him. In the confusion that followed Sagna taking his own goalkeeper, the ball was cleared.

In another instance, Szczesney came to make a routine clearance, kicking the ball out of his hands, saw Remy closing him down, changed his mind at the last second from clearing up the middle, to going to his left. He did not get the height, but did get Remy full in the face. Luckily for him, the rebound went wide. He was visibly furious with himself … but it may cost him his place in the next game?

With all the subs that Newcastle brought on being of an attacking nature, it was a bit desperate in the last few minutes. Even Krull came up when they had a couple of corners. Which led to a couple of Arsenal possible replies. Cazorla had a cheeky 90 yards pop at goal of the season from the near touchline. Alas, it only went about 60 yards and was easily stopped by the retreating Krull.

The second one involved Bendtner, who managed to get a throw in off the only defender back, with Krull still struggling to get back in goal. Bendtner moves to the middle of the pitch, screaming at Jenkinson to do the throw in, as a quick ball in would have had Bendtner one-on-one with the keeper. But Jenks was not thinking that quickly, and by the time he got the ball, turned around, the moment was lost.

Finally, for the third time Krull went forward for a corner, deep into injury time, instead of hanging deep for a far post knock back, he made for the middle, for Szczesney in fact, but a good solid punch saw the Gunners home.

We expected a tough match, and it was a tough match. Three points gratefully received.

We also had 53% possession, more shots on target(thanks to Ben Arfa?), Newcastle made more fouls but we got 3 yellow cards. The referee Lee Probert lived up to his pre-billing then?

 

Thought and reflections:

In the opening few minutes I thought our midfield had recaptured that enterprising play that saw off teams early on in the season. The trio of Rosicky, Wilshere and Flamini seemed to understand the role of one of the remaining at the back. The fluid inter-positioning and quick passing got Newcastle completely confused. However, they had enough quality players, like Cabaye with his passing range, Debouchy both in defence and attack, Tiote, like him or loathe him, he does a solid job? So it was no surprise that they got back into the game. Arsenal, overall, had the better chances, so the win was not undeserved, even if they had to fight for it.

 

Player by player performances:

SZCZESNEY: Two potentially dangerous errors, two equally great saves. That sort of sums up his game? It has been a demanding run of games, but he will be very pleased with the clean sheet.

MERTERSACKER: Yet another commanding performance. No highlights, just a solid professional day at the office.

KOSCIELNEY: His normally imperious defending was only marred by a sloppy pass that went straight to an attacker. That returned, resulting in him having to make a customary last ditch tackle. unfortunately that ball squirmed out to a Newcastle player, but the danger was cleared. That episode should not take too much off his overall performance, or the excellent partnership with Per Mertersacker.

SAGNA: He had yet another tough day. For the fourth time in a row he has come up trumps. Why he is not worth a decent new contract is anybody’s guess, but performances like these put him in a strong bargaining position? Rarely put a foot wrong, got forward when he could and handled all that Newcastle could muster. Top class from Mr Reliable!

GIBBS: Mixed fortunes for Gibbs. Got forward really well, got some decent crosses in, and was involved in all the early play. Defensively he was not so sure footed. Even in position, Debuchy seemed to have his measure, but often it was the quality of the passing that meant Gibbs was playing behind the runner. His injury late on will probably give him a well earned break. For the amount of running he has done in the last for games it is understandable that a little sharpness was missing?

FLAMINI: He worked across the middle of the park like a sheepdog rounding up the flock. In fact, nipping at the heels go him a booking, but overall a solid game. Very few chances came Newcastle’s way via him. In a game where he specialises in rolled up sleeves, he does not disappoint.

WILSHERE: Definitely one of his better games. He was part of most of our attacking moves going forward in the first half, and was defensively responsible dropping back if Flamini was going forward. Faded a little in the second half, but that was partly due to Newcastle pressure. noticeably did not get uptight or argue in the ref’s face. Solid game, and will do him no harm if he can repeat this next time.

ROSICKY: Oh, a TTM from me Tomas Top Man. Ran the pitch like a man possessed. Never gave up fighting for the ball. His ‘F* Off!’ to Tiote was priceless. If we could bottle his spirit and drip feed it to some nameless others we would not need new players, just a padded cell for them to calm down in. Without him in the side we would not be ToTL right now.

MOTM no question …

CAZORLA: I know many will share my disappointment that Santi could follow up his previous superb game performance. However, for me, it tends reinforces my own opinion of this being another ‘Arshavin-esque’ situation. He needs to be the hub where things evolve from, and his game disappears somewhat when he is a part of another’s creation. I am not meaning he is not a team player, far from it. But when he plays for the team, as he did in the second half, when clearly told to support Gibbs more in defence, he did so. But at the cost of his creativity, where he can bring others into the game. In the first half we saw glimpses of it. In the previous game, when Ozil faded he came into his own. Here, he not only had to contend with Rosicky with ‘Duracell’, but also Wilshere being in the spaces he can operate much better in … when allowed to? I feel this will be an ongoing problem, and not one easily resolved?

GIROUD: The Hero. The Villain. But whatever your view, you simply cannot deny that Giro is the ultimate team worker. The most important thing though, is the players understand the latter to a man. He works his socks off in every game, and even this one, on the back of some slim pickings, near misses, soft chances not taken, he was still in there, putting every last ounce of effort in.

So boy did he deserve his goal today?

Whether he can kick on from here, or take a short break, like Ozil, until the Villa game, remains to be seen. The second half of the season is going to be equally tough, so if I were him I would take a ‘chill out’ break if it is offered.

WALCOTT: He too was not as effective in this game as he was against West Ham. I think that was mostly down to better defending. He did not have the space to work in, when he did early on and he got fouled and that might have put him off his game? But when he was in space passes did not reach for one reason or another. However, he will be remembered for that one piece of magic that gave him the assist for the goal. You often hear commentators say ‘…it only needed a slight touch and ..’? Well this one got it, and did it make everybody in the Arsenal camp relieved?

His other chance to double the score was very cleverly saved by a goal line clearance, and he rebound shot was pushed aside by the keeper. But I think overall he can be happy he made the difference?

Finally, to those who think we should go for Berbatov, I say if you want the team to play with 10 men and somebody up front, then ask the players who they want?

Mertersacker says ‘We need to buy the RIGHT players to help win the title’ … I agree.

Written by: Gerry

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116 Responses to Newcastle v Arsenal match review + player ratings and MotM

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Gerry, super match review: fair, analytical/thorough, and generally positive. 🙂

    Apologies for the delay in publishing it – only got back to the holiday house an hour ago.

  2. James Bond says:

    that was fantastic @ Gerry

    a fair reflection and very finely balanced analysis of the game that saw us come back to the top of the table, what a match it was…almost took me back to the George Graham days – the 0-1’s (Perhaps, it’s the steve bould influence as well !

    coming straight to the point,

    yes, apart from the usual 2 brain farts per game from Sczny, he had a perfect game.

    Gibbs, I feel was rather left on his own with very little help from Santi and JW, and I doubt If he really is injured ? there was no mention by AW about him being injured and such likes, so going to keep my fingers crossed on that one.

    Rosicky, now he is someone I really want to talk about, but let me spare everyone the detailed praises , let’s sum it up – Rosicky = Ferrari , we got to look after him and rest him vs Cardiff and then unleash him on Spuds this saturday , he’s a big match player and for big games, he does’t let us down.

    I disagree with 17HT’s , slightly when he said the trio of Santi, Rosicky and JW didn’t click, we were facing a real TOP 6 team and I will be surprised if they were not there about’s at the end of the season – expect plenty of teams to drop points at St.James’s park, we will find out more in a few weeks when man city play them

    lastly, JW , he didn’t have a decent game for me, he was ok going forward but defensively, he wasn’t up to it – this is his opportunity to do what Ramsey did last year , yep, cement his place at Ramsey’s expense…last year when JW had his injury it was Ramsey’s gain, let’s see if he can up his game – The problem with JW is that he needs games games and games , now – I expect him to do loads better vs Cardiff.

    Re- Berbatov – he’s not cup tied or CL tied, so I can see the attraction and also, a 6 month loan may not be a bad idea as such, only IF we are unable to get our main targets.

  3. Cant disagree on anything there Gezzer…..Damn !. hahaha
    A quality post which should have been deserving of a quality match !.
    To tell the truth, other than us securing 3 utmost valuable points, I will only remember one stand out moment…………………………….yes it was that “Jester Jenks” moment, although not fatigued, he did not rotate quickly enough imo !. 😀

  4. James Bond says:

    from previous article to VCC :

    VCC,

    there is a lot of merit and substance behind your comments.

    considering, we have been sticking with the “Youth and nurture” policy since the last God knows how many years and winning, plenty of trophies.

    yep, we have done that and now are in a position to blend it and mix it with SQ signings – and fortunately, this is what AW realizes now as well, hence you will only see SQ signings or no permanent signings at all, until his targets become available.

    If people accuse you of impatience after 8/9 years, then sadly , you have to ask such people to define “Patience and Impatience ”

    even the teams with great youth academies and products, sign one to two SQ signings every season or try in every window just to keep improving.

    we shouldn’t be any different and we are now in a position to do just that.

    also, people tend to forget that we got Ozi for 42 million, however, we did save around £20 million in wages per Annum + 10 – 15 million on player sales .

    in short, we have plenty of money still available for the right players coming in – financially we are doing fantastically well and we should not hesitate to do that, if it ensures the PL trophy

    fully agreed with you!

    PS: sorry for clouding your brilliant article a bit, Gerry.

  5. James Bond says:

    TCM,

    I reckon the lad lacks awareness and smartness plus sharpness, sometimes – its like how he plays – very sort of robotic

    he thought he was being clever by pretending to waste time, but he may have cost us 3 points, when you look at it, he throws it to JW , who loses the ball anyway by going straight into traffic

    not only do you question the sleepy Jenks but also where were you headed JW, ha

  6. James Bond says:

    you might like this @ Glics

    we have 42 points from 19 matches , yes ?

    if , we are to be champions then we have to do better than that in our remaining 19 matches…no, I don’t want another 57 points (although, it would be rather nice 😆

    anyhow, if we can manage to get 47-50 points, then we are Champions as it will get us to that 89-92 points figure

    if we match our first 19 then it’s 84 points in total, which might not be enough , I reckon.

    we can better our first 19 games, as most of the teams we dropped points against, do come to us, WBA, Man utd, Man city and if we win against Aston Villa , so that’s a mighty fine start.

    I hope we don’t lose any one else on Wednesday due to injury and I doubt if, AOX will be available for the spuds game, either.

    this is where AW has to utilize his squad a bit better.

  7. True JB, he was definitely trying to waste time, but these footballers being (most) finely tuned athletes, usually means being sharp and aware comes hand in hand !. He will be sharper next time, alas, how many times does that opportunity present it`s self with a goalie running back from a corner ?. I bet he has been wearing the Dunces hat in training today !.

  8. James Bond says:

    not having a go at corporal Jenks, but you can see the blandness in his play as well, he lacks flair and swagger – I appreciate , he’s a young lad who works hard but how hard is it to face the pitch and move backwards to see what’s going on – this way you can analysis, whether to waste time by going slowly or do a quickie – he simply turned his back on the game, as I was screaming louder than NB at my TV, ha

    let’s hope he learns but this was pretty basic stuff for a footballer, in my opinion – it was a mistake that one doesn’t expect at this level , he did all the hard work and voila – went to sleep, when he could have reaped dividends for the team –

    @ TCM

  9. So basically we need to turn around our awful form against Manscum, City and Chavs to have a chance and in doing so not just giving us more points but taking points off them !…………the double edged sword !.

  10. James Bond says:

    *analyze

  11. Gerry says:

    I guessed that TA

    I am sorry I did not get it out before you were out this morning. I tried though. I watched the match at 2.30am.Had my breakfast around 4.30, finished the review part by 6.30, had a bar of chocolate, and then did the player stuff. emailed you just after 8.0am.
    But when I finish the error check, I noticed the thing hadn’t saved to draft because I had lost the broadband connection. I found the earlier hub2 worked, but by the time I had done all that it was after 10.0am.

    Then while I was out with the dogs I realised I had missed Walcott of the player stuff, so a quick late addition ..

    All in a good cause I hope

  12. Hahaha I was screaming at the screen as well, but that was on MotD with the result known !. If only he could have heard me, it might have been 2-0 !. hahaha

  13. James Bond says:

    no, not really

    even if we don’t do well against the mancs – we win against Astona villa + 3 and WBA +2 = 5 points + 42 = 47 Points, which takes us to the magical 89 number ?

    If we do it that way, then we can afford to lose to both the mancs (highly unlikely , I hope) and we can afford to draw vs Chelsea.

    of course, this is based on the assumption that we are going to do as well as the first 19 matches with a few tweak’s here n there, as we can also defeat Everton but maybe draw with Liverpool away ? it balances it out in a way.

    I hope you get the gist of it and stop with the -4 now.

    remember, the + 5 (Aston Villa and WBA).

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    No worries Gerry. It is family first for me on holiday and I would not have been able to issue the post earlier anyway. You have done a great job, though, and it will lead to many good discussions in the next 24 hours.

    Cheers, compadre! 🙂

  15. James Bond says:

    wow, Gerry – you put in a shift this morning , alright – and it was a cracker, I hope a lot of people come and read as well as comment because it’s simply quite brilliant.

    I hope you don’t mind the side tracking by me , a little 🙂

  16. Just received a ransom note from MarleyKaze for the release of Fozzie !. He wants 50 unmarked blood transfusion bags deposited in a off shore blood bank somewhere in the Windies or Fozzie becomes a Bloodclaat for his Mum !.

  17. James Bond says:

    thoughts are with MarleyKaze at this very testing time, FB is a handful, sooner or later, it will be Marleykaze begging us to take FB away without ransom and Marley be willing to give a few blood transfusions of his own on the top of it, ha

  18. Gerry says:

    JB – I am glad you found it a good read. Two quick points.

    Gibbs not injured? Really, why sub him? I see see one headline saying it was a hamstring, but it wasn’t that limp I saw where the hands go to feel where the pain was. None of that, Just an uncomfortable walk. And he kept running after that, which is why I think it might be a damaged toe.

    JW – Yes he still has issues, but I thought his attitude was a whole lotter better than against ManC? He failed to build on a good performance against Norwich, so I am just hoping he can this time?

  19. Gerry says:

    TCM @18.38 – Very funny 😀

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Cockie and JB 😆

  21. Gerry says:

    No problemo JB. The second half of the season, and transfer window,stuff is only a couple of days away now …??

  22. JB
    If we beat Villa away that will be 2 points gained like for like and we beat WBA both home and away last year !. I will only drop the like for like logic when we are actually in the + column !.
    That’s means beating Villa will mean we are -2 points, then if we beat Fulham at home that will be level points and we would have to beat Southampton away to be +2 points like for like !.
    So there you have it win our next 3 league games and I may stop !. hahaha

  23. Gerry says:

    TA – I guessed you were out for the day. The weather was a bit rough up your way too, so I hope you got to see through the Scotch mist okay?

  24. James Bond says:

    it’s wishful thinking on my behalf @ Gerry

    he might be injured he might not be, he was having a bad game as it’s normal after playing 3-4 games in quick succession .

    Gibbs, I’m hoping is fit and will be rested completely vs Cardiff and then can play against spuds ? that will be a win win, the worst case scenario is that he sits out like Ozil and get’s the rest until we play A.Villa.

    re-JW – due to our last minute illnesses and so on, he did well considering we were paper thin in the defensive reinforcements , at the time, I thought he was having a poor game and left me pulling my hair out, he still makes plenty of school boy errors but I’m hoping it was more down to rust than anything else – agreed with the attitude and offensive play.

  25. Hahaha Poor MarleyKaze !.

  26. Gerry says:

    JB – I played the martyr’s card there. I went off to sleep around 8.30pm last night, so I still got my 6 hours in. 🙂

  27. James Bond says:

    The voice of TREASON, I mean Glics

    forget last season – compare it with the first half of the season, the first 19 games, ok ?

    let’s keep it simple as most people including myself, don’t have the luxury of a photogenic memory as yourself that goes back to last season or the season before and so on 😆

    correct @ Gerry

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry

    Interesting choice for MoTM. I did not see the whole game so cannot comment. Should he play more regularly in the hole? Not for me and I reckon Santi is third if not fourth in line for it – after Ozil, Rosicky and probably Wilshere. Cazorla is a bird who needs freedom and space – that’s why I call him Santi Puffin – and I reckon he would struggle with the need to stay put and own the centre of midfield. He is far more effective if and when he can turn up there unexpectedly IMO.

  29. Scottish mist !………that would be the toxic breath Totes had to endure from Big Rodger McShagger, demanding a refund after a dodgy Double cheese and haggis McBastard burger !. hahaha

  30. I`m off to watch a vid………..The Wolverine !. I`ll have to skip the McBastard burgers and make do with some popcorn !.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry the weather was good – mild and still and no rain. I lost a bit of the day through getting my tyre replaced (had a puncture from a massive pothole on Saturday) but other than that had a great time. The sun does not rise till after nine here so there is a slow, gradual dawn to enjoy. This morning geese flew over the loch and I could just about see them: absolute magic!

  32. Gerry says:

    I have given up on TCM on that one JB.

    I mean, he does speak with forked tongue at times.

    Take this comment, not verbatim, but you get the gist.

    TCM – I we lose in the next round of the CL, and get knocked out off the FACup playing the youth team, we would have a chance at winning the league
    Fact.
    Meaning without playing those extra games we will have a better chance? Even Maureen agreed with him, when he sail Liverpool are a big danger to them(Chavs) winning the league, because with them playing one game a week it is like a holiday for them.

    TCM – Fatigue, bloody rubbish. Professional athletes with all their facilities, diets, and personal trainers, our first 11 should be able to play every game.
    Yes too right, 60 odd games a season, no problem.

    I get the sense he is winding you up, because I am not playing any more 😆 😆

  33. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Excellent stuff Gerry

    It looked a bit of a scrappy game to me. To many misplaced passes and the end to secure the points, a tactical offensive withdraw from Arsene.

    My theory on our play is really about fluidity. With the arrival of Ozil and form of Ramsey we have a movement and fludity to our game that has taken us up a level.

    I thought that against the Geordies we had to many players wanting ball to feet and not enough fluid moement across the middle.

    Santi is a great player, no doubt. However before Ozil had kicked a ball for us I wondered wether the clock on his Arsenal carrer had started to tick? When we are at full strength, I find it hard to find a place for him.

    Another thing I have noticed centres around Theo and Ramsey. With the return of Theo the early season form and combination of Ramsey/Giroud is not as effective.

    From a tactical perspective the Ramsey/Giroud combination reminded me a bit of Drogba/Lampard, but now its Theo, who esentialy plays off the ball, who has become the centre of our attacks.

    I am not overly concerned. Its up to Asrene to find the right balance and combinations, but at present this is how i see it.

  34. Hahaha Gezzer, I also hope you remember a past comment that I can and do change my mind a lot….it`s a fluid formation !. hahaha

  35. Give Stretch his due, he is the one BKer who sees all the home games and gets to see more than you/us TV watchers, as in the bigger picture !. You don’t see it all on the TV !. That’s why Stretch should do a Home Match report every game and give up on the Jack and Danny !. It`s time to choose sides Stretch……Footie or Fanny !. hahaha

    PS….still waiting for the Soaps to finish to watch vid !.

  36. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cornwall, just a quick one on your comparison with last seasons results. Stats are only usefull when applied over the correct time scale.

    Since the early sixties to date, stock market shares have risen more than house prices, but most investing speculators ignore this reality.

    Arsenals results can only be compared oer this calender year, becuase thats when we actully started playing with a new and improved game plan, but even then I wouldnt bother because not only have we changed, but so has every other team.

    Change is very fluid. hahaha

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha cockster 🙂

  38. Gerry says:

    TA – It wasn’t just playing in the ‘hole’ that swung it for me. Rosicky was everywhere. Collecting the ball off Mert, Down the left side with Gibbs, swapping passes with Jack and Theo. It is just a shame he does not score more goals. The first one he has got on target for ages goes straight to the keeper. Like I said, it was his defiant attitude that our game needed.

    As for him playing in the central role I don’t think he needs that. Nor, when talking about Santi do I want him tied particularly to an area, as it is more a question of him being involved. I think there is a possibility that Ozil could move around him better than the other way around, but that is a work in progress. In that game it was more of a problem with Jack than Tomas, I felt. Basically because Jack likes to try and dictate play too, whereas TR7 has the experience to work around them?

    We will have to see how it evolves. But on current form I would choose Santi over Jack to replace Ozil every time. I do not see Ramsey in the same mold (Yes, HT ‘mold’. the other ‘mould’ is what you find on old cheese. 😀 ), as he plays best when his confidence is high and he is playing on itstinct, Ozil is a thinker, playing the chess game, moving people around. Different?

  39. Gerry says:

    No TCM, I had not forgotten that comment, I am waiting for the like for like to be one of those changes?

  40. James Bond says:

    incorrect @ Gerry

    he had hit a bullet vs Dortmund from outside the box, which had the keeper well beaten but unfortunately, one of their defenders came back from outside the lines , positioned themselves there and his shot which was goal bound, was saved.

    Rosicky shot.

    he was immense vs Dortmund at the Emirates and deserved a goal there as well.

    this is one thing you get from TR, he doesn’t hesitate to have a go, be it with his right foot or the weaker one , left foot (like yesterday).

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Interesting views Gerry, and mostly agreed. I reckon Ozil and Santi are pretty similar and I am yet to be convinced Ozil can play in the hole long term. I also believe Rosicky and Jack are similar in their ability to shape and direct our play, although I agree the latter has a way to go before he claim the hole position. I would also love to play 4-1-2-3 with both Santi and Ozil in the two, or Jack and Santi/Ozil… But for this we would need a beast of a DM….

  42. Gerry says:

    TMHT – Yes it was a scrappy game. It was also quite absorbing given what was at stake. I wasn’t expecting much different really, given the schedule.

    If we met Newcastle on a decent playing surface when the players are injury and not mentally played out, I think we would win comfortably.

    I agree that a lot of quick passing was done in tight triangles, but it was Rosicky who usually broke out of those. I saw Gibbs try a great crossfield ball to Theo which sadly just fell short. But I liked his vision. Usually, if he hasn’t got anybody nearby to play to, he knocks it back to Kos or Per, but this was out of the blue.

    I think Ozil can get frustrated with the lack of movement at times, and can explain why he can seem to disappear?

    I think Giro can play well with anybody if they stick with it. I have noticed he interchanges with Gibbs a lot too?

  43. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I dont disagree with any of that Gerry

    I am going to the Cardiff game and will be interested to see wether our game has reverted to the one that finished last season, good, but not as good as this season.

    I am convinced that from an offensive perspective Arsene will be looking for sombody that can operate the left flank

    We do have plenty of options there, but not for me the ideal solution. I do not expect to see Rosiscky or Santi at the Club in eighteen months time, nor Poldoski either.

  44. Gerry says:

    I think your wishes may be granted next month, Terry, regards the incoming. I think who stays and who goes will largely depend on how successful we are?

  45. Now what I find interesting about that chat is, apart from now ( this Dec` and we cant take it into reckoning as we do not know where we will finish ! ), we have been top at December three times and have won the title once !. So it`s as relevant as my like for like logic if you see it that way or not !. If you think it is relevant, then you must think mine has a bearing as well !. So the chart in one respect could point historically to a 1 in 3 chance of getting title #14 !.
    Thing is we wont know whether I am right with my like for like reasoning until the matches and season are over !. To win the title, you must agree that we have to do the same in our wins from like for like games of last season and do better in all the ones we got 1 point or less, as only replicating results from last season will give us 73 points, which I can safely say will not win the title and we are -4 points behind currently !.
    Don’t take it too personal Bastards, I`m only giving a different angle on our current season which is born out of undeniable facts and want us to win as much as any of you Bastards !. It also gives me a grounding that I don’t get too carried away with our current position and although it would hurt like fcuk, it wont be such a surprise if we choke as per post 2004 !.
    Hope that is as clear as mud !. hahaha
    I also reserve the right under Lesbanian law to change my opinion at the drop of a hat depending on the outcome of future results and any SQ TW signings !.

  46. geoffchase says:

    All plus JB, Gerry and Terry,

    Well per my comments yesterday I think this was also a case of Toon playing a style of game deliberately designed to frustrate us and maximize their players. Ie

    A. Toon were solid and clogging/pressing everywhere. This forces the game of ball to feet and trying to take a man as they really limited space and motion.

    B. Toon were very physical looking to force mistakes and to force us to forgo taking that last step. Thus, we were taking a beating on our more finesse players. IMO, TR can play this game well but it puts off Santi. Here also is where JW “fails”, he loves that game in some senses and is a lot like TR … but he is young, he gets wound up and tries to do too much or out do the other side. It takes him off the game somewhat which is a win for Toon…

    C. Toon lack lots of finesse or flow going forward, they thus like a choppy game that favors defense and counters with power/speedy counter players going forward. This suits Debuchy, Tiote, Cabaye et al perfectly… It’s also IMO why they did so well out Chelsea’ing Chelsea.. Hence, what we saw yesterday..lots of physicality and counters but not lots of possession until we sat back to hold in the last 20 mins

    Thus, I think we cannot force them to play our way, of course, and have to play the game presented. In this sense, I think we won the game that was presented, and likely should have had one more so it appears closer the it might.

    Equally, we did little to force them out of their game. A more tika-taka approach and deliberate patience might, repeat might, have been better in approaching such a clogged middle and back. We had this in parts earlier in the game and while not many chances came of it this was going to be a game of not many chances from the outset I think.

    However, with rotation etc we didn’t have “team patience” out there as JW, TR, Flamini are not that side… Equally, it wasn’t going to be Theos game to answer some comments, because pace doesnt beat a team focusing on being back and compact. Or at least not without some real difficulty. Thus, we were seeking either great plays or mistakes. We got the former but we did not do enough as a team to create the match ups (through motion) to create the latter….

    So, IMO, good win playing the not very pretty game presented. We are in some ways young and need more patience. Equally, this was a game where Ozils seeing eye passes might have helped, whereas WHU may then have been the game to rest him?

    What does it say about the TW and team makeup..?

    A. We need a quality striker as backup or SQ if (not at all likely) it is available. OG is tired and trying to hard to do everything.

    B. We need to figure out our best left side match ups and combinations. Where does Poldi fit, if at all? Seems weird we cannot find a role for him?

    C. We need to find the right combinations that suit JW and provide him the latitude to grow without feeling he has to do it all, all the time. Perhaps a triple of JW, Arteta and Flamini in the right mixes for different teams. I like JW towards the rear and moving forward. His great moments come from starting behind play and working through it, not from within it… I think he needs that vision. I also suspect the other two, Flamini in particular, would be great mentors to keep him controlled, much like Per seems to have done for Koz…

    Them’s my 32000p of thoughts — jgc

  47. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cornwall, i dont take nothing personal, you know that. Ime just trying to help you. hahaha

    I was in Brussels for a few days with my mistress and needed directions so asked some geezer for help so the bastard pulled out a blade on me. Did I take it personaly?, of course not, just insisted that he helped us find our way and he did.

    Great comment geoff, especialy about Jack.

  48. AB says:

    Pleasure to read your review Gerry. I’m so glad you have spoken out also against the Berbatov suggestion – in my view he would kill the spirit and work ethic of our squad stone dead. Your comments later suggest you are confident of new arrivals in January, and SQ at that – unless I’ve misunderstood you? What’s your sense here – do you think we are going to land a Draxler/Reus? Would be great, but I just can’t see it happening at present. Too may people treating Santi and Pod as has beens for my liking; our squad is a long way off being able to discard either, the former in particular. Sentiment also makes me want us to keep Ros – the talent, continued drive, and the bond to a club that comes with accumulated seasons and age all add up to I hope we extend his contract, even if he is not (already) first 11.

    All the maths people keep trotting out – the simple fact is that we have been the best team in the league, period. What else matters at this stage? If we are the same come the end of the season, who will give a toss whether the tally is better or worse than Glic’s season comparator!? I’m not counting on anything at this stage, but I remain very impressed by the way the squad have come together and how (largely) Wenger has handled them. Long may it continue.

  49. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    True AB, but its not a question of them becoming has beens. I fully agree that the players i mentioned earlier all have key roles to play this year and perhapes next.

    Its a question of gradual evolution and the Clubs desire to produce teams for the future that will rival the likes of Munich and Barca.

    This is what the Clubs move to the Grove and the last decade has been all about.

  50. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    And, I would just like to add that all Football Clubs need to plan and look ahead if they are to be succesful. Those that dont tend to struggle and fail to acheie there potential.

    In our case we have reached a new financial platform, the arrival of Ozil is just the beggining of our new found ability to add to the side top quality

    I can understand the sentiment, however football is a ruthless business and Arsenal is no different.

  51. James Bond says:

    Hi JGC,

    let us not forget that when TW was injured for a month or so, AW didn’t use him until his 3rd or 4th week back with the team, he was eased back into action and it’s only the last 2 and bit games, where he’s played 2 full games and the last Geordie one, before that he was used very sparingly and eased back

    Poldi – has been out for 4 months, he will be used in the same manner, may well be used as a sub on wednesday vs Cardiff and then unleashed against Spuds (starting role ? ) – he definitely has a role though , it’s just that he is being eased back and rightfully so, since his hamstring injury was one of the worst tears, that the medics have ever seen – Thank god for the German doctor’s 2nd opinion ehhh

    agreed with all the rest !

  52. AB says:

    Hi TMHT. Yes I fully buy into the long term vision, and no player can avoid the bite of time. But we build our teams around a core squad who are used to playing with each other (football that is!). In doing so we need to look to the replacement rate of core squad members – shuffle too often and we lose the instinctive connection between players. Our policy is one of building a core of home grown (or virtually so) talent and blending a small quantity of proven quality. Unless we shift drastically from this path, then the likes of Cazorla must be viewed as 5 year plus signings, around whom young players will come through – we can’t just change them every couple of years. Santi has not been at his best so far this season for sure, but lets not forget his basic talent, fit with the Wenger playing style, and record of sustained high performance over his years of playing.

    We are not City, so we won’t be buying a team to challenge Munich or Barca overnight; we need to build. For me this part of being with Arsenal, the Arsenal way, and I hope it does not change in my lifetime, with someone of Usmanov’s ilk coming in! Let’s not forget who we are in our ambition for immediate silverware.

  53. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    AB, 100% agree with you, we are on the same page.

    More important than success, certainly instant success, is the clubs vaules and traditions. These are paramount

    Its very rare for me to talk about squad changes etc, I am just trying to look ahead but realise that such predictions can be futile.

    However, I do expect subtle changes. The club has recently acheived its ambition of increasing turnover by near on 20%, which is essentialy free cash since it carries next to nothing cost (sponsership deals)

    They will use this money to strengthen the squad, and that is only right

  54. 17highburyterrace says:

    Damn, went looking for snow and come back and people are jumping on me for saying that the idea of buying Berbatov is something which intrigues me… It’s interesting mostly because it might actually be possible…

    In truth, I’m with you AB (and Terry) in believing that we must build slowly. I too get irked when it comes to slagging off guys who were key for us in very recent times and who I rate very highly (Poldolski and Cazorla)…Add to those two, Rosicky, Sagna, Mertesacker, Arteta and (even) Vermaelen… It may be true that they won’t be around in 2 or 3 or 4 years. Sentimentality reigns for some, others like the new and shiny. Personally, I like stories of redemption so I’d offer that I think we’re more likely to see such a story with Berbatov than say with Bendtner…but hey, that’s just me… 😀 In fact, if we need a low-minute, veteran striker, I’d prefer Henry (the legend, not the puppy-dog)…

    So, like I said in the last thread, my expectations for the TW are quite low and “for the future”… but I’d ask the guys who want to buy the title with a “SQ” striker, who exactly are you talking about? Suarez, like Rooney (like Messi and Ronaldo) aren’t available… (Unless, of course, you say so… 🙄 ) Are we talking Michu or Benteke? Those teams would love some big cash to buy players who were actually able to play… Gotta look in the league or else there could be “settling” issues. Or maybe striker isn’t enough and it’s a new keeper, Casillas or Cesar who will get us to the finish line, putting Sir Chez on the bench where he rightly belongs…

    Sorry, I meant to write about the match just past (or maybe the one in less than 2 days) but (holiday) shopping takes precedence(?)…

  55. 17highburyterrace says:

    Quite an effort there with the post, Gerry… Is it maybe TOO much (?) as it seems a big task for the editor (on-holiday) as well as containing some strange factual inaccuracies. (It was Sissoko not Cabaye who forced the save at the end of the half, for example…) Nonetheless, the passion to watch in the wee hours, write it all up and struggle through dodgy interweb conditions must be saluted… WOW! Overall, plenty to agree with and not much I’d go to the wall about…

    Good comments too… Personally, I cannot give two poops about all the charting us towards the title. We’re top right now (which is a dream, IMO) but the competition is formidable and we’re (most certainly) a work in progress. If it helps “manage” your expectations, please enjoy… Trying to stay “in the moment” is a mantra I prefer, but different boats for different floats, or something…

    What did strike true is the professor’s suggestion that we might try a bit more of the tika-taka. In Spain the ref knows how to use a whistle and we didn’t have that luxury yesterday. I’m also not sure we had the players to try it so it seemed natural that forward runs became the pattern. That we couldn’t find final passes and legitimate chances from open play made me a bit sad and (unlike the Chelsea nil-nil) we couldn’t really blame the pitch nor the weather. Patience MIGHT be a virtue but we didn’t really give it a go, at least after the first 10 minutes or so… Scoring from a set piece turned out to be THE virtue, while preventing the other team from doing likewise…Then again, so too is picking all the correct numbers on your lottery ticket…In other words, a very close match, but (luckily) we edged it.

    Given the players who didn’t travel the boldest move of all was resting Arteta and letting young Jack have a go. But that’s what you have to do when so much is invested in a young player. Personally, I thought he played well enough and, with the result, it has to be seen as a positive forward step for him. At the moment I’d put Santi, Sicky and Arteta (not to mention Flams, Ozil and Ramsey) ahead of Jack but the margins are tight and ALL our MFs are strong. Still, there’s a fine balance between youthful vigor and experience and some of that stuff at the close of the match will only help in securing tight results n the future. Nobody got flipped off and he dealt well with the usual serial fouling as well as keeping his head clearing off the line, much as Debuchy did at the other end…

    IMO it’s this balancing act between youth and experience, I think, which will continue as THE big challenge as we try to compete with the clubs who keep warm by burning money. That was the subject of my very first post here and maybe one to revisit on another occasion…

    But that’s for another day…and don’t we have a match on the horizon?…Cardiff on New Years day, if I recall… Have a good one, stay safe, etc.,

  56. Gerry says:

    Good morning all, it is 5.0am at the start of this session. Sorry for drifting away when the majority came on, but I was dropping off at 9 o’clock last night, and typing was getting difficult.

    17HT – I agree it probably was a post that went on a bit too much. However, I feel it was a match of great importance, starting the New Year TOTL. So the win was far more important than the quality of the game itself. But should we be looking back at results over the season, with a broad grin in May, I think I can be excused for giving extra detail to the warriors that achieved this result?

    I will come back to you on other points later …

  57. Gerry says:

    TCM @22.55 … I shall start with an extract from you comment above …

    ‘To win the title, you must agree that we have to do the same in our wins from like for like games of last season and do better in all the ones we got 1 point or less, as only replicating results from last season will give us 73 points, which I can safely say will not win the title and we are -4 points behind currently !.’

    The crucial point you have made there is ‘in all the ones where we got 1 point or less’.

    The reason why your ‘logical’ argument may sound reasonable to you is in that sentence. But why it has no real foundation is this; At the start of any season, even if we started in a new league with a totally different set of teams where there are NO previous results, the objective is to win the games set out before us. Before we kick a ball, we are in effect, have 1 point from all the games, as they are nil-nil. So the point about replicating our results from the previous season is meaningless. We start every season with an unchallenged 38 points. When we kick off each match there are just three options; We add two points; We lose i point; We keep the status quo.

    Therefore, in a new season, it is not possible to start off with minus points. The rest of your logic is sound. We need to get 1 point or more from every game, and we may just end up with more than any other team.

    End of ….

  58. geoffchase says:

    Hi all

    Quick response… Maybe..

    17: IMO, I think fast ball and slower feet would’ve protected us more yesterday. Against such defensive setups you need to find a way thru, not necessarily keep running harder. IMO, we played too much of Toons best game and a little too little of what we can do best. That said, as I noted, we didn’t have “Team Patience” out there.

    Equally though, JW and TR can carve them up in close when needed, especially with JW coming thru from behind rather than from in the midst of things. I am increasingly convinced that this starting point and thus where he’s played is an issue in how well he does. The second is maturity, he’s too easily baited into overdoing by physicality, and too wiling to try to do too much… The second will come with time and we will see in the first I guess!

    Terry and VCC et al: I too want to see us grow and evolve. However, Berbatov as something different is intriguing for the short short term, as the STs et al we re ally want aren’t January movers anyway… Ie I agree wit your thoughts but the short term issue doesn’t go away.

    TCM et al: who cares! We are top now, enjoy it while it lasts! It may well not as you’ve shown.. But, til then, extra pints and in front of the couch pride are the order of the day IMO! 😀

    Cheers — jgc

  59. Gerry says:

    Professor Chase – A proper analytical approach to the game. Thank you.

    I can agree with virtually everything you have written there. Your point ‘B’ kind of argues against the inclusion of Ozil too, as I think he would have been a target for the physicality too?

    A little way down point ‘C’, you say the better use of tika-taka ‘might’ have produce better outcome. Perhaps in the sunshine of August may be. I thought it was going to be a game where we needed ‘tough it out’, and we did. You need sharp brains and concentration to keep possession well, but the condensed Christmas schedule did for that.

    Regards the TW; Point ‘A’- agreed; Point ‘B’ – Finding the left side balance is a work in progress. Podolski is just being brought back into the mix after his long spell out. Then there is the Ox, who could also add to this. But you are in finding the right balance on the left, with the players used so far. Many go out there and do a job, but not fully adding to out-balls on our left. Santi in particular, as he turns inside and rarely looks back.. Ozil is better because of his vision, but opposition soon double up on him and we lose his creative play elsewhere. He does switch, but unless Theo goes out there, it is often left to Gibbs to provide width. Rosicky at least makes use of Gibbs in one twos, as does Podolski and Giroud. That latter has to step away from the middle, and Poldi is usually away from the chalk too. So perhaps the TW will address this point, although I think a Di Maria type signing is unlikely?

    Point ‘C’ is possibly the most contentious of all? I think there are two conflicting needs that are not going to be resolved readily. One may harm Arsenal’s chances of winning the league title, if by playing him we repeat the Ramsey situation of a couple of season’s ago, while he works through maturity and experience issues. The other harms Wilshere’s progress and World Cup ambitions. Most would agree that cameo appearances from the bench are not the answer either?
    Difficult.
    The truth is he is not yet at a point where you would want to include him at the expense of others. But mother nature finds an opening for him with Ramsey’s injury, so perhaps now is the time to see if the real jack Wilshere can reveal himself?

  60. Gerry says:

    AB – Thank you for your kind words. availability and

    In your earlier post you ask whether I think a Draxler/Reus are likely January signings, and I have to say I agree with you. Both have excellent qualities and would suit our style very well. But it is a combination of availability and demand. I doubt either would be released in January, or would want to leave? Pre-agreement? Possibly. The competition will be strong though, and the lure of bigger wages might sway against attractive football?
    On the question of SQ signings … mmmmn? Delicate one. I do recall we were interested in Draxler two seasons ago, and now he is very close to SQ. That is the type of signing i think we may get this window? I am just hoping enough groundwork has been done so we are the first club to get a foot in the door? Sometimes it is hard to know what AW’s comments really mean. I certainly think there are times he gets quite negative when he is given the wrong answer from the potential selling club. So perhaps all is not so rosy in TW world? On the other hand, the Ozil transfer tells me that we are quite capable now of pulling rabbits out of the hat before the opposition has a chance to respond?
    i think Gazidas and Law are in for a busy couple of weeks, so no skiing hols for them!

    I agree with you regards Santi and Pod. On the one hand people want players to give us depth of squad, but think they are dispensable if something new comes along? Strange. Let us hope both get a chance to to prove the doubters wrong.

    I think I answered you second point n the maths in my reply to TCM 😀

    in your reply to Terry, Iam with you on that. I think some people misunderstand my position as though i want a total youth team playing. my point is and always will be, it is no good us having talented youth players just playing at the lower level. The ones that have shown enough when given a chance at a higher level should be given opportunities off the bench to help integrate them into the first team squad.
    I fully appreciate, we have not been able to get a large enough lead in some matches to get them some game time without pressure. but there have been times when our defence has been strong enough to allow Gnabry for one, a lot more minutes than he’s had. We have Nico Yennaris coming back on Thursday. To my knowledge he is a solid professional player who does not miss training, and has not failed us when he has played. He will be at the end of his contract in the summer. I would love him top get an opportunity over the next couple of months to have a chance of showing he is worthy of a renewal? He is a ‘home grown’ player in the truest sense, but I accept we cannot keep all academy players. But we need to find a better balance in progressing these players, even if it is only to give them a better start at another club.

  61. Gerry says:

    JB – Fully agreed

  62. Gerry says:

    Terry – Ditto. We are on the same page.

  63. Simba says:

    Good post & equally good comments. I do feel Jack lacks good decision making. He will improve with time and age but he needs to change soon as the competition for places in the midfield is very intense and at the moment he is not playing better than any of our first team midfielders depite his talent. I have seen that Ozil11 plays better on the right wing and Santi as the number 10. Rambo is the best box to box we have and the OX is not far behind. Why should we sell Santi? That will be very foolish indeed. We need him for the rest of his career just like TV5 who played two great games in the absense of Lolo and must play againsty Cardiff because despite his loss of form last season his perfomances this season have been good and we need him in shape incase Per or Lolo might lose form or get injured. We do need another striker to complement Giroud and give our game another dimension. It is also worthy to note that Campbell is playing well in Greece. He might be an opton next season so Wenger might want a loan deal to assess him further and how Podolski and Walcott fare this season.

  64. geoffchase says:

    Hi Gerry

    In quick response, I’d disagree only about Ozil in a physical game. He distributes very quickly! So, yes a target, but also often ball free and moving so should adapt. I do think the fore-aft pairing of him and Flamini is better because Flamini provides a toughness Ozil and Arteta don’t.

    Regarding JW, if we continue a dual pivot, then a fore-aft attack of Ozil and Jack with AR on one side is intriguing. The other side should then complement the team played. Theo vs teams who wNt be more open and likey Santi or Poldi for those more closed and tighter at the back..

    Just my free advice to AW.. 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  65. Gerry says:

    17HT – i know you are aware that I wrote my point on Berby in the early hours of the morning, so it was not directed at yourself. Perry Grove was the target.

    However, I was deeply embarrassed when I saw what you said, and me being aware of what was to come, but i did not to announce what was in the post before it was posted. it would not have made any difference anyway. Both views were out there. But I AB was agreeing with my view, rather than jumping on you.

    I can see why you think, short term he might be a better buy than the one hit wonders of Michu and Benteke as well as EPL experienced. Just not my bag, sorry.

    i feel we should be looking beyond short term fixes, and somewhat second class players that have not got a great deal of improvement left in them. But that is just me …as you might say 😀

    As to my comments on the post, i always accept there might have been some factual errors, as my method of error checking was going to include a review of the highlights on the ‘Player, but after running through the BBC report text timeline, I simply ran out of the time I thought I had. If only you knew just how many changes I made you wouldn’t believe. Some I knew would be wrong,but to stop and check would have disrupted my thread. Apologies for any other you have not mentioned.

    You mention the time imposed on TA whilst on a family break. Because I do run through it looking for grammatical errors as well as missing letters (annoyingly, a few of those still missed my gaze), so the post is pretty near ready to go, bar the formatting. But I think he said he did that in the hour, which is probably less than if he had to do one himself?

    In your first post(late evening here), I agree on the expectation level, and the need to plan for the for future with signings. i think any signing in January will be all the better next season. I am not sure I agree on signings to get us ‘across the line’ though. I want committed players for the long term, and who will strengthen the squad now.

    In the later post you also say about referees in this country, not going for the tika-taka stuff. Which does seem to be true, although we have had a run of pretty good ones of that ilk lately?

    I am with you with the JW points too. he did have a better game, but still has ‘issues’. i just hope he does not slip back to ‘bolshi’ Jack the next time he plays. And yes too, on Santi being the better at the current moment. Which raises the the problem I highlighted earlier, when Ramsey comes back do we want to accommodate jack at the expense of others?

    Yes, OGAAT and it is tomorrow …as is the transfer window being open ….. cue music

  66. geoffchase says:

    Gerry

    It’s almost tomorrow here now!

    Happy, very almost new year, all!!

    Let Terror Window 2, the sequel, commence… (Sigh!)

    Cheers — jgc

  67. Gerry says:

    Geoff – you are still around? I am trying to get my sleep clock adjusted for the New Year’s eve stuff, but it is a losing battle.

    I think we are going to have to disagree on the Toon battle re Ozil. I think it was a good one to miss. For one thing, I do not think the players were up for finding space for ‘creative’ balls off Ozil’s boots. For me it was the intensity that Rosicky showed was the way to defeat their tactics.

    Tomorrow’s game will be equally demanding, but at least we can rest a few bodies, but we cannot take the game lightly, I am guessing that Jack will play alongside Arteta tomorrow. We will see if he continues his progress?

    Whilst Ozil is still out I think Santi will have a better, especially if JW does not stray too far forwards. He needs to know a short forward pass can bet better than running with it. I think Poldi will start too which should make it different. he may only last an hour though.

    Re the transfers. I know the ‘ready made’ sq players are unlikely to move, but that does not necessarily preclude short term issues being resolved with longer term solutions. I don’t want half of that cake?

  68. VCC says:

    Good Morning All.

    Gerry..I would just like to add my appreciation to a fine write up and analysis of the match against the Toon.

    This is always a hard contest not only against the Team we are facing, and as we see with Mr Probert, but the elements as well.

    Chelsea was another example of our dislike of playing in adverse weather conditions.

    I agree Mr. Rosicky was our stand out player, but I still have reservations with Mr. Wilshere. IMO, he is short of the article we once thought we had.

    Far too often he gets caught in possession and negates the need to track back. And like GLIC I have concerns about his running/movement style.

    Again, many thanks for a superb post. Total has a fine gem in you.

    Must dash, lots to do.

  69. Gerry says:

    Simba – thanks for your comments

    I think you echo my thoughts exactly. I think Ozil is capable of moving defenders around wherever he plays, but has been particularly good at inter changing with Rambo on the right.

    Again with Santi, I think he will be the main player tomorrow. i think that is key, and it coincides with being more central.

    The CB pairing tomorrow could be interesting. If TV5 is fit, it could be time to give Per a break. But Sagna must be getting close to the red zone too, and I am not sure I would want our virtual second string back for in action, even against Cardiff?

    Poldi to start? May be Bendtner? Or will Theo have a rest and Gnabry get a go. I think we are sailing close to the wind on many fronts, I hope they can pull off another heroic effort … The FA Cup might have to take second place? Particularly as Spurs have a toughie to face tomorrow?

    Yes, I think what will happen to Campbell is, he will join up for the pre-season tour after the World Cup, depending on how long Costa Rica stay in it, and how well Joel plays. And an assessment will be made as to his future with the club. If he can handle the EPL then we have a very good front line player to add to our youthful ranks, that will power the club for the next few years. Either way, he will do well now he has found his feet, so to speak 😀

    Cheers

  70. Gerry says:

    Yes, Happy New Year Geoff …… i could be very parochial here, and say just because you are ahead of Greenwich Meant Time, New Year does not really begin until it is New Year in Greenwich?

    But I’ll make a special allowance for you, seeing as you are a Gunners fan 😀

    Happy New Year to all who are celebrating before I am back on again.
    Cheers

  71. Gerry says:

    VCC – Thanks for the compliment.

    I can agree with all of what you have said … err, except the last one, where I could not possibly comment 🙂

    Cheers, get all that party gear in, including a new outfit for George …Gorgeous George that is!
    😀 😀

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    Happy New Year to out Aussie and Kiwi bloggers 🙂

    Great comments last night, even some about Jack 🙂

    Have a nice day..

  73. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Simba,

    Couldn’t let this one go. Jack is the best decision maker on the pitch together with Ozil. It’s the execution which is lacking behind. His vision and overview of the pitch is unbelievable, right there with the peerless Fabregas. As soon as he hits proper form he will take us places, just wait for it! 🙂

  74. VCC says:

    Gerry…… the pleasure is all ours, in reading such posts as yours.

    George has been spoiled this Christmas, as you would expect as he is eleven now. Fingers crossed he will have plenty more such Christmases.

    It will be a slightly low profile this evening, my youthism (is that a word? spell checker don’t like it, but I do 🙂 ) has long gone. I can’t handle late night drinking anymore.

    Having a shipping background I am lucky that I over look Tilbury Docks and enjoy the sound of the ships horns on the coming of a new year.

    I’m a sad old bastard……….. Got that in before GLIC commented 😉

    I will be sipping my half price Asda purchase of “Pierre Darcys” champagne. After sampling said champagne at Christmas, I can fully recommend it. IWSC silver award in 2013.

    Naturally, I hope you and all BKers a Healthy and Happy New Year.

    Much love Vickers

  75. James Bond says:

    17HT wrote this :

    putting Sir Chez on the bench where he rightly belongs…

    🙄 🙄 🙄

    what have we here then 👿 on a more serious note, well done for keeping it real and coming out boldly about it, that was very honest and against the majority !

    right then, we have a mini injury crisis (surprise surprise) but hey, we kinda already knew that Giroud, Ozil, Gibbs would be short for Wedneday.

    I expect all the other major doubts ( JW, TW , TR , TV5, NM ) to be available though.

    it’s not bad , as AW may have rested them anyway and rotated for Cardiff with the big FA tie with spuds fast approaching ( who themselves have plenty of injury problems and Paulinho done by Adams for a month, ha

  76. Simba says:

    Hi TotalArsenal.
    I still maintain my position that his decision making is poor. He has vision yes but ca not take the proper decision for example he wants to dribble instead of making a simple pass, he complicates situations because of poor decision making. This however is rectified with experience.

  77. James Bond says:

    Simba,

    he makes school boy errors, yes – but look, least he doesn’t pass the ball backwards to his center halves or goal keeper or side ways, he looks for positive and creative solutions

    more time on the pitch with his fellow players and it will be all fine tuned better.

    sometimes his positioning is poor as well to receive a pass, for instance that KOC pass to him at the end of first half, he shouldn’t have been looking to make a run forward but waited for the wall or should have run towards the ball –

    and then there was a similar one with Theo walcott, instead of making himself available, he choose to run forward when theo had 2 or 3 players on him.

    it’s little things that will come after he plays 3 matches in a row – I’m confident about that but you do highlight some valid points.

  78. James Bond says:

    *chose

  79. Kaboom says:

    Watching the game replay at pub. Great defensive display thou newcastle offer little threat.

    Happy new year guys. Nye party in bangkok is sick! Shud join me here

  80. Gerry says:

    TA – I think you are splitting hairs in your support for JW here?

    To be fair to Simba; a, he is talking about the here and now; b, he agrees with you he will improve; c, Jack does execute some poor decisions, however you care to dress it up.

    It does not help his colleagues if he runs forwards for a pass that cannot be executed to that area, and so the ball goes behind him. I commented on that when he did it to Gnabry, and he did the same thing with Sagna (I think?), in an almost identical area of the pitch – near side touch line, him going along the line. – both times with a defender in close proximity.

    His vision may we be that if he got the ball in the space beyond the defender he will be off and away. But if his peripheral vision cannot take into account that with a one-two you have to play where there is a clear space between you as well, the fault lies with him?

    This is where Flamini is quite brilliant at on the other side of that coin. He puts himself where it is almost impossible for a an attacker to get a give and go pass around him. So you are probably quite right, a spell working the the Flame could bring his game on a bundle?

    But the issues he has, and the above is just one example, but it is not meant to be a dismissive critique of his potential, just reckonising that he has yet to work through them.

    JB would argue that is what he is saying about Szczesney to me. I defend him when I think the statements are over the top. I do not think Simba,and others, are being overly harsh, including my own comments. It is up to Jack to either have the coaches tell him, and he listens, or he has the self awareness that all is not right with his game, and he works on improving. Personally, I think his early rise to fame, England call up, and all the ‘next Fabregas’ stuff was too much too soon. His long injury break has meant he has not had that couple of seasons developing the finer parts of his game. Consequently he is playing catch up now. But whether he knows he is not a good as he thinks he should be by now, is may be what is holding him back?

    We no doubt will agree to differ on this point? 🙂

  81. Gerry says:

    I can see any preview for this upcoming match is not going to be what we want to hear.

    Reports of up to 9 players may be missing!

    I hope those good academy players are warming up on the touchline as I write, because it may be a case of ‘You’ve got two legs that work okay .. get changed You’re on!’

    Gibbs out with a calf injury … I said it did not look like a hamstring limp didn’t I?

  82. James Bond says:

    no, it’s not the same with Sczny @ Gerry

    Sczny has on average 2 game farts per game – the mistakes he makes are for all to see, it’s just that sometimes he doesn’t get punished and then there are time when we do get punished for his brain farts –

    due to his brain farts, we found ourselves out of the CL last season after the first tie against BM and possibly out of the CL top 4 spot as well, it was right of AW to take that decision, even it came late

    the time is fast approaching where he now needs to make a similar decision – as the mistakes are pretty consistent and only a matter of time it costs us another major tournament or provides a swift exit or perhaps costs us the title – bear in mind, he did his utmost to do one of the 3 mention, when he nearly got us out of the CL vs Napoli .

    JW is a different kettle of fish, as his mistakes could lead to a goal or 2 , but he could also quick turn that around with a moment of brilliance and score a goal or 2 in the same game.

    you nailed it when you said ” HERE AND NOW ” – Sczny is ” There and Then ” – future .

  83. James Bond says:

    the training ground photos are quite revealing @ Gerry 😉 check them out on the official website , if you may.

  84. James Bond says:

    *times and * Quickly

    oh AFC, where art thou 🙂

  85. Gerry says:

    I took so long writing my points I see they have been covered above. ha ha

    Happy New Year Kaboom

  86. Gerry says:

    JB – Szczesney is aware of what he needs to do to improve. Last season, which you keep referring to, we all know he had personal issues, and they have been dealt with. leave them in the past.

    The here and now point to 9 clean sheets is it? Some of which he managed with some absolutely brilliant saves, these you often overlook in your outlandish statements that he costs us more points than he gets us.

    We can agree to differ on that also, no doubt?

  87. Gerry says:

    So, Zelalem on the bench eh? Noticeable absentee, Monreal. Vermaelin at LB then? Mind, I don’t remember seeing Kos? Where’s B54 when you need him? I though that might have been a fuzzy view of Hayden too, in the distance?

    Plenty of Podolski looking happy – he starts?

    A glimpse of Gnabry in the background, so he’ll be on the bench for when Poldi’s had enough

    If the FA Cup match is going to be a repeat of this, then we are in big trouble?

  88. AFC says:

    So who exactly will be out for the Cardiff game guys?

  89. Gerry says:

    Why have I got a Bob Dylan tune going in my head …

    ‘Come on you paupers, you Akpoms, you Nicos, you Haydens, you Eisfelds, you Gideons, you Torals, you Hectors ….

    Flappy, they are all playing in front of you, do your best son ..

    😆 😆

    but I shoudn’t …

  90. Gerry says:

    The good news is, Bellamy is not travelling ..

  91. AFC says:

    Great match report Gerry. 🙂

     I think the most important thing about the match was that we held on to our one goal advantage which shows that we have great resilience. The bad points of course are the injuries. I still expect us to win against Cardiff as we have a quality squad along with some exciting youth prospects. So who exactly will be out for the Cardiff game guys?

    Giroud got his goal but should have got a second, Walcott was effective in bursts and Szez nearly cost us a goal. But I my opinion the Szez thing was not as bad as Jenks not be alert, had he been alert Bendtner could have had a goal.

  92. AFC says:

    Just also read that Wenger has said that he is only looking for something special in the transfer window. Seems it will be SQ or nothing?

  93. James Bond says:

    yes and by the looks of it, he’s been having personal issues ever since he was born 🙂

    you keep looking at the clean sheets, where as I keep pointing out to his brain farts and no doubt, there would have been least 2 of those in them 9 clean sheets as well, I wonder how much was down to his ” super saves” and how much was it down to his team mates bailing him out ? Nacho off line line anyone ?

    certainly, agreed to disagreed as always on Sczny, just like it used to be with TA and 17HT – but guess what, they have started to see things “objectively” now 👿

    Hi AFC

    yep, Giroud got that all important goal fluked in by his head after 10 games (was it ? 🙂 smashing stuff , the lad is on fire and the injury has come at the wrong time for him as no doubt , had he been fit, he would have scored 5 against Cardiff

    sure, Sczny thing wasn’t as bad – I wonder, what would all of you saying had that ball gone in the back of the net as opposed to being a whisker away ?

    one of these days, most of you will end up pulling all your hair and resemble TMHT (who has no hair left due to Sczny.

  94. James Bond says:

    I’m not too fussed about Craig . B @ Gerry

    Mutch is the real deal, I hope it was him who wasn’t travelling , ha

  95. AFC says:

    Hi JB, I think the solution to the whole GK area is to just sign a cheap experienced GK who is still good enough to challenge Szez. Cesar would fit that bill. Then it would be a case of let them fight it out to see who the better man is.

  96. Gerry says:

    JB – Nice to know you are agreeing to disagree, after you make a few more strange remarks.

    When it comes to making ‘super saves’, it is surely him bailing out his team mates?

    The ‘fluked header’ does you no favours.

    But there is the difference. In my objective review i did say the kick into Remy’s face may well cost him his place tomorrow.

    Fab’s smiling face on the training pics probably suggests that I am right?

    The point is, with or without the ball going into our net, I knew, and Szcz knew, it was a huge mistake. Who knows, Fab might get a run of games that will keep him here until summer, so I wouldn’t hold your breath about a replacement coming in just yet.

    In fact, I would wonder why Casillas would be sold. It couldn’t be because he has a dodgy wrist now, and if they play him it could show up that he has a big problem for a GK?
    Just a thought/

  97. Gerry says:

    AFC – Just remember, AW’s definition of Super/Special quality may differ from yours?

  98. AFC says:

    Gerry it may indeed but last time he said SQ we got Ozil. I would be happy if we signed one of a young defender, experienced GK. I think we will have to wait to sign a top VF/ST or DM destroyer until the summer.

  99. James Bond says:

    one man’s strange is another man’s reality and another’s objective is another’s subjective @ Gerry – and also, fortunately it was a fluke, had it not been a fluke header, it may well have been stopped as he may well have hit Krul on his body like most of his footed shots do 🙂

    If it wasn’t due to all that re- the spanish captain, then he wouldn’t be anywhere near the spanish team either – let alone still be the skipper of both the world champions and euro champions, even after finding himself on the bench.

    agreed @ AFC

    that link Glics posted with this guy singing about AW and his transfer policy had Yaya.S on it, how good was that video and guy singing it, I just listened to the entire AW press conference , where he says that Yaya was his plan to ease the strikers work load 😆

  100. James Bond says:

    Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy 2014.

    laters people !

  101. Gerry says:

    I’ve just remembered the tune I had in my head was not a Dylan song at all, but ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ by Pink Floyd … much more appropriate?

    Yes JB, as I pointed out in the review, the ball from Theo was curling right to where the GK had positioned himself, and would in all probability have save it ….

    …Had it not been for Giroud’s perfectly timed run to get ahead of the defender, which was not a fluke, it is what strikers are all about. That in itself put doubt in the keepers mind, and even if Giro had got there a fraction of a second earlier, the pace alone would have sent it into the far corner, As it was, the slight glances that he has done many times before was just enough to get it past the goalie. Without that goal, and it would not have been a goal without Giro’s presence there, likely as not we would now be seeing if we can hang on to 4th place.

    God, it like a school playground here sometimes!

  102. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Simba,

    I don’t understand your point, I am afraid. You might find that Jack makes wrong decisions but another supporter might think the opposite. We need our midfielders to be able to take on a player now and again and to penetrate into the space in front of the opposition’s ‘D’. Taking some risk is what Jack does and it is key for us moving up to the next level. Once he gets his form back he’ll show us all what he is capable of. 🙂

  103. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Bondy, so my hair loss is down to Chesney? Drop him? Will F*ucking kill the Bastard. hahaha

    I am completely with TA here about Wilshere. The guys different class and when he finds his legs will become one of the worlds great midfielders

    I was at the Grove when he performed against Barca, simply amazing. Somethings not quite right this year and I must say that overall that has been my biggest disapointment.

    Probably wont get a chance to get back on so allow me to wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year……..but not Chesney. hahaha

  104. Gerry says:

    I have been on the Untold site to see who the ref is tomorrow. Good news. Mr Moss does not hate us!

    In the comments section Brickfield Gunner is in fine form with some bawdy humour.

    Here is the link:

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/33366#comment-762091

  105. TotalArsenal says:

    Same to you Terry and thanks for all your anecdotes and analytical comments. You are a top Gooner! 🙂

  106. Evening Fatigued Rotating Rectum Receivers !. 😆
    Here is the not too great news from Darth Wenger himself !.
    http://www.theguardian.com/football/video/2013/dec/31/arsene-wenger-january-transfer-window-injury-worries-video

    So that’s our 3 top scorers and assisters and best LB definitely out and a host of other doubts !………………………………….we`re doomeddddddddddddddddddddddddd !.
    Was I not saying only the other day that we need some SQ to take us to another level and also to cover out historically shit injury luck !. So JB, the spuds have injury problems !…erm, remember, you are the accountant….Paulinho is one problem….not problems !, we have fcuking 9 !…that’s with out counting Diaby and Ox !………………….we`re are doomedddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd and against Cardiff !, thank fcuk it`s not one of the big clubs, we shall have a chance of keeping the score down so it`s not too embarrassing !. hahaha
    Seeing as it`s New Years Day in Downunderland and Kiwi Fruitsland…….what was the score and have we bought anyone yet ?.
    Total McBastard has his OGAAT method and I have my Like for Like Factor !. Both are ways of keeping our feet firmly on the ground and not getting too ahead of ourselves, nothing more. I have seen to many bloggers read out a list of games that we should win and it always comes back to bite them !. My theory is basically the same as Total McBastard, with just adding the facts that we need to better certain like for like results if we are to win the league !.
    All you other BKers have your own way of dealing with Arsenal, some are ultra optimistic, others pessimistic, some deal with it by shagging all the worlds most beautiful women as secret agents and some act as archetype evil villains like our very own……….Dr Stranglecock !.
    So BKers, I bet you are all wondering which BKer is……………Dr Stranglecock !. hahaha

  107. TotalArsenal says:

    Dr Stranglecock hahahaha 🙂

    No wonder you want to keep your feet firmly on the ground hahaha 🙂

  108. I said many moons ago that I thought JW would become one of the top 3 players in the world !, probably a bit too far fetched and would settle for top ten !.
    He has to be given more time, I am however slightly concerned, as you know I`m not a lover of his running style and he looks slower than before and I`m not sure whether this is because he looks more beefed up or something else !.
    I just hope it isn`t anything to do with possibly still nursing injuries and if this is the case and it`s something that he will have to continuously do, then we may never see the potential come to the expected level !. Hope I`m wrong as I thought he would be the one of our best ever !.
    I currently think Ross Barkley is a better player and I think I`m correct in saying he is younger !. He has it all, especially the physique that Jack lacks….I know…Messi, Maradonna etc` all small, but again I go back to Jacks running style, I cant put my finger on it , but it just doesn`t look right !.

  109. That’s my 2nd favourite name after McBastard !. hahaha
    I was somehow thinking of Dr Strangelove when driving today and thought I could do better than that !. As usual it comes so easy. hahahaha

  110. 17highburyterrace says:

    Happy New Year Everybody! 2013 will hopefully be remembered as the year Arsenal turned it all around…

    Some funny stuff in the comments and plenty of back and forth about our keeper and young Jack. I’m surprised that there hasn’t been too much transfer talk given that it’s already January in some places…

    Sometimes I believe I get a little too deep into my own “frame of reference” even if I go to great lengths to try and say things like, “I think” or IMO or “but that’s just me.” It appears 007, for example, didn’t recognize my sarcasm regarding our Pole in goal… To be clear, I don’t see us buying anybody who would put him on the bench. We just gave him a long (and rich) contract. Clearly, the idea is that he is our #1 for the foreseeable future. He will make mistakes but he will also learn from them. His kicking is improving but it’s still a weak spot. His biggest asset is his confidence but that can be a weakness as well. IMO he’s coming on strongly in organizing his defense and communicating with them. We’re better at set pieces and more generally at absorbing pressure than we have been for a quite a while. Decision making and quickness off the line are also strong and improving. Finally you can’t teach size, and Sir Chez has it. These are just my opinions and we can agree to disagree, but there they are… 😀

    I wrote my thoughts on Wilshere last night so I won’t repeat them. Increasing fitness and self-discipline will serve him well as will working with players who want the ball quickly. IMO he has sooooo much he can learn from Ozil–about when to touch on, when to run, when to speed up (and slow play down) and how to use open spaces–If he can keep fit it’s an incredible spot for him. Arteta can teach him a lot too… Short term he may *need* to learn to get the ball to others who can do more with it, but long term the chances, assists and goals could flow from his boots. In truth, it’s a fine balance between giving him opportunities and taking care of results.

    And, like I said, this is the essence of the problem as we enter the new year–balancing the need to improve the squad (for the long term) while doing the very best we can with what we’ve got. Some are so desperate for results and believe the rhetoric that if we only had the will they would come. IMO there are some sad realities in place which make things quite difficult, but they *might* be overcome through a combination of spirit and intelligence. Personally, I believe that Arsenal supporters should bring these elements into their actions to get behind the manager and the squad, Critique is fine and I hope it continues in the new year. Blind hatred (happiness when results go awry, so one can say “I told you so”) is another thing and I wish it would go away… Overall, I think we’re on the right track here on BKesque and I’m grateful I found this place early this past year.,

    So with that, here’s wishing you and yours the very best possible 2014!

  111. Gerry says:

    Happy New Year HT, and those staying up late to see the year in here. I will not be one of them as I am wilting already.

    Tomorrow will happen whether I stay awake for it or not. In the meantime I can dream about Zelalem providing 4 assists and is quickly labelled ‘The New Ozil’ 😀

    I echo your thoughts there HT …
    So in case I do not wake before morning .. all the very best for 2014

  112. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Dont know what your knarked about 17, what about me?

    If some one had told me earlier about Chesney i could have saved myself a fortune on snake oils and wouldnt have rubbed that Squirrel shit on my head

    I could have sorted Chesney out. Come to think of it, if I ever get my hands on that Morrocan who flogged me that Squirrel crap, promising a hairline like Stalin, I will kill im by shoving a stuffed Squirrel up his arse

  113. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

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