Arsenal v Saints almost certain line-up: Ajayi, Akpom, Sanchez, Hayden to start

Arsenal v Southhampton

Capital One Cup

Chuba to lead the line?

Chuba to lead the line?

The provisional squad was announced early, possibly to encourage Koeman to reciprocate with an equally youthful squad? But barring late injuries, illness, or a Southampton ‘A’ team, this is it.

So for once, I do not have to make too many difficult decisions on our team, as it will be, no, seriously, it WILL be the following:

ars v Sou sep 14 final

Or to get a proper 4-1-4-1 formation, see:

Why am I so certain? Just a brief run through:

Ospina is a given, Bellerin is a given because Chambers is going to be needed as cover for the CB’s, with Monreal out for 4 games, so he needs his CB hat on here. Gibbs, not certain, but unless Flamini drops back there, there isn’t another LB in the squad.

Hayden, in his best position, and AW tells us he is ready for this level (I concur). Flamini a given, as Arteta played in Saturday’s game, and Coquelin with Hayden would be too much of a gamble, and the Frenchman is a useful sub. Cazorla plays central, because he will not start next Saturday?

Rosicky deserves a start in his favoured right side, Campbell on the left, but expect a lot of movement between these three. Akpom up front because ….err, there isn’t anybody else? Nah, not even Poldi as CF.

Bench: Szczesny; Arteta, Coquelin, Diaby, Wilshere, Podolski, Zelalem.

How will this pan out in the game, using the much vaunted 4-1-4-1 formation?

My guess is the DM role will alternate between Hayden and Flamini, but I expect Hayden to be the more advanced of the two, leaving Flamini to clear up should he need to. Hayden is an excellent ball player, and has the physical strength to brush past the formidable DM pairing that Southampton have, should they both play? He would be an ideal player to have deep if a long range shot is on, such is the Podolski like bullets he can provide.

However, his primary role going forward will be to provide Cazorla with passes, and be available for the return.

It will be Cazorla’s job to feed the wide players, Gibbs and Campbell one the one side, and Bellerin and Rosicky on the other. I think these wide partnerships look to be very complimentary, and should prove an exciting blend of pace and shooting power, and equally good at picking out Akpom.

Akpom’s movement in and around the box will be key. It is his big chance to show just how much he has developed since those pre-season games of last season (2013). Not only is he big and strong, and has quick feet, he also has alarming pace for a striker. He will frighten any defence into mistakes, so penalties long before shootout time are very much on the cards. Because of his pace, somebody will have to try and stop him if we get a quick release from a turnover. That could bode well for Campbell to become the second striker, and we have seen just how effective he can be when given the space?

That is the positive side going forwards. Things will not be quite so rosy on the defensive front?

Without Per Mertersacker to organise the defence, a rookie CB alongside a very competent, but still a rookie partner, I think it will fall to Ospina and Hayden to set the cover at set pieces, and Flamini and Hayden to sort it out in open play. On the positive side, Ajayi is solid enough to hold his own against a physical assault; and Chambers is quick in the ‘Koscielny’ role, and two very pacey wingbacks to make last ditch tackles, should our lines be breeched. Providing they keep calm and don’t get too fired up, the Flamini-Hayden brick wall in front of the CB’s should keep most threats at bay, but I think Ospina will have his World Cup credentials well and truly tested?

What we will not know is just how many Academy graduates will appear in the Southampton ranks, as they too will want to test the depth of their squad to some extent? They also have some key injuries: Yoshida, Ward-Prowse, Rodriguez, Alderwerield, and Under-21 player, Gallagher. Listening to Koeman talking ahead of this game, he seems to be taking it a little more seriously, which is understandable if they haven’t got other midweek games to worry about.

We may see the return of Boruc in goal, or Davies, but it is the defence where they are likely to be strong. They have lively full backs in Clyne and Bertrand, and the very solid Fonte, who will probably partner Gardos in the middle. Again, in midfield they are strong, despite departures. Wanyama looks certain to start, but Schneiderlin could be given a break, as they have Mane, one of many good signings they made, who is back from AFCON knockout games and could be a real threat, along with the lively Cork and Tadic, and that without troubling regular, Steven Davies. Up front they can choose between Long, Mayuka, and Pelle. I suspect they may go for a 4-4-2 setup, as this is a knockout game

It will not be an easy game to win; that is for sure. But it will be fast and furious.

Unless Arsene changes the squad he has announced, then the team is unlikely to be much different from what I have set out. Argue about it by all means, I am only going with what has been announced.

Above all, enjoy the game; the players, as you can bet your life, will be doing their very best to carry it off.

Keep the faith

 Written by: Gerry.

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169 Responses to Arsenal v Saints almost certain line-up: Ajayi, Akpom, Sanchez, Hayden to start

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for a fine preview, Gerry. 🙂

    Love the bit you added re Southampton as it will be nice to watch their prospect as well. You spend more time watching the reserves play, so you might have that line up there about right. I cannot imagine, though, that Wenger would go with such a light CB pairing tomorrow. I have a feeling that Mertesacker will play, or indeed Koz. Many will say that would not be too clever, but Arsene does still want to win this game and Southampton, whichever team they put out, will make it hard for us, as you indicate in your post as well. And the BFG will still benefit from playing this game.

    If Diaby is fit enough to play, I reckon he will start. I also reckon he will not start Gibbs, as we will need him this weekend. Other than that, I reckon you are very close to the line up tomorrow. So my predicted line-up is:


    Bellerin – BFG – Chambers – Flamini


    Rosicky – Hayden – Cazorla – Campbell


    Should be a fun game to watch! COYG.

  2. allezkev says:

    Good post Gerry…

    Not sure that I’d risk Gibbs, despite the lack of alternatives.
    Coquelin could fill in at left-back.

  3. Panther says:

    Can you stop with the 4/1/4/1 bullshit! Arsenal a far to open with that formation. 4/2/3/1 is the formation Wenger should stick to as it brings out the best on the players at the club. I personally think Coquelin and Diaby should anchor thr midfield with Campbell on the left Rosicky on the Right and Cazorla in the hole behind Akpom. Gibbs should be nowhere near the squad considering how fragile he is, , Flamini can play there.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Wake up Panther, that is how we are playing this season. The formation is flexible though and will allow us to go 4-2–1-3 when required.

  5. steve says:

    Yep that Gibbs question is a tricky one as Clyne can be a very competent threat down the right, but like you guys have said there are some important games coming up where we will need him at 100%
    I swear to god you did that 4-3-3 / 4-4-2 diamond type formation just to piss me off again Gerry! I’ve nearly got the “what about this formation?” bug out of my brain and succumbed to the fact its 4-1-4-1 all the way now, and then you throw this in just get my bloody juices flowing again! 🙂
    I have a sneaky feeling you’re onto something though and AW may not trust this new 4-1-4-1 to such a unfamiliar team just yet, but i think he’ll go with a good old trusted 4-2-3-1 looking something like this:

    Bellerin – BFG – Chambers – Gibbs

    With the defensive changes of Ajayi and whoever the hell we’re gonna get to cover Gibbs, to be pretty swift if we are looking at all comfortable in the later stages of the game.
    I really hoped OX was going to be part of this game and would have been my attacking change but doesn’t seem to be in that squad you listed.

  6. steve says:

    hahaha just seen your defense of the 4-1-4-1 use TA lol, just after i had said maybe he won’t go with it lol.
    Sorry mate lol but i did say “maybe” and as you have pointed out it doesn’t take much to drop back to a 4-2-3-1 if needed, especially with this set of players (Diaby and Hayden both provided that role well)

  7. steve says:

    providing not provided

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Steve it is meant to be 4-1-4-1 but the site I use don’t do one, so I used 4-5-1 instead… (Gerry just typed the formation)

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Exactly Steve, move Hayden back and next to Diaby and it is 4-2 rather than 4-1…. Exactly what Rambo did with Arteta on Saturday….. and then come out again to make 4-1-4-1 again.. Victory through Harmonica 😛

  10. steve says:

    Oh lol fair enough lol
    TA, give a go mate, might be a bit easier for you considering your site doesn’t like the 4-1-4-1 and that’s looking like the system we’re going to use from now on.

  11. abbiscuits says:

    Wont be Boruc in goal…on loan to Bournmouth

  12. steve says:

    (me grumbling into my cup of tea) – I’d still prefer a 4-1-3-2, with two out an out strikers. grumble grumble grumble 🙂

  13. Erik Eikebrokk says:

    What team and what manager have you been following? No disrespect though, but this suggestion is way off.

    Expect the following line-up, in the usual, 4-2-3-1, the same formation Arsenal have been playing the whole season (look away from the different role-playing Wenger’s been experimenting with…)

    Bellerin, Hayden, Chambers, Coquelin
    Flamini, Diaby
    Campbell, Rosicky, Podolski

    Gibbs and Cazorla are most definitely NOT playing.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Steve, I just had a go. See whether I can get it into the post now. 🙂

  15. steve says:

    hahaha didn’t show up as a pic TA, just a link.
    Can’t you take a screen print, stick it in a simple image software like paint or something, crop it and then stick it in the post as a jpg?

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Ah Steve, far too much trouble at this time of night. Will have a look again tomorrow. 😛

  17. steve says:

    too much trouble 😆 you crease me up TA 😆
    Mind you this is early on in the night for me so i suppose i can’t really judge 🙂

  18. steve says:

    Erik Eikebrokk, “4-2-3-1, the same formation Arsenal have been playing the whole season”
    Mate i’m pretty sure we haven’t been playing 4-2-3-1 all season – I would have been doing a lot less moaning if we had lol

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Yeah you are the night blogger. Soon, Seventeenho will be joining you, once he has had his fair share of espressos 🙂

    Me need to be up at the crack of dawn again..

    Night all. 🙂

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    No Cazorla tomorrow….. that is a big call, EE.

  21. geoffchase says:

    Gerry, TA et al,

    I like the formation Gerry. As usual, you are bullish on the youngsters and history tells us AW only listens to about 60% of your calls on that one (not bad, actually! 🙂 )

    Thus, TAs lineup seems more likely in some ways. I would expect and hope for something in between that looks like:

    Bellerin – BFG + Chambers – Coquelin
    Hayden – Flamini
    Rosicky- Cazorla – Campbell

    Yes, 4-2-3-1 putting Cazorla in the hole. I think the BFG like TA because he is still rounding into form and because he provides stability. I think AW still wants to win and look like he tried to win here. Equally, working the BFG+Chambers pairing will provide them experience together that may be handy later

    I like Coquelin on the left back as Gibbs is fragile. However, he is coming back into form too so wouldn’t be horribly surprised if he started.

    cheers — jgc

  22. geoffchase says:


    Liked the Schweini idea in last post but under the gun(s) here … AR would fit well and score well from there IMO.

    Good luck with the crack of dawn, 17 and I recommend many espressos!

    On a positive note, my UMF floundered much to my delight this weekend as we gained points on all the true or supposed heavyweights! 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  23. steve says:

    who’s this Dawn chick TA? She sounds like she’s a good girl 😉

  24. Neeraj says:

    My guess is
    Bellerin- Ajayi – Hayden -Flamini
    Diaby – Coquelin
    Cambell – Rosicky – Podolski
    Subs: Martinez, Chambers, Otewill, Arteta, Wilshere, Welbeck, Sanchez
    The back 4 might be a little too inexperinced but starting any first teamers isnt a risk worth taking
    Cazorla wont play again after the weekend
    Zelalem played for U21
    Gibbs will play only if Flanini isnt fit or if Arsene has an adrenalin rush will jotting down the squad 😛
    But Diaby n Le Coq are sure to start as Wenger mentioned in d preview

  25. Neeraj says:


  26. Gerry says:

    Good morning all, I am up at pre-dawn just answer the early suggestions.

    Now I did say I was working from the 18 man squad announced by AW, and that did not include Alexis – Note to TA! Headline grabber 😀

    So the inclusion of Per Mertersacker is indeed a very likely possibility. As is for that matter, having Alexis on the bench.

    I did give the thought of Diaby starting a lot of time. In the last Under 21’s he got through the 90 minutes, but tired towards the end. Which is why he went away to work on his stamina. It is a good shout to have him start, leaving Flamini free for the LB, either from the bench or as a starter.
    Coquelin is not going to figure a lot in AW’s plans, in my view, and why I think he will get the short straw tonight . Although he tends to play left side midfield, I am pretty sure he is right-footed? This would make it a tough ask to do LB. RB possibly, as that is where he has been asked to play in the distant past. But that would mean switching Bellerin over to LB, not out of the question, but they are likely to be strong on the flanks.
    That brings me to Gibbs. Compared with his normal game, Gibbs did not have a hard game on Saturday, and he had a previously had nearly a 4 week break. So I take him to start. He is not quite a fragile as many make out. He did exactly what Debuchy did, only not as badly, but instead of missing a game they played him in the next one, and if it was a hamstring, it was most likely caused by him trying to save his ankle. No problems starting here. Clyne may be good, but he is not an ugly tackler.
    If indeed Per plays, then Chambers could well move to the DM spot. My own view is that he can be rash in the tackle, and this is not a position to be giving away free kicks? So unless he keep his LB role and Bellerin is moved elsewhere, which I think is unlikely, then he will partner Per at the back, and Ajayi, who has been involve in the first team training a lot lately (wearing the 46 shirt allocated to Jebb – they could not be confused though 😀 ), he will take his chance from the bench. I still do not rule out him starting though, as AW is looking for a back up pair?
    Whist Cazorla could be rested here, I think he will start, but Zelalem will get the last 25 minutes. We need a creative midfielder to feed the front three when we attack, although Campbell and Rosicky will be the wide midfielders while we build attacks.
    General consensus on Akpom starting. Podolski could start in place of Campbell, but I doubt it. Since his cameo role against Villa, he flew to Germany to watch Cologne play Dortmund, so I think he has been given this freedom in exchange for not playing too often? He could well come on late as a second striker, if we are chasing the game though. But Akpom looks nailed on to start?
    Thanks abbiscuit for correcting my thought on Boruc. I just caught a line about him trying to get the Polish No1 back off Szczesny, and saw his name in the squad. Kelvin Davies it is for them then?
    Contrary to the linked graphic, which is where Alexis name crept in, my formation is more the the 4-2-3-1 model, but I would have Hayden going forwards, leaving Flamini in the ‘1’ position during transition through the 4-1-4-1 phase, and ultimately to 4-1-2-3. But I definitely see the Flamini/Hayden as a pair, and whoever has the space will go forward, one of them will stay back.
    After my breakfast I will come back to the responses.

  27. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. Miss you all.. hehehehe..
    We are still unbeaten.. aren’t we..?? hehehehe.. “invincible” in making.. hahahaha..

    So we have a busy week and going to have even more busy month ahead..
    Soton and Spurs.. Whom we want to beat more.. hehehehe..
    I think we all will be agree that Spurs’s game is more important than COC.
    For a long time.. in our tradition.. COC was an event for the youngster.. so let it be.. hehehehe..

    So.. we have a lot of youngster to showup to play.. Martinez, Bellerin, Hayden, Akpom, Zelalem, Campbell. But we had also Ospina, Podolski, Diaby, Coquelin and Rosicky who need time to play..
    I agree with TA and Steve.. Diaby must play.. but I more agree with steve’s team rather than TA..
    Flamini for LB is a very hard to watch.. hahahaha..

    But I think Wilshere will play.. And both Cazorla and Sanchez also waiting to play..
    Send both Cazorla and Sanchez to bench is like a mission impossible to Wenger.. hahahaha..
    So my final team will be :
    Bellerin – BFG – Chambers – Gibbs
    Diaby- Wilshere
    Rosicky – Cazorla – Campbell
    Subs : Martinez, Hayden, Flamini, Coquelin, Zelalem, Podolski and Sanchez

  28. Gerry says:

    I despair at the Arsenal website. Ii must have spent a good twenty minutes yesterday looking for any mention of the Under 21′, and not finding any, I duly reported that it must have been cancelled. What do I read during my breakfast break – Zelalem played last night in the Under 21’s game. Apparently they were kicked about a bit by a solid Newcastle side. B54 scored, but they lost 1-2..
    It must have been a late decision to include Zelalem though, as he was named in the provisional squad.. With a place up for grabs, Alexis may well be in the mix?

    So TA first. Yes it is looking good for a Diaby start. I am not sold on Per starting for the reasons I have given above, re Ajayi. The latter must be doing some solid stuff in training to be named as one of the ‘nearest’?
    That apart, your line up has a lot going for it. Although I still rate Gibbs as a stronger candidate for LB, as explained above. In the 4-2-3-1 line up Hayden-Diaby combo has a great feel to it

  29. Gerry says:

    allezkev – I know what your saying, but I have always had faith in Gibbs. He has been next to Diaby in being unlucky with injuries – I blame the club for his last one.

    Coquelin will be on the bench ready to take over from Diaby. (see above for full explanation.)

    Cheers, keep truckin.

  30. Gerry says:

    Panther – I have a lot of sympathy with the formation bollox, as I called it 😀

    However, if you stop thinking of it as a rigid line up, as I explained in a previous post, as once the B2B half of the ‘2’ steps forwards, you have the 4-1-4-1. Secondly, dismiss from your mind that the second line of 4 is a flat 4. It isn’t. More an angled ‘ V\ ‘ or ‘ /V’ and each point has a role to play both in defence and attack. The angled stroke down is likely to be the nearest AM playing wide, okay? Whilst the highest point of the angled line going up is likely to be your second striker/ AM.
    The B2B player moves to the bottom of the ‘V’, and immediately has a choice of 3 passing options. Now do you see the merit of it? Next time you see it written out, just think of it as:
    4-1-bolx-1 😀 It will take the frustration out of it?

    See above for comments on your choices, but I agree with the front line up.

  31. Gerry says:

    Steve – Now would I? 😀

    I think your line up is spot on if BFG plays. I’ll go with Ajayi, and see if either gets all11?

  32. Gerry says:

    Yes TA @00:01 and Steve. From here on it is the 4-1-bolx-1 😀

  33. Gerry says:

    Erik Eikebrokk – See above to relieve your frustration on formation.

    Your line up looks fine if AW is checking Hayden out as the 3rd choice CB, and he may well do that if he want to keep Chambers concentrating on the RB role until Debuchy gets back?
    Bur that puts a doubt against Bellerin? He may push Bellerin up to play a midfield trio, which would please me no end, but I don’t think that is AW’s plan for him. So I expect him to have another outing at RB.
    See above for reasons not to go with Coquelin at LB. Gibbs will be fine, trust me.
    I make the case for Cazorla playing in this, because it is obvious who will be playing on Saturday, given Wilshere, Ramsey, and Ozil are excused duty here, and Santi was named in the provisional squad?
    If AW goes with the early squad bar Zelalem, it leaves only one vacancy … Per or Alexis.
    Akpom starts in any case, I reckon?

  34. Gerry says:

    Geoff – It is a pity that I have answered your line up above.

    I must repeat my doubts on Coquelin. He has played at LB before, according to his profile, and he was named amongst those ‘nearest’ to be playing. But apart from risking Gibbs, and that is of course a danger in any game, but I see that as Coquelin’s least favoured position?
    If AW is using this match to test fringe players for future games, then Coquelin will be behind Diaby in that DM role, imo.
    Add to that, the more positive noises about Diaby starting, again with that eye on future games, it does leave Flamini free to take over from Gibbs on the hour if needed. I think Gibbs had an easy game, by his standards, last time, and looked pretty sharp. If they play Clyne, he will be needed?
    Your forward line is as written.

  35. Gerry says:

    Neeraj – I think that line up is a very strong ‘B’ contender. It ticks a lot of boxes, and give most of the primary first team a rest, even if a lot appear on the bench.
    Talking of which, Martinez as GK sub could be a winner, as Matt Macey played last night. Alas B54 did play, so he will not figure. Pity, as he would have been the best sub for Gibbs without doubt.
    However, I think Poldi will take his spot, and possibly come on as a second striker if we need a goal?
    I doubt we will see Arteta or Wilshere on the bench, but that may depend on what squad Southampton name?
    Good thinking though.

  36. Gerry says:

    Henry – I like that line up, except you, like AW has been suckered into playing Wilshere?

    He with the fragile ankles before a NLD? No chance, imo.

    Zelalem played last night, as I found out far too late. So if you were to put Ajayi in his place, and switch Wilshere for Hayden you could get all 18 right? he he he 😀

  37. Neeraj says:

    Gerry , the Arsenal Official website is running for the website of the year award , so I read yesterday on their twitter handle.
    I think you might have some sugeestions 😉 😛

  38. Gerry says:

    At some point later in the day I will attempt to set my final selection, after the actual squad has been declared. I will also see if it is possible to get the 4-1-/V-1 line up represented, with names attached. There’s a challenge.

    Just one final word before I walk the dogs. Koeman want to win this because it is the shortest route to the Europa League next season. I think AW would like to win it, but only by using the reserve/fringe players. If they cannot hack it, then all the more reason to have fewer games whilst we need every win in our group in the CL. And as I quoted before, just getting out of the Group is worth twice as much as winning the EL.

    Which reminds me Sky Sports were advertising, while I was watching the Speedway last night, that they are covering Sporting Lizzie v Chelsea game. So a good chance to see WC at this level … and bemoan the fact he will CL tied if we can sign him.
    That’s life folks.

  39. Gerry says:

    Thanks Neeraj – They may not be printable 😀

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    She’s lovely, Steve as long as she does not Dawn on you! 🙂

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Haha Gerry,you were bold in your preview, and it deserved the title. And why not? 😆

  42. Neeraj says:

    Who knows where the Dawn chick goes before Dawn ? Right Steve ? 😛 😛 😉

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    Hehehehenry, we miss you too, buddy. Nice line up and could be a goer! 🙂

  44. steve says:

    Neeraj, 😆 I think its pretty safe to say she’s tucked away safely at TA’s house 😆

    The more i think about this Diaby—Hayden partnership the more i like it. Both are actually very adept at going forward and creating whilst either of the pair is again very adept at being left behind as the holding DM as the 4-2-3-1 moves into its 4-1-4-1 phase – win win, i am really looking forward to seeing it in practice if they get picked.

  45. henrychan says:

    Thanks TA..
    Gerry.. Wilshere will play.. as Wenger trust him tp lead the team..
    I don’t really like the 4-1-4-1 formula.. but it’s look like to played again..
    We just don’t know yet who will be the 1 in the middle as CDM.. I got a feeling that Diaby will play.. hehehehe.. I hope so..
    With Diaby – Rosicky – Cazorla – Wilshere – Campbell as our midfielders.. We are strong enough to face the Saints.. Who ever played as our target man, we still can win..
    Even The Saints will give up with Gun-ners.. the are not bulletproof.. hahahaha..

  46. steve says:

    After this difficult Southampton tie, Diaby’s triumphant return to the first team and Gnabry comming back from injury i will be looking forward to seeing the full U21 Arsenal side blazing through the COC, making the most of the strong foundation the team has WON them tonight with a 3-1 result 🙂 🙂 🙂

    COC U21 team


    ———–Hayden—–The OX———-

    Morphing to:


  47. Gerry says:

    Okay this is how a possible counter attack might work, moving from your 4-2-3-1, with the arrows underneath showing who has moved forwards, creating the magic 4-1-4-1?
    If you can follow the movement to where they are like this: Diaby wins possession, moves forwards with Rosicky to his right, or Bellerin if the overlap is on. On the left, Gibbs gets well forward with Campbell ahead of him. Cazorla moves to wherever the space is, and Akpom stays onside on the shoulders of their CB.
    Now whoever Diaby passes to, left, right or centre, Akpom or Campbell are only two quick passes away from a shot at goal.
    Should it break down you have Hayden and Ajayi covering the left flank until Gibbs gets back, Diaby drops back in the middle, while Chamber and Bellerin snuff out a threat down the right.


    ____________________\________________ ➡
    ________ :arrow:_______________________ ➡ _____________[ROSICKY]
    ________________[HAYDEN]_____ ➡

    ➡ ____________[AJAYI]______________________[CHAMBERS]________ ➡


    Now let’s see if it posts the same as I have it in the box???

  48. Gerry says:

    By jove, it worked!

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    You are living the dream. Gerry! 😆

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Oh and Steve is day dreaming as well hahaha 🙂

  51. Dawn has probably gone to see the Cockie monster to be shot at dawn.

    All this line up malarky give me a head ache…. who is Arrow in your side Gerry, does he play for Soton 🙂

  52. Gerry says:

    For the sake of clarity, I should add …Where the arrows are, is where the player directly above the arrow start from. With the exception of the one below Campbell, as I did not leave the ‘space’ on the right side of the ‘smiley’.
    The other thing, if Hayden went forward the angles could be reversed, so Gibbs and Campbell are his nearest players. Again, don’t think of it as that rigid. It is just a visual representation of how that second ‘4’ is not a flat horizontal.
    Defensively it also offers protect when pressing high, as each player can cut out angled passes. It will take a good season to get the players fully on board, and it may not be the answer in every situation. However, I have come around to seeing what AW might be thinking of?

  53. Gerry says:

    Northbank1969 – I don’t have arrows in my side … only thorns! 😀

  54. I doubt very much if AW will risk Gibbs and Chambers tonight…….. either of those get injured and we’re in the shit for next weekend.

  55. We all have our burdens to bare Gerry 😀

    But shouldn’t your arrows be going in the direction of the Southampton goal and not sideways as you have depicted? Everyone will be over on the right wing if they continue like that 🙂

  56. Gerry says:

    Amazingly, despite the general perception that I would overrun tonight’s team with players from our academy, I have only gone for the four that Arsene has named as ‘nearest’ to this level. The one I left out is Coquelin, but I do think he may replace Diaby at some point late on.

    Personally I am rooting for Hayden to come through this with flying colours. But the anticipation of what Campbell might do, and the promise of Akpom, it all makes for a game to enjoy?
    I also know Bellerin will not be so harshly treated at this level, and I will be surprised if he does not register an assist tonight. it might not be up there with the 7-5 scoreline, but there could be at least 5 goals in it, if not more.

  57. VCC says:

    Any one know any streams for tonight’s game please?

  58. VCC says:

    Gibbs should NOT be used tonight, far too risky.

  59. Gerry says:

    I disagree Northbank, If push came to shove, we have B54 for Gibbs. But as I keep saying, Gibbs had a pretty easy time against Villa, as they were coasting in the second half, and he has had a break of nearly 4 weeks.
    Chambers could well be on the bench if Mertersacker plays, but if AW is looking to see how a back up pair might work in future games, then the Chambers – Ajayi duo could well be it?

    Alas the smileys available do not have an upward arrow, which is why I add the the ‘clarity’ post below it – the arrows are where the players would be if in the 4-2-3-1. Just go vertically above the arrow to see how they move into the 4-1-4-1 during this transition.
    Fuller explanation above

  60. Gerry says:

    VCC – I refer you to my earlier answers.

    Did you watch the Speedway last night? The Poole chickens have opted to go against Kings Lynn, who are injury hit.. I hope KL get a decent ‘Guest’ rider and KO’s them home and away 😀

  61. Gerry says:

    As for the match, it looks like it will be a listen on the ‘Player for me.

  62. Gerry says:

    Thinking of alternative sports, 17HT, will you be an avid viewer of the Ryder Cup?

    Three days, approx 8 hours a day, it has to be the most riveting sporting event ever shown live on TV? You will not hear much from me from Thursday, Friday, or even Saturday
    NDL or no NDL … there’s sacrilege for you 😀

  63. steve says:

    VCC just go and check wiziwig forums mate plenty of streams on there

  64. VCC

    Try Vipbox, generally good. Links 8/9 or ten are usually in english. Just get rid of the ads 🙂

  65. steve says:

    sorry VCC, I thought you meant sopcast or acestream links (high def), If you meant flash streams like northbank1969 says then yes mate Vipbox and get rid of all them ads, wiziwig only has a few of them.
    happy watching 🙂


    Cheers Gerry

    I tend not to watch the stiffs or youths anymore. Up to ten years ago I was a regular, but to many embarrassing moments have put me off.

    Back in the early eighties I thought Brian Mcdermot was the new Kenny Dalgleish and one bloke that I still see never fails to remind me of my error. The bastard has a photographic memory so keeps catching me out lieing to.

    “Cant make It Will, have to go to my daughters graduation”

    “Not strictly accurate Terry. Your daughter was born 02/02/1994, thus meaning she is only 20, so therefore its one year early. Which also makes you a lieing bastard”

    “F*uck off Will. Shes one of them genius kids thats why. If you see her, she looks like shes been electrocuted”

    “Your lieing again Terry. On the 17th January 2007 you complained she had been put in the thickys class for maths. On the same day, you had a suspicisous looking stain on your trousers”

    I also thought Gus Ceaser was the new Franz Beckenbuer and ended up having a fight with my brother about it. He dosnt forget that either, and he aint even got a photographic memory. In fact, hes thick as shit and sometimes forgets his own name.

    The only one ive ever got right is Jack Wilshere. I said when I first saw him that he would be the worlds best player, and ive been proved right

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    Classic Terry! Hahaha 🙂

  68. 17highburyterrace says:

    Very nice TMTH…Also, good work on the headline TA, given the following starting line-ups…

    Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Chambers, Hayden, Coquelin, Rosicky, Diaby, Wilshere, Alexis, Campbell, Podolski Subs: Martinez, Ajayi, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Akpom
    Southampton: Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Gardos, Targett, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Tadić, Mané, Pellè. Subs: K. Davis (GK), Long, Cork, Bertrand, Mayuka, Reed, McCarthy.

    With that settled I’ll go into media black-out so I can watch the match on tape delay w/o knowing the outcome. Enjoy…

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    You’re a master of irony, 17 😉

  70. 17highburyterrace says:

    No no, TA, I actually meant it… I never would’ve guessed Alexis would make the starting team and it seemed an esp. weird headline as he wasn’t on Gerry’s radar… I guess Akpom and Ajayi only made the bench, however…

    To me this is fun group and more attacking verve w/Sicky, Diaby, Jack and Alexis than I would’ve expected. Poldolski and JC up front for some real firepower, too…

    OK, now I go into media black-out…

  71. Gerry says:

    How can I put it … surprised? Nah! He obviously saw their squad …

    Too much thrust and not enough creativity, imo. But it will be good to see how Campbell gets on?

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    Shame Akpom does not start. Funny line up: inexperienced at the back and experience everywhere else… Attack is the best defence.

  73. The Cockie Monster says:

    Not only am I BK`s eye candy pin up boy/man with more humour and wit DNA than the average Oscar Wilde or Noel Coward which makes all the BK WAG`s nearly drown themselves in getting moist, but I am also the man who got most of the team selection right !….only two out !….which only makes the BK WAG`s wet themselves even more at my ability to make them swoon at my superior intellect !….quick !…chuck them a lifebuoy !. hahaha

  74. The Cockie Monster says:

    17`s more like the master of ironing !……..the smartly dressed bastard !.

  75. The Cockie Monster says:

    I see this game being a closely thought and fought game with both teams cancelling each out, so probably 5-0 to the Saints !.

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    Who knows how the Cockie crumbles? Hey?! 😉

  77. The Cockie Monster says:

    The BK WAG`s know for sure !……..quick upstairs and look for them crumbs before she get the vacuum cleaner out !. hahaha

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    You’re just leaving us the crumbs, hey greedy bastard! 😛

  79. alcide says:

    That started at 200mph!

  80. alcide says:

    Awesome free kick from Alexis! 1-0!!!

  81. alcide says:

    From 30+ meters… brilliant start. Did you say thrust TA?

  82. alcide says:

    I just hope we continue playing like that, whatever the result.

    I also hope I’m not jut talking to myself 🙂

  83. The Cockie Monster says:

    Just like my knob…..pinpoint accuracy !. hahaha

  84. alcide says:

    Oooops… I’m alone with TCM!!!

  85. alcide says:

    Ouch, TR7 giving away a silly penalty…

  86. alcide says:


  87. The Cockie Monster says:

    That was a tackle like he was still on the treatment table !.

  88. alcide says:

    Bellerin catches up 3m on Mané… in 10m. Fast he is.

  89. The Cockie Monster says:

    My stream is fcuking shit slow and the Arab sounding commentator is speaking faster than the patchy stream !, so I`m knocking it on the head !.

  90. AwayGunner says:

    Can’t seem to find the match.. On which channel are you guys viewing it?

  91. alcide says:

    Superb shot from Clyne, Ospina should have done better, but it’s 2-1

  92. alcide says:

    I’m on the same stream TCM!

  93. The Cockie Monster says:

    Szczesny would have saved that !….Ospina is too small for todays Goalies !.

    AG, on here !…………………

  94. The Cockie Monster says:

    I`ve changed streams, alcide !….current one is quicker, but made Soton score !. hahaha

  95. steve says:

    Why is there no sopcast or acestream for this match, its two fucking prem teams, both in the top four!! wtf!! I’ve got to watch these shit flash streams, can’t hack it lol, i can hardly make out whats going on!!!

  96. alcide says:

    Damn you then… Half time 2-1, we deserved more, leading wouldn’t have been a steal, but they were dangerous. Nice game to watch, very open, and good stuff from our B team. Diaby putting in a serious and disciplined shift at holding DM, imposing himself with authority when needed. Back four is doing a decent job, not as tight as can be, but it’s expected. I hope we win… mostly because it’d give us the occasion to see close-to-first-team youngsters more often.

  97. alcide says:

    Yep Steve, no sopcast 😦

    What stream are you on TCM?

  98. AwayGunner says:

    Thanks fellas,


  99. steve says:

    i’m on btw, its SHITE but it has english commentary

  100. alcide says:

    Seeing the replay on the second goal, that was a brilliant shot, with the ball taking a nice curve and going 91kph, but Ospina could have done better indeed.

  101. alcide says:

    And Chambers should have closed in on the shooter instead of stopping to protect himself…

  102. steve says:

    alcide, that stream is the best quality at 500 kbps, but don’t you find it very choppy?

  103. The Cockie Monster says:

    One above, alcide !. As Stevie Six Fingers say`s….it`s hard to make out what`s going on and I cant watch another 45 mins of that picture quality, shame !, as it looks like a decent game !.
    I shall hide behind my Sofa and hope for a 2nd half revival that I can watch on Arsenal Player tomorrow !.

  104. alcide says:

    It is at times, but mostly working for me… best I’ve found for me so far.

    We got caught a few times by balls over the CBs, we should bring Per in…. errr let me think that for a minute…

  105. alcide says:

    Aaaah yes sorry Cockie. Couldn’t stand the mosaic quality 🙂

  106. steve says:

    I think one of these foreign satellite dishes and receivers is going to have to go on the Xmas list 🙂

  107. alcide says:

    beautiful move, Sanchez on target but saved by goalkeeper… damn.

  108. alcide says:

    Akpom getting ready!

  109. AB says:

    Good run out for some of the kids, and some promising efforts in there. But very disappointing for all that.

  110. alcide says:

    Well 2-1 it is. Disappointed to lose at home, but not much more – one silly penalty, one great shot on which wee could have done better, but with the number of changes to the squad (like the full back line and DM) and the subsequent few misplaced passes, I thought we played quite well, and the youngsters did ok. Diaby was apparently told to hold at DM and did not box-to-box (Jack covered that well), and was disciplined and composed – I wouldn’t be surprised if he came back to the bench for PL games in the near future. What are your thoughts?

  111. TotalArsenal says:

    My stream was not very good but what I could see is how good Wanyama was ….. but even better was Schneiderlin. That’s exactly what we are missing. Foget Schweini get Schneidi! 🙂

    The two of them were a magnificent wall in front of the defence. We just could not get through…. and Pod… sorry PG… not good enough for the lone striker role. More later.

  112. alcide says:

    I guess I was more interseced in seeing the younger ones (and Diaby playing again) than winning the game AB. Lots of first team players rested and potential backups and candidates tested though, so it’s all good short and long term.

  113. alcide says:

    Agreed TA, Pod was quite ineffective (and for once missed a chance on his left foot).

  114. makayah says:

    Well at least one gunner is progressing to the next round, our very own Benik Afobe got both goals for MK Dons!! Only caught the second half and noone really caught the eye, Coquelin did alright and could use some work on positional sense but after hislast stint at right back and his performance today, I think he could be a useful fullback. He could fight Monreal for the backup position and maybe Gibbs too with all his injuries.

  115. alcide says:

    Bellerin did ok thanks to his pace, but he needs to not leave too much space to his wingman, and not lose too much ground on missed interventions – against top players his speed will only allow him to concede a foul or penalty…

    I was a bit surprised that Campbell (who had a couple good runs, worked hard but had a kind of neutral game) and Bellerin got subbed off instead of hard working Alexis (well he was quite lively and threatening apart from a few misplaced passes but I thought he’d get some rest). In the same spirit Jack played the whole game (can’t imagine he would be benched for the NLD, or does Arsene have an idea in mind?),

  116. alcide says:

    Aaah yes indeed, decent performance from Coquelin on an unusual position for him, he was mildly off positionally a couple times but nothing too bad (or maybe I missed it). At least he was much, much better than his last early season appearances in midfield.

  117. steve says:

    TA, “Foget Schweini get Schneidi!”
    That’s exactly what i said in your last post – for good reason matey 🙂

    I’m not reviewing that game yet as most of it would consist of “blurry pixel number one was o.k, but blurry pixel number 2 had an off day lol”. I will wait until i can watch a proper version on player.

    I will say in general though from what i could make out it certainly wasn’t the young inexperienced defense that were lacking in this match (a penalty given away from a senior member and a one off blinder of a shot). It was more a lack in attacking penetration from the more senior members!!

    And Akpom only brought on for the last 10 mins – you’re a fucking joke Wenger!!!

  118. alcide says:

    True, TR7 actually had a pretty poor game, even penalty aside. Jack missed a couple final balls and impaled himself on the defense a few times, but otherwise carried the ball forward well. Pod, I don’t know… you put him in the right position, and he’s the most lethal, but if not… he almost disappears.

  119. alcide says:

    Schneiderlin… would love to have him, but not happening this January unfortunately, so I’m trying to not drool on him too much – but he showed why we want him tonight…

    Kolo ttouré concedes a penalty… Liverpool now tied 2-2 in extra time… Lucas Leiva having cramps…

  120. makayah says:

    Yeah I was very disappointed Akpom wasnt used earlier or from the start!! Campbell was not that impressive, at least for the second half which is all I caught. I wonder how he will get games as Arsene is reluctant to rotate or make early substitutions when we have the game under control, like against Villa. One positive about getting knocked out is that we wont see important players like Sanchez, Chambers and Wilshire being risked all game in these less meaningful games. I am all for challenging on multiple fronts but Arsene’s lack of rotation in general and refusal to beef up our central defense and defensive midfield positions coupled with injuries usually derails our progress on the champions league and title front.

  121. TotalArsenal says:

    Steve, yes he looked so strong tonight and his positioning is brilliant too. But I still want to try Aaron in the ‘1’ first.

  122. TotalArsenal says:

    Rosicky was just rusty and yes was under par. The pen was a rush to the head moment and he will regret it very much tonight… it was the last thing the young defence needed.

    Agreed Steve, the defence did really well.

    Pod… yes if there is a chance you want it to fall to him… but against a solid defence and two classy DM in front of them we need a lot more presence from our CF…. one who both holds on the ball and links up with the midfielders AND provides a real threat in the box.. Pod is always waiting to be launched into the box, but the Saints defence was far too well organised and physically competent for this..

  123. alcide says:

    Hehehe TA, you initial thought is turning into quite a strong feeling 🙂 I must say we have enough potential threat forward that we could afford to lose a few goals and assists for a huge boost in defensive volume – but he’ll have to shave off some fancy footwork.

  124. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes Alcide, he would need to focus on the DM job and learn to excel in it…. and no more backheels…

  125. alcide says:

    or 360’s on his right foot 🙂

  126. alcide says:

    Lol Liverool doing the rounds on penalties, Mario just took his second one after the goalkeepers scored against each other 🙂

  127. TotalArsenal says:

    Makayah, agreed re the relief we are out of this competition. I still have Bradford nightmares 🙂

    It just is one competition too many when you are playing CL football. The only shame is that some of the youngsters will not have these sorts of tests any more.

  128. steve says:

    TA, was it me or did Akpom actually make a breaking run through the defense from a through ball in the last minutes of the game? I think he did, and its the first time i’ve seen that for ages!!! No waiting to bring the midfielders into play or holding it up to spread wide, just “i’m running through here, slide me through the ball” 🙂

    Of course i could be wrong hahaha, but i seem to remember that.

  129. TotalArsenal says:

    I think you are right, steve. It is a real shame Akpom did not start this one. I guess he wanted to keep Poldi happy with a start and it could have been different if he had converted that decent chance. But all we are saying, is give Chuba a chance. 🙂

  130. steve says:

    “agreed re the relief we are out of this competition”
    You guys are bonkers!! lol, i love this comp!!
    But i only loved it because it always used to be about the youngsters, win or loose – youngsters. That’s why it never interfered with other comps.

    The team should have been: All U21 except two fringe players who needed game time – perfect!


    I know Gnabry is injured but you see what i mean – I always love this exciting comp 🙂

    And so do you TA, go on admit it!! 😆

  131. steve says:

    here here TA, here here – give the lad a chance 🙂 Agreed!!

    I am surprised Gerry is not on here going mental, he like me really rates the young lad.

  132. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Steve re playing only youngsters, but…. they would have killed them today and that is not good for anybody’s confidence. I think Wenger approached it about right and he will have learned a lot from it.

  133. steve says:

    makayah, “Campbell was not that impressive”
    Do you see him as a winger in midfield or as the left side of a pair up top? i’m not sure myself and was just wondering – i couldn’t see much of his play (it was a blurry mess) lol

  134. steve says:

    TA, “they would have killed them today”
    The only changes to the team that played would be
    OX for Rosicky – No drop in ability there imo
    Gnabry for Jack – would have made sense to save Jack for the Derby
    Akpom for Podolski – Two pretty different type strikers but not an insane change
    B54 – Coquelin – No idea how this would have panned out lol
    And Ajayi who no one really knows about

    Yes chuck them in!! lets see what they can do!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    The good old days 🙂

    In all seriousness though i see what you’re saying TA, i haven’t watched a decent version of the match yet but i hope AW learnt what he needed to with Hayden and Chambers – they looked solid even with my shitty picture – highlights the annoyance of not getting a full view of Akpom even more though as nothing was really learnt about a great talent.

  135. TotalArsenal says:

    What was horrible about the game is that I felt we were not going to win it as soon as the penalty was given. It was a gut feeling. Maybe they wanted it more, or maybe they just had the better line up on the day, but it just never felt we were going to win it somehow.

  136. makayah says:

    Re Steve: I see him as a hybrid winger/striker like Sanchez and Theo. I think as he builds strength and stamina he could play up top on his own. He should take a que from theo and score goals from wide areas.

  137. The Cockie Monster says:

    How long has Pod been with us ?……too long for my liking !. I watched him play for Germany when we bought him and when he first came to us and my thoughts were……what is it he actually does ?……and I still ask this question !. I don’t give a Gareth Bale how many caps and goals Pod has for Germany, I`d play Akpom every day of the week over him and Sanogo !.
    COC is a luxury for me in that I don’t get stressed with it and always want to see the youngsters played, like when we beat Sheff Utd 6-0 !. I will be more upset and have The Samaritans on speed dial if we lose the toss on Saturday against the Spuds than tonight`s result !.

    PS……I must confess, reading Stevie Six Fingers…..” And Akpom only brought on for the last 10 mins – you’re a fucking joke Wenger!!!” gave me a mild arousal !. hahaha

  138. TotalArsenal says:

    steve, all four defenders had a good game and that is nice to know. Coquelin on the LB worked well, the CBs were solid mostly and Bellerin did well too: this is great news given our apparent lack of cover in defence. Diaby had a great first 30 minutes, showing glimpses of his big qualities again. Sanchez was the best player on the pitch for us (Schneiderlin if you count all 22 players), and Jack did okay….and the rest was disappointing (Rosa, Pod and Campbell).

    Now we can just concentrate on league and CL till Xmas…. I like it.

  139. TotalArsenal says:

    He is a supersub, Cocker. Coming on for twenty minutes when we are chasing the game and committing men forward. A chance will fall to him at some point and it is 75% certain to be a goal… He might do it against the Spuds on Saturday…. what are the odds for him scoring the last goal of the game…. I might put a quid on it. 🙂

  140. steve says:

    makayah, re campbell, That’s what i had in mind mate especially when i saw him cutting in from the right in preseason but just felt he looked more regimented to midfield today – though my view of the game was undoubtedly sketchy at best tbh. Cheers mate

    Cockie, You know me mucca, there’s always a reason to shout at Wenger 😆

    TA, Nice mate! that’s some good info, i didn’t get to see much of the first half so good to hear about Diaby and to have a better analysis on the rest. Every un-skippy bit i saw of Sanchez he was doing a shit pass to the opposition so i definitely missed a lot there – Can’t wait to actually watch the damn thing on player! 🙂

  141. TotalArsenal says:

    I think we should also not forget that the winner was a peach of a goal.. in my view absolutely unstoppable once it left the boot of Clyne.

    I liked the look of Mane as well: a very talented player with a great engine. Like to see more of him.

  142. TotalArsenal says:

    Steve, Sanchez had the drive to keep the tempo up and make himself constantly available, which was so important to get the solid Saints defence moving…

    Some of Diaby’s football was just awesome today: grace, power, good ball control, quick thinking, accurate passing, great runs, etc. Shame it did not last long enough, but he was up against two beasts today.

  143. TotalArsenal says:

    Steve, do you feel like doing a match/talent analysis after you watched the game properly. Just a thought, and no pressure as always.. 🙂

  144. steve says:

    One huge silver lining for me personally is the positive results of these younger ENGLISH players, excellent bit of news and bodes well for my super team! 😆
    Just an English giant in defense left and i’m sorted 🙂 🙂 🙂

    ———-Walcott——–Wilshere——-The OX—–

  145. TotalArsenal says:

    Yeah, the three lions don’t need a goallie 😛

  146. steve says:

    TA, i would do mate but its not out on player till Wednesday night and i’ll probably watch it on Thursday which means the match review may get to you Thursday night or Friday morning – i would hope we would be talking about the spuds game by then lol, its a massive game!
    I would have done one now but it would be rubbish based on the crappy video i watched, where’s Gerry? he’s very clued up on the youngsters and must have found a way to watch it???

    Not backing out though if you can wait that long lol

  147. steve says:

    TA, hahahahahaha
    That’s how good we are!!!
    hahahahaha – you bastard lol, i knew i must have missed something, typical you would pick it straight out 😆

  148. TotalArsenal says:

    No worries Steve. 🙂

    It looks a good team, that’s for sure!

  149. allezkev says:

    If my maths is correct, I think that 7 out of the 11 who started last evening, were starting their first senior game of the season.

    Really liked the look of Hayden and Bellerin has a lot of promise.
    Coquelin did ok at left-back and Chambers had a steady game.

    Disappointed by Rosicky and Podolski, both may have been a tad rusty due to a lack of game time, but I still expected more from them.

    Sanchez was superb.

  150. allezkev says:

    Really disappointed that Wenger only gave Akpom 5 minutes plus the laughable 4 extra minutes of time that the dopey referee added.
    Southampton were wasting time almost from the kick-off, in the 2nd half.

    What was the point of bringing on Chuba so late, when we were chasing an equaliser?!

  151. Gino92 says:

    I don’t know about you but I am actually sort of glad that we lost (to a very good Saints team, I might add). A tiny bit disappointed but not angry at all. The players did well, especially Sanchez. I wish his non-stop effort can rub off on the rest of the squad. Rosicky is a major player for us down the road and Wenger has to find some game time for him. He is just a little “rusty” right now due to lack of playing time but I don’t doubt his overall abilities and energy at all. He is a very exceptional player, especially considering his age! I was hoping to see Akpom get at least 25 minutes, just to give us all gooners a glimpse of his quality, but Wenger had other ideas. I wonder if Wenger regrets not buying Schneiderlin this past TW…! He was terrific last night and he is only 24!!! Bright future ahead of him. He could be very helpful to us in the Champions League, if we can get him in January.
    Any time Abou Diaby can play 60 minutes at least against top opposition without injuring himself somehow is fantastic news to me. And he did really well. He could be our “new” signing in midfield and I can’t wait to see more of him in the next few weeks and months. Let’s just hope his body doesn’t give in after this game.

    Bring on Tottenham! We are ready for them. I am predicting a 3-nil or a 5-2 scoreline, with Welbeck bagging a brace and Sanchez getting on the score sheet as well. It’s going to be great.

  152. Gerry says:

    Hi all. Sorry Steve, I only followed it in audio, so no comment until later.

    Yes, it was all about giving players game time. I feared such a result when I saw the line up. Ours and theirs. I said Koeman was taking it seriously.

    But without either Ozil or Cazorla we lack that creative passing. Yes Jack can do it, but not on a consistent basis. Alexis can, when he has exhausted his own possibilities. But the that midfield was largely made up of ‘run forwards and see what happens’ types? Perhaps Diaby is the real exception, but if you say he stayed back, either out of fitness or under instruction, that option was not available this time.

    However well the youngsters played, at least 4 would be a great deal better in positions that suit their game. Coquelin on the right, not the left, Bellerin further forwards, Hayden as DM? …
    and Akpom,playing, not sitting on the fecking bench!
    But I would say that wouldn’t I?

    Like it has been said, pity to lose the opportunity to see further games with a better mix. But may be the games following our CL matches will see some get another opportunity?

    I am hoping the game is available this afternoon, so I will give my assessment later.

  153. Gerry says:

    Mmmmn – Sooner than I thought if Mertersacker cannot play in all three of our ‘crucial’ games?

    I doubt if Gibbs will be a problem for Saturday, if his doubt for last night was only a reaction to his first game back. But if he has still got a niggle in his ankle, then rest is the only cure?

  154. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry 🙂

    We had three players on who are better at creative passing than Santi, in fact we were bursting with creativity: Jack, Abou and Rosa. That was not the problem last night. Our finishers/runners into the box were the problem IMO.

  155. The Cockie Monster says:

    Lets face it, who doesn`t wake up in the morning sleeping in a tent !…….but to listen to almost everyone groaning that Akpom didn’t get much playing time means they are in truth having a moan at Wenger and coming from AKB`s means my tent will probably up until late afternoon !. hahaha

  156. Neeraj says:

    I could’nt watch yesterday’s match because of the time zone and the early morning studies I have to do. But I watched the highlights and I find it very interesting that Le Coq has got no praise whatsoever from any writer except gunnerblog. He is the only one who has rated him fairly I guess. He was out of position on the wrong side considering his strong foot and facing a winger firing on all cylinders.
    I dont know why but I have adored that player and was very sad that there was some speculation on him moving on a permanent deal. Gladly he stayed and I think if he had been loaned to a better team last season which played him at CDM, he could have been our solution.
    He got a lot of stick in the 12/13 season and I feared he was just another Denilson but the guy deserves a chance like Denilson had. Before we ship him off to another club.

  157. Neeraj says:

    *Winger= Tadic n also the RB Clyne

  158. 17highburyterrace says:

    ‘Morning boys… Interesting comments… Pardon the lengthy drivel to folllow…

    I was gonna let this one go because (like Gino above) I kinda feel the result probably suits our needs. It was good to see all the young players, but I fear we’re gonna need small (but decisive) contributions from some of them due to our injury troubles. Playing them all together as we did (plus the handful of old dudes…) we may have eked out a victory but other matches in this competition were bound to take a toll on more important, pursuits. At least we’ve got some nice individual talents w/none of the (younger) fringe guys looking truly below grade…

    Cockie may be tenting from the anti-Wenger slogans but, to me at least, they seem misplaced. The manager is trying to work people into the squad and it may just be a year or two early for Akpom and other, much more valuable (or at least costly) assets need their chances. Given that so many youngsters got 60 to 90 minute runs, on balance, it seems rough commentary. (On the plus side, at least nobody had to endure that waste of space, Mesut Ozil… er, right?…) IMO, based on last night’s performance, a very expensive roster slot may be opening up for Akpom sooner than later. Hint: the name of the guy I’m discussing starts with a P and ends with “odolski.” (Sorry PPP and PG and all others who love the smiley guy…)

    Of course, if Lulu had buried his near post chance (and we’d gone on to win) we might be singing his praises–i.e. results drive narrative… Their man-mountain of a keeper did well on that one as he did on Alexis’ chance (from Bellerin just before the half). Otherwise I cannot remember a save (except maybe the soft catch from JW) and our chances died earlier, when they were mere ideas in the heads of the players. Again, lacking a better hold-up (or back to goal or “team”) player in the #9 role (and shirt) probably had a bit to do with it. There are a bunch of creators in the team but making space and having guys to work the 1-2s are critical. (Even Santi Cazorla can help make things happen for his mates, now and again, I think, TA… You know, if given a chance…)

    As such, those turn and run (and pass and get the ball back…) opportunities were few and far between–at least up near the So’ton penalty area. Abou Diaby’s performance reminded me that he can do just this sort of thing, but it seemed he was positioned to do it across the width of the pitch and close to the back 4. Wilshere had to help out back there as well and couldn’t make those (Ramsey-esque?) runs into the box. This leaves Alexis (and Sicky and Campbell) You cannot fault the former’s work-rate (nor his awesome FK…); his awareness about how to work the others into his improvisations is another thing…

    For me, this is where the chances died. Campbell and Rosicky seemed tentative, predictable and not quick enough as they got closer to the So’ton goal. Ox, on as a sub, had a couple of very nice drives into the area but final balls were just off. Overall, spaces seemed closed off and angles difficult. Let’s give a tip of the hat to the opposition (and I agree with all who noted that So’ton’s two DMs–and the rest of the defense–kept very calm and played a very good team defense…)

    A key to the WHOLE season, I think, will be getting others onto Alexis’ wavelength as he does his buzz-work in scoring positions. At this point it’s too many characters in the mix (and some of last night’s maybe aren’t up to the grade) but the signs are promising in that he’s looking pass more and more. This competition would’ve provided opportunities, but maybe the other domestic cup (which starts in January and which we currently hold…) will provide others… In the meantime, fingers crossed we don’t drop too many unnecessary points as we work this bit out. Obviously, there’s far too much upside to our big summer signing to leave him on the bench even if that’s the spot he occupied in our most assured result (last Saturday’s match at Villa). I just hope the manager sees this as clearly as I do… (Hahahaha… how’s that for some blogger hubris–I’m learning… lol…) and gets the correct guys working together so it doesn’t become a finger pointing exercise…

    Let’s start on Saturday in the NLD, continue (and add in some extra boys) for the visiting Turks a week from today and then have all cylinders firing for the big test in South London… Sorry Gerry… For me this takes precedence over any watching of the rich kids knocking balls around with sticks… 😀

  159. TotalArsenal says:

    Sorry 17 🙂

    Forgot to announce the new post. Please copy and past into the new one.

  160. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

  161. The Cockie Monster says:

    Listen my favourite `squatch !……… need to copy and paste your comment and put it on the new post !, as lazy van bastard has not written …NEW POST !…on this last post…..apparently he has a Wanyama/Schneiderlin inflicted “tent” which has affected his memory !. hahaha

  162. The Cockie Monster says:

    Damn !…..the bastard has just gone into limp mode and regained his memory !.

  163. TotalArsenal says:

    I might be slow but always still faster than you, Cockie the one-eyed bandit! 🙂

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