FlamTeta, OG to return, Santi-Mesut-Jack to support him? Villa preview.

Mesut Ozil 

Opening Day Reversal—3 points a Must to Keep Pace at the Top

Arsenal head to Aston Villa hoping to reverse the extremely disappointing result from the opening match of the season.  In that one, despite opening the scoring with an Olivier Giroud goal, Arsenal conceded 3 and felt victimized by referee Anthony Taylor, who not once but twice gave Aston Villa penalties (and a pair of yellow cards to Laurent Koscielny) while ignoring repeated fouls on our players.  The result also played out amidst a background of a very disappointing transfer window, one where management had made great declarations about our money to spend, yet none (to that point) had been.  The team left the pitch that August day to a chorus of boos, even if most of the frustration was aimed at manager Arsene Wenger.

The season was off to the worst start possible…

From that woeful day, the Arsenal season has been on an upward trajectory.  First came the announcement that former Gunner, Mathieu Flamini, would join the team on a free transfer followed by good wins at Fulham and vs. Tottenham Hotspur.  Their spending of nearly 100 million pounds on a series of players (to help mitigate the impending departure of Gareth Bale) made them appear an ambitious if almost completely revamped team.  Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t penetrate our defences that day, and another Giroud goal was the difference.  The next day we announced the signing of Mesut Özil from Real Madrid and the circle was complete. North London lost one up-and-coming star (Bale) but received perhaps the greatest assist-maker in the game in return (Özil).  That it was Tottenham’s loss and Arsenal’s gain (perhaps) made our summer of torture (almost) worthwhile.

Match by match, Arsenal have righted the ship and been the big surprise of the first half of the season.  Of course, true supporters of the club don’t see it this way and believe the real aberration was the opening day loss to Villa.  Marrying a player of super quality such as Özil to a squad that showed extreme mettle in closing a 7-point gap in the final 10 matches last season to finish 4th and recapture our Champions League position, we had hoped to pick up where we had left off.  That opening day was a giant hiccup, but the remainder of the first half of the season has been much better, and tonight we have the chance to make amends.

Predicted Starting Lineup 

Coming a full nine days after we (again) beat Tottenham, this time in the FA Cup, tonight’s match should see Arsenal fielding a very strong first 11.  Kieran Gibbs is close to a return, but Nacho Monreal will surely start at Left Back.  Wojciech Szczęsny should return as our keeper, while the remaining defenders will likely be Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny; a group which will be seeking its 5th consecutive clean sheets in all competitions.

ars v villa 2014

In Midfield, Aaron Ramsey has not recovered sufficiently from a thigh injury, so I would predict a dual-pivot of Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini with a more forward 3 of Santi Cazorla, Özil and Jack Wilshere.

Olivier Giroud, passed fit after missing the last two matches, will surely start alone up front.   It’s also possible that Wenger will go with a more attacking midfield, starting 18-year-old Serge Gnabry, brilliant in his start vs. Tottenham at right wing.  He could reprise this role and assert his ability to fill the large hole vacated by Theo Walcott, injured in that match and out for the season. Such a move would likely move Wilshere back at the expense of either Flamini or, more likely, Arteta, who required a late substitution in the FA Cup tie.

Tomáš Rosický also has every right to claim a starting spot in attacking midfield on the strength of his performance vs. Spurs.  Nonetheless, I predict he will be a bench option.  Ironically, this match will see the return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who sustained a major knee injury in the opener.   I suspect the Ox, along with Lucas Poldolski, will start on the bench but might be employed if we’re chasing a result late on.

Aston Villa, despite their bright start to the season, have not been playing well recently (only a single win and a draw in their last seven matches in all competitions) and have injury issues of their own.  Ron Vlaar and Nathan Baker are both question marks in defence, although Gabriel Agbonglahor has been deemed fit enough to play.   He’s been the bright spot in attack in recent games as one of last season’s biggest surprises, Christian Benteke, has failed to find the form that made him a major summer transfer target and eventually won him a big contract keeping him at Villa.  A potential starting 11 for the opposition could be Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Luna, Bacuna, Westwood, Delph, Albrighton, Benteke, Agbonlahor.

 How the Match Should Play Out

In the opener, Villa seemed unafraid to play a very up and down game, and I expect a similar early approach here.  They have the pace and power to hurt us on the counter, and if we are able to wrest control of midfield possession, they might settle into that sort of pattern.  Bacuna has scored some great right-footed free kicks, so looking for fouls outside of our 18-yard box may be a real tactic as well.  It should be recalled that in this same fixture last season we played a very dour nil-nil draw (in foul weather) and, if Villa can keep the score tight, defending and holding out for a point might suit them as well.

I predict another strong performance by our defence and commanding work in attack by a buzzing midfield working off the big presence of Giroud up front.  My predicted scoreline in this one is 2-nil to the Arsenal, with goals from Cazorla and Özil (and assists from the latter and Giroud). 

Regardless of the scoreline, a winning result is imperative given that the other top 4 clubs (ManchesterCity, Chelsea and Liverpool) have all notched away wins this weekend.  Finally, we should be extra motivated and fully concentrated for this one as it represents a chance to avenge the pain of the opening day.

What do you think?  Please join me (us?) in the comments before, during and after the match.  Go on you Gunners!

Written by: 17highburyterrace

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219 Responses to FlamTeta, OG to return, Santi-Mesut-Jack to support him? Villa preview.

  1. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    17ht.. I like your team.. but I prefer Flam-shere or Will-teta.. and Gnabry for Walcott position..

    Yes.. we need to win, and we will.. Not only for payback-time.. but to confirm that our first lost was all because that ‘Taylor’ thing.. And we surely need to win all the games.. period.. Keep winning and stay on top is the way we make our rivals frustrate.. hehehe..

    I got a feelling that somehow referee tend tobe on City side now.. Last night ‘tiote-offside goal’ was some proved.. I just hope it was totally wrong.. but we must keep it seriously.. And their games against Spurs away (31st) will make it more clear, if referee do on City’s side or not..

  2. henrychan says:

    And yes.. Rosicky is our best Subs..
    He can replace Ozil, Cazorla, Wilshere or even Gnabry..
    Whoever not playing well, Rosicky can come in to replace him..
    Go Gunners.. Give your best.. and be the Champion..

  3. Hello 17ht, fellow gooners

    enjoyed your preview 17..good writing though would swap Jack for Gnabry to have some directness on the wings with Rozy and the Ipod coming in to see us through

    i predict a thrashing..say, 3 nil to the greatest club on God’s planet(maybe the disappointing defeat on the opening day may subconsciously play a part on our players??)

  4. oh, i meant have Jack play alongside the Flame (Zollo on the bench) and have young Serge on the right wing..bring on the OX with 4 minutes to play

  5. Gerry says:

    HT17 – That brisk style of writing had me fooled : D

    While waiting for this post I read ‘the Villa blog’. My oh my, the supporters on there are very worried.
    The first reply was ‘2-0 to the Arsenal. Move on’ … and then it got worse. Even when ‘Steve the Gunner’ wrote a reply it did not raise an argument. If that was a cross section of Villa support they must be in a bad way?

    Sorry HT, to your post. Yes, very sharp and to the point. We need to win. Team selection? I would go with it if I thought we were going to play like Chelsea – keep it tight in the first half, then open them up with attack minded substitutes?
    I think if this game happened before the Spur’s game we might have been of that persuasion. As it is, I think there was the beginnings of an Arsenal swagger developing, where confidence is on a high. So whilst Villa are on the other end of that scale, what better time to hammer the point home?

    So not only do I see Gnabry playing, I think he will grab a brace of goals too. The reason? Ozil. They have yet to have more than a few minutes on the pitch together, so however well Mesult can link with Theo, it will Serge who will prove to be his ideal partner. Not a language thing, but that will help, along with future WC options? But more than that, it is intelligent running and seeing a pass, and perhaps less inclined to get caught off side, than Theo that will seal it. Add Giroud into the mix and you have three thinkers that could click like triplets playing mind games?

    Villa, I think will drop back, but not out of confidence that they can keep a clean sheet, but out of the fear of getting hammered. They will not commit too many players going forwards for the same reason. Provided we do not gift possession away in silly areas, and the ref does keep some semblance of control when the laws of the game are being (blatantly) broken, they will not get much joy from our defence?.

    So the team I expect is a confident one. So Arteta on the bench, and Wilshere to play in front of Flamini as the ‘high presser’. The choice between Rosicky and Cazorla could go either way, but it we are going to come out with intent, then it is Rosicky for me, and Santi to replace Ozil late on. With Gnabry on the right and Giro in the middle, that is as strong a line up as you could to start the second half of the season?

    So, I am expecting us to oblige those fearful Villa fans with a 0-4 win. It will be Giro early on, Gnabry either side of the break. Ox and Poldi to come on the 65 minute, and the latter to score.
    O-4 to the good guys.

    PIty I don’t do predictions … but, what the heck – TOTL!

  6. hey Gerry..i also had the chance to read the Villa blog and boy are they pessimistic..they predict a thrashing for THEIR team!!..how things go wrong in football..winning at the emirates set them for what would be a seemingly bright season to now having their own fans predict a massacre!!

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Afternoon FFG’s 🙂

    Excellent preview, 17, and respect for including a villa line up. Also love the intro and agreed with line up 100%. As others have indicated, Arteta could be sacrificed for a more attacking line up with Rosicky and Gnabry the possible inclusions (with Jack moving next to Flamini). But Arsene will want to keep it tight in the middle as we were vulnerable there in the home match and your line up seems spot on.

    Our record is not great ar Villa park and I reckon this will be a lot lot tougher than many think. Any win will do me today, but I am half expecting a draw…. 🙄

    Love to be wrong though 😀

  8. mA says:

    fantastic post once again and well done

    17… completely agree with what you say. The Arsenal have taken a completely upward trajectory since the ref played against them in the opening day defeat against Villa. Do not know today’s ref, but here’s hoping a great performance. Also, things should even out TODAY. Thug-like tackles plus dirty tactics should not be tolerated in any way.

    Villa know less football (underlined by their manager’s claim that stats are nonsense), and will be hoping to break on the counter. Thus, i agree with Flam-Teta pivot -though it means curbing our excellent attack-minded midfield. Sad that Rambo is unavailable because I feel he is made for such opposition. A rested Giro plus Ozil increase my confidence for an away win. COYG.

  9. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Fine stuff from the voice of reason. It must be all that mountainous air 17. I once contemplated a mountainous existence in the hope it would regrow the hair, but after seeing a picture of your hairline, will stick to my current remedy of Ostrich juice. haha

    Interesting line up 17. Personally, I would leave Santi and Flamini out and play TR14 and Serge, this tucking Jack inside.My reasoning is that Villa have plenty of pace and I would like to see our wide men try match that.

    Oh so what. Who ever plays it will be a tough game, Probably edge it 5-0.

  10. AB says:

    Top intro 17. Fully agree with your line up. I think if we were playing at home then bringing Wilshere into the centre and giving Gnab his head would be spot on. But I think we can expect a young Villa to come at us, and Wenger will ensure we are defensively sound first and trust that we have enough up front and on the bench to get a win. Early goals for us and it could be a big win, but like TA I’m feeling cautious; can’t believe Wenger will be feeling reckless!

    COYG!!!

  11. James Bond says:

    nice one 17HT, it seems that you tried keeping this one to the point, short and sweet – I likes !

    yep, we were robbed in the first leg at the start of the season but we did give the ref, them decisions to make – hopefully KOC will repay it all tonight by helping the team to another clean sheet, he is world class and I am fully expecting him to deliver the goods tonight, regardless of what forwards Aston. V put out

    it’s a nice predicted line up you have put out, however, I will play either one of Arteta or Flam’s and not look to play them together against a team that like to park the bus Martin o Neil style and hit teams on the break, even at home.

    I’m gonna go with Arteta and JW, with Ozil Further ahead – on the LW = Santiato and on the RW = Gnabry and up front we have our rock back !

    the bench will be made up of = Flamini, TV5, OX, Rosicky, Poldi e.t.c (plenty of game changers and super subs on the bench).

    Gnabry must start and should start 110% otherwise, I be one of many who would be raising some pertinent questions – either way, it’s time to ask a few questions of my own…

    1: When was the last time we scored from a Corner ?

    3: when was the last time we had to play against 10 men ?

    5: when was the last time we won 5-0 ?

    😀

  12. James Bond says:

    can I also say, the same formula we used against Spuds 4-4-2

    yep, a 4-3-3 or a 4-6 hence not in favour of the 4-5-1 , another reason why I want Gnabry to start and won’t even mind if Poldi is on the left

    imagine this as your front 3 , behind Giroud

    Gnabry——————-Ozil———————–Poldi

    are you thinking what I’m thinking ?

  13. ‘Morning boys…Thanks for the comments and compliments…That’s an interesting conflation of two players there Terry, in suggesting TR14. Our #14 kit will not be seen again this season as it’s worn by Theo Walcott. Tomas Rosicky, however, has been playing at the peak of his powers and brings a true brightness to our play with his running. Not bad for a guy pushing towards his mid-thirties. All those years out might make him younger in football years, or something…

    Yes, like I was trying to say, on the back of the Spurs match, it does seem harsh to leave out either Tomas or Serge Gnabry. And it is possible that Arteta isn’t fully fit and we *should* take a more attacking approach. In the concern about Theo’s big injury I saw no mention about the knock Arteta took which made us unable to sub after Theo went off flashing the scoreline. Like AB, my thought is that our ultimate success this season will come from a strong foundation at the back rather than the ability to put up large goal tallies. I think we will have a game or two where we’re rampant (as the lower table teams tire) but the key is taking the sting (and the hope) out of opponents by defending with style and ease–here in the California mountains we call it “steaze”–and absorbing pressure. I agree that line-ups with both Flamini and Arteta do appear a bit conservative and it’s always strange when either (or both) pop up close to the opponents 18 yard box. We’ll see what the manager is thinking when the first 11 gets announced.

    I think Gerry makes a strong point about Ozil. In many ways I believe he’s been in an information gathering mode through his first half season (esp. learning the refs and how to avoid injury…) and he’s primed for a much more dominant second half. Of course, it won’t necessarily be with the spotlight completely on himself, and much of it will be in interactions with other midfielders sharing spaces (and passes) esp. on the right. Whoever gets that starting spot, today and in future matches, should get a circle around his name as “potential big contributor” given the influence of which our Messy is capable. Gerry’s pick for that spot is Serge G, I’ve picked Jack W and yet others have offered Rosicky. Whoever it is, look for chances which start with Ozil…

    Nerve racking that we’ve had to sit through the weekend and watch all the top teams win. Three points are a must, but so too is a confident performance pushing us forward…

  14. 17highburyterrace says:

    More answers…

    The ref tonight is Neil Swarbrick, a very new and untested guy in the league. His biases are just forming, according to Untold Arsenal, but it seems Villa does worse than usual when he’s got the whistle. The spirit of the opening match was quite cynical but exacerbated by Taylor trying to allow continuation relentlessly for Villa (he even gave them a chance to finish off the move BEFORE calling the first pen…) but not for us. As I recall, the injury to the Ox was a full blooded challenge that didn’t even merit a blow…

    Bond, it does feel as if it’s been ages since we’ve scored from a corner but my guess is that the BFG has been working on his near post headers ever since those misses vs Cardiff. If he and Giroud are in there we present a lot of size. One reason I think Santi starts is that we need him at the right footers now that Theo is out. Ozil left footers should also be a treat. Didn’t he open his English career with a hat-trick of assists at Sunderland, including a corner and a set piece?

    That all German attacking MF looks strong. I only question if Serge and Lu-lu (esp. the latter…) have the stamina to give a truly dynamic effort for 65-75 mins. It could be a strong group to finish the match if we are chasing the points…

    Finally, thanks to those who checked out the Aston Villa blogs. My preview was never going to come close to matching one of Ozzie’s and the “opposition view” is the part I love the most (along with “the finger”…) It’s always good (for me, at least…) to hear the worries of the opposing supporters and get a little (fresher) air beyond the (recycled?…) issues we tend to mull… Cheers!

  15. jnyc says:

    Good job 17. I would like us to use gnabry much more than when theo was out the first time. A player with speed who can dribble and cause problems in their box. He also tracks back to help on defense.

  16. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahaha TR14.

    I have a genuine excuse for my slip up 17.

    The Builders have just started working on my Loft and on the first day, whilst on the laptop, they caught me pants down indulging a bit of stretching.

    The only thing I could say was “Just watching a video of TH14 100 goals lads, got a bit carried away”. So now, my mind is a bit preoccupied with the T14 combinations.

  17. VCC says:

    Terry……..Have you sent the pigeons away on holiday?
    My Dormer started last Monday. Plenty of mess and noise. 😦

  18. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hi Vics.

    Have come to an agreement with the Mrs. In return for not objecting to the Loft I have had to get the downstairs done to, so they have started doing her area first.

    By the time its finished It will basicly be like two large flats. Probably should have moved out, but have come to far now.

    With all the noise going on, the pigeons have given me a few funny looks like “What the f*ucks going on”, so its going to really pain me when I am forced to catch them.

    Oh well, I have heard Pigeon stew is very nice on the palate, so not all bad.

  19. Gerry says:

    Terry, leave the pigeons where they are, and get the builders to work around them. The’re always telling me how much they love pigeon poo on their scaffolding 🙂

    HT – on Ox’s injury, if anyone was going to be booked it would have been Ox himself, as he went sliding for the tackle? As it happened both tried to pull out of the collision. Amazingly, Ox was the first to get up, yet he was the damaged one and the other guy played on. About the only accidental one all game … it really wasn’t our day?

    I was looking around on NewsNow when I was looking for this new post – it stays in my ‘recently read’ if I do it via them – and the blog that KG and I read was there first. I suspect the blog is a bit like this one, with intelligent readers who know what to expect? They were very polite to the Gunner troll too, even when he said they ought think themselves lucky they were not Birmingham – That brought a response of ‘ Don’t worry mate we’ll be playing them next season’. They even have a JB clone there. When suggested being at home should be an advantage the reply was ‘ That is no help, we’re bloody sh*te’ … So as you can tell they were not that keen? 😀

    I did see from squad list that Yennaris was there. Now with Vermaelin ‘short’, and Gibbs unlikely to play too, he could find his way on the bench? He looked quite good from the snippets I saw from the Under 21’s at Fulham. Adding LB to positions he’s covered. DM is probably his best spot, so if Arteta is one of those ‘other’ problems that AW did not elaborate in in the presser, he could find himself in demand? I did not see him in the training photos either??? Cue spooky music …

    The ref hasn’t covered many of our games, but with the 4th official being Atkinson, I am sure he will be told to get it ‘right’ for Villa …

  20. Evening Vile Villainous Venereal Vajazzlers ! 😆

    Thanks 17. I don’t know how you found time to do an excellent PM whilst hunting for the Mountanus Hair of Squatchie !. Great multi-tasking !.
    I too am great at multi-tasking and may have told this before !.
    I was once doing a DiY job and ended up “entertaining” a lady in her bedroom . Whilst doing so my mobile (cell) phone rang !, it was a text message from VCC !, he text me…..” Who said only women can multi-task ?, I`m texting you whilst driving and tuning the car radio at the same time ! “. I text replied to VCC…..” That’s nothing, I`m shafting this lady whilst texting you, with one eye on the porno vid and another on the window looking outside in case someone comes home to early and I`m also eating a kebab whilst painting her ceiling ! “.
    VCC then texts me to say….” You`re a fcuking Legend ! “.
    I text him back with a cool …” I know ! ” 😎
    He then texts me back with…..” What the fcuk is you`re car doing in my driveway ? “. hahaha

    Back to the post. This is a game we really should win and a win is the only option imo !.
    I cant see Ox being involved as he said himself he needs at least 4 weeks to get match fit !.
    This is from Arsenal.com.
    http://www.arsenal.com/match/report/1314/pre/first-team/aston-villa-v-arsenal-match-preview

  21. Gerry says:

    TCM – Surely he gets fit by playing the odd 20 minutes here and there?

  22. May be Gezzer, but he did say he was knackered after on 10 mins and that was just an U21 game !.

  23. James Bond says:

    oh cheers @ Gerry for painting me as the eternal optimist as usual – trust you to always paint me in the right positive manner reflecting my true self 🙂 however, if it really was a clone of moi than I would have said – we are playing the mighty Arsenal at home ? may God have mercy and may we lose by a goal margin of less than 5, anything less than 4 would feel like a hard earned victory

    👿

    ahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahaha @ TCM

  24. Here`s a vid of the player we have supposedly bought !. Paul-Georges N`Tep or if you prefer…Get Arse Plug Open !. Actually from the vid he looks a decent prospect and imo better than any of the Sanogo vids I saw !.

  25. James Bond says:

    Arsenal v Man Utd is confirmed for the 12th (wed) Feb 2014 @ 19.45

  26. VCC says:

    GLIC. ………hahahahahahahahahhahahahhahahahahahhahahahaha.

  27. Thanks Vics !…………by the way…..can I have my car back ?. hahaha

  28. Gerry says:

    JB – It was more ‘Telling it like it is’ that I had in mind? If you were supporting Villa you would be that guy, no?

  29. VCC says:

    Terry…….Many years ago my dear old Dad raced pigeons.

    Pigeon tastes really nice, I know this because those days when your original stock birds where past their sell by date they used to discard them as they were surplus to requirements.

    Well one evening we all sat down for dinner and I asked my Mum what was it we were eating, she replied Pigeon, it was nice and tasty.

    My second question was where did they come from…….well you can imagine the horror I felt when my Dad told me they were his original stock birds. I burst out crying as one of them was so tame he/she used to sit on my shoulder like a parrot and travelled everywhere with me. It was an unusual colour too, it was black, and really really friendly.

    As Gerry says, leave them alone and they will Sh1t everywhere, but keep you company.

  30. Fcuk me Vics !. You`re dad must have been fit to have “raced Pigeons” !. Did he beat any of them ?.

  31. Gerry says:

    TCM – I watched this vid too. Apart from having 3 different shirt numbers, suggest it is from different eras? He did look up to getting through tackles, and pretty good on the assist front. Explosive shot on him. ven with a second showing the camera could not keep up with the ball?

    However, if he is signing for us he probably will be a guest at the game tonight … The Coventry scouting team will be there too, but not to buy anyone. Well not directly, they are apparently after Rhys Murphy, former academy player as I recall?

  32. James Bond says:

    I don’t know about that @ Gerry – but it’s nice to know that whenever you are reading other blogs and even blogs of opposing teams, you’re still thinking about me , ha

    Raced Pigeon’s ? how on earth does one manage to do that then, without having a pair of wings 😆

  33. James Bond says:

    unless there was ” Red bull ” back in the day, as Red bull gives one’s wings – Allegedly !

    team news should be coming out soon !

  34. Gerry says:

    JB, I just slip them in to see if you really do read my comments … 🙂

  35. 17highburyterrace says:

    More good thoughts pre-match and I enjoyed reading the “official” preview from the dot com…My thought is that some of the injury news (i.e., Giroud sick) is a bit dated… Indeed Cockie, you ARE a legend, much like the sasquatch himself… That PG N’tep fella looks a little more grown into his body than poor Yaya and pretty smooth on the ball…

    A point of debate amongst us Gooners has been the influence of Ozil, with many (including TA, I think) pointing out that the squad was pretty solid before the big signing arrived. What I like, and what I hope to see on ample display today, is the calmness (almost detachment…) that Messy brings. Our big problem on that opening day is that we got caught in the up and down pace of the match (made worse by Taylor being a real “play-on” ref, except when the fouls were on us)…As I recall, there was A LOT of early Wilshere whinging at him as our attacks got called back. That young OX got himself hurt in a reckless 50-50 was symptomatic of the over-exuberance that day…

    The thing I love the MOST about our mega-signing is his ability to feel the challenges coming and jump (or step) out of them. What is it with the English football and this tolerance and even encouragement for obscenely dangerous play? In Spain it is widely mocked and players are (feigning) hurt before the contact is made or if it’s remotely close. To his credit Ozil doesn’t play *that* game, but I think he’s bemused by the extreme difference in the level of violence between the two leagues. Touch wood, of course, but I believe he’s ready to really start taking advantage of overly aggressive defenders and turning their going to ground into positive opportunities for us.

    Anyhow, looking forward to the match but thinking I need to check the trails (go for a run–no pigeons to race here, just hawks 😯 ) and see if they’re still OK despite the .05 inches of snow they received. The highs are supposed to be back to 50 F/10C with sun as far as the forecast will reach (1-2 weeks at least)… Not good for the skiers or even just the folks who just like to use water… These noontime kickoffs put a real hole in my day… 😆

  36. James Bond says:

    how dare you think of me not reading your comments ? travesty travesty travesty alert !

    please do wear the lucky scarf, I really want us to put 5,6,7,8 past this Villa team tonight ! I may even settle for a 4-0 , if you really insist 🙂

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    Q: Who was our last signing from Auxerre?
    A: Bacary Sagna

    If N’tep can be as good a signing as Bac, let’s hope it’s already done…

    Watching the vid, I kept thinking I might see him take a touch with his left foot. I may have missed it, as I do have to blink every now and again… One footedness shouldn’t be a deal breaker, however, as it maybe makes him look for his teammates a little more that the players who believe they can do everything on their own…

  38. I expect nothing less than a win tonight, but It doesn’t hurt to have a bit of help on our side !.
    This man is 4 for 4 !. Some say he makes Giraffes lick his loin cloth high in the trees and that the addiction to swinging parties has left him with a disfigured face ( I don’t remember that tree being there ! ) but we know him as Jay Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…..let the battle cry begin !.

  39. James Bond says:

    ahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha

    the things you make me do to get the mighty Arsenal winning, ehhh @ TCM

    The fifa world 11 has a few dodgy inclusions, as per usual.

  40. I`m just going to do some weights after putting on my red budgie smugglers and TR14 shorts for luck ( Theo Rosicky….that’s a fast czechmate ! ), then shimmy on down to the comfy sofa !.

  41. Think of it this way JB, if Arsenal win the EPL, it will be down to you !. Multi-tasking skills and a legend status next to me awaits !. hahaha

  42. It`s a shame I`m not brave enough to comment in match time as I could bring the comment quality down to new depths !. hahaha

  43. Fozzie B says:

    Working BK Brethren so catch up state side or is that sofa side? 😆 COYRRG’s
    !!!

  44. Where`s the Masked Muppet……….Fozzorro ?.

  45. Spoke to soon or is that too late !. hahaha

  46. VCC says:

    GLIC………..hahahahahahahah.
    Off to get some medicine down my local club and watch the mighty Arsenal.

  47. James Bond says:

    Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, Luna, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph, Agbonlahor, Benteke

    Substitutes: Steer, Sylla, Bacuna, Tonev, Helenius, Weimann, Albrighton

    Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Wilshere, Flamini, Cazorla, Ozil, Gnabry, Giroud

    Substitutes: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Rosicky, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ju-Young Park

  48. Gerry says:

    So it’s Park on for Giro is it?

  49. Gerry says:

    That is the attacking line: 0-4. AW is feeling good?

  50. AB says:

    Wow, confident attacking line up. Hope we score first……

  51. davydavy says:

    Wow, what a tasty attacking line-up!

    What’s apparent on the bench though is that we don’t have much by way of a central defensive option, either at centre-back or in midfield. Doesn’t matter here but I would want it for teams like Bayern.

    3-0 to the Arsenal!

  52. Gerry says:

    AB – We are the soon to be Champions, of course it is an attacking line up.

    Remember those words (Gibbs, I think?) ‘Now we have got to start playing like Champions’

  53. James Bond says:

    so I’m guessing both TV5 (sick ) and Arteta (injured ) ?

    quite happy with the starting 11, plenty of game changing options on the pitch as we,, for instance when we are 5-0 up, we bring on the Pod to take it past 8-0!

    🙂

  54. Dylan says:

    5 at the back. Pathetic.

  55. AB says:

    Yes, just noticed Arteta missing; hope its nothing too serious. Would have liked to see Ram back on the bench, but hopefully next week. Gerry – I like the confident attitude; hope the boys start fired up and gets some early product. Goals for Giroud and Santi, with assists from Oz would be great tonight; after that, some magic from Jack and a mature display from Gnab. And finally a complete rest for our defence!

    Bring it on.

  56. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well, just a hair more aggressive than I thought. Personally, I love it and love that G-nab has a chance to G-rab the Theo spot. He brings different qualities, of course, but it’s a great opportunity for him. If he can do it, it takes the pressure off Rosicky and Ramsey to play too many minutes. Rambo will be raring to go (and he can help spell those ostensibly lining up farther back) but not overplaying him (nor rushing him back…) will likely keep him healthy for the key months ahead…

    Dylan, the way they’ve got it up on the telly is a 3-5-2…Same formation Liverpool tried against us a few months back…

  57. Dylan says:

    Let’s domimate this game lads.

  58. proudgooner says:

    I am going for a 3-0 to Arsenal

  59. proudgooner says:

    Great post 17 well written .

  60. proudgooner says:

    I was comparing OG to Alan Smith at the start of the season, keep up Arsene ha ha ha
    C O Y GUNNERS!

  61. alcide says:

    Great preview! I like the actual line-up though 🙂 COYG

  62. AB says:

    Early goal for us, and could be something special – like you JB I feel there’s a big scoring result for us due now. But if its a slow start, or god forbid they score first, then a tense low scorer (again) it will be. Would like us to be putting some goal difference space between us and Chelski and Pool; can’t see us catching City for goals – need to do them for points, straight.

  63. James Bond says:

    let’s get ready to rumble !!!

    COYG

    7-0 Arsenal

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    Kickoff…

    Hey Thanks, PG…

    One thing today is will Benteke be “auditioning” to be a potential transfer our way?…Not mentioned much in this window compared to the last…

    Early foul, but no advantage played…Yellow given 90 seconds in…

  65. alcide says:

    Great, that yellow for the foul on Jack is a good start!

  66. Dylan says:

    Finally a ref who pulls a card when it’s deserved, regardless of time in the game! I like him!

  67. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good pressure but Gnabry too shy to hit the volley…

  68. James Bond says:

    wow, I like this ref already, protection for JW and a yellow for the villan

  69. alcide says:

    Come on OG, this should be on target! Great cross from Bac

  70. 17highburyterrace says:

    Giroud well wide with his head… that early yellow has them backing off us…We’re looking good though Gnabry needs to watch the giveaways…High foot from Gabby on Flams head…I’m liking the ref so far…

  71. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ollie, give it back to Messy!!

  72. alcide says:

    Good passing flow…

  73. 17highburyterrace says:

    Another great cross from Bac after another great wide ball from Santi…playing conditions suit us…Ollie bundled over?

  74. 17highburyterrace says:

    Total dominance but no penetration…Move breaks down with a slight miscue between Serge and Ollie..

    Bad foot in from Jack gives Delph a shot, but wide…

  75. alcide says:

    Villa playing deeeeep with three CBs…

  76. Dylan says:

    Sagna has been fantastic. What power from Serge!

  77. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow…Serge shot kills Villa defender… Short corners, are we Barca tonight?

  78. alcide says:

    Good try by Serge, didn’t hesitate to try his left foot… It wasn’t lost, baker took the full grunt…

  79. alcide says:

    Well Villa plays like they’re playing Barca and don’t want to concede goals!

  80. James Bond says:

    we have got to open them up by taking long range shots, instead of letting them sit back and then take the ball to them whilst near their D

  81. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bacuna actually will make them more offensive…Dude can hit a FK, too… Lotsa injury time here…

  82. James Bond says:

    young gnabry has taken out a villain already due to his thunderous shot from outside the box, beautiful.

  83. alcide says:

    Baker’s really knocked out cold… I think I saw oxygen masks being pulled out…

  84. James Bond says:

    hope it’s not as bad for Baker.

    back to business then

  85. 17highburyterrace says:

    Decent chance for Villa after massive (and accurate) flick on from Benteke…

  86. Dylan says:

    Fantastic ball from Giroud but no one to support Ozil.

  87. 17highburyterrace says:

    Fastidious work by Kos after Ag got wrong side of him…Surprised Gabby didn’t dive there…

    Time to break the deadlock with a goal…

  88. alcide says:

    Flamingos tackle was… Harsh

  89. Dylan says:

    I LOVE Serge. That fire and determination is fantastic!

  90. 17highburyterrace says:

    Agreed Alcide…The guy on a yellow grabbed a lot of Gnabry shirt there…

  91. James Bond says:

    santiago so far the weak link and needs to do much much better than he has been, thusfar

  92. Dylan says:

    Dive from Gabby. Barely touched.

  93. Dylan says:

    Fantastic play. Great finish.

  94. 17highburyterrace says:

    Yellow for Nacho…replay shows Gabby pushed him though Nacho was gonna have trouble getting the ball, I think…

    Villa have strong, physical players but they’ll tire as the match wears on… Baker still unconcious

    JAAACCCKKKK!!!!!

  95. alcide says:

    Beautiful… Starts from Ozils brilliant pass, Nacho makes the right cross, and Jack scores!

  96. Dylan says:

    Too good for you, Villa!

  97. alcide says:

    Wooohoooo and OG doubles!

  98. proudgooner says:

    YEEEAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH

  99. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow, the first touch looked awkward… Should Guzan have done better?

    GIROUD!!!!!

  100. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well, that’s a nice turn of events… Jack at the heart of the double…

  101. alcide says:

    Great pass from Kack! Superb run and control from OG, a lucky second touch, and a perfect finish!

  102. alcide says:

    Jack not Kack hehehe

  103. James Bond says:

    Beautiful run from Nacho and a slick pass and what a finish by Jacky boy

    let’s get another 6 now, boys

    wo0000t wo00000t

  104. James Bond says:

    make that 2

    another 5 now boys,

    come on

    wo000t wo000t
    girouddddddddddddddddddddd

  105. alcide says:

    I want a clean sheet now 🙂 and a couple more goals!

  106. James Bond says:

    1 goal, 1 assist JW

    well done lad !

  107. alcide says:

    Or 5 or JB won’t be happy 🙂

  108. alcide says:

    Totes will be happy 🙂

  109. alcide says:

    Ref is kind to us…

  110. 17highburyterrace says:

    I’m happy… Villa are pushing too hard to get back into it and we should punish them for it. Gnabry and Jack so bright the defense are in danger of losing sight of the others…

  111. alcide says:

    So their coach says possession means nothing… How about 2 goals and 70% possession?

  112. alcide says:

    He he Per was playing striker for a bit…

  113. 17highburyterrace says:

    8 mins ET…Hope the guy has regained consciousness… 😯

    Another before halftime would be nice…Jack block on D almost sets the break off…

    Santi just that little bit off, but what a ball earlier to Ozil…

  114. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bacuna too physical for Santi but nice Villa crosses are well defended…

  115. James Bond says:

    the worst game santiago has had so far this season for me.

  116. James Bond says:

    it’s vital not to concede a goal before HT now.

  117. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nice defensive chasing from Ollie after wasting the attack earlier…

  118. alcide says:

    Delph doing impressive gimmicks leading him nowhere hehehe

  119. alcide says:

    Yep quite an air pass from OG 🙂

  120. 17highburyterrace says:

    Game’s not over yet Bond…but yeah, Santi a bit off…

    Personally I love those two goals for the price of one… 😀

    One min left this half?… My math is poor…

  121. alcide says:

    We became a bit disjointed after the goals, but we’re well in control. A few misplaced passes but we’re trying to play fast, and when it works…

  122. James Bond says:

    I’m not a hard man to please @ Alcide, I’ll take another 4 instead of 5 😉

    yep @ 17HT

    but let’s pile on the misery and keep the pressure, take off Santiago at the 60th minute and bring on the Pod

    then bring on the ox at 75 minutes

  123. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi guys – the boys are doing us proud. Two beauties of goals and the next one will be for Santi. I was worried about this game but until now all is fine 🙂

    CoYG!

  124. TotalArsenal says:

    Take off Santi after 60 min…. you really do notknow Wenger do you, JB? 😕

  125. James Bond says:

    or maybe I know Wenger , too well 😉

  126. Dylan says:

    Wenger just joining us. 😉

  127. henrychan says:

    Rosicky for Gnabry.. Podolski for Cazorla.. Two more goals..

  128. alcide says:

    Hehehe it might be Gibbs for Santi 🙂

  129. 17highburyterrace says:

    Greedy, greedy my friends…How about some defensive subs to hold the result?…

    I’d like to see some Lu-lu myself, but I think it’s a little harsh to focus on Santi’s poor play. Yes, his touches haven’t quite been coming off but he’s brought Nacho into the attack very nicely and that’s where the breakthrough happened.

    Since the injury and Villa changing their shape they offered us a little too much space and we pounced nicely. Still gotta absorb some pressure (and worry about their break) for 15-20 mins and all will be good. At some point they have to bring on Weimann who’s a bit of threat.

    Villa are a decent mid-table team with enough athletes to avoid getting into the relegation scrap. As such, 3 points at their place is a fine return. (City got none…) A bit of a shame how the Manchester teams took a generation of their best players (Barry, Milner, Young) It doesn’t help that the players got booed off at half-time…

    Bacuna into the wall…

  130. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nice curler from big Ollie…flag had gone…

  131. 17highburyterrace says:

    Santi to Nacho almost works again…Nacho hurt?…

  132. alcide says:

    Man we have to stop with injuries…

  133. alcide says:

    Hopefully just a sprained ankle

  134. 17highburyterrace says:

    5 minute ankle, Alcide…He went for power but the ball didn’t move…

  135. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not bad left footer from Santi there… I know, I know, Arsene Bond would’ve had him off the pitch by now… 😉

  136. 17highburyterrace says:

    Balloon touch from Santi indicates that maybe Bond has a point…

  137. 17highburyterrace says:

    Serge looking a little bit pooped but the sub is LB for LB…

  138. 17highburyterrace says:

    Guzan is small for a keeper but kicks pretty well…

    2nd sub coming…Sicky for Serge I would guess…

  139. alcide says:

    Indeed 17!

  140. 17highburyterrace says:

    Anybody else around? We look well in control here. Serge played well…Natural for the young guy to have trouble going deep into the match… 3rd goal would be nice, but clean sheet should take priority…

  141. alcide says:

    Hoping to see Ox for the last five… In the meantime Tr7 will create us something…

  142. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not so clinical there Ollie…Nice work for Jack to find Gibbs…

    Weimann on now should give them a little last gasp…

  143. AB says:

    17 yes clean sheet first, but a proper, comprehensive win would be great for the confidence, and to put some pressure on our leading opponents. I do want to see us administer a 5+ drubbing one of these days soon.

    Fcuk!

  144. 17highburyterrace says:

    Fuck…

  145. alcide says:

    2-1,,, and it’s kind of deserved, we’re playing badly, no shape or composure atm

  146. AB says:

    Please lets not do an Arsenal of old…….

  147. 17highburyterrace says:

    The two guys in my avatar (Per, Santi) won’t want to see the replay of the Villa goal…

    Sicky down on the clash of heads…Guzan doing well… Looks like Sicky is dripping a lot of nose blood…

  148. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow, Weimann keeps it in but Per uses his head that time…

  149. AB says:

    bloody hell, now we are clinging on

  150. 17highburyterrace says:

    We’re looking a bit lightweight as Villa find some energy after the goal. No twitch from me, but I’m a bit of a special one… 😀

    Ox coming on because Tomas needs his nose re-set….

  151. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ox looking very good with some early touches…Sagna giveaway not so great…

    Nice run from Gibbs!

  152. alcide says:

    Wheeew

  153. 17highburyterrace says:

    Benteke is a beast, but that one was straight to Sir Chez, Sagna doing just enough to put the big guy off…

    Plenty of ET coming…6 mins, in fact…

  154. 17highburyterrace says:

    Geezus Ollie…gotta do better with the final ball to Messy…

    Another poor touch, but offside…

  155. alcide says:

    We don’t manage to keep the ball on the ground…

  156. 17highburyterrace says:

    World’s slowest corner…but still Villa get a last chance…Our throw and…

    Full time…

  157. AB says:

    jeeez! Another nail biting end. When will we learn to kill off and relax??? Will be the death of me

    TOTL!!!!

  158. alcide says:

    Oh well, it’s three points. Disappointing second half though, we didn’t keep much shape and couldn’t align three passes. ToTL though 🙂

  159. 17highburyterrace says:

    We made that a little tough but I was never worried… 😆 At least we play our matches in a good spirit and don’t cheat to kill them off…

    IMO we’re just a little lightweight when it comes to keeping possession against a team of athletes. I thought Santi and Ozil showed a lot of experience at the end but the youngsters (Jack and Serge) faded. Ox did a very nice job in his 10 mins, but it would’ve been nice to have had Arteta to help hold the result.

    We’re not quite there to run up scores against a decently disciplined, strong opponent. All good things in all good time, however. Sometimes I think Ozil could go by people but he always wants to bring others in. In a suddenly tight match, such moves might be worth trying…

    Bottom line: 3 pts. Fulham on Saturday…

  160. proudgooner says:

    Pheeew 🙂

  161. James Bond says:

    AM I GETTING MY 5 + GOALS AND A CLEAN SHEET ON SATURDAY VS FULHAM ? LOOK ME IN THE EYE AND TELL ME GLICS OR ANYONE ELSE other than TMHT, of course

    🙂

  162. alcide says:

    Yep, we are exposed to long high balls, Flamini, Santi, Jack couldn’t compete with powerful forwards on those, made it too easy for them, it looked like they had a couple of Ollie’s up front. I must say I was worried by our inability to hold the ball, and our reliance on kicking upfield to lonely OG. Couldn’t produce one decent counter. I also thought we were not very compact defending, it’s true that Jack and Serge suffered in defense and weren’t effective. And Santi was getting better and better the last few games, but made so many unusual misplaced passes today, including one directly leading to their goal (Per will surely blast him…).

  163. 17highburyterrace says:

    I don’t think so, 007, but WTF do I know…

    Actually, I expect a response from Fulham at least for half an hour or so (after losing, at home, to Sunderland 4-1). Ozil just seems to want to bring others in and Giroud doesn’t have hat tricks in him. Maybe if we rotate and Poldolski finds some good coffee… I dunno, 3 points is 3 points.

    Also, we might get Berbatov desperate to show us what he could bring if only we’d rescue him…might endanger the clean sheet or at least keep us on tenterhooks…

    Why are people so desperate for a blow out? My worry is that it would lead to overconfidence and too much relaxation and dropped points further along. Our concentration and ability to see out tense moments is maybe our best asset, at the moment…

    Sorry 😳

  164. Gerry says:

    Look peoples, I don’t want to ruin a review, but for those that have been watching, can I guess that Santi was not playing in the middle?

    That is why Rosi would have worked better when Ozil and Jack are playing around in the right to middle area?

    I will watch in the morning, but we are TOTL, and winning ugly is still winning … even if it need not have been so difficult.

    Yes Arteta has a calf strain that took him off last time, without a sub available.

  165. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good points all, Alcide…Per didn’t look too good running in quicksand on the goal either…

    When it comes to using his head Benteke > Giroud, with feet maybe the other way around. It would be nice to have somebody really dynamic (Theo, Lu-Lu, somebody new?) to spell tired Ollie at the end. Again, having Arteta fit would’ve been nice but we lost a sub anyhow with Sicky’s broken nose… Ox looked good doing ball control work but for the one foul he gave…

    We’re OK, but maybe not as good as we’d like to be (for the folks who insist on 5, 6, and 7-nil scorelines)… Today’s certainly beats opening day, no?… 😀

  166. alcide says:

    Gerry, your analysis is right even if you didn’t see the game 🙂 in all fairness it worked quite well in the first half, but we kind of lost the midfield shape in the second as Villans kept kicking balls on our 30m line.

  167. 17highburyterrace says:

    How come, Gerry, in the build-up to the match, we heard not a word about the Arteta injury? That AW never tells us the truth–and sometimes it makes me sore…

    Santi definitely had trouble with first touches on fast balls at his feet. I think he and Ozil help make the spaces for easier balls for the younger guys, however. The Villa goal was great work on defense but a woeful final touch right to their guy… We’ll see, but Lu-lu hasn’t seen a minute since Cardiff. Fulham could be a spot to get him in on the left. I think he and Giroud and Ozil (all left footers…) might find some good combos. Easiest path to the flattering scoreline, if that’s the goal… 🙄

  168. TotalArsenal says:

    Boy we made it hard for ourselves in the second half. Didn’t want to waste loads of energy – and risk injury – to push for more goals and as result we let them back in….. it has happened so many times in football games…. the unbearable lightness of being two goals up after a very easy first half…

    Thought Jack was magnificent in the first half and our MotM. To be fair to JB, Santi had a shocker and was to blame for the goal, although agreed with others that he did okay towards the end. Ozil needs to put his stamp more on matches and dominate the midfield. He is a brilliant butterfly but sometimes I would like to see the lion.

    But three points are three points and the second half is a good lesson for the team. We got away with it and Per will make sure Santi will not do that again. hahaha 🙂

    Bring on the Cottagers! 🙂

  169. alcide says:

    I’m happy for the three points, make no mistake 17ht 🙂

    I’m a bit with JB on this one though, it would be nice to show, make a statement once in a while, that if we’re in front, we can punish teams that push too hard.

  170. Sorry I`m late to the game, but I got stuck in traffic behind my sofa…… fcuking women drivers !.
    So, main thing is we won and are now only -2 points worse off in the like for like stakes from last season !. hahaha
    Reading the comments it seems we need to kill off games and we seem to win too many games by hanging on by the skin of Stretches teeth !. Not good for some of you Gooners, you will be either grey ( if you`re not already ! ) or on a life support machine by the time the season ends !.
    A thought before retiring to the comfort of my bed . Will Arsene buy someone in this TW if we keep winning games `til the end of January ?. Will it take a couple of losses or anymore injuries to key positions for him to buy ?. Whatever the outcome, imo, it is gambling with our chances of actually winning the league if he doesn`t buy !. Hope he does the right thing as I`m not the type of person who wants to say ….” I told you so ! ” and for others to say ….” If only he had ! ” ….but I will !. hahaha

  171. TotalArsenal says:

    the only thing that matters is we are top of the league, Cocker and two point clear from the Chavs, Cocker. 😉

  172. Totes. That would be one point behind the Chavs if we were to play them tomorrow as Arsene would be mesmerised by Maureens Portuguese Man of War …..aka…. the Hose of Jose !. hahaha

  173. Fcuk….I`m too good at this wit stuff !. hahaha

  174. TotalArsenal says:

    Dont underestimate the Wenger-Banger 😀

  175. TotalArsenal says:

    Night all 🙂

    Out all day tomorrow but might publish a few thoughts on the game tomorrow evening. If anybody wants to do a MR and send it me before 7pm, I will publish it tomorrow evening.

    TotL again! 🙂

  176. Wengers Banger saying Nacho may have a broken Metatarsal !. What was I just saying about playing “dare” with the Dennis`s of Injuries !.

  177. Fozzie B says:

    Well, well, well …. I’m going to have to wear diapers!! It’s going to have to be part of my pre match ritual!! Thankfully we got through but hell did we turn off in the second half!! Our lack of threat made us vulnerable!! Why can’t we keep our shape aka Man City and finish teams off!! Luckily Giroud got a the bounce his way and he got that goal.
    Cockie … I think you need to hijack Santi to your tranny annex !! Santi needs to see you doing those naked figure 8s!! The training will prove vital as he needs to practice handling more quick balls at his feet!! Hahaha!! 😆

  178. 17highburyterrace says:

    That’s not good news, Cockie… Fingers crossed on the x-ray… He took quite a swipe at the ball but it didn’t move because the defender had it pinned with his leg…Dangerous freaking game, just ask that fella Clark who took the shot from Serge…

    Sounds like we could be in the market for a LW as we were last January…Although TV5 could do double (back-up) duty over there. If Nacho is really out, and seeing as our young defenders don’t even get in the cup matches, some sort of purchase in this area seems important.

    Given that we didn’t hear word one about Arteta’s injury I really fear we’re not going to get any sort of straight story from the manager (this month) UNLESS he has a plan or something (transfers) is in the works. What’s up with Poldolski? Did he at least get up for a warm up tonight?

    For me, it was good to see the Ox back even if he must be eased in. Gibbs too, and in the nick of time, if Nacho is hurt. It’s all fine and good to talk about how deep we are, but if we’re not getting the straight scoop on the injury front then we’re speaking out of our backsides…

    I thought our guys did well enough today but the breaks in the game hurt us and made the match feel extra long. As much as Gerry (and others) believe in our youth players, there’s only so much stamina that they can bring to the proceedings. Using them here and there is fine. Expecting them to come in and carry a real load seems a big ask. Likewise with anybody we buy, no matter how hefty the price-tag…

    Anyhow, onwards, with hopefully any injury news being of the good variety…

  179. Fozzie B says:

    Thanks for preview 17h!! 😀
    Rockys broken snorer …

    Looks a bit like Fozzies!! Goodnight all 😆

  180. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ooooh, Sick AND twisted, in the schnoz…Poor Tomas…

    Here’s one, which, if true, would be very nice, in my opinion, at least…

    http://www.101greatgoals.com/blog/arsenal-boss-arsene-wenger-signs-new-contract-along-with-per-mertesacker-bacary-sagna-star/

  181. proudgooner says:

    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/360391/EXCLUSIVE-Arsene-Wenger-set-to-sign-new-Arsenal-deal

    17,
    I looked in to the Wenger-Per and Sagna signings more and its true that the daily star is repoting this i found this on there site. Good news if true indeed 🙂 i hope so.

  182. Frozen Gunner says:

    Podolski not too happy with riding the pine (as he should be).. Not sure why Wenger continues to overlook him?

  183. drncdrvr says:

    JW clearly faded somewhat after his 1st half master class, but I like how he maturely picked his spots after the break and made sure to prioratize his defensive responsabilities. Great stuff. That being said, before they scored in the 2nd, it looked like there was a lot of space for the late ramsey-esque run to the top of the box (namely when we kicked the ball out to either edge) and I believe Aaron would have put this one to bed had he been available to come on. Mouth-watering variety of skills in this team.

    COYG

  184. Admir says:

    Hello, people! 🙂

    It was a good victory, all-in-all. Why? Well, Arsenal from 2006 to 2012 would have conceded an equalizer in the dying minutes of the game. This team might not be the one to put your money on in big matches but we do the job against so-called small teams (yes, yes, I know that Villa should not be considered as small given tradition and trophies). Against teams that sit between 7th and 20th place we have lost five points (Villa and West Brom) this season. Manchester City have lost 13 points in those matches.

    Podolski wasn’t thrilled with Chambo’s introduction but every player wants to get some playing time, for God sake, don’t make a mess out of it. Poldi was fresh against West Ham but looked out of depth against Cardiff. I’d like to see him on the left wing against Fulham so we can finally see him and Özil in the starting line-up. I believe that Mesut – who has been more efficient at the Emirates than on the road – will create chances for Poldi who has scored twice against Fulham this term and once last season.

    The only thing that worries me is that Cazorla and Özil haven’t clicked yet. :/

  185. Fozzie B says:

    Morning Admir … Yes I agree thought Poldi should have got some game time. Santi should have come off … No goal conceded by Santi and vital playing time for Poldi. Didn’t make any sense.
    Frimmers in good form!! 😆
    http://metro.co.uk/2014/01/07/emmanuel-frimpong-trolls-david-moyes-with-taxi-for-moyes-instagram-picture-4253939/

    And again 😆

    http://metro.co.uk/2014/01/14/emmanuel-frimpong-trolls-nicklas-bendtner-by-suggesting-he-should-have-won-ballon-dor-4261948/

  186. Gerry says:

    Afternon all. I have some observations to make that should not be out of place before a review.

    It is a bit of good news, bit more possibly bad?

    Monreal having a possible metatarsal break is bad news. I am not sure how well he could run with such an injury, think back to Gibbs, so it may only be badly bruised?
    The good news on that is, as I reported before the game, Nico Yennaris played at LB pretty well in the Under 21’s, and would be pretty good cover for Gibbs if there a problem, again not reported, with TV5?
    The reason why Arteta’s calf strain was not made public might have given too much away regards our tactics perhaps? Leave Villa thinking we were going for the defensive ploy of a double pivot, when we went the other way.

    To me, that, and the first half, was our statement of intent. However, I think AW is going to have to rethink his sub routines better if he wants to keep that high intensity throughout. As I suggested yesterday, the likes of Gnabry would be better used for an hour, and then give the Ox a run out. Also, for the midfield, Rosicky could have started the second half. No major disruption in play, just extra drive when it is needed. His injury, if it had been any other player, I would have agreed it was accidental .. with Gabby? No way. He knew exactly what he was doing imo?

    More potentially very bad news, and again not reported, for understandable reasons, concerns Per. I thought he looked like he was carrying a knock? When he came up for our attacking corners he looked very serious, and even signalled for them to wait as he was not going to rush? He obviously played through it, whatever ‘it’ is, but it is a worry?

    Third bit of bad news picked up by the commentary team was the physical aspect of our midfield when challenged by stronger guys. Flamini is brilliant in his positioning but does not put that many tackles in, and is not a great header. Arteta puts in the tackles, but is not that mobile, but he compensates by reading the game well. Willshere is another who does not climb well for headers, and often gets brushed aside in the physical battle, not always illegally, Ramsey tackles, but can be dispossessed in dangerous areas. So the Presence! is missing, And until that is fixed, we will struggle against teams that have a ‘robust’ approach?

    The good-ish news on that is it could be fixed for £28m, if AW was prepared to go for a DM at that price? The CB problem could also be solved for around £20m, and with a bit of lateral thinking, this same player could be deployed as a DM when not needed in the back line.
    However, the key to these signings is the opposite to dithering!

    Whilst this would blow the budget apart if you advance ‘the’ summer target to now, and only leave about £10m for the missing striker …. welcome aboard PGN (or similar)?

    The bad news is, without at least 50% of these targets we very likely will fall short of a few points in the title race, and possibly in the later rounds of the FA Cup?

  187. Afternoon Todger Tasting Trannies !. 😆

    Great news for Arsenal !. Bendtner`s Ballon d`Or !.

  188. Love this Video !. ( Sorry Vics, cant find one about Man Std ! )
    http://www.givemesport.com/419090-arsenal-fans-mock-tottenham-supporters-video?autoplay=on

    I too once dated a Spud fan…..actually, I more than just dated her !….after I jizzed in her mouth, I then tattooed above her lip…..” Arsenal Cock Sucker ! ” and then dated her !, which happened to be…May the 4th, being a Jedi Gooner, I then added …” be with you ! “…….” May the 4th be with you ! “. For some reason the Bitch has now grown a Moustache !. hahaha

  189. VCC says:

    Cockie……..Tottenham Hotspurs are insignificant…….they will always be in our shadow……non entity. I don’t give them a second thought. They are scum. BUT the Mancs are scummier. 🙂

  190. VCC says:

    Gerry 13:16…….Excellent analysis.

  191. Gerry says:

    A bit of a quiet day methinks?

  192. VCC says:

    Gerry…wish it was quiet my end 😦

  193. Gerry says:

    Here is an excellent piece on why the ‘triple signing’ should be announced before the Fulham game:

    http://www.thehardtackle.com/2014/arsenal-fc-to-pay-or-not-to-pay-bacary-sagna/?

    It should end all arguments on this subject …even supposing their were any?

  194. VCC says:

    Morning Gerry…Wenger should resign Sagna asap. Keep him at the Arsenal for at least another two years. He is the best right back in the Premier League and he would be a fantastic teacher to the Corporal and Hecter in applying their trade.

    If we sold him and went in the market, that would be expensive and a gamble. The “new” player would take time to settle into the EPL and there is no guarantee this would be the case.

    All angles tell me it would be better to sign him up. Also another benefit is he can deputise at Centre Back in an emergency.

    JFDI.

  195. TotalArsenal says:

    Afternoon FFG’s 🙂

    Very busy at the moment and not sure when next post will come out. If any one wants to put up a discussion comment, feel free to do so! 🙂

  196. Is that my cue? ToTL, once again I have to question your priorities, rumor (rumour?) has it that you’re working again… 😦 😉

    Maybe there just isn’t that much to say… We got the result at Villa, even if the performance was far from convincing. The result keeps the doomer/hater types in hiding for another week while the way we did it keeps the hippie optimists from crowing too loudly or indulging in their pipe dreams of trophies and world domination. Meanwhile, on the injury and transfer front, i.e., the remaking of the squad, we’ve got nothing tangible. There’s some discussion of transfers and loans led by discussion of somebody with initials JD from Germany. That one seems like one for the future because it’s NOT a loan recall even if he (Johan Djourou) is maybe what’s needed if the Nacho-tarsal is truly cracked. If that injury gets confirmed we’d be only a Gibbs away from fielding our 4 CBs across the back (!) Meanwhile, the Arteta calf is still a mystery (to me, at least) though I had heard about Ramsey’s thigh (hamstring?) also morphing into a lower leg problem. Obviously we need somebody sooner than later after Santi’s disastrous (miserable, heinous, evil, etc.) performance. Many have called for Lucas Poldolski over there but somehow he can’t get in. And what about that colossal waste of money, Mesut Ozil? Is the coffee that much worse in England than in Spain? He’s of Turkish descent so he’s obviously missing the strong stuff. Somebody give him something to wake his (sorry) ass up. Maybe an Agbonglahor elbow to the Snozz?…

    Clearly we’re screwed but at least it all comes down with a normal start on Saturday. Berbs for a hat trick given that the window is still open and he needs a way off the sinking ship currently moored in Fulham? Maybe that will generate some comments, at least…

    😀

  197. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well…That didn’t work… Sorry… 😳

    Anybody?…

  198. Gerry says:

    Nice to hear from you HT. It was getting a bit like an echo chamber here?

    Alas, the easy win over Fulham has taken a nasty turn for the worse. In their Cup match last night, new boss weilded the changes, about 10 of them I think, and blow me if the beggars didn’t run around like thinking they could win. Which they duly did, 3-0.

    Apparently, the return of Hangeland in the heart of their defence has made the difference. They are now organised. They will PTB with the best of them. And we will be without Rosicky too. I have heard nothing on the metatarsal calamity, which you would have thought it would be available now, so it may be a harder to spot fracture, or just bruising. But we do have Yennaris for the bench if needed remember?

    The young Dan Crowley has been stretchered off in the above game for the under 21’s that TCM linked – clever 16 year olds mixing in with sons of northern mineworkers probably was not the best introduction to ‘grown up’ football?

    So you can bet your bottom dollar that come Saturday around 4.40pm gmt, we will be sweating on another result?

    On the Villa game, I have to say all the talk about Cazorla and disastrous game did not stand up when I reviewed the game. Any more than the over-hyping of Gnabry’s performance. The only one that made any sense from comments I read was the Ox. Only on for a few minutes, but looked sharp and lively. Ozil too. scotched that idea he gets tired and cannot last the 90 minutes, when twice in the last 10 minutes he was haring off on his own waiting for bodies to catch up.

    I think an awful lot of, not necessarily credit, seeing as how poor they were in the first half, but the much improved attitude by Villa in the second half, to at least give it a go, was at least part responsible for the pressure we suffered late on? I did warn of the need to cut out the mistakes and sloppy passing before the game, and in the first half they were fine. Could have done with the 3rd goal then, but it wasn’t to be. JW10 fully deserved his MOTM award for his mature display. I just hope he can put two of those performances in back to back, and not revert back to ‘I can do it all’ mode?

    The JD injury – out until March does put some question marks against the move going ahead in this window. I hope they AW does pursue it though, If it means he will not get a game until Easter. At least he can make the move and get settled in without having to play at the same time?
    And the added bonus, when he comes back after the WC he will not have that ‘getting to know you’ period to go through in August.

    A couple of other names have cropped up which may or may not prove interesting, but we will have to wait and see?

  199. Gerry says:

    It takes time for me to type you know 😀

  200. Gerry says:

    Well now I have to go and feed the dogs … later?

  201. 17highburyterrace says:

    Had to get the family out the door and the house in a little order, but I’m here…

    Actually, the Fulham FA cup replay result, I think, helps us. Now Mul-e has to mull over his starting group and think about who will be good on the adrenaline of their good win and who might be able to pick it up from the Sunderland debacle and which of all those people can play well together. Every team will provide a bit of fight but we should have the focus to do the job. I do (seriously) worry about Berbs trying to give us an audition… Latest report says Ramsey will be back. No word on Arteta and still nothing on Nacho…

    Draxler already injured?…So he IS the new RvP… 😯 If it’s true, then nobody should worry about mentioning the name… (as I think they shouldn’t anyhow–Anybody who thinks WE have ANY impact on anything needs a long look in the glass…)

    Yes, the reports from the AV match were a tad extreme, IMO. The experienced guys (Ozil, Santi) did their job as did the young ones (JW, Gnabry) even if they faded in the 2nd period. The same could be said of Giroud. Villa are nothing if not a physical team… And it ended up being a very looong game what with all the injury time…

    Ox did look very calm and solid and had some key possession saving touches near the center circle. He’s very good at taking speed off passes, IMO, for one so young…

    I’m not at all sure how AW will mix it up for Fulham but you’d have to think Poldolski needs a run out. As such maybe he comes in at Gnabry’s expense? It’s only Wednesday so plenty of time for the lies, er, injury news, to filter out. That Monday match felt like a midweeker…

    If Gerry’s gone to the dogs, where’s Bondy with the transfer talk? Even the fabulous furry freaks have nothing to say and ToTl has sold his soul (and time) for money. The guy I’m actually concerned about is Princey. Give us a heads up so we know that you haven’t hurt yourself with the floor nailer, eh…

    Back to my chores, but a bit of footy on later. Maybe ManCity can put up double digits in their (extra) game to bother all those lamenting our (woeful) goal output. Personally, I like it that we seem tighter at the back than in years past. Too boring in this modern era, maybe?… Ah well…

  202. Xavier says:

    Lol. TA needs to do a ‘New Post! New post!!’ ASAP.

    But it’s all good though. Here’s a good orgasmic piece of writing to keep y’all company in the mean time.

    http://poznaninmypants.com/2014/01/14/mesut-ozils-sex-tape/

    Very lovely writing.

  203. Gerry says:

    Xavier, you naughty thing 😀 Very shortly TCM will come on with some crudity, and all that seamless innuendo will be lost …

    Like you say, lovely writing ha ha

  204. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good stuff, X. Yep, Cockie’s gonna rub himself a bit raw there. At least he’s got those calculations of his to keep his mind occupied and get himself an extra 30 seconds or so…

    Big match coming (cough, cough) for the blue one…Our chance to get even on the points vs same…

  205. Gerry says:

    HT – I would rather have played Fulham a week ago. The side we put out will have to be a positive one, but manage the energy levels better? They will save their youthful fresh legs for the end, so I hope we can again score an early one.

    I would not be surprised if the Ox and Poldi start, with Ramsey being saved for the Rosicky role of high energy later on? Giroud will do well to get any headers if Hangaland starts, so my guess if goals are coming it will be Poldi blasts that will be the difference.. I don’t see Berby being a great threat as it does not need anybody physical to mark him, rather experience … a job for Arteta?

  206. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gerry, I don’t *truly* worry about Berbatov…Just think that he’s actually pretty good. (Same goes for Bent…) To me he’s the sort of player who might do a lot better in less physical league. If he were to be an Arsenal guy I think he’d really thrive the way we fall over each other to make chances for each other… Seems to me that Fulham’s big problem are too many selfish players (I’m looking at you Taarabt)… There replaying the Fulham-Norwich match on the telly right now. If we play as slowly as Norwich (we won’t) we could be in trouble… Finally, just because a defender is tall (Hangeland) doesn’t mean he gets his head to everything though maybe it is harder to see the striker for the trees, or something…Crosses and headers aren’t really our game, however… (Oooh, Norwich sooooo bad Dejegah hardly celebrates their 2nd goal…)

    Any news on Arteta? Usually the lies (or silences) on the injuries don’t bother me, but that one kept me from getting 100% in the AV match preview so I’m (oh so slightly) steamed. Given the combo of winnable matches and it being January we’re probably even LESS likely to get the straight story about squad fitness. No worries if you believe we’ve got a dozen teenagers waiting for their chance…a little more worrisome for those of us hoping we can get some truly professional performances (and results) before the window closes and the fixtures get tougher.

    Final question: Is Poldi not playing because he could be part of a swap deal to Germany?

  207. Gerry says:

    Poldi? Very unlikely. I think the only reason he missed out last time, as a sub at least, is because OX was more mobile and can tackle. We lost a sub with Rosi coming off remember.

    I think it was pace of Gnabs that got him in ahead, but I think it was probably one for this game, and one for that.

  208. Gerry says:

    Funnily enough I think it is the TW that made Bendtner’s time out ‘grow’ a bit longer, because he does not want offers come flying in at the last minute.

    The two new names circulating were both strikers btw. I had a feeling Martinez was being used as a cover for a real target? One from Benfica (Rodrigo), whom Porto played when the scouts were there. The other is Cazorla’s Malaga striker (Rondin).

  209. Xavier says:

    I hope poldi starts in the Fulham game though. Apart from the fact that he’s eager to get on the pitch now, I think he links better with gibbs(who’ll be starting) and cazorla. Also like everyone, I want to see what the özil-poldi partnership will be like. That could be the bridge between the cazorla-özil (which is really not bad I should add. They just haven’t done it at the level and pace we all expect and know they can do it).

    As for transfers…well I’m gon leave that to Le Prof (and Mr 007). They understand those things better than I do. 😁😁

    My lil 2 Pence.

  210. geoffchase says:

    To fill the time, I would note that of the many comments that come about Merts and the BFG being a leader abnd perhaps becoming captain, this said it best perhaps.. thought I’d share along

    http://espnfc.com/blog/_/name/arsenal/id/3179?cc=3436

  211. AB says:

    Evening fellow BKers. Seems a long week to wait for more play time for some reason.

    In terms of the team and how we stand for our next game, its business as usual. We can’t take anything for granted, experience from previous seasons would suggest a potential banana skin, but everything the team have done this season suggests we should trust them to do the job. A rousing big score win would be great for the spirits, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening for some reason; but if we keep grinding out 3 point games, who can complain!?

    On the transfer front, whilst I normally try and stay out of it and focus on player development, for some reason I can’t help myself from getting caught up by it all this time, and the speculation around star quality options – god I would like us to sign Draxler!! Will it happen – probably not, but after Oz, anything feels possible. And you have to believe that a) he is exactly what Wenger would like to buy, and b) one of these days we are going to buy BEFORE a player gets too big for us to land (like Gotze and Hazard). Most likely we will get no one, or someone left field; but at least this time, who can complain too much when we are TOTL!? But if we don’t buy Draxler now/before the summer, then I doubt we ever will. Costa and Martinez I just can’t see us buying; Wenger will go for both youth and development potential, not just a cog to slot into the machine.

    This blog is very quiet, and I sense other people are also waiting for news, or something decisive; there is a real sense of anticipation. And we know the Arsenal preference is to tell us a load of stuff all at one go – hopefully with confirmation of Wenger signing a new contract, plus some key player extensions. Anyone got any wild speculation to fill the hours? Mr Bond usually has some views on what’s going on – accurate or not, would be interesting to hear and join the speculation…..

    Anyone going to get us going??

  212. AB says:

    Blimey, that killed the flow stone dead didn’t it!!

  213. Xavier says:

    LOOOL @ AB.
    Let’s assume Mr Bond is on a mission for her majesty ‘The Arsenal’ to bring a certain young German to the home of football. And we should also assume that the rest of the Bkers are somewhere along the way cheering him on and lending a hand where necessary. It’s the only way to make this silence bearable.

    But yeah, we have to be all business against Fulham. There’s no room for slacking now. Them oilers snapping too close to our heels. And we need to get all maximum points before that crazy run of fixtures in March. *sigh*

    It’s all good though.

    This silence from the Bkers is worse than the terror window though. Common y’all…. Let’s get it popping in here!!!!! (Well, y’all gon get it popping. I’m just gon be reading comments) 😁🙈🙈

  214. Xavier says:

    @geoff

    The article on mert sums the BFG all up. I’m glad we’ve got him. His assessment of the game, leadership qualities and calmness he brings cannot be rivaled.

    We all liked how mad he got when we conceded that goal didn’t we? That’s something I like to see. Made everyone in the team sit right up and hold on for that precious 3 points.

  215. AB says:

    Cheers Xavier. Yes we need to bank the points now if we can, because we will drop some at least predictably in a few weeks time. City look unstoppable at present, but I’m sure they will have another poor run before the season is out; we need to keep them behind us or close at least. Chelski have been so mixed, and yet are only 2 points off us – they worry me more to be honest, as if they pick up now I can see them really finish strongly – some dropped points for them in the coming few games would be welcome.

    As above, yes agreed on the value of Mert – great to see him emerging as such a strong figure; I remember when we were laughed at for signing him – too gangly and slow! He’s quality though, and brings just the right sort of spirit and visible leadership.

  216. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi guys 🙂

    Thanks for some fine comments and keeping things going during day and evening.

    I managed to type something up that has been bugging me for the last few days.

    NEW POST – NEW POST 🙂

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