Ramsey Improving, Giroud and Koz Back: Finally Structure & Purpose

West Brom – Arsenal Afterthoughts.

Saturday’s victory against the Baggies was hard fought and, in many ways, a joy to watch. We looked a lot more organised and better structured and were in control of large parts of the game. It is hard to say what exactly is making a big difference: is it the return of Koz at the back, or our holding striker Giroud up-front, the combo of Flamini and Ramsey, or the nr.10 performances of Cazorla, or is it playing with two wingers now?

Let’s just say we will wait a bit before we pull our conclusions, but I am really glad we have our shape back in the team. We looked a lot more solid and like we are playing football with a plan now. Of course, we rode our luck a bit with the offsite decision early on in the second half, as that could have been a potentially costly goal against us. It is also true that we need to get our three ‘CFs’ up-front to work better together, and we also need to improve the service they get from midfield and the flanks (FBs especially). But if we play solid at the back and in midfield, then the front four (including Cazorla) can really get to know each other a lot better and still score enough goals each game to claim all three points. And at some point a team will get properly spanked with this highly attacking approach.

With the return of Giroud and Koz, and Ramsey slowly hitting a bit of form, we should be able to play the same style of football and team structure for a while. Soon, we will also have Theo and Debuchy back, which should further strengthen our ability to play in the same way time and again.

Key is that Giroud plays in the holding striker role, albeit fluidly, which means he will interchange with both wingers on a regular basis. This will make us unpredictable and yet there is structure to our play, which has been missing for so long. Giroud is the one to hold on to the ball and get either Ramsey or Cazorla involved in the attack, or his ‘CF colleagues’ Welbeck and Alexis. With Theo and Ox we have two very good alternatives for the wings; and Welbeck, Alexis, or Sanogo, can also play in the ‘Giroud’ role. Ollie is my favourite for it and then comes Sanogo, who is a naturally born holding striker imo (even though he still has a lot to learn).

Ramsey is also key. Now that Wilshere is out for a long time, Aaron is the one to be our beast of a box to box midfielder again. He needs to find the balance between helping Flamini (or Arteta when he returns) to keep it tight in front of the back four AND providing the four attacker with key passes and supportive runs into the box. IF Aaron can find his form again, we could have a very good remainder of the season. There were glimpses of him getting  there on Saturday.

It is also important that the back five (including goal keeper) now find a defensive rhythm again and become more and more solid. There is potential for this with Koz now back and Debuchy returning soon. Chambers has played himself into the defensive super-sub role, and Nacho (hopefully his injury is a small one) has also developed a broader skill set – although the Spaniard still seems more at home on the left flank. Gibbs staying fit is also very important as this should be his proper breakthrough year. Two clean sheets in a row is something to build further on.

We know we need to strengthen in defence and the DM position but we cannot be thinking about this at the moment. It is now about getting this team to play better and better together and start collecting three points on a regular basis. The games come thick and fast and with a bit of momentum we could be third or even second within no time.

From what I saw against Dortmund on Wednesday and West Brom on Saturday, we might just be turning the corner now. But bigger tests come this Wednesday and then away to Stoke at the weekend. Bring them on – Time to get into sixth gear and trust the system and shape of the team! OGAAT! 🙂

Written by: TotalArsenal.

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85 Responses to Ramsey Improving, Giroud and Koz Back: Finally Structure & Purpose

  1. Gerry says:

    That’s the spirit TA, more positive thinking. And you are right to point to the changes that have brought about these latest results.

    However, I think the Giroud and Kos returns are the icing on the cake. The defensive ‘shape’ was evident against Dortmund, and as Giro was the only one of the pair who had but a few minutes on the pitch, it cannot just be down to them?
    That is not to say that they did not make a huge difference on Saturday against a solid Premiership side. They did. There were so many positives to take from that game, I cannot believe fans can still be so negative? As for the their potential offside ‘goal’, let’s face it, our season would not look half so bad if all offside decisions had been called correctly?

    You ask about exactly what has made the difference? Personally, I think it is the team coming together and working on what Per called for at the height of our defensive slump. Acting as a unit, even if a few individuals find it hard to keep to. Just having a double pivot, even if it seems rarely to operate as such, makes a world of difference. Now, the collective mentality is to get back to assist the one holding the baby in front of the back 4. Including the one notionally assigned to that position, but not just him. We have seen both Alexis and Welbeck coming back very deep, not just getting a few yards inside our own half. There has been an urgency about doing it. There has also been a slight shift in how our wing-backs get forward. I noticed a couple of times Gibbs, seeing Chambers on the far side in an advanced position and play happening over there, he would move back and central. Sensible stuff. You might wonder why it wasn’t done before? I think a lot of players got caught up in the Alexis enthusiasm to attack, attack, attack, and that in turn exposed our injury ridden defence.

    I am curious about you saying ‘now playing with two wingers’. Ox is one, who is the other one?
    Ox fore sure,in the last few games has been doing a grand job of taking on the fullback down the line, rather than cut inside the moment he crossed the halfway line. But on the other side it is more a mixture of wide players coming inside and putting in passes rather than crosses from the edge of the box, and that includes our overlapping fullback Gibbs. Be nice if we had two wingers mind. 😀

    Today we should know more about the fresh injuries before the Saints match, and all three will have more of an effect on our attack than our defence, imo. However, Southampton have similar trouble, mirroring us in an attempt to get level, and leaving themselves open to the counter. Schneiderman missed the previous game, and came off with a ‘tight thigh’. That could be good news for us if he misses Wednesday’s game, as Wanayama continues to be less impressive? Clyne the reverse. He will be dangerous, as will Tadic, and their defence is pretty solid as a rule. We may have to settle for a hard fought 0-0, and be grateful for it? As long as the ‘nils’ keep coming we should be okay until the next wave of returnees are back.

    The big question that will be argued over will be who starts at LB?

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Gerry

    Would not put too much weight on the Dortmund performance. They held back strongly. Also, Sanogo played the OG role well, but the Frenchman is clearly better at it. And you know that Koz is a much needed improvement at CB? Do you mean the winger question?

    Let’s hope the injury update is positive. 🙂

  3. Gerry says:

    You said two wingers. I said Ox is one, who is your other one?

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Alexis, Theo, Welbeck. Not all in the pure sense, but they will play like wingers with freedom to move central now that Giroud is back. That is the essence of how we will play upfront from now on, I reckon. Alexis is a better winger than all of them, but then he can play anywhere, even at left back.. Hahaha 🙂

  5. JM says:

    vs Dortmund (4-1-3-2 / 4-1-3-1-1)

    – Not exactly wingers, Cazorla and Oxlade-Chamberlain more as LM and RM – midfield flankers respectively, in line with Ramsey’s CM. Both in going forward in support the front two and retreating to protect from defensive 3rd. (Cazorla-Gibbs, left flank; Oxlade-Chamberlain-Chambers, right flank; Ramsey alongside Arteta in DM and in front of our CBs)
    – Alexis played at 2ndS and AM, he is hovering behind our main CF, Sanogo and started closer to Cazorla and Ramsey, more on our attacking 3rd left hand side (where he also profited with his goal, cutting inside and scoring after collecting Cazorla’s pass).

  6. JM says:

    vs WBA (4-3-3)

    – This is a more attacking formation. Alexis and Welbeck being our inside-forwards, supporting our main CF, Giroud. All three are forwards first most and the mentality to score when presented chances in and around the penalty boxes will come first.
    – Cazorla and Ramsey played duo roles in ball-carrying to and creators for the front three; Flamini is more defensive oriented (albeit with a lesser passing range ability) than Arteta and furthermore with the return of Koscielny beside Mertesacker at CB helped setup a tighter platform in defending our middle 3rd.

  7. JM says:

    The detailed data collected by the SEGA Japan (from last season, in their playing game card) has been quite accurate too in our player’s area of influence and movement during matches:

    This example for our Santi “Claus” Cazorla, MotM vs Dortmund and vs WBA:

    (DF:12, MF:55, FW:33)
    – Lighter coloured squares shows more influence and movement
    – i.e. he is more influential playing at LM and certain pockets in attacking 3rd left-hand side.

  8. JM says:

    This example is the area of influence and movement for Aaron “Rambo” Ramsey:

    (DF:17, MF:51, FW:32)
    – He is more prominent at our right hand side engine room, while also being available in certain pockets in our attacking 3rd and defensive 3rd.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    JM, we played the same in both games. I was at the Dortmund game.

  10. JM says:

    This example of area of influence and movement for Kieran Gibbs:

    (DF:37, MF:47, FW:16)
    – he almost covers our left hand side entire length of the pitch.
    – spends a bit more time as left-wingback in our midfield than in defence. Also helped our GK and CBs to protect our goal and penalty area.

  11. JM says:

    TotalArsenal (December 1, 2014 at 08:56)

    – Dortmund game (2 forwards in Sanogo and Alexis)
    – WBA (3 forwards in Giroud, Alexis and Welbeck)

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Whether they are inside forwards or wingers with licence to go central, key is to both stretch defences wide and feed off Giroud. It is all about balance and OGs role is key in it all.

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    No GM, Ox and Sanchez were wingers with licence…

  14. JM says:

    TotalArsenal (December 1, 2014 at 09:01)

    Inside forwards and wingers (flankers) differ in their mentality (their in-built natural instinct) when attacking goal. The former would look to score first, assist second; the latter would look to provide first, shoot second.

  15. JM says:

    TotalArsenal (December 1, 2014 at 09:02)

    At the Dortmund game, Alexis was more the 2ndS and AM (free role) in support to Sanogo, while the Ox was our right flanker and combated the midfield alongside Cazorla, Ramsey and Arteta. We had to have more bodies to counter Dortmund and their pressing in midfield with our own pressing.

  16. RA says:

    Hi TA,

    Truly great Post, maestro. 🙂

    How did you get on at the Dortmund game with my hero the Adonis-like Terry? Is he as much fun in real life as he is on the blogs? I do not seem to be on at the same time as him – he must be avoiding me. 🙂

  17. RA says:

    Well, I seem to have frightened everyone off as usual. 🙂

    In the first half, Welbeck played strictly on the left wing with Sánchez running the right wing, and Giro stayed in the centre.

    However, in the second half, Welly seemed to share the more central position with Giro, and Sanchez played across the front just around and behind them.

    Rambo and Cazzor interlinked behind the three of them, with occasional sorties up the wing, and indeed Cazzor’s left wing menace produced Welly’s well taken headed goal from his delightful cross.

    No doubt others will make their views known, and, OK, it was not perfect, but as a clear change in our attacking approach, I, for one, loved it, and hope to see more of this set up in the near future 🙂

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    We saw different games, JM. But let’s move on, I am bored now. 🙂

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Redders 🙂

    Did you read my match day report on Friday? It tells you all you need to know about gorgeous one 🙂

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    I loved it too Redders, and I bet we see more of this now. How’s life treating you?

  21. JM says:

    This example of area of influence and movement for our HFB Olivier Giroud:

    (DF:7, MF37, FW:56)

    – He is more prominent in our attacking 3rd than opposition’s penalty & goal area.

  22. JM says:

    And lastly the return of the “Boss” Laurent Koscielny (area of influence and movement):

    (DF:72, MF:28, FW:0)

    – His frequent interceptions & blocks at our defensive 3rd, especially centre-left positions.

  23. RA says:


    I am sorry I missed your lovely report of the meet up with Gorgeous Terry and Nik, innit, as well as the match report on the Dortmund game.

    I have now done so, and it is a super diary of the events and also great that it was enjoyable both for the company and the match result. 🙂

    I am much the same, thank you, but like a dodgy battery I am sometimes fine and sometimes not so good, but there are many others worse off.

    Reading your blog, and the comments of the top class bloggers on it, always keeps the spirits up, even if I do not always feel able to join in, other than sporadically.

    Keep up the good work, and hopefully, one day, I will be able to go to a game with you and the Adonis. Maybe that awful Cockie Doodle Doo too and if VCC can’t make it, maybe he can send his falsies along – teeth that is! 😀

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    It was a great day and it would be good to meet up with you for a game as well! Your health condition sounds relatively stable and long may it continue. Can I tempt you to write a post in the near future? 🙂

  25. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hear hear… I too would like to hear what RA has to say…Write a post, eh… 😀

    TA, I can’t find much to argue with regarding the post. We’re making baby steps in the right direction, I think, and playing a true #9 up top seems a key element. That ability of a big guy to bring others in with his back to the goal helps a lot with our fore-aft balance. Yaya made it happen and got the reward with his early goal vs Dortmund and Giroud kept WBA honest through much of that match. The scorelines are modest but it’s a bit of a blueprint going forward, I think…

    It sounds like there could be some re-shuffling for the midweek match even if none of the knocks looked too serious at the time… Fun times, maybe, for the fellows who want to stump for the kids?… Isaac Hayden, I think, is still wearing the protective boot or has only recently had it removed so he may not be your man… Chambers in at DM or moved over to the other side while the Bellerina gets a shot at RB? These sorts of moves seem a bit more likely even if it’s probably not quite the time to go all kids given that the old folks are just finding their feet…

    One thing in the post which rings true is that a lot of this is about Ramsey. If he can just keep running and maybe stop worrying about being the goal scorer space will open for everyone and better chances will result. The three up top did very well exchanging positions but it could get even sexier if Ramsey joins in and even finds occasion to head out wide to fill when those “wingers” follow their natural instincts and head central. Spacing is key and if we’re forced to re-jig at FB our wider threat will be muted. Giroud, obviously, presents a good target for crosses but Welbeck can too (as the goal suggests) and Alexis has scored a couple with his head as well. I dunno, overall, I believe that (oftentimes) less is more (when it comes to trying to do things with the ball at your feet) and running to maintain spacing is what makes it all click. A good team is better than a great individual with 10 guys standing and watching…

    Still, it’s probably a match or two before we can afford to rest Alexis. In the meantime, everybody moving but a bit of structure down the spine from guys like Giroud, Flamini and the restored CB pairing… I like it…

  26. Gerry says:

    Yes, HT there is not a squeak of news on the injury front, other than AW’s thought after the game that he thought Ox would be okay – he said a kick on the knee?
    Playing it close to his chest? May be, but that worries me more?

    As I thought might be the case, Schneiderman is already ruled out.

    Our lot must be more 50/50 for nothing to have leaked out. No doubt something will emerge tomorrow?

    I just watched ‘The Breakdown’ on the player, and I sorry TA, Mr Clarke does not agree with your view on wingers. On Santi and Alexis his opening remarks were ‘ …they tracked back like wingers, but played more central in attack’. In fact it was a critical point he was making later, about too many bodies in the middle. Heat maps tend to back that view up too.

  27. Nik says:

    Sorry I haven’t read everything of the above comments, but there seems to be an argument about our formation 😀
    From what I saw we played the same formation in both matches which switches depending on having possession or not having possession. In possession we split the centre halves with flamini/Arteta playing slightly in front. The full backs move up to the midfield. Either Ramsey or Cazorla plays close to Flamini/Arteta to create the game while the other plays just off Giroud/Sanogo. And of course Alexis and Welbeck/Ox have played as wingers. (I explain all of this cause I don’t want so say we played a 2-1-3-1-3 :D)
    Not in possession we played a 4-3-3 which was pretty obvious in my opinion.
    Man of the match by far was Santi Cazorla and I feel a little sorry for him that he hasn’t scored himself (all season).
    Koz gave us a lot of stability and also gives the forward players a more secure feeling.
    Giroud played really well and will be very important for us in the coming weeks.

  28. jnyc says:

    Good post and comments. I hope we can build on these games, we desperately need that.

  29. James Bond says:

    not sure if it had much to do with the return of KOC and GIROUD but certainly the absence of Sczny for Martinez must have done it 😀

    how was the dortmund game and meeting with TMHT and co ? we are all expecting you to write it all in a post @ skipper !

    loving the Sega Cards @ JM !!!!!

  30. James Bond says:

    by the sounds of it (RA’s comment) seems like you have already done it, so I will have to dig the dortmund game and get to read it, ha

    ignore the above request if you’ve done it already .

    I always said that if we get 3 wins in a row in the league, we will be fine – let’s get the 2nd one this wednesday !!!

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Top stuff, Nik! 🙂

    Cheers, Johnnie. 🙂

    Yes James, just look for the Friday post. 🙂

    Gerry, as Redders indicated the first half saw more disciplined wing play compared to the second one. When do you think we played the better football, first or second half? It is all about balance in this new system. It will be a theme for a while to come.

    Great comment, Seventeenho. I watched the game again and Santi had a good game indeed (far better second half though).

  32. James Bond says:

    just read it @ skipper – thanks

    now I know what you lot meant with lack of bloggers indulging, that post deserved a lot more hits than it actually got and it’s all Glic’s fault !

    not sure about that re- Ramsey me amigo, as Ramsey is human and it’s human nature to always want more especially , if you have tasted blood before or scored 10 plus goals in a season 🙂

    he won’t stop trying until he scores a few goals or provides a few assists .

    that’s the thing though, even if you can’t score, least produce assists ? this is where the problem stems from – he has forgotten all about the assist factor from last season ? me thinks.

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey 007, I hope all is well in the real world… It’s gotta be fairly serious for you to miss matches…

    The dominant (positive) narratives on Ramsey are that he can run all day and that he never loses confidence. Another one is that he maybe is more effective when he keeps things simple. Those back-heels and Zidane stuff is all fine and good when we’re dominant but a little much when they result in turnovers. Our injury issues are such that he’s working himself back into fitness on the pitch. If he could just pick his spots a little better, Gooners might give him a little extra slack…

    My hunch is that he’s getting close, but he too did a bit of limping around up at WBA (first half, mostly, I think)… Soon enough it’ll start to happen for him… So’ton will be a good challenge as we’ll need him switched on to help the FBs who may be only half fit themselves or playing in positions with which they’re not too familiar.

    As for the lack of bloggers checking in… Winning matches, perhaps, isn’t what got a lot of Gooners onto the internet, I fear… 😦 But maybe that’ll change on Weds (and they’ll all be back)…

    IMO, we’re far from out of the woods and the confidence still feels awfully fragile. We’re also stretched extremely thin and really cannot afford any more injuries-it’s very fortunate we had Giroud to come in for injured Yaya, not to mention Flams for Arteta, allowing us to (more or less) stay with a consistent system. Fingers crossed that at least one of the RBs can pass their fitness test tomorrow… A couple of extra arrows in the quiver, perhaps, is that we’ve got maybe a little extra experience in playing the 2 matches/week than some of the other English clubs (Plus an extra day of rest for this one…) and a couple of very versatile defensive types in Flams and Chambers. Still, I’d expect another very tight match despite my hopes for something a little more comfy…

  34. geoffchase says:

    Hi TA et al

    Wife managed to leave Belgium today despite strikes here and in Germany on all the planned transport links. This all means, more time to blog in semi-real-time.

    I think regarding formation, we are playing more fluidly across the front 3. Whether it is one or another formation matter little to me than the attacking (and defending) intent it carries. Saying it doesn’t make it so, to quote a vague but useful truism…

    I think it was more structure at the back. I would attribute this to a simple, undefined 1 + 1 > 2 thing between Koz and Per. Neither is the very very best at what they do necessarily, but as a pair on form (and they often are), they are perhaps the very very best…

    Solid defense is the foundation for confidence. We were never looking like losing really. Took over a half for WBA to get a shot off. I know JB wants to note Scz absence, but Martinez was hardly troubled. That foundation also allowed us to be strong going forward and play more flowing football, with less caution (or overdone, trying too hard panic) up front. I’d call that the magic last piece (of those we have healthy-ish).

    Weds will however be a bigger test vs a strong Soton side coming off a wee hiding by Aguero and $$$… Mostly Aguero. However, I also liked the multiple threats we posed. As AR gets back some form, one hopes anyway, we will threaten more and more from all over.

    So, that’s an optimists view from south-eastern Belgium (for now)!

    cheers — jgc

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    Good points, Geoff. From Liege you could go and see my boyhood team, Roda in Kerkrade! My dad is there tonight, for his first live game in 20 years!

    Yes defence is key and we still looked dodgy on a few occasions, but we were indeed more solid than recently.


    Nice one TA

    Yes my friend, we are on the rise.

    We all know Wenger is a man who believes in freedom of expression. A man who believes in freedom of the individual within he collective good. A liberal at heart, if he were a politician he would promise you free drugs and sex, but deliver neither. A great guy.

    All Wengers great teams have mastered the art of collective and individual responsibility. At the moment this has been lacking from his current pool. They have at times resembled the cast of a Bollywood movie. Excellent uniformity, then followed by random acts of individuality akin to 50 Michael Jacksons dancing out of sync

    We are begining to see signs of improvement. Flamini stayed deeper, linking with the center backs, the shape was better, and concentration levels allied with determination have increased.

    Some big games are coming up which will show if the “collective” is growing. Lets wait and see?

  37. steve says:

    Hey TA, just checking in to say great post matey 🙂
    I think the lack of bloggers is the result of a very average match tbh, i certainly remember seeing loads of comments on our decent wins this season like the 4-1 against Gala for example. Conversely there are also admittedly even more when there is a bad loss or performance but this match was neither. It was a very average performance against a very average opponent and thus not much to comment on really, i think to call it anything else is just over thinking a bit really.
    Lets hope we get a few more goals mid week and start to look a little more like the legendary club we are and put in a fine performance to go along with the result 🙂

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Terry and Stevee 🙂

    Bring on next game!

    Night night

  39. Xavier says:

    Hey Ta et all… Good post Skipper. Was going to comment on iy but going through the comments someone or the other already picked on what i wanted to say (May also be why there may be less commenting on some posts?).. Anyways since theres not much else to add I’m just going to say i Love the Snowflakes dropping on the page in pre celebration of the christmas season. I hope the Arsenal has a good one as well.

  40. Gerry says:

    Okay Terrance, less chat on this side – GET YOUR UMF SORTED!

    Also missing the mid-week picks are ; PRINCE,and ALEX – plus TMHT.

    Still time if you are quick, as I have thing to do on that site for a while yet ..
    But the GERNI’s are ready!

  41. Gerry says:

    Forgot myself for a minute there …

    JGC – if you are having a stop over with wi-fi, that is wi-fi, not ‘wifey’, would I be that disrepectful?
    Anyway, a reminder on here about your Joker.
    The ruling came down that only 2 per player, but can be used at any time.
    Do you still want to use your 2nd Joker tonight?
    Stands until you say otherwise, okay.

    Sorry Totes,but more people click on here.

  42. geoffchase says:


    I am on the “wireless networking appliance” but at work in Belgium… Just to avoid any confusion…

    Per on UMF: Can the Joker, I will wait to use #2, tho don’t I get a third for being the first person to get negative points over a weekend (a theoretical impossibility that even Glic cant beat)?!?!? 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  43. Gerry says:

    Acknowledged on the other site Geoff, thanks.

    Stevie, it is about your waking up time? What has been your view on Wanayana, if you saw the Saints last game?

    I got to see the second half St E v Lyon on Sunday, and the former ended Lyon’s 10 match unbeaten run I am happy to say.
    Despite that, I am still impressed with Lyon’s LCB …. if only ….

    I am not sure about tonight’s games, whether to bother or not.

    Chuba hattrick for the reserves yesterday will do his calling no harm at all?
    Just off to check on who else played …

  44. steve says:

    I have to admit Gerry Wanyama didn’t look too hot in that game but I can’t think of a better “beast” alternative tbh, even Carvalho didn’t impress me much in the games ive seen so far – maybe i’m setting the bar too high.

    I think the biggest disappointment so far for me is that extremely untimely injury to Hayden because he might have made that spot his own during all this injury nonsense – such a shame.

    If it was left to me i would play the 4-1-3-2 that we played against Dortmund (see JM’s comment @ 08:26) and have the options of Jack as the quarter back choice, Hayden as the Scheiderlin choice and Chambers as the beast choice. Injuries have ruined any chance of that type of resource though.

    could you imagine


    Wilshere – passing
    Chambers – out and out defensive
    Hayden – bit of both

    anyway back to reality, who are your top scouting picks atm?

  45. Gerry says:

    Had a look at the team training photos – another new one training with them – O’Connor?

    Interesting, as he is a CB, and had a good game in the Uefa Under 19’s thing last week. I am guessing he is unlikely to feature even if there is a surprise withdrawal from our CB’s, except of course, without Monreal to cover for Kos, and Chambers proving too good at RB, so an outside possibility of a bench spot? Depends on how Kos came through the last game?
    On the photos, only Ox was seen actually kicking a ball, of the injured trio. Nothing on Gibbs, Monreal on the sidelines, as far as the fresh injuries go. All three with ‘some doubts’.
    I am assuming that was Ajayi wearing the 64 number, not his, but O’Connor was also in disguise with the 61 one. Bellerin, still without a game for ages, but the fact that he missed last night could be because of the uncertainty on Gibbs and Monreal?

    Although good news for Debuchy and Ospina, ‘may be ready next week’, which includes the CL away game, perhaps only for a few minutes But Newcastle at home on the Saturday would be a good bet? Liverpool the week later might see Hayden getting back too? Mind to disappoint Bondy, I ought mention Szczezzer might be back at the weekend for Stoke 😀

  46. Gerry says:

    Hi Steve. Yes that is the second game I’ve seen Wana play a bit in and out. MS is definitely the better of the two.
    KK I would take over the Bender, Lars that is. Agreed on WC, far too pricey for what he has shown. However, he is young enough to get better and be worth every penny in 3 years time?
    CB – SU23 without a doubt … other than the one JM throws in about bad blood between AW and their Prezzy. Grrr!
    LB … if we were looking. Well let’s just say I know where to look.
    Exciting MF who could be great, St. M. No! Last I mentioned him a rumour started. 😀
    He would be cheaper that this Palermo phenomenom, who I have not seen.
    Striker/Winger ..if we were looking? Names, names , names. none of whom are likely. Pity about ‘Rolls’ getting crocked, he would have been ideal …. perhaps now is the time to buy him? We do have the facilities to cope?

    However, we know better than to hope for our favourites, McCarthy and Mings are more likely?

  47. steve says:

    hahaha perhaps that should be our new thing at Arsenal lol, instead of buying fit players and watching them get injured simply buy injured ones and watch them become fit again 😆 I like it Gerry!
    I agree with you (as you know) about SU23, he’s got that ability to play the LB and CB role just like Sagna did on the other side – i refuse to believe Wenger hasn’t been watching him closely. I like the look of that van dijk as well.
    KK looks promising but i must admit i haven’t seen enough of him yet, i really have no clue what Wenger will be doing in the DM position – it will be exciting to see what he comes up with in the TW 🙂

  48. Gerry says:

    I did know, but here are a couple from his last game that added that ‘don’t bother to look anywhere else’ tag for me.

    Speed, as you say good enough to be a LB. But he did a Kos in this game. Hit on the counter, the other CB trying to block the guy with the ball, but it gets passed to the left wing … in a flash, he was across from his side to put a block tackle in. Very Kos-esque.

    The other was, towards the end of the game, local derby and all, being buried 3-0, tempers and tackles start getting a tad ott. Who steps in as peacemaker. You got it. Calmly ushering away opposing players, without a hint pushing and shoving. Just an arm round them and a few nods. Including Sall, who as you know dwarfed the other one, M, who went to the Chavs, but again, they seemed to get on fine. … Yet as you say, he is only 20!!
    I am seriously impressed. Cost a fortune to prize him away though?`

  49. steve says:

    As a CB the only thing that worries me Gerry is his height especially in the premiere league on corners etc.
    I tell you what though he is the same height as Chambers and those two as a DM pairing to see out a game would be incredible (both the same age almost as well)

    —————-Back four————

  50. Gerry says:

    I thought of him as a LB/DM two years ago. However, I think Wiki have not updated his height recently. They have him at 5ft 11ins. They have Sall at 6ft 4.5ins – no way is he 7.5 inches smaller than Sall. 2.5 may be. I’d say he is well over 6ft, may be even 6ft 2in?

    Thinking about, Sall is probably more likely to come ha ha.

    In the meantime, we have to soldier on with who we have. Give the options, who would you put out for LB if Gibbs and Monreal don’t make it tomorrow?

  51. steve says:

    well the only other person i’ve seen do a half descent job in that position this season is Coquelin and he’s on loan lol so i guess i would have to go with either Flamini or Bellerin or play Bellerin on the right and put Chambers in at left back.
    Very difficult question you bugger, but if i had to choose i would probably go for Bellerin and hopefully with his pace and Koscielny’s on that side any mistakes could be handled between the pair.
    How about you?

  52. Gerry says:

    Like you said it is a tough choice. I am not sure we can afford to lose Flamini from the middle?
    Chambers is probably the more two footed of the other two, and Clyne is the one they face? Along with Tadic of course?
    The less likely option would be to play 3 at the back, pushing Kos further over that side, and then have Bellerin, Ramsey, Rosicky, and Flamini in the screening roles, with Rosicky as the B2B, and Ramsey predominantly staying back in the middle. That would leave Bellerin and Flamini to cover the flanks, along with the pacier two wide CB’s?
    Just a thought?

    My guess would be, like you said, have the pace of Bellerin( as an attacking force too?), and the nous of Koscielny.

  53. Gerry says:

    Just checked on the latest scores … are the any ‘Rogers Out’ banners appearing?

  54. Gerry says:

    Right tele time for me. Night all.

  55. Gerry says:

    I have to say how instant thoughts can seem silly a minute later, in regard to live match comments?
    See Gerry@ 20:13 😳

    And just above that, the discussion between Steve and myself on the possible LB predicament. That is now a banner headline for one blog ..
    ‘Bellerin starts!’
    O f course others can come to the same conclusion and have the same observations. Thus ..
    ‘Two 17 year olds step up to train with Arsenal first team squad’
    Mind, at least Dan Coombs correctly identified Maitland- Niles, along with Stefan O’Connor.

    The former was warmly praised by Isaac Hayden in his guest appearance on the live coverage of the Uefa Youth match. Perhaps he was aware of the Arsenal coach’s similar admiration?
    As I said before, I was very impressed with Isaac on how well he articulated his views on the various players. There is a guy who just ‘lives football, playing or not. I hope his return to training is going well too.

    All this is just waffle as we await injury news, and as such, as to who will make the squad, and thus fill out the bench. The big thing being reported today, that I missed yesterday, is the continuing doubt on Koscielny. Although I did hint that that might be the reason for O’Connor stepping up. If he makes the squad, then Kos is a serious worry. It would certainly knock on the head any thought of him playing LB I would have thought?

    With that thought for any would be preview writer to consider, I will await further news and a possible ‘New Post’ announcement.


  56. James Bond says:

    Martinez, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis, Welbeck


    Macey, Gibbs, Bellerin, Rosicky, Podolski, Sanogo, Giroud

    let’s get ready to rumble !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  57. James Bond says:

    M.OWen commentating ? – KILL ME

    whenever he does the commentating , we hardly ever win

    the curse of the bashtard, ha

  58. James Bond says:

    Arsenal v Southampton (19:45 GMT)
    Posted at 19:33
    Interestingly, Arsenal have attempted more shots from outside the box than any other Premier League side this season (70). Shoot on sight?

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Up the Arse! 🙂

  60. Frozen says:

    HUGE game on our hands, folks. No other way around it.

    Surprised to see so few around these parts just minutes before kick off…

  61. 17highburyterrace says:

    007, you watching this one live?

    Giroud sat down…I didn’t see that one coming…At least the LBs aren’t too knackered…

  62. James Bond says:

    that was a flat performance in the first half.

    our weak links happen to be our fb’s – can’t wait to have a fully fit debuchy and gibbs back

    for now, we need more from Ramsey, actually we could do with a Rosicky ?

  63. James Bond says:

    Yes, I am me Amigo

    how you doing ? thanks for the kind words earlier on and concern but things are getting back to normal , slowly yet surely .

    what did you make of the first half ?

    I think it’s 11 vs 12 this one, with the ref being bit of a twit .

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey 007… Indeed very flat, and too evenly matched for comfort… I don’t want to get into any trouble but I think we need the big French Fellow in there as soon as possible… Also, I’d prefer it if we didn’t ask too much of our keeper re: the kicking at least…Not as bad as what I saw the Totts keeper do (led to Chavs 2nd) but still a couple of mishit and a couple just a hair too wide to keep in…

    Glad to hear that all is OK around with you and the missus…

    We need to keep the ball in play and keep the pressure up. Force the FKs and corners if not the ball into the net directly…

    C’mon Rambo (giving away a cheap corner) and the rest…switching off but Kos blocks the shot… Also, a bit of worry about pressing too hard and letting them break…

    Let’s go boys!

  65. James Bond says:

    agreed we need G!

  66. James Bond says:

    for crying out out – bring on a sub or 2 @ AW

  67. 17highburyterrace says:

    Passing to nobody and out of play…Or shooting into row Z… Basic technique letting us down all over the pitch…

    Big Man coming on…For the Ox…

  68. James Bond says:

    there we go

    OX off and G on !!!

    I likes !

  69. James Bond says:

    this will be fun now, expect a few goals @ Me Amigo !

  70. James Bond says:

    oh my

    welbeck should have scored there, poor.

  71. James Bond says:

    *should be

    but we are getting there, come on boys !!!

  72. James Bond says:

    Podolski, where art thou ?

  73. James Bond says:

    bitch twitchy time !!!

  74. James Bond says:

    there he is, off comes Welbeck and there comes our match winner !!! (hopefully ?

  75. Admir says:

    I have no more nails to bite and my wife is confused with my sudden question about her nails.

  76. 17highburyterrace says:

    Time wasting or Twang in the ham?… So’ton down to 10…

  77. 17highburyterrace says:

    There it is!!!! Alexis!!!

  78. Admir says:


    (My wife is now angry and asks me: “Who is she? Who is Alexis?!”)

  79. James Bond says:

    get fkin in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  80. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hold up work from Giroud might’ve gotten a handball pen…Rambo didn’t wait for the whistle…


  81. James Bond says:

    ramsey should have scored there….

  82. James Bond says:

    people will say Giroud has made all the difference and I will say Poldi is the king !!!

  83. James Bond says:

    that’s a hard earned 3 points boys,

    congratulations and start the engine time !

    DW at LW will have to do when GIROUD is fully fit, however for now we need to start Poldi at LW along with Gibbs and give Danny boy a rest .

    shame we don’t have Ozil or JW or else we could have given Sanchez and Ramsey a rest as well as both looking off the boil even though Sanchez scored, he didn’t have a good game in my opinion .

  84. 17highburyterrace says:

    Full time…

    Now we can start nit-picking?… Or defending those who get picked upon 😀

    Ramsey, I thought did well to get up and even get the shot off there at the end…tough angle…

    Alexis and Ramsey (who got the assist, which he needed…) just running and running and nobody hanging heads over the (fairly woeful) technical display of almost everybody throughout the match, I think, makes the difference… So’ton are a strong team and we’re lucky to have hit them when they had a little injury issue of their own…

    BFG and Ramsey interview suggests a lot of togetherness and belief within the group…Gotta clean up some of the basics, but at least we seem up for the fight…

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