Arsenal-City Preview & Ideal Line-up: 4-2-4 with FlamTV in ‘2’!

Laurent Koscielny Arsenal

Of portents, signs and not much tactics…My very short match preview, if you will.

Normally, I’d be all about tactics and how to play the game, maximise our strengths and so on. But, time, tide, injuries and such have taken their toll. So, today, a bit of a metaphysical approach. First, the “context”.

For me, this is now a “nothing to lose” game. The “must win” before the last game or two was if we’d won or drawn Chavs and beaten Swansea. It would have been the 3rd of my 3 top games of March (Spurs, Chavs, City).  So far, we are 1W and 1L (followed by a draw against Swansea).

Now, the must win games are Everton and Wembley (at least nearer term)…

Bigger picture.

I didn’t expect to win the league, so that we are close and will hopefully remain so, is good enough. We are in the picture for one of the better trophies so should be happy about that. For those disbelieving regulars on this site, re-read the tone after 3-1 loss at home to AV in game 1…  My overall take, we are not so bad as the last two, and not quite so good as the first 65% of the season that came after the AV game #1. Without injuries it is far closer to the latter than the former, and so be it…

Now on to the game tomorrow / today itself.. I think we need to focus defensively and play our game. Not too aggressive. The first 20 mins are our downfall or our victory all too often. I think we play for the 0-0 or 1-0 stolen win, given the cast of players available. My lineup, I have two, the “standard” and the “jgc chefs special”. I expect the first, which is:

ars v mc conservative

I see Flamini wanting to make up for last time and we still need some steel.

Now the chef’s special.

This one says that if you stop Yaya you are a long way to stopping City. Of course, easily written in a few key strokes and they’ve plenty of others to step up and attack but basically, it’s time to clog the middle and I think for those who want to see something really different:

ars v mc full on

Yes, gentelfolk, the world famous 4-2-4-0. Nothing says I want to hammer any ***hole who comes down the middle like Flamini-TV5 in the middle. Rosicky will have to drop more to provide some service forward perhaps.. Kallstrom has played outside back and can again methinks, if you are worried about Jenks.. The front 4 can be more fluid and will have to work forward and with some aggro as needed, but Rosicky, Pod and Ox are all comfortable going forward at the front if needed and perhaps that would open up some “threat” we have not been able to with all our injuries. Finally, I have a major prize for anyone who a) believes this will happen; and if b) it does actually happen!!

Now, onto the omens, because tactics aside, with all these injuries, it’s gotta be about the burnt offerings and reading the chicken innards. So, here goes…

The SIGN: I wore my Arsenal jersey today for the first time in awhile, mostly due to different reasons of not being able to on prior game days. I have not worn it since we were last winning lots, as happens.

The PORTENT: Was out riding a kids duathlon course with my 7 and 10 year olds this afternoon. The 10 year old blasted ahead as he does, I was with the 7 year old. Anyway, he’s a bit of a dreamer and, how shall we say, tends to use all the footpath, as he looks about at everything. In doing this and going around/between a couple of people while riding in front of me, he loses it on a small footpath edge and falls .. Of course right in front of me.

I have few options here. There are people and small dogs everywhere (and I know how Gerry is about running over dogs!), but I am headed right towards his neck (likely also bad). So, swerving to a side we put several years of bicycle racing experience to work and bunny hop him. Sadly, not clipped in like the old days so height is limited, but I miss him and do my first ollie over the handlebars in 20 years (it’s not magically gotten any more fun, I have to say!).


The bad ones: Well, we crashed and there were huge tears (not to mention the 7 year old 🙂 ). Equally, I dislocated a finger and his perfect 7 year old chin is marred by a small cut from his helmet straps.

The good ones: Well, the ladies cricket team was there playing and rushed to our aid, and both he and I like sporty young women. He eventually did ride the 6km home, an attractive 20-something physio cricketer helped me stop from pointing left whenever I meant forward.

The great one: My Arsenal jersey was unmarked or damaged.

So, read what you will into all that… I am calling it either 1-0 Arsenal or 37M – 3 City. It’s all about the first 20 mins for us lately so…

Gentleman (and Ladies)….

Find your couch (to hide behind)!!

cheers — jgc

144 thoughts on “Arsenal-City Preview & Ideal Line-up: 4-2-4 with FlamTV in ‘2’!

  • Fantastic preview, jgc. Fresh, entertaining, daring and funny. 🙂

    I would love your 4-2-4 formation today. Double Beast of FlamTV in the middle would be bliss. Real steel and no nonsense: We Are The Arsenal! The four up-front (apologies for the 4-2-3-1 formation…. footballformations don’t offer a 4-2-4 template!) would be bliss too, with lots of movement and UNPREDICTABILITY if all are given a FREE role (with more conservative FBs though).

    Love the story of you being saved by sporty, attractive cricket girls. Ample evidence that Cruijff’s ‘Every disadvantage has an advantage’ is true. 🙂

    Hope your finger is okay though!

    Come on You Gunners! Fight for the shirt and let the cannon roar!

  • I also never thought we would win the PL. I thought a top-4 and any other trophy would do. But when we were top in January, I started believing. That’s why I can’t help feeling that we lost a good chance to make history by not strengthening the team in January. And only Wenger is to blame for this.

  • Ogban,

    It was a shame we did not add players in January. But I don’t think it would have made us champions this year. Players need time to settle into the team. The damage was done last summer when only Ozil and Flamini arrived (and too late).

  • I have always thought about TV5 at DM…..he is a good marker and very aggressive at it. He reminds me of D. Luiz of Chelsea, Wenger should have converted him for long with Arteta lacking steel in the middle.

  • Ogban/TotalArsenal,

    Yes, players needs time to settle into the team but buying a striker will not require much time to settle as that seem to be the only area we are lacking severely.
    We lost the league when Wenger failed to buy in January and I blame Wenger for our loss this season. ☹

  • Ogban, TA and OK,

    Good points all, especially yours Ogban, I think we all, rightfully, got our hopes up. Why not be overjoyed when you are going so well. IMO, we really miss some pace from Theo but AR especially. Way more threats for Ozil (now also out) and others to okay off or use the extra space and attention they created …

    I’m agreed on the DM thing for TV too. I wonder why not a little…

    Cheers — jgc

  • All and TA

    TA, small typo, “I have **NOT** worn it …” In The Signs .. Sorry, my bad ..

    Cheers — jgc

  • Finally,

    Yes fingers and hand alright. I lost more blood than the 7 year old, so my wife hasn’t killed me… Yet! 🙂

    However, I will philosophically note that while it’s a scientific fact that I’ve not gotten any taller for about 30 years, today’s experience seems to show a recent, continuing trend that the ground is getting further away.. Figure that!!! 🙂

    I’m off to bed now and the game will be passed when I’m awake, but …

    COYG !! … jgc

  • Very nice, refreshing and actually upbeat and uplifting preview jgc. I’m very much in agreement with your comments on our season and where we are now. I kind of like the 4-2-4, but that doesn’t leave many defenders on the bench 🙂
    I don’t necessarily think it’s nothing to lose though (vis-à-vis Everton, securing a point might count in the end), but if so, then I would also not hesitate to give (our) yaya another try, he might surprise defenders not being well known.


  • Oh

    And also based on today, if you can’t find a couch, find an attractive cricketer! Or better yet both?


    Cheers — jgc

  • Alcide

    Thanks.. Admittedly, yes, all points count. But, we aren’t expected to win this given our situation with injuries and the gap, including games in hand… So, why worry? Beat Everton next though? That’s our big 6 point turn, especially if Pool do for Spurs..

    As for the 4-2-4? A bit of fun but just a wee touch serious!

    Cheers and deffo off now — jgc

  • Ogban………We did strengthen in January……Wenger purchased Kim Kallstrom (master stroke!!!!!). Only had a cameo role since signing in January. This is from a top class Manager.

    I too thought at the beginning of the season we would not win the EPL. But, I was filled with false belief when we were riding high at the top a few weeks ago.

    Oh how different it might have been had he pushed the boat out and was more adventurous and speculated on 2/3 more players in the transfer window (as most other top managers would have, i’m sure)

    Same old, same old.

  • jgc lol,
    Glad everyone was ok and i can laugh about , apart from the youth perfect chin of course.
    As for the match, you have to expect them to score at least once for me, they score for fun especailly at home. So for me i think we need at least 2 – 3 to win.
    I am sick to death of each time we play a big match, we seem to have to do it with 10 men. So disapline is important today, go in hard but make sure you touch the ball first yeah .
    There could be a lot of goals today i am not sure about todays result at all.
    Ok i am going for a biased 3-2 to us Cazorla to score first.

  • Excellent preview, jgc. 🙂

    Speaking of omens, I’ve played this match on PES 2013 with realistic line-ups (no unavailable players were played in both teams) six times in the last two days. In five out of six attempts it ended 0:0 and sixth time I won 1:0. Rosicky’s clever through ball between two City defenders released Ox on the right wing, Ox cut it back to Rosicky who fired it into the bottom right corner. It was the last moment of the first half. I think that I used this line-up: Szczesny-Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs-Kallstrom, Arteta-Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Cazorla-Giroud. I wasted time in the second half in order to protect the lead and ended the game with 69 percent of possession.

  • Most are saying the game against Everton is our must win game….While that and the rest of the fixtures remain must wins, I feel todays game will have a marked bearing on how we continue for the rest of the season. Get beat/hammered as we have against Ch$vs/Bin Dippers/Cit£y, and this would make us capitulate.

    Wenger states in the press this morning that his team have leaders. I’m sorry , but I don’t see them. He also states “We have suffered only ONE real beating all season” “The only game for me where we were really beaten was at Liverpool” ???? “The rest is more coincidence going negatively together”

    These are strange comments from a Coach that Manages one of the top teams in Europe. My eyes must have been playing tricks on me when I was watching Chelsea smash SIX past us so easily, City Smash SIX against us so easily, Liverpool smash FIVE against us so easily.

    He also goes on to say “Anyone who says they would not have done something different in the last year would be a lunatic” WHY, oh why, did he not see this NINE seasons ago. He has been stubborn and carried on the same old way. Yes we have had financial restraints and horrendous injuries at times, but surely the penny should have dropped long ago???

    Lets hope we perform and show some spunk/balls this afternoon, and not go belly up after a few minutes.

    I’m off to specsavers. 😉

  • We should move the ball extra quick today draw in the fouls and hopefully see a city player sent off, we need to use all our wits today. Admir time wasting if we are infront works for, win at all costs.

  • It is not all bas VCC, we are only 6 points of totl . 2 of the bad big game loses we had 10 men.

  • Very disappointing , but it is not that bad really. Look at man united lol. now thats bad.

  • After today our fixtures are easy. If we won 1 of them games then we were 3 points of totl. City fixtures are very hard, we need Chelsea and pool to slip up and we are back in. fingers crossed.

  • My team for today would have to be with an element of risk, as we need to show/perform heroics, imo.

    Unfortunately for Wenger, he has a multitude of injuries, so his selection process will have restrictions.

    We need to keep it tight ALL game. Not OVER commit.

    We need to try and support the front man quickly.

    As proudgooner says, we need to score at least 2 to win, as City will inevitably score at least one.

    I would settle for a draw and sound, strong and committed performance. Yes, negative, but we must shutter up and form a base to go forward for the rest of the season.

    Here goes with my team =



    Gnabry……..Flamini…..Vermaelen …..Cazorla



    Flamini and Vermaelen to stay disciplined and cover/help our back line out.

    Gnabry and Cazorla to defend (mostly ) but try and get forward occasionally to help out Giroud (Ox)

    With Giroud alone up front. Try and hold onto the ball and wait for quick assistance from the Ox mainly, with Cazorla and Gnabry taking turns to bust a gut and support.

    All this will be a monumental task, for ALL. But, I see no reason why we should not have the ability to execute it.

    If our workers (Gnabry/Cazorla/Ox) perform to 100% and work themselves to the bone, after 60 minutes we can bring on fresh legs = Rosicky…..Pod…..Arteta…..OR maybe Sanogo.

    I know this is a hard task, but we need to take extreme measures for the rest of the season.


  • We the easiest fixtures, Chelsea might well have done except, they are in the champions league still and have 2 tough games v PSG, hopefully they win then have another tough 2 😉

  • I find myself disagreeing with PG and VCC.

    Vermaelen and Arteta WERE leaders but are not anymore. Flamini and Mertesacker are leaders but are they in the same class as Yaya Toure, Kompany etc.

    I do not think we need leaders. There are three types of people in my opinion. Leaders, followers and individualists. Quite a few of our players such as Walcott, Sagna and Rosicky seems like individualists to me and have no desire to be led or to lead.

    I think building a team with individualists is the best way forward in my opinion as they can do things for themselves and do not have to be told what to do but also do not aspire to be the leader which can cause conflict between players within the squad.

    The quality of the individualists does need to be good though.

  • VCC,
    Agreed i like your line-up don’t know if Arsene will play TV as a DM but i really like the idea..
    We can beat them but as you said, its a tough tough task,
    I really hope we can (do)
    I am going to put my bet on today.

  • I like your 4-2-4 formation but I cannot see it happening. Knowing Wenger it will be the same formation, same tactics, and most of the same players apart from one or two changes. We will then lose this match probably by two goals and then start our fight for our 4th place trophy. Harsh but probably true. I could be wrong though and we could actually win this match.

  • City are the favourites AFC, there is no doubt about that.
    I like our chances though.
    It is Wenger v vampire Wenger.

  • proudgooner……I have taken this team, as horses for courses. We need to take strong action. Our injuries have in part forced this upon us.

    I feel with Gnabry/Ox/Santi, they will have the legs to go all out for sixty minutes. Those, like all the rest have to sacrifice their own ego’s and do it for the TEAM.

    A combination of four players need to hassle, shut down, and harass. Giroud making the fourth one.

    If we stay disciplined and show some balls we can succeed. As I’ve aid it will take a monumental effort from ALL, but we can do it.

    It’s a shame Kos is injured as we would be stronger with him and Sagna at right back.

  • No Giroud for me. The man has rubber in his legs.

    My line up


    Total mayhem! 🙂

  • VCC, I agree with you on the CB pairing. I would actually play Sagna and Mert together and have Jenks playing RB to offer pace and width. Sagna can come across from CB to offer cover when Jenks goes forward.


    How the hell can Wenger exclude him from the squad match by match. His games to goals ratio is better than Giroud this season and has scored over 20 goals at international level against some of the best teams in the world. He was working hard came back into the team done well when he played and then Wenger left him on the scrapheap. If we had played Bendtner this season we would be in a better position at this point in the season.

  • Bendtner is not right in the head, AFC. You can say a lot about Wenger but he gives everyone a fair chance. Sanogogogogogogogogogogogogogogooo for me,baby! 🙂

  • TA, doesn’t matter. Cockie ain’t right in the head but still offers a lot on BK. 😉

    If Wenger had given Bendtner more minutes and put his arm around him he probably would have scored more goals than Giroud this season.

  • I think Wenger should have squeezed his balls really hard last summer, AFC. He is the one player who needs not to be cuddled but bollocked.

    Yes, Cockie is the exception. He is allowed out once a week….. For a trip to the Orcs…. Says it all!

  • Think we need a completely new approach to save our season and win this game. Time for Wenger to wield the axe and drop some of our underperforming players for some hungrier ones with something to prove.
    GK: Szcz
    RB: Jenkinson
    RCB: Mert
    LCB: Verm
    LB: Gibbs
    RDM: Flam
    LDM: Kallstrom
    RM: Gnabry
    LM: Poldi
    CAM: Ox
    ST: Yaya

    This is a team that will press hard and make sure City are not allowed to play their game. Frustrate and tire them out for 20 minutes, then throw some counter attacks at them.

  • I got massive odds for my bet 140/1, if it comes in it will be sweet as!

  • I am missing Rambo a lot now and Ozil, 2 magical midfielder’s Rambo’s energy the most. I think Kallstrom may well get a look in Dylan, i think he has a lot to offer.

  • ha ha ha ha ha the airoplane banner over old toilet

  • 1 Last thing, come on you palace. Never thought i would cheer on a Tony Pullis team but i will in the hope that he can do us a favour for a change.

  • Good morning/evening BK’ers
    Interesting post JGC and I hope all is well and also glad that the wife didn’t kill you.
    It is a big game tonight. Like it or not, it is one that we must win then pull out a 6 pointer against Everton next.
    It’s hard to be positive after the last games against big teams and also against Swansea.
    The important thing is to gain momentum leading up to wembley. I have a feeling that it will be a tight game (fingers crossed)

  • Proudgooner……I can’t watch it at PCWorld. As TCM has already stated , I have been banned. 🙂

    We are christening our new Dormer, loft convention today. All 55″ tv, with beers cooling in the fridge.

    Getting nervous already. If we start off badly, I’m jumping behind the sofa.

  • VCC,
    Sounds great mate , you know how to live . Fair play.
    oppps cas lol

  • If Chelsea lose and we beat City, the title is seriously back on
    We have not had a good weekend in agaes were all the result wnt our way like earlier in the season. I live in hope. 🙂

    01 Szczesny
    03 Sagna
    28 Gibbs
    20 Flamini
    04 Mertesacker
    05 Vermaelen
    07 Rosicky
    08 Arteta
    12 Giroud
    19 Cazorla
    09 Podolski
    15 Oxlade-Chamberlain
    21 Fabianski
    22 Sanogo
    25 Jenkinson
    29 Källström
    40 Bellerín
    44 Gnabry
    Manchester City
    01 Hart
    05 Zabaleta
    22 Clichy
    25 Fernandinho
    04 Kompany
    26 Demichelis
    15 Jesús Navas
    42 Yaya Touré
    10 Dzeko
    21 Silva
    08 Nasri
    06 Lescott
    07 Milner
    09 Negredo
    13 Kolarov
    14 Javi García
    30 Pantilimon
    35 Jovetic
    Ref: Mike Dean
    Manchester City
    On target

  • Palace! Yes get in! I like Cardiff as well. So glad to see Daelhi save them in the last minute.

  • Lallana looking mighty impressive. He’ll be hot property this summer, especially if he gets in the England squad for World Cup.

  • that is a compact line-up. Not much speed but this team should keep it tight all over the pitch. Might be a game of few chances and let’s hope ours fall to Pod 🙂

  • I’m more than a little under the weather TA, so I’m sadly not feeling up to the match report. I’d love to, but I feel I wouldn’t do a game of the gravity justice in my current state. So I will leave it for someone else. Thank you for the offer though!

  • Hi TA and BKers! Yes I’ve been following matters and read everything on this site. A combination of being busy with work, as well as an earlier sense of gloom, has kept me from writing – I need space to do the matter justice and to add anything worthwhile. I can’t say my hopes are high for today, but i’m trying too look for some positives – a strong, committed effort is all I start with. All else is a bonus. Delighted to see the smug smile wiped from maureen’s face though! COYG!!!!!!!!

  • Thanks Professor, a delicious light hearted read !. 🙂

    No pace in the team, so it`s park the bus for us !. No problem with that as we are ridiculously ravaged by injuries !. Horses for course and all that !.
    Mansour City seeing the Chavs result will be up for this more than us…..they smell blood and will be in for the kill !. We`ll be lucky to escape with a draw !.
    We laugh at the Spuds when we chanted……”AVB in !” and Manshafter with…..” Moyes in ! “, but the boot is on the other foot now, ridicule of Wenger is gaining momentum with other teams supporters singing….” Wenger in ! “.
    To tell the truth, I just want to see some fire in their bellies for once. I`m beginning to lose faith in football with the outrageous money these pampered ponces are getting in wages and not putting in a full shift !. I fear this game ( football in general ) is making me want to turn my back on it !. If if aint the over paid ponces, it`s the unfairness of the above purchasing trophies at any price and myself wishing we had their wealth !. It maybe an unchangeable unstoppable global juggernaut, but I am far from pleased to how I used to be with the beautiful game, it`s become the ugly game !.

    But being a weak willed Gooner, I shall now dive behind the Sofa again !.

  • At least boys are into this game in terms of passion and fight. It’s easier to accept a defeat if at least heart was on the pitch.

  • I cant remember my heart beating like this since our last game of the season against Toon when the Kozz stepped up!!……Maybe the Chel$ki loss has put me on edge??


    We cant give Silva space, not even one square meter….that little bastard is a Wasp, who floats, and stings. Knock him off his game physically bullying him, and rape him mentally by him having no influence on the game. He needs the ball to have an impact!


    Oh, Hi BKrs and sofa lovers 🙂

    Cock-eeee, i feel the same about, what was once our beautiful game 😦

  • Giroo thinking bout world cup, prancing over challenges…….get in there, YOU OWE US AND WENGER!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO FKCING PUSSY FOOTING!!!

  • Whilst im here, id like to thank Pr. JGC for the pre- game and for getting me to at least think in hope… Sorry dont agree with the omens and superstitions and all that…. I DID though….all up until the Chelski “accident” (more like a write off without insurance 😦 ) but i guess, Its different strokes for different blokes..

    Back to my wine!!

    We do have fight and are showing a little mongrel, and recent SHITTezen squads have shown that they need to be worn down and grinded away. Personally, i think that mentally they are the weakest team in the top4…. shame they dont get tested often enough, and begs the question- Why cant Arsenal play with this ‘must win’ attitude in every friggin game?
    We all know that this current Arsenal team is ‘lacking for’, in certain departments. Whether its pace, skill, speed of thought, or maturity/honesty (by that i mean, putting in a shift on and off the pitch….no pre game romps,orgy’s or anything else that disadvantages you and lets your team mates and supporters/salary payers down), but when we focus and hold our shape, and are willing to cover your team mates in game, then we actually look like a team, a team that can actually ruffle up some feathers and challenge these gazzillionare assembled teams…

    WINE PLEASE!!!…..keep em coming’!!!

    Come on ARSENAL, Come on you Gunners!!!!!

  • Flamini scores! We should put Ox on and look to get a second. We need to do more things out wide and put more crosses in the box.

  • AFC,
    NO, not when he was in-form at the start of the season…he was toe poking away and earning free kicks… Walcott had the same problem, thankfully he is getting better, but if he lunged a little more, the Arse would have 10-15 more penalties a season!!! Truth!

    As i speak, WE FCKEN SCORE….
    Flaminiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, makes amends…

    Lets go Arsenal!!!!

  • Another Podolski assist, he is playing well, fighting and giving his all.

  • Hi

    Well I’ll at least state that I got the lineup right? No, not the chefs special but at least the “standard course” … From the bits I see it’s generally tight and they’ve got one. Still a shot to steal the draw.

    And how about CP wrecking my UMF?!?!? 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  • We need the win more than they do. They know this and would settle for a draw. Lets target any of their players on yellows, and push forward when they open up or the timing is right.. Lets not kid ourselves, we still have 30+ min to play….to early for kamikazeeeee

  • And I’ll also JB-like point out I called Flamini working to make amends!

    So, with that amount of luck in my direction, I’m off to face the day and a run before family are about too much..


    — jgc

  • Id bring OX on, to at least nullify Milner (underrated work horse), and become our release valve on the counter…Give Giroo 5 more min, then id play the friggin false 9

  • AFC, i wouldnt say that. Id actually take Milner before Navas for my squad. He has both sides to his game, and never shys away from hard work…..its called Ramsey blood!

  • Id expect Arteta to know if he is unable to keep up with the dynamics and speed of a game, especially ones of great importance like this. Being a leader, he should communicate with the bench to bring on fresh legs…. Leave the egos in the dressing room, and put your hand up when you need help….his form has dropped too. Is it mental? Is there too much pressure hovering over our club that our players have brain explosions and either start over playing or playing within themselves…. Communicate boys, FIGHT


  • Nasri off … Good news, I was terrified that he might sneak a goal at the end! COYG!!

  • For me personally, i would compare Poldi, with his deliciously perfect service, and (top5 in the world imo) finishing skills in the universe, to an injured Cesc. Gotta have him on the pitch, ready to turn a game on its head…. and Wenger should look to buying another Poldi if he wants 90+ min of constant game winning threats on the pitch….f*ck it, play them both Mr Wenger, who knows how dangerous the Arsenal animal might become? (exscuse my sarcasm, i swear its the wine….. a good drop too 😉 )

    UTA!! 3 Points needed PRETTY PLEEEEEASE???

  • Sanogo on for Giroud. Can’t see him scoring. I would have put on Gnabry and had him play out wide.

  • Well, that’s a performance that could inspire some confidence on the field, and for the supporters?

  • Pity we missed a couple of “last passes/strikes” towards the end, we could really have snatched the game.

  • The boys did us proud today. Still lots to reflect on from the last week as a whole, but a great effort from the team today, and hope people give credit where due. Ros was immense. I confess I had him starting on the bench at his age with 2 games already played in the week; in a season where most of our midfield has been crocked he has been a brick – funny old game! Back again later. Contented gooner.

  • Proud of them but it was not enough only a win was good enough. I felt we deserved the win i thought we were the better . Shame.
    Atop and the FA cup would be nice though.

  • PG, yes 3 points would have been wonderful, put as back with a possible tilt at the PL, and on balance we would have deserved them. But it gives huge pleasure to see our second string midfield compete well with Silva, Toure, Na$ri et al. It just shows what the first team could do, when all fit, confident and playing with real purpose!

  • Its been a tough week. The chelski game still hurts. We got in that game a microcosm of Wenger’s Arsenal and his philosophy. Despite a ton of injuries and facing a top (and highly physical) opponent, Wenger’s purist beliefs led us to field an attacking formation that left us wide open – an offer duly taken in full. The damage to our confidence was plain to see then on Tuesday, but our players were plain guilty of complacency; we should never have conceded 2 goals to Swansea, and we should never have played with so little conviction. And then tonight, where we showed our ability and that we have the strength of character within our squad – though it does not always come to the surface as it did tonight.

    It is a simple but timeless truth that you have to take the rough with the smooth. In Wenger we get some beautiful teams and moments, but then we also get the plain embarrassing ones. I do not think it was naivety that invaded Arsene before the chelski match, it was his core belief in placing trust in his young talent – that the way to beat the chavs was to play our game, in its fullest and truest form. Wenger will never change in this respect, it is what he is – and when he has the right ingredients, it makes for some delightful times. I am bemused when I read of people expecting him to ‘learn’ from these set backs; but you do not learn an ideology, at least not when you are 64. Wenger is a purist, just as Fergie was a pragmatist, and there are pros and cons with both.

    17HT is confident that a new contract will be signed, and some others have concurred. I hope they are right, though I know many others are less convinced and would like to try a change. I do wonder about the contract delays however. It strikes me that the Board have given Wenger the perfect exit route, should he so choose. They have stressed that the offer is on the table for him, and the choice is all his; he can go therefore on his own terms with his head held high. And, I am sure it would be upstairs rather than out. It must be an attractive option at times, when all he ever gets otherwise is grief.

    For me I believe that Arsenal as a club stands for something higher than other football clubs; we have standards and traditions that others simply cannot imagine, and some not even understand. And I look for an expression of those standards in Arsenal fans – and I see it most in the writings found on BK. It does pain me then, when short term gloom (which I share in full I assure you) leads to people on BK making knee jerk reaction statements of the sort that you can read on 50 other Arsenal blogs (if you can be bothered) or you would expect to come from other brash, crass and greedy clubs and their followers. We should be above that – if not, why do we follow Arsenal, and why do we come together on this site? Frustration is one thing, and a reasonable one at that, but it needs to be channeled towards something worthwhile – not just turned into a stone to hurl at our own club.

    This site has been quiet for a few days, and I have been too. We need to find ways of exploring a constructive perspective of our club, understanding our team better, and looking at what really matters to us from our games. I don’t believe it is just the points. Looking at the last two games played, we would have been ‘better off’ if we had not scored an own-goal at the end in a poor display against the swans, and taken a 5 nil drubbing today – we would have 1 point more; would we be happier for that now? I would not. The combination of pace and flair when we are on song and spirit in adversity when we are not is what I look for, not just the maths. What has ‘cost’ us this season, like most before (though less than in some recent years), has been soft dropped points – AV, Stoke, Swansea – they could have given us the PL. But what has hurt me most has not been those dropped points, but our failure of spirit and belief in the big away games; that’s when the club has felt diminished, and when our reactions too have been beneath the stature of our club.

    I’m really proud of the boys today; they put a shift in. I hope we can build on this against what will be a really tough Everton team and finish the season strongly. Our manager can then make a choice on what is best for our club and for him; I will trust his judgement on it, either way.

  • Ah well

    From limits highlights and such here and there, we did ok, especially considering the injuries. I think there’s a real chance we could’ve stolen it, but the problem with stealing games is that sometimes the other teams and-or footballing gods don’t quite let you.

    The best news. Arsene and Arsenal played the game for the opponent, and didn’t let their more athletic and powerful midfield dominate ours. We got the equalizer and almost stole it towards the end. Right game on the day and for the opponent…

    TA, can put together a post match tomorrow night, my time, if no one else can. Want to see it on the player first. Or on TV if Sky Sports puts it on tonite in one of their typical random playings not in any listing!

    Cheers all — jgc

  • Just watched MotD and Hansen said we defended much better today than in our games against `Pool and Chavs, in that we didn`t play as high at the back and dropped off not allowing so much space behind . He couldn`t understand why Wenger didn`t play that way against the above two !.
    I agree and why shouldn`t I, when he has won 8 titles with `Pool as one of the games great defenders !. He points out that Mertesacker is one of the best defenders when organising deep, but he`s not in the top 30 when playing forward with a high line !.
    It amazes me when even the likes of us can see this problem, but our manager cant !. Too high a line is always asking for trouble against any team let alone the top teams with pace !.
    The Ten weeks of Torture is nearly coming to an end, but our Injurymageddon is not, so imo the torture will still continue. I don’t see Everton as a must win….more a must not lose game as although I have said we will beat last seasons total points of 73, by possibly 3 to 6 points, it may not be enough to get 4th !.
    4th could be the decider to whether Wenger himself signs a new contract or not, lets face it our majority shareholder will never sack him , so it`s all in Wengers hands !. I don’t care either way, but unlike in previous years, this year I would take an FAC trophy over a 4th place trophy and if that means the rumour of Wenger leaving without CL, then so be it !.
    Off to bed as in a few minutes it will be midnight and then be 1am as the clocks go forward an hour !.

  • Very fine, balanced comment, AB. 🙂

    However, I don’t think there were many knee jerk reactions and people just respond differently to disappointing results, let alone naive six nil assaults by the vile Chavs. I reserve judgment on Wenger till end of season. Key for me will be whether I feel he has made progress and made the best use of the team and the club’s resources.

  • CoD, the whole team defended a lot better, and FlamTeta made a big difference IMO. Flamini was at fault for the MC goal though, by losing the ball and not sticking with Silva in the box, but he made up for it with goal and overall performance. Vermaelen was also solid and played with great spirit.

  • AB

    Great comment. I agree about being a fan of the team and culture and that includes how you do things. Else we would be Oilers or something else!

    Cheers — jgc

  • It was a real Arsenal, the one which players get all muddy, dirty and “non-passeran”-sign on their shirts. Podolski would have scored 8 out of 10 times from that position but it wasn’t meant to be.

    Rosicky was excellent again. He was lucky to escape red at the end but it was another performance of the highest rank. His energy is incredible – he looks like he stole Dorian Gray’s painting. Flamini was everywhere too – two goals, one of them chalked off for offside and level of energy we desperetaly needed. Gibbs had his ups and downs but was much better than in previous outings.

    Now, let’s stay undefeated at Goodison Park and hope for Fulham’s first decent performance in a while.

  • No worries TA

    I had some time and ideas. AND I got to see the game on TV the same day! 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  • Jgc has written a match review. It takes a while to load it up and I am on muvvers day duties till later today. So new post will come out later in afternoon.

  • TA, I agree.

    Furthermore, from what I recall, he has been either absent from our team in defeats (he didn’t feature in reverse fixture against Northern Oilers, he was a late substitute against Scousers) or our best player on the pitch when we lost (he created a chance for Giroud against Chavs that could have turned the game in the other direction, created a chance for Cazorla in the second half and created one for himself but Čech parried his shot; he was our most dangerous player against Aston Villa in the opening match of the season too and was unlucky not to score an equalizer).

  • Drmic denies he has signed for Arsenal yet, but says “It is every boys dream to join Arsenal”. Sounds positive.

  • @TCM and Dylan,

    Drmić has a Croatian origin. His last name “Drmić” is similar to verb “drmati” (= to shake something or even someone). He might shake our attack next season. 🙂

    I’d prefer Diego Costa though. He was excellent last night again and I’d like to see him giving a nut-cracker to John Terry while nobody’s watching.

  • Adders, I thought Josip Drmic sounded of Balkan ( hope that’s right ) heritage !. I know even Squillaci could probably look good on a YouTube video, but Drmic does look quite skilful and maybe worth a punt @ £8M.
    I`m not sure about Costa !…..I`m sure this is the first season he has looked good, so why wasn`t he on the radar before this season ?, he is 25 years old and at £35-45M could be a huge risk !. Next season others could wise up to him !.

  • TCM 12:47……….Giroud is not going to set the world alight. How on earth we signed him is a mystery to me.

  • CM and VCC

    that is the crux of the problem! Do you buy the “known” quantity in hopes that it translates well to your league and that no one “wises up to their approach”


    do you buy the lesser known, but potentially quite dominant type?

    Examples of the first that worked: CR7, Lewandowski (likely tho in same league so easier), RvP (tho back to training table), and I am sure there are others but…

    Examples of the second from just the glorious Arsenal: Bergkamp, Henry, Pires … and on..

    IMO, this is Arsenes forte. That said, with this interconnected world, everyone is a super start earlier than ever .. As a result, IMO in part, of AWs success in the past. No one overlooks those players or even their far lessers any more .. And it is easier to not overlook them!!

    IMO, it’s a tougher and tougher nut to crack consistently and well. Unless you are BM, RM or Barca with enough dosh to always overpower your league!

    Interestingly, one outcome then is that the Oilers et al with their dosh have, in part, kept the EPL more competitive and less dominated by MU (and Arsenal). With no one dominating though it is harder than ever to find the best fits etc..

    Just my 2p — jgc

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