Arsenal v Stoke Preview & Line-Up: Same 11 as against WBA bar Gibbs?

Stoke City – Arsenal Preview–Make or Break Time up in the Potteries

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Stoke away is a match which has become infamous since 2010 when a full blooded tackle from Ryan Shawcross broke Aaron Ramsey’s tibia and fibula. Shawcross (to his credit, I believe) left the field in tears, while Ramsey left it on a stretcher–to boos and derision from Stoke supporters. Subsequently, in an atmosphere of very high emotion, Cesc Fabregas led Arsenal to a 3-1 victory. Unfortunately, the acrimony between partisans was further stoked by pantomime dramas in the press around apologies and misplaced behaviours. The negative tactics (and demeanor) of then manager, Tony Pulis, did nothing to mollify matters, nor did Arsenal’s continued struggles in trips to the Britannia. Pulis is now gone, but another manager, Mark Hughes, who has never been high on the list of most revered men amongst Gooners–or our own manager, Arsene Wenger–is now at the helm. Faces have changed but the animosity most certainly has not.

Shawcross, now Captain of his club, will lead a slightly more elegant bunch onto the pitch tomorrow. Will Hughes keep the mowers off and let it grow for an extra day or two as they used to during the Pulis era? At least the groundskeepers can no longer bring in the touchlines to league minimums to favor the long throws of Rory Delap and try to hinder the better passing clubs. Things may be modernizing at Stoke City, but the always simmering bad blood between the two clubs will not be cured by the simple handshake Shawcross and Ramsey are sure to share in the moments before kickoff.

That Ramsey will have to reprise his 90+ minutes of hard running which, at the very end, yielded the assist which allowed Gooners to breathe again, is down to the injuries in the squad. Long termers Ozil, Debuchy, Wilshere are out and Theo Walcott has not recovered from a groin strain picked up on International duty. Tomas Rosicky also seems to have picked up a thigh injury and Yaya Sanogo might be carrying a hamstring strain from 10 days ago. Both left backs, Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs, are nursing knocks picked up last weekend at West Bromwich Albion and Nacho, it appears, will definitely be withheld. Laurent Koscielny, although still bothered by at least one Achilles tendon, appears to be able to continue in central defense, but faces a late fitness test. His presence along with the solid work of Damien Martinez in goal have been strong factors leading to consecutive clean sheets in the league, and three in all competitions. Even though Wojciech Szczesny has recovered from his collision with Gibbs vs ManU, it seems unlikely that he’ll get the call between the sticks.

Stoke have injury issues of their own. Jonathan Walters has a knee problem and Glenn Whelan and Robert Huth are also doubtful with calf injuries. Stephen Ireland could miss out because of illness while Steve Sidwell, Peter Odemwingie, Victor Moses and Dionatan Teixeira are all sidelined with longer term issues.

At least Hughes and Stoke had an extra day to recover from their midweek match on Tuesday at ManU. They lost that one, 2-1, but it was a very close and hard fought battle which turned on the slimmest of margins. They also played very well vs Liverpool and only lost on a late goal from Glen Johnson. Will they be lacking confidence from the results or taking heart in the strong performances and feeling they are due?

Arsenal, in many respects, are coming from an opposite perspective, having eked out tight wins in their last two. The fight and organization shown has been good but the inability to create more comfortable margins has taken a toll. While the manager would surely love to rotate his players, he’ll instead have to ask his guys to dig deeper, perhaps promising stalwarts like Atlas, er, Alexis Sanchez, a chance to rest in midweek when we have to make the long trip to Istanbul for the final Champions’ League group match. At least Galatasaray will have nothing to play for in that one. We would like to win that match to have a chance at winning the group, but that seems a long-shot, given that group leaders Dortmund are playing (also eliminated) Anderlecht in their home stadium.

Talking recently about his team and “lessons learned,” in reference to the way the team got exposed chasing an equalizer against ManU two weeks ago, Wenger may also be chastened by his experience in this same fixture last season. In that one, our attack, despite ample possession, was unable to make headway against a stubborn Stoke defence. Trying to rest key players, notably Mesut Ozil, backfired when, with only 15 minutes to go, a very soft handball penalty was called on Laurent Koscielny and subsequently converted by Jonathan Walters. Despite the introduction of Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sanogo, the goal served to re-invigorate the Stoke team (and their crowd) and they were able to see out the victory. Trying to push earlier (and take the home support out of the match) then, might be a better tactic.

arsene 300

With that notion in mind, my best guess for the starting 11 would be the group which started at WBA, with the one change at Left Back.

Arsenal v Stoke 17HT

Bench = Szczesny, Bellerin, Ajayi, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski, Campbell (and one of Sanogo or Rosicky depending of fitness)

I could give a list of who I believe Stoke will play, but instead, I will only name the guy they (and their support) will be attempting to influence… The referee, one Anthony Taylor, infamous to Gooners for his work on Opening Day last season vs Aston Villa. Will he seek to make up for that (woeful) performance or continue in his efforts to punish our brand of football? Regardless, despite his Howard Webb hairstyle, he seems like one of the younger sorts, brought up based on a reputation for “letting them play”… Hopefully he can curb that tendency just a bit, remembering the ugliness of the Ramsey injury and its aftermath. Maybe Rambo should show him the scar… Again, taking the crowd out of this one, in the hope that the better side can prevail, seems a worthwhile tactic.

Can we do that and, more pointedly, are we actually the better side?

Under Hughes, Stoke have quietly gathered a good group which includes Stephen N’zonzi (another deep lying midfielder Arsenal might’ve considered given our own troubles in this area) and Barcelona flop, Bojan Krkic. Peter Crouch (no longer an automatic in the first 11) always seems to play his best against Arsenal and another new player, Mame Biram Diouf, took down another big team, Man City, with a solo effort on the counter for Stoke’s best moment of the season.

Stretched as we are (and Wenger admitted to the team “lacking fluency” vs Southhampton), I would say that this will be a (very) tough one. As the manager also suggests, we have to hope the boys can dig deep and get the job done. Given the high expectations of most Gooners, nothing less than taking the full 3 points will suffice. Stoke, of course, also need a result and will be well motivated to get one in front of their home support. They will also have a full week of time off before the next one, so I would expect them to pull out all the stops to leave it all out on the pitch and do everything they can to draw a line under this run of close results (but strong performances) which have gone against them. There must be a million other platitudes to suggest that another very tough battle awaits.

Insert your favorite… Or tell us who you would play (and how you would rotate) and what sort of result you’re expecting… Or anything else… πŸ™‚

Go on you Gunners, Up the Arsenal, etc., etc., etc.

Written by: 17HighburyTerrace

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130 Responses to Arsenal v Stoke Preview & Line-Up: Same 11 as against WBA bar Gibbs?

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Super stuff, 17. Very well written and you got the sentiments around this game spot on. There is a history between Arsene and that referee that goes further than the Villa game. Lets keep a close eye on him but I fear the worst. The Guardian reported late last night that Alexis will play today but not midweek, so I reckon your predicted line up is spot on, except for the goallie maybe.

    Off to walk the four-footer – catch you later. πŸ™‚

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Steve wrote in last post:
    great post TA! i can’t believe you were there for that game and in such difficult circumstances to start with lol – great story mate and a great read! πŸ™‚

    I guess we will find out how much of a gambling man Wenger is today. If you ask me two players have been overwhelmingly responsible for our renewed structure and winning results within the team as of late – Kos and Sanchez.

    Kos has been monitored for the last couple of days over his ongoing injury and Sanchez looked a little knackered (not surprising) in the last game. So the question is do you risk fatigue and injury to two players that have begun to put our season back on track for a win away at stoke. Can you guys remember what we were like back when Kos was missing? do we want to risk that situation again? even more so with Monreal now injured as well? But without his strength in defense wont Stoke completely bully us at the back?
    Its a huge gamble and a very difficult decision to make – glad i’m not the boss today!

    I personally would rest them both and then again for the Gala match so that they both have a nice long rest before the influx of games over the xmas period – but that’s just me.

    I’m playing it safe and would go for something like this:


    Cazorla for OX, if he looks lost in that role
    Campbell for Podolski if he begins to tire
    cross your fingers Gibbs doesn’t get injured

    I know that looks inexperienced at the back and slightly untested up front but i simply don’t value a win at stoke over protecting Kos and Sanchez for the rest of the hectic x-mas period, it wouldn’t be pretty but maybe we could grind out a draw or even nick a win.

    Gerry, i think Rosicky has picked up an injury mate

    Cheers Steve πŸ™‚

    Good reasoning there and yes the boss has a big decision to make. If we play it tight then all our players are partly protected by the style of play. If we go out all attack our defenders will get exposed and are more likely to pick up an injury. I reckon Koz and Gibbs are both risks but I would take them as we need momentum and OGAAT is OGAAT. πŸ™‚

    Alexis I would rest. Just have him on the bench to come on and make a difference if need be. I like your line up though, especially in midfield and attack.

  3. steve says:

    great post 17HT extremely well written as usual mate and TA for the last post which i was late for – i can’t believe you were there for that game and in such difficult circumstances to start with lol – great story mate and a great read! πŸ™‚

    I guess we will find out how much of a gambling man Wenger is today. If you ask me two players have been overwhelmingly responsible for our renewed structure and winning results within the team as of late – Kos and Sanchez.

    Kos has been monitored for the last couple of days over his ongoing injury and Sanchez looked a little knackered (not surprising) in the last game. So the question is do you risk fatigue and injury to two players that have begun to put our season back on track for a win away at stoke. Can you guys remember what we were like back when Kos was missing? do we want to risk that situation again? even more so with Monreal now injured as well? But without his strength in defense wont Stoke completely bully us at the back?
    Its a huge gamble and a very difficult decision to make – glad i’m not the boss today!

    I personally would rest them both and then again for the Gala match so that they both have a nice long rest before the influx of games over the xmas period – but that’s just me.

    I’m playing it safe and would go for something like this:


    Cazorla for OX, if he looks lost in that role
    Campbell for Podolski if he begins to tire
    cross your fingers Gibbs doesn’t get injured

    I know that looks inexperienced at the back and slightly untested up front but i simply don’t value a win at stoke over protecting Kos and Sanchez for the rest of the hectic x-mas period, it wouldn’t be pretty football but maybe we could grind out a draw or even nick a win.

  4. steve says:

    hahaha you beat me to it TA πŸ˜†
    Just delete that last comment mate as they are both the same
    Cheers mate

  5. Gerry says:

    And if I can put my reply to Steve first HT, I’ll come back to yours.

    Yes, since writing that, I did read of Rosi’s absence. Perhaps that is why the M-N talk is about? From my line up it is a simple case of throwing Cazorla to the wolves I guess?

    HT, spendid job. The thing I take most heart from is their list of injuries. Most of those names are ones we have come to regret seeing in their squad at one time or another?

    I really do doubt he will risk Kos at this time. I am hoping it is a misprint, but they have Gibbs down with a hamstring? That would be worse than the knock, and could mean a wasted sub?
    More likely it is Welbeck who has the hammy? In which case an opportunity for Poldi to shine?

    I suppose right now, I would settle for a 0-0 draw, and be happy to keep them at bay for 95 minutes. But I am sure we should get a couple of opportunities, and Santi is due a goal?

  6. steve says:

    btw has anyone seen how influential the Sunday and Monday games are to us?

    West Ham v Swansea
    Southampton v Man Utd

    If both those games are draws and we win at Stoke we would leap frog West Ham, go level with Man U and only be one point behind Southampton going into the busy fixtures.

    interesting and important set of games coming up, lets hope we grind out a win at Stoke πŸ™‚

  7. James Bond says:

    that’s a brilliant preview @ Me Amigo !

    nice background to the rivalry with the history and all that – yes, Ramsey must still have nightmares about it but if he was to get back into form, then today is the day when he can finally score a goal and provide a couple of assists as well , I reckon !

    you are right though, it’s not going to be easy but hey, nothing in life ever is ehhhhh

    agreed with your starting 11 and loving that AW picture with the glory in mind !

  8. James Bond says:

    Newcastle 1 – Chelsea 0


  9. James Bond says:


    Stoke v Arsenal (15:00 GMT)
    Posted at
    Spanish 19-year-old right back Hector Bellerin makes his second Premier League start for Arsenal. Full team news to follow.

  10. James Bond says:

    Stoke vs Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez credits Arsenal’s ‘beautiful style of football’ and believes their quality is as good as Barcelona’s

    Good lad !!!

  11. James Bond says:

    Martinez, Bellerin, Chambers, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Flamini, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis, Cazorla, Giroud

    Subs: Szczesny, Koscielny, Ajayi, Maitland-Niles, Campbell, Podolski, Welbeck

    Begovic; Bardsley, Shawcross, Muniesa, Pieters; Nzonzi, Cameron; Diouf, Bojan, Walters; Crouch

    Subs: Butland, Huth, Whelan, Ireland, Adam, Assaidi, Shenton

  12. James Bond says:

    it’s the best starting 11 minus Koc , in my opinion .

    Welbeck needed a breather .

  13. James Bond says:

    2-0 Newcastle

    Chelsea ahahahhahahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahahhaha

    the wheels are coming off !!!


  14. Retsub says:

    Come on you barcodes 2 ….0

  15. James Bond says:

    oh steven taylor, what a numpty

    red carded .

    2-1 Chelsea with Drogba scoring .

    7 minutes to go, come on newcastle !!!

  16. Retsub says:

    Invincible huh

  17. James Bond says:

    and chelsea lose !!!

    2-1 to Newcastle, get in there


    if we win today then the lead will be down to 10 points , come on lads, let’s get the 3 points now !!!

    we can do this.

  18. Dylan says:

    Good starting line up in my opinion. Can’t tell what formation Stoke are playing. Maybe a 4-1-2-1-2? Or a 4-2-1-1-2. Or possibly a 4-2-2-2. Either way, the wings will be easily exploited. Get the ball wide to Alexis and Ox a lot and we will have a lot of joy crossing into Giroud. Try to go down the middle and we’ll get stomped on.

  19. James Bond says:

    Agreed @ D

  20. James Bond says:

    by the way, am sorry to hear about the tough week you have had @ Me Amigo

    I hope the mighty Arsenal can cheer you up plenty πŸ™‚

  21. James Bond says:

    1-0 stoke

    what were you doing there @ Chambers and Bells ?

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not exactly the start we were hoping for… Not really keeping the crowd out of it, either… 😦

  23. James Bond says:

    great cross from young bells and giroud misses an open header, argh

  24. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bad miss from Ollie..Great run and cross from Hector… Should be level…

  25. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well, at least Crouch didn’t get on the end of that one…And the ref is trying to keep things from getting too crazy…Giroud has been very poor thus far and will need to do better. It seems they won’t try to sit on the early goal… We’re making inroads but must convert…

  26. 17highburyterrace says:

    2 nil

  27. James Bond says:

    not sure if Gibbs is at the races today

    2 goals down and both from his side .

  28. James Bond says:

    time to bring on Welbeck and let Ramsey go, shift OX through the center and sorted ?

  29. AB says:

    Afternoon chaps. Not a good one so far sadly. I hoped the first goal would serve as a boot up the arse and get us up and at them. But it looks like one of those days when people ask what happened to defensive coaching. It seems we can’t defend without Kos.

  30. James Bond says:

    3-0 /

  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow… 3-nil…

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well, I thought this would be a tough one, but not quite this tough…

  33. AB says:

    We have youngsters and midgets out on the field; its hardly a new story. Its just we don’t normally get actually dismantled by Stoke. I may not want to read blog comments for a while at the end of this game as I fear I know what the protest will be. If we really can’t defend without a fit Kos then we must try to buy quality in January; more promising youth won’t do it. Some chickens really coming home this afternoon.

  34. steve says:

    Half time thoughts:

    Pitiful just fucking pitiful lol

    I hope its Gibbs injury that’s preventing him from trying to block any of the crosses Stoke try because if its not then he should be taken aside and shouted at.
    Ramsey continues his completely wank form and he and Flamini can just not start any decent runs out of defense into attack. And offer almost nothing as a defensive shield in front of the back four.
    Cazorla looks lost
    Sanchez can’t pass or put a ball in to save his life atm
    Giroud missing free headers and falling about the place in slow motion and reminding us why we were all suspect of him last season
    OX doing his spits and spurts routine and not really getting into the game
    BFG where do i start

    Literally from front to back – woeful

    Well i just hope we can at least put in a better performance in the second half.

    Why do you do this to me Arsenal πŸ‘Ώ

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    We can still win this πŸ˜‰

  36. AB says:

    Afternoon TA. My thoughts too at 2 nil. But 3?…..

  37. James Bond says:

    course we can but we need Poldi ASAP

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    We need the refs to erase a couple more of their goals and then we’re right in this….

  39. 17highburyterrace says:

    Soft one given… Do we have anybody who can take it?…

    Santi wants a chance…And converts….

  40. 17highburyterrace says:

    3-2… Great Rambo volley from the corner…

  41. Admir says:

    I didn’t get why Bojan’s goal was chalked off. What happened?

    Anyway, it’s not that bad as it looks in terms of our attacking play – we create chances. The fact we can’t defend is another thing.

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    They called Diouf offside and interfering in the play…Replay looks like Gibbs might’ve played him at least level… Not a call you’d expect to get in the away stadium, that’s for sure…

  43. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chambers off…Goofiest match ever?… Not the best afternoon for young Calum…

  44. AB says:

    Dire. But could we yet sneak an equalizer?

  45. Admir says:

    Is there a more repulsive player than Charlie Adam? He out-Shawcrossed Shawcross.

  46. James Bond says:

    Chambers is more hype less substance .

    who ever was rooting for him at CB seriously needs their head examined .

  47. James Bond says:

    it’s time for the likes of Chambers, and OX to be sitting on the bench for the likes of KOC and Joel.C .

    Debuchy has a chance of playing against Gala – I think he will play .

    it could have been embarrassing but 3-2 is a score line that flatters .

    Stoke were Arsenal in Disguise and Arsenal were hmmmmmm lethargic – shame Alexis couldn’t score after doing all the hardwork and hitting the pole .

  48. Gino92 says:

    I am obviously not happy with this result but I am not angry either. Weird… I think it is because Chelsea finally lost and that means not only did we not lose any ground (still 13-point gap), we also preserved our INVINCIBLE status, hahaha πŸ™‚ I am extremely happy about that. Now let go and win our next league game to start closing the gap on Chelsea. Yeh!
    However, our defense needs some real work at some point. Seriously! Should we hire a couple of defensive specialists to sort us out?

  49. James Bond says:

    Gino –

    I think we are all focusing on the wrong thing, barking up the wrong tree .

    we should be working on our strengths – and to put it bluntly, defending has not been our forte from the last decade or so , therefore – we should accept it as it is and try to outscore teams .

    you score more goals – you win, it’s a pretty simple philosophy .

    you have the likes of Poldi, Welbeck, Sanchez – play them behind GIROUD with Alexis in the no.10 role .

    bench Santi = sorted .

    Poldi is a goal scorer, to hell with what he provides with his work rate back tracking and what not, give him the freedom as well as Welz and Giroud and am pretty confident that it will work .

    the goals we conceded today were embarrassing .

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    My streams were terrible and I missed a few of the goals, so cannot really comment. But I am with Gino. If you had asked me: would you take an Arsenal loss for a Chelsea loss this weekend, I would have devoured your hand. We won’t win the PL, but the Invincibles status remains unbeaten. That is worth so much. πŸ™‚

  51. Milo says:

    Do our players know how to spell arrogance, or complacency??? They might not understand much of what is shouted at them by the Stoke fans, even though it might help if they did (or hurt). Those are the only two words I can use to explain the concession of a goal in the first minute, to a club that hates you and the only explanation I can use for our players not acknowledging this hate. This is the club I detest the most at this moment, as they don’t hate us for our success, or our past faults. They hate us because a player of Arsenal (rightly) refused to accept an apology from a player of Stoke, who broke his leg. It’s not because of the FA Cup incidents in the late 70’s early 80’s, or whenever. No one remembers that shit. I’ll always remember the Ramsey incident and even more so, the fact that Arsenal are the villains, in their eyes. You talk to one of them in a dark room and they would say they are wrong, but when the floodlights come on, they can’t help themselves, even though, they could, if they wanted to. If I played a side such as Stoke, it wouldn’t be about beating the other 11 players out there on the opposition. No, it would be about inflicting pain on them and everyone who supports them. The only player who played the day of Aaron’s injury, who played today is Aaron himself, so maybe that’s the problem. That is where, you as a player, need to open your eyes and ears and take in your surroundings. They hate you, through no fault of your own. They want to see you fail, they want to see you injured, they probably couldn’t care if you were put in to an ambulance.

    Instead, our boys are too pre-occupied with playing perfectly, or looking perfect in appearance and action, or both (all three, whatever). Maybe they should forget the whole macho thing altogether and actually look and be scared. Maybe that would help. I think they try too hard to ignore the animosity and hate. Either that or they try to rise above it, but it isn’t happening. We lose every time. If someone hates me, at first I question why, but then, if I do not get any satisfactory answers, I reciprocate that hate. Do not tell me you would not (if only temporarily) do the same. Except our players (it seems) refuse to acknowledge their inner most desires (on a football pitch). I’m not saying break legs, no. I’m saying break Charlie Adam’s leg, or ankle ligaments. I actually don’t know if I’m joking on that one or not…I say no right now, but if I see him do something next week, it’ll be a yes. Either that, or go to the press and say “Stop all this hate. Not only is it near Christmas, I want to be able to model my own hair (Santi, Alexis, Giroud, Ramsey) over the holidays, instead of lying in a hospital bed”. CHANGE. DO SOMETHING PROACTIVE.

  52. steve says:

    Lets face it lads that Santi, Ramsey, Flamini triangle is too weak and off form to have offered much today, not helped by Giroud producing nothing ahead and Sanchez having an off day.

    At the back it was always going to be difficult with the giants Stoke play with but even so i think Gibbs was just trying not to agitate his injury and as a result put in the only bad performance i have seen from him all season, BFG still looked lost without Kos, Chambers at CB had a baptism of fire as so did Bellerin.

    Put the problems at the front with the problems in the middle and support them with the problems at the back and do you know what you get?

    I still remain pretty steadfast in believing the only players that look like they belong in an Arsenal shirt atm or Sanchez and OX, Welbeck put in his usual hardworking shift but still produced nothing though (although i doubt many could today with the midfield play).

    Very disappointing day and result, i hope there are some big changes made for the Gala game – whats the worst that could happen? the team as it is atm got completely out played BY STOKE!

  53. Admir says:

    @007 – mate, I wouldn’t give up on Santi. He has been much better in the last ten days than he had been during three months before that. His shooting has been…well, to put it mildly, at this moment, if I were sentenced to death penalty, I’d like Santi to be in the firing squad…but he has shown a new-found energy.

    We had one-and-half defender from our best defensive 5 today, a referee that is Tony Pulis’ Stoke among the referees, Alexis who needs a good rest (but yet managed to be our best player today) and Olivier Giroud who should be a super-sub for a while on the pitch.

    To be honest, I agree with TA regarding this weekend. Then again, the fact that Chavs’ losing the chance to hurt our record has been the best moment of our league campaign so far says it all. Even if we win next four matches in the league, we’ll have just 35 points after the first half of the season which is seven points less than we won last term.

  54. James Bond says:

    I hear you @ Admir

    however, Alexis will offer us so much more in the Santiago role (no.10) and Poldi is a much better option to have at LW – we are looking for goal scoring options

    take out Alexis’s goals and this team has a real problem with that .

    who are our goal scorer’s ? Poldi / Giroud / Welbeck – all 3 must play more and more together with Alexis’s behind them

    Santiago has done ok but let’s be honest, he has been given a lot of space and freedom by the opposition teams as well – as most are marking the Alexis’s , Welz or OX’s –

    tweak this as I suggest, then see alot of players marking Alexis through the center which will open up the flanks for the likes of Poldi/Welz/OX

    this will be a tactical masterstroke in the absence of Ozil, Alexis must be played as a no.10 .

    I do like Santi though but it’s time for him to be on the bench for a bit .

  55. James Bond says:

    just to substantiate my point above –

    without Alexis’s goals, we would be 17/18th in the table .

    hence – our main problem isn’t defending, it’s scoring .

    yes, defending is a problem, sure – but not the main one or major one , the lack of goals from other players is the real concern .

    PS: Hello Arsene Wenger – if you are reading this then you know what needs to be done for the next 3 games .

    sorted !

  56. AB says:

    TA – not often I disagree with you, but I can’t view today’s results as on balance good. Sure the invincible record is one to be proud of – and I would hate the Chavs in particular to share; but to ship 3 goals to the orcs in one half!!!? No way. Today was an opportunity to make up ground and show a bit of pride against a team where we have history; we spurned both sadly.

    Our defence and DM shield were again lacking, but this time the problem was compounded by an off day in front of them. Now I’m not going to join the Wenger out brigade or anything daft like that, but I do feel really disappointed by our inconsistency this season, when it felt like we got on top of that last year. The squad is, I believe, stronger on paper this year than last, but the team is playing like a group of strangers. We need Kos and Deb back fit so badly, and we must I think address the DM/CB space in January.

    Further forward, we are missing Ozil, Jack and Walcott big time, but hopefully 2 of these will be back soon. I wish folk would give Ramsey and Santi some space; they have proved their quality for us (been amongst the best in the league at times) and given a little backing to play into form, they will be top PL players again. I remain hopeful that we will click in periods this season and put some big performances in. Sadly, we are just as likely to have some complete no-shows and get stuffed on other days. Ever the lot of the happy gooner!

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    AB πŸ™‚

    I am as disappointed as you re today’s performance but saw it coming; or at least I took it into account. No Koz cost us dearly. Chambers is knackered, Bellarin is too inexperienced for such a game, Gibbs is not 100% right and BFG is not leading enough…. The early goal harmed us a lot as it meant we had to go out and attack…

    We will analyse it over the next few days but you are spot on re all the injuries. We only won there once in nine years now…. So we needed a fully fit squad to give them a proper game.

  58. TotalArsenal says:

    Great comment, Milo. There is truth in your guttural stuff. πŸ˜›

  59. Simba says:

    We are now a laughing stock because of Wenger. How can he play Bellerin against Stoke when he does not play him against soft teams like Southampton. He is not planning how to use his available players for the upcoming fixtures eg because Koscielny was not fit enough he should have rested him for one game so that he could play against Stoke. When is Per going to be benched. It seems he is a favourite of the coach yet he is our biggest letdown this season.

  60. Milo says:

    Call me passionate, whatever, but the stuff Arsenal TV air (these interviews with Claude and the gang) It’s way too extreme, on both sides. They look like “people of the land” (as described in Blazing Saddles), you know…Morons. Yelling and screaming over a bloody football match. I used to be like that, as recently as a couple of years ago. What changed??? I’ll tell ya what changed…My Mother died, my house was falling down, I was running out of cash, I was sick…So I started concentrating on trying to take care of more important things and I still am. I’ll admit it, I didn’t watch the second half, I didn’t even get to three nil. I’m not saying that’s for everyone and thank god it’s not. I knew I needed to chill before a concert tonight, I needed to practice and then I needed to leave the house to go play. I guess I love music ( my life?) :D, more than football. Some people don’t love any other past time(s), more than football, as evidenced by the giant sums of money they fork out to go to the Emirates, as well as to travel for the away matches. Should every matchday ticket carry not so fine print, that states that we haven’t competed for the league title in over 10 years and that we cannot buy ourselves one??? I mean think what would be on the Philadelphia 76’rs tickets!!! I know they actually won a game a few nights ago, but you nkow where I’m hailing from right??? People get so angry about this, but it’s only because they care too much, without being objective. Either they get angry because someone is “not behind the club/team/whatever, or they get angry because people defend the club. As long as the club seems happy to stick with fourth place, that is all I will expect. It might be right, it might be wrong. Would I want us to do ANYTHING to win every year and still not win every year??? Like compromise other clubs financially or competitively such as the New York Yankees, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Los Angeles Lakers try and do/have done/are doing??? No. I am a football fan FIRST, Arsenal fan second. People might see it differently than me…Do I care??? Nah.

    The spark in someone’s eye, if you impart new knowledge, a new perspective, opinion, or whatever will very often give you a clue as to whether someone agrees with you or not. An inflection of the voice (you know)…Sometimes it takes a lot longer than that for people to come around and accept or even AGREE with you. If I said to my Dad that Wenger will win us a title, I don’t think I’d see that spark. I never would have, and hats off to him for sticking to his guns. I haven’t. Or at least not entirely. I read too many comments on here that differ from my opinion, so I alter, or temper my initial opinion. Maybe it’s because I feel that others do not value my opinion, so therefore it weakens my resolve. It probably wouldn’t happen with music, as I know I have a wealth of knowledge regarding that subject. Maybe it would, as, as hard as it is to believe, I don’t like conflict. I prefer others to agree with me (as do most others) or to just leave me alone. I agree with what others have to say or offer, but HARDLY ever WHOLEHEARTEDLY. I hardly ever say “yeah, you are 100% correct, you’re spoutin’ the gospel”. I actually think that’s the case with most people, or a good number of them.

    I’ll say it now…We will not win another title with this ownership. Am I wrong??? No one knows, it’s an opinion, it’s subjective (objective???) Too tired to bother to make sure I got that one right…Am I right??? Well if the ownership and board pull out tomorrow, then hell yes, I do believe I am 100% coooooooorrrrrrrrrect!!!

  61. steve says:

    question for Gerry if you’re about mate;

    do you know if Ajayi and Maitland-Niles are registered for champions league qualifying phase?
    I checked on the following link and it doesn’t look like it but they also have Giroud down as registered and we know that’s not true so it makes me question the information’s accuracy, i was wondering if you knew?
    (scroll down to the bottom and click the qualifying phase tab)

    Cheers mate

  62. D-Money says:

    In the last 10 years there have been poor refereeing performances, poor individual errors by our players and occassionally just brilliant opposition. But you know what hasn’t changed in that period? We still do not prepare tactically game-to-game. When Stoke score from 3 crosses against you, you know you didn’t have a game plan to counter their threat and that is poor management. Gross negligence even.
    You blame the injuries but we went into a full season with 6 1st team defenders, that isn’t bad luck, its mismanagement. We didn’t sign a DM because Diaby who had played a handful of games in the last 5 seasons was going to be fit all season, that is overly optimistic and just reckless planning.
    Over the years players have left and the entire squad has changed but we are still making the same mistakes, and there is only one constant: Wenger.
    You say you can’t blame the coach for individual errors or having to play squad players due to injuries: a) who signed each of those players making those mistakes? B) who failed to build a squad deep enough to deal with injuries to defenders in 3 different positions? Koscielny, Nacho and Debuchy do not all play CB or LB or RB, they all play different positions, where is their back up? If you have 3 CBs out fine, but that’s not the case with us, its poor management and planning.
    We had Alexis marking Crouch at at least 2 corners FFS! That isn’t down to injuries, its lack of leadership and organisation.
    You can pretend all you want and try and deflect all you want to injuries, poor referreeing etc. But we have a manager who has delivered 1 trophy in 10 years-why don’t you start there?
    Wosrt part: yesterday wasn’t a shock or surprise and neither are the narratives, its all boringly familiar, as Alisher said, we have a once great manager who is refusing to adapt and change and he is currently the biggest problem at AFC. Until he goes nothing will change. Simple as that

    Some will call me “reactionary” and “knee jerk”- hardly knee jerk when I’ve held this view for at least 2/3 years now.
    Also this victim mentality we have is annoying. It’s always poor old Arsenal being assualted by oppositio players…its always poor old Arsenal suffering the only injuries…and you wonder why people say “It’s Arsenal, they’re always moaning about something”. We knew gong in Stoke was gong to be a physical confrontation, I’m not saying its right, but it the reality, what was our plan to deal with that- we can’t just lie down and play victim again-do better.

  63. D-Money says:

    Everything else aside: I hate that I look at a game v Stoke (a mid table team at best) with trepedition and fear. I hate that I am not surprised by the embarassment that was that 1st half. I am not sure if getting rid of Wenger will fix everything or how long it will take before the new guy can affect proper change, but what I am sure of is that the status quo simply will not do. We can do better. AFC deserves better. I do not know who that person is that should or can replace AW, and that doesnt bother me, there are people at AFC who are employed to know that…so I see “but who can replace Wenger?” As just a half-baked admittance change is needed but not being willng to fully commit to that view. (God forbid, they label you a WOB!) (Which I’m not, do not subscribe to extremist narratives, these views are my own LOL πŸ˜‰ )

  64. Gerry says:

    How do you follow that???

    Perhaps by talking about players, the match, and the result, in less emotional terms, and stick to some sort of analysis?

    My thoughts on the first half were mixed. I only saw the match this morning, and having not listened to it, or knew anything about it, or any other scores other than the first and last ones. Unfortunately there was a banner headline when I logged on, ‘Arsene on loss to Stoke and the red card’ …. I briefly hoped it was about the game last season …
    Almost immediately after the kick off, I knew it wasn’t. That is when the analytical side of me kicked in. Two players who I wanted be kept out, Gibbs and Ox, were not having good games.
    I think Steve is right, the combination of being needed to play, and the reputation of the Stoke physicality seemed like neither wanted to get too close. Gibbs in his defending. Ox with early, and largely poor, passing. That changed in the second half, after the half time talk, I think?
    Bellerin I thought was unlucky to be subbed, as he was doing okay, albeit rescuing situations with his pace. If I was doing the subbing, we would have probably lost 3-nil, but AW seemed to take the gamble to lose 5 or 6 in pursuit of getting the draw?
    If you take the view that Martinez was not at fault for any of the goals due to the lack of defensive protect, then Szczesny deserves similar treatment?
    Chambers has been found out at RB when things get desperate? Today it was at CB. It is not his fault that he hasn’t the experience yet. It is a game you hope he will learn from? The fact he is thrust into these situations is another matter. What I do find baffling is why, when he got his red card was Ajayi not used? Putting Ramsey back the was pointless, imo. You lose an attacking midfielder, and possibly open up our defence up for another 8-2? Although, as I said before, Ajayi would have been on at half time, Chambers moved to B2B/DM role in place of Ramsey if I had been in charge. It was a perfect opportunity to see how Mertersacker would be with a ‘real’ CB alongside?
    Overall, it was just a bad time to play Stoke. Methinks the return leg will be a whole lot different!

    One game at a time, eh? I hope the Gala scouts were at the game, because they may find a whole different attitude out there, and one they may not be prepared for?

  65. Gerry says:

    Steve, M-N wouldn’t have to be as he is covered by the ‘home grown’ youth rule, being only 17 last August. Ajayi he has just turned 20 last month, and is also ‘home grown’, but whether he needed to be named on the ‘B-list’? I am guessing he would have to be?
    Akpom would get in though?

    I watch Diabolique last night. He scored an outrageous goal, but seemingly he was a target of rotational fouling. I missed the first 20 odd minutes when they were on top, so I probably missed his best contributions ..except the goal. You need to see the video, but basically …
    ‘on the edge of the box in space, ball chipped over defenders slightly behind him. He heel chips the ball from behind him so it drops 4 yards from the left hand post. Keeper comes rushing out … ‘D’ hits of the full, down and under the keeper, far corner!’

    I want him. But I bet AW will hesitate and go for a cheaper option?

  66. steve says:

    mate i need a video link, that sounds like an amazing goal!

    “But I bet AW will hesitate and go for a cheaper option?”
    hahahaha NO DOUBT!

  67. steve says:

    yeah i am guessing because they are not named on the B-list then they aren’t registered to play no matter what age they are. But it says Giroud is registered which is bollocks so i don’t know how reliable that info is?

  68. Gerry says:

    D-Money – You do blur the lines between history and current some what?

    Hindsight after a match is always crystal clear. But I did not see you comment before kick off that we would lose because the team that was out there wasn’t up to it?
    Did you know that Gibbs might not give 100% because of his recent knock.
    Did you know beforehand that Chambers was a rubbish CB?
    Did you know that the collective defending of the past 3 games was going to disintegrate?

    No? Instead, hindsight enables you to beat the same drum that you have for the last however how long? It doesn’t make you wrong. But, again because you are lacking the hindsight to know if anybody else could do a better job it doesn’t make it right either?
    But that doesn’t bother you either.

    Being on first name terms with ‘our Russian’ won’t help much, as his billionaire status may be short-lived when he starts being taxed, and Gazpom gets nationalised.

    Just remember LVG had Β£150m to spend and has still go a crap defence ..

  69. Gerry says:

    Steve, this link looks useful for future reference:

    No sign of Ajayi, but Stefan O’Connor is?
    Full backs Tafari Moore and B54, Ainsley M-N in midfield, and Chuba up front, are all in there.

    I sure 101 GG will have the video up tomorrow. if they live up to their name.

    The commentators said immediately after that ‘..if he meant that pass to himself it would be a great goal’ … Then they saw the close up replay ha ha. It was a truly amazing goal

    Come to think of it, the BT Sunday night program will be sure to show it again and again.

  70. James Bond says:


    West Ham 1-1 Swansea – Andy Carroll
    Posted at 41 mins
    Carl Jenkinson’s cross from the right finds Andy Carroll in the penalty area and his towering header back across goal levels for the Hammers. It is the striker’s first goal since 31 March.

    Joshua Murray: Can’t understand why Arsenal haven’t recalled Carl Jenkinson?

  71. Gerry says:

    I couldn’t get the video to work, but D is the bottom player just entering the box.
    He looks back to where the pass is coming, and I think he must have overrun the line of it – coming from the wing, deeper if you know what I mean?
    Anyway, he clips it with his right heel, over his head … and to complete the magic, he scores.

    He did do other things, btw.

  72. Gerry says:

    JB – Probably there is no clause in the season long loan?

  73. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oh No! Fabs does a WoeJo… πŸ˜€

    Longer post coming…You’ve been warned… πŸ˜€

  74. James Bond says:

    pay the loan money back and get him back ? how much would the penalty be ? peanuts compared to the points he can help us gain or the qualities he will bring .

    Can’t imagine anyone arguing with the fact that Jenks is better than both Chambers and Bellerin at right back .

    he can even play at LB and do a job better than Flamini .

    no clause, no problem – pay the fine for breaking the deal and so be it – let them have Joel .C instead or another player .

    this one’s a no brainer really .

  75. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good stuff here in the comments given what we witnessed yesterday… I especially enjoyed Milo’s posts, the 2nd one more than the 1st, of course… AB, I think, is another elder statesman (currently posting–where are you TMTH?–I want to try and model…

    The dream of going to Stoke and winning (which, if you read my post, I was pinning on hope, not logic…) is that we can take out the crowd and the physicality of their approach and beat them with technical superiority. Indeed, we needed to “be men,” but, alas, had to start with only tired ones and a few boys.. It was always going to be difficult, but giving up the first goal so quickly and in calamitous (Calum-itous?..) fashion effectively ended the match. When Bellerin’s pace yielded a sure equalizer and Giroud missed wide, for me, it was the final nail. As such, the rest was more ridiculous and (faintly) amusing than a cause for outrage.

    For me, it was hardly a football match, more a demonstration of two very different clubs showing off their frailties and their strengths. The scoreline is pure gloss, by the way, and that’s one (or two) aggro linesmen (trying to move up to full-on ref?…) to take their 4th off the scoreboard and give us our 1st. A moment later we finally got a corner kick past the first defender and Ramsey hit a volley with great technique…which happened to get through 3 or 4 would be blockers. Million to one, Doc, as they say… (That’s a proctology joke, btw… πŸ˜€ …)

    But, at least we kept up some belief (our only strength yesterday) while they quaked in their boots after total dominance… The Chambers sending off (he needs two years and another stones worth of muscle, before he can play at CB…) made the nails every 3 inches rather than every 6 (in the coffin of our own making)…

    Indeed, Gerry, there are logical fallacies in D-Money’s, “one common variable” argument, but at least he lists them… πŸ˜€ Also, I like that you admit you would’ve taken 3-nil and gone for tactical rotation of youth into the side, an interesting idea if we’re actually gonna need those guys to do a job in upcoming games…

    The problem with slating the manager with every last argument the press trots out is that it’s too much heat of the moment. In the end it took VERY good management to approach the past week and take 6 of nine points, given the bare bones we’ve got in our squad. I’ll take 3 points from the most recent two over two draws and two points. We gave too much in that one (vs So’ton) and the injuries and exertions are too much. Give Alexis a week off and he scores that tight angle shot every time. Giroud probably needs the same sort of rest (coming back from injury) to put that header on target. Santi, who also did nothing very well, will (eventually) score from open play and at least he had the cajones to want to take the pen…He’s tired too, but at least he’s not injured (Ozil and Jack). Yes, yes, we should’ve bought Cesc and put him on 50% more money than our highest paid players (Ozil and Alexis)… Sorry, but all other solutions, from playing older guys (carrying an extra half stone they do not need) to playing even more kids are not the answer. We’ll be better in midweek (at the back, at least) by sheer dint of having a (well-chastened) #1 with a bunch of top level experience–including against the last team which got him sent off… (Sorry, 007… πŸ˜€ )

    Now we must turn to the subject of the money, of course, (where my friend of the same name gets the most lost)… I just don’t think a second 15 million pound guy at CB was gonna make the difference yesterday. Who are those people? There are exactly zero guys In that price bracket AND at the top of their game who could come in and displace Mertesacker from his job. So, instead you buy youth (Chambers) or the aged who might like one last good contract (Ashley Williams) or the crocked (see for example, Alderweireld, who btw, is only on loan at So’ton and not all that good, IMO…) or the best guy in a much weaker league and hope for the best. Indeed, another body is needed, but maybe that’s where we discuss (the ghost of…) Isaac Hayden… It *might* have been a good gamble to buy somebody (anybody…), but Welbeck (poor as he’s been, IMO) has actually played–almost every minute. It was a gamble to not buy this mystery man but 4 defenders out or carrying knocks (Deb, Kos, Gibbs, Nacho) would cost us points, no matter what…

    So then, why not spend 30 or 40 million on a CB and make BFG 3rd choice? Add in salary and that’s another Ozil or Alexis (total cost, approx 70-80 million) and that’s not how Stan plays the game. So, if you’re still reading… I’m with Milo–COMPLETELY–and agree that I wouldn’t expect a big trophy given current ownership…under whom management serves…EXCEPT that I didn’t have a concert last night and instead suffered through and hoped we might get something from the match. That we didn’t is fine as we most certainly didn’t deserve anything (i.e., no false hopes generated…) but, at least, Arsenalistas who go by scoreline alone (and there are plenty, I fear…) can feel a tad less “embarrassed.”

    I AM embarrassed. This was worse than the big losses last season and felt almost like the message to ownership result we got in August 2011 at Old Trafford which read, “8-2, is that what you want!?” but STILL only netted old, slow farts like Arteta and the BFG. I’m only embarrassed, however, at myself for allowing Arsenal results/performances and the narratives and behaviors of fellow Gooners to bring me down. Like I said, all I really had going into this one was hope… On the other hand, that’s what football supporters do, so I, like Milo, (and also not looking for a fight…) will cut myself a break… πŸ˜€

  76. 17highburyterrace says:

    Now THAT’S how you play route 1 football…Keeper to Carroll to Sakho… 3-1…

    Uh oh, West Ham United-Arenal, Sunday, December 28 !5:00…

  77. 17highburyterrace says:

    The Jenks loan is one thing… How about Alex song on loan from Barca?…

    Of course, that WOULD require a different manager, one who doesn’t go in for all that loyalty stuff…Also, relations with the Cules might be soured by selling them a perma-crocked CB (The Belgian Diaby?…) πŸ˜€ 😦

  78. steve says:

    Gerry, thanks for the link mate what a blinding piece of skill, if he played for Barca it would be goal of the season lol.
    How much have you seen of him so far? enough to make an informed judgement on “definite wish list” player?

    Oh how i miss Jenko πŸ™‚

  79. 17highburyterrace says:

    I guess everybody agrees with what I’ve written… πŸ˜€ … Completely… More smileys…

    Overall, I think we shouldn’t be quite so harsh on individuals…Except for maybe the owner, but that’s a class-struggle issue. We want a billionaire owner who will take it on as a vanity project, not one just preying upon the loyalty of ticket-buyers to fatten his portfolio… Gerry, it could be time for a post about the Nuke-Bekistan-ilar Solution… i.e., Alisher is the Answer-manov…

    I realize that we take out frustrations on individuals–the manager or individual players, but it’s a collective thing. A new manager is gonna need (literally) years to tear this team down and make it over to his tastes–and we simply do not have the money of ManU. No, just ahead of Totts and Pool and, at the moment, at least we have no Suarez or Bale to sell. Theo might yield 20 or 25 million if he plays OK (or at all…) this season…Same goes for Rambo…double digit goals (even if we need his assists) two years running might see him worth that number… After that we’re talking about younger prospects like the Ox or Wilshere…or Yaya…

    Fun times, and I’m sure we could stay up…or at least have a fighting chance… It would also give more chances to some of Steve and Gerry’s guys… Jenks would surely get recalled, for example, (if the finances/terms are favorable) at least during the Bouldy interim phase… πŸ˜€

  80. Admir says:

    “but STILL only netted old, slow farts like Arteta and the BFG”

    Tongue-in-cheek moment? Because, after we had signed those two, we transformed from a team that conceded eight at the Old Toilet to a team that won at Stamford Bridge and grabbed the third place – our highest final league ranking in the last four seasons despite the fact that team was probably the weakest one during Arsene’s spell.

    Anyway, we have taken 23 points out of possible 45 (51%) which means our glass is still not half empty, it’s just 49% empty. If this percentage doesn’t change, we’ll end with 58-59 points. To this point (Week 15) in 1995-96, Bruce Rioch’s Arsenal had collected 28 points and eventually finished fifth with 63 points only because fourth-placed Aston Villa scored more goals.

  81. 17highburyterrace says:

    Indeed, a little sarcasm crept in there… Well spotted, Admir… πŸ˜€ Thanks for reading…

    Milo has it correct, Wenger is tightfisted and would rather “build” a team than buy one, but the orders come from a higher level and his hat of hair… “I could write a book about this Summer,” said AW that season, meaning they fooking took the money for Cesc AND for Nasri…(and surely put a word in RvP’s ear during the 8-2)…

    It’s all fine and good for the papers to name transfer targets but we’re in a spot where they have to come good… Wellbeck at 15 million beats Balotelli at 30 (even with Puma, ostensibly, paying a portion) and going on joint top wages… It’s possible the guy at Roma might’ve helped us, but Danny was the better deadline day purchase, IMO… It’s true however, that AVB or Klopp or Simeone or Blanc might’ve gone in a totally different (and more–or less–satisfying) direction…”Different” would have been guaranteed…and that might be enough for many…

    It’s a bad situation when a trip to the Britannia in December is the same as a trip to Old Trafford in August and hope is all the traveling support (and telly/net doods like us) have to go on… As such, I expect an uptick in activity this January over past ones… Unfortunately, as things get tighter at the top, it’s harder to find the good buys and they tend to be absurdly expensive. Which team did better in the Juan Mata for 35 million transfer last January, for example?… Andy Carroll did well today, but not for Pool at that same price and the selling club (Toonies) were (by far) our favorite team yesterday… Must I even mention Torres or Arshavin?… Expectations should be along the lines of the central defending version of Nacho Monreal rather than a Hummels or a Varane, no matter what the papers might suggest… Any headline which reads, “United, Liverpool, Arsenal Put on Alert as Defensive Stalwart Says He Might Leave”…are NOT worth the energy it takes to lift a finger and click on…

    Rotation in midweek then the big protest (meet at the Tony Adams statue…) and match next weekend vs the protectors of invincibility… At least we have those to keep us busy… πŸ˜€

  82. 17highburyterrace says:

    Final word as Villa (another American owned club…) finally get on top here in the Midlands derby–the ref actually got the sending off correct there, I think…

    Cheers to everyone for all the agreement… πŸ˜€ … but now I must enjoy the sunshine… Also, please don’t hold back when you need to vent frustration in the heat of the moment or afterwards… Blame whoever you see fit to blame if you must… (There were a few younger, English guys, yesterday, I thought, who weren’t quite up to Arsenal standards, but now I might be trolling a few…) We all come from different perspectives and personal experiences and have our likes and dislikes. I tend to like a more technical (or cat like…) approach and a bigger picture analysis–most of all because the only person I have ANY influence over in all this is myself and I’d prefer if my obsession with footy and my team created more pleasure than pain… To each his (or her…) own, of course, and it doesn’t *necessarily* make anybody’s ideas better or worse than anybody else’s… Usually total hits is the measure of a web-site, but, as this is a labor (‘merican spelling…) of love, maybe we need to be more concerned about the quality of the content…

    In other words, have at it… (Or, as Gerry might say, “keep the faith”… Or,…Thank Dennis we play again on Tuesday,… Or something…)

  83. Gerry says:

    Oh come on HT, you know full well if win in Turkey and the Anders’ boys do their stuff, you will be waxing lyrical about how great it is to be a Gooner once again πŸ˜€

    Agreed, it is more distressing to lose (the first half) in the manner we did, than the actual loss of three points. We will lose the odd game between now and the end of the season. Like you say, 6 from 9 is not bad considering how stretched we are. Things can change quickly in football?

    A couple of weeks back I thought our returnees would see us through by the Southampton game. But we keep getting more injuries, partly because the resources are so stretched. Therefore, if we continue to play just the experienced guys, I think we can expect more? Until that transfer window opens, we have what we have, and that will have to include bringing in some more youngsters beyond Chambers and the cameo of Bellerin. This Christmas period is going to catch a lot of teams out, and if we(Arsenal – the Royal ‘We’) do not make room for match time for at least two or three of our up and comers, we will be worse off than than either those clubs with deeper squads, or those lower level clubs who have already got youngsters involved their squads.
    It starts at Galatasaray. A game to win, or settle for having got through in 2nd place?

    Beyond that, the following Saturday we have Newcastle at home. Not a particularly good time to play them. They have a week’s rest after their confidence booster, we travel to Turkey trying to salvage ours?
    But if you think that is bad, try the 4 league games and the 1st round of the FA Cup – (draw out tomorrow) – in just 14 days. Luckily, the two on the 26th and 28th require no travel to speak of, QPR home, West Ham away. But 3 days later we travel to Southampton, and two days later to wherever the draw sends us.

    So yes, it makes some sense at 3-nil down after 45 minutes to bring on Ajayi. Maitand-Niles too, for Ramsey, if he hadn’t already gone. 10 minutes for Campbell at the end does nothing?
    Poldi did not look so effective with his time, so I think he is a gonner? Oh, and if you haven’t worked it out, we will be without Chambers for the Newcastle game, so even more pressure on Koscielny?
    Luckily, and I keep using this word because without it, the reality is very stark indeed, we might have Debuchy back against his old club, and may be a 25 minutes in Turkey? Hayden is on a similar schedule to Debs, but again unlikely to start in Turkey, and perhaps not against the Chelsea humiliators? Both should be okay thereafter though. Arteta may be back for the 13th, who knows about Walcott? But Gnabry might be needed up front, Rosicky too, at some point?

    So we have two days to discuss the merits of the Gala game, rather than dwell on this one.

    But that is just me πŸ˜€

  84. Gerry says:

    Sorry HT, if I missed you. The old thing of writing too much. Enjoy the sunshine …

  85. steve says:

    Gerry, about the Gala game – i’m interested to see your line up mate.
    I personally prioritize that forth place spot in the league much more than a brief stint in the champions league this year no matter what position in the group we are in when we go through so i have changed my mind completely and now see this as a meaningless free game to rest and recover players for the busy x-mas period.

    Just a recap on who’s available:

    Forced absences from the starting XI

    Players completely out of contention with Long term injuries:
    Ospina – Thigh
    Arteta – Calf
    Wilshere – Ankle
    Ozil – Knee
    Diaby – Everything

    Players that need to take advantage of the extra time to heal from injuries:
    Koscielny – Achilles
    Gibbs – Hip
    Monreal – Knee
    Walcott – Groin
    Rosicky – Thigh
    Sanogo – Calf

    Players that have healed from injuries but are not match fit and should not be unnecessarily rushed back for a game that does not matter:

    Players that need to be rested before fatigue causes injury:

    Players that are not registered for the qualification stage of the champions league:

    That doesn’t leave us much lol

    I would bench guys like Cazorla, Ramsey, Flamini, BFG and Szczesny and go for a fresh team line-up.
    ——-The OX———-Hayden———–

    I still don’t know whether Hayden is available or whether Ajayi is registered though?

    It would at least be a nice change from the norm πŸ™‚

  86. Admir says:

    @Steve – I agree with your line-up except I’d try to find someone else to play next to Hayden as The Ox needs some rest too. Whilst our game against Galatasaray is a dead rubber (as I hoped after the groups had been drawn), we have to beat Newcastle next weekend.

  87. steve says:

    Admir, agreed on OX mate but i am not sure again whether Maitland-Niles (who would be the perfect youth replacement) is registered for the champions league, i know he was on the bench against Stoke but apart from that i have no clue. Also i would love to see OX start in that Ramsey role, but yes i agree with you he (like Sanchez) should really be rested.

  88. Milo says:

    I pumped my fist when the ref sent Konchesky off against Villa. Best sending off in the Premier League this season, thus far.

  89. Milo says:

    To ridicule and abuse someone, who is trying to a job to the best of their ability, doesn’t register too high on the morality scale, does it??? I learned something new today. Arsene loves to see Arsenal lose matches in front of millions of people, around the World. At least you would figure that by the behaviour of the folks at the train station, whom he crossed paths with. There’s a part of me that hopes he stays NO MATTER WHAT, just so those idiots can invest their idiocy into something else. Come on Arsene, I want relegation, please!!!

  90. Gerry says:

    A step too far, Milo? But I do get the point you are making. But that also applies to to bloggers and their references to players, as no player, we should assume, goes out to play a bad game?
    I suppose the flip side is how much criticism is fair if things in their control, that could be done but that fail to do, to at least ameliorate the situation. Things beyond their control, all are blameless?
    Agreed on idiocy πŸ˜€

  91. Gerry says:

    Steve, did you not see the link I put up for Uefa CL squads? It gets updated to, for injuries, etc.
    If you miss it on this post I will repeat it again, as I bookmarked it.

    Hayden is on the list, but marked as injured. A M-N is on also, but not Ajayi.

    However, your list of players needing a rest for one reason or another does highlight the problem big time! Even if it needs a little re-jigging, unless I am wrong on the information.
    1, Ospina needs to drop down to the ‘not rushed back’ category.
    2, Hayden ditto. Along with Debuchy, are all just had one week of training from long lay-off’s.
    3, B54, who would be ideal in playing style in the Gibbs role, I fear must also be injured, as he has not figured recently.
    4, Arteta is probably a week away (from ONE game per week), so could drop down into the ‘Need more time to heal’ category, but might make the Newcastle game with a week break after? Risky.
    5, It was Scczesney who had the hip problem, now fit, so okay for the Newcastle, if not before?
    5b, Gibbs, with reference to above, got injured on the touchline. May have tweaked a ‘hammy’ playing on, but ran about quite freely after treatment, so I am confused? But Saturday was not looking good in the first half, suspect psychological reason afterr being rushed back. Wait on updates on him?
    6, Gnabry should be okay for 20 minutes or more in the Gala game, maybe an hour against Newcastle?
    7, No probs with Chuba, except he may play in the Uefa Youth thingy, against Gala. They need a win to top the group, and with Poldi ‘champing at the bit’ – horse reference – and Campbell awaiting a start, and both expecting to jump ship in January? So I see no need for Akpom in the Gala first team, but ready for the bench and 25 minutes on Saturday. May be him and Gnabbers replacing Giro and Welbeck? That would be fun.

    As for my take on this game, I am betwix and between. If there was any chance of getting top spot, and thus getting a winnable match in the next round – not until February remember, and more importantly, after the TW? – then the funds from that could be the difference between getting top class signing(s) and ‘cheaper options’, then I feel we should go for it.? So at the moment, I would have Kos, Ox, Alexis, Welbeck on the bench, and have the Bouldy glued to a tablet following the Dortmund game. He might need Ox to set it up for him though πŸ˜€
    Unfortunately, Dortmund may have turned a corner and be too strong for Anderlecht, but, and it is a big BUT, Anderlecht, as we know have got a strong young side with plenty of pace who will want to make their mark on this competition as the best ever, and can play without fear. They dismissed Gala pretty easily, so any weakness that lingers in the Dortmund side, you can guarantee they will exploited it.. But if it goes Dortmund’s way early on, we could easily throw on a bit of youth at the end of our game?
    I will await fitness assessments before picking a team though.

  92. steve says:

    Gerry, that is the same link i gave you in my comment lol
    It puts the squad information on “tournament phase” as default, if you click the tab on the top left of the squad list to switch the info to “qualification phase” the squad names change. Two different groups of registered players mate, that’s the problem with Giroud atm, he wasn’t expected back before January so he was never registered for the qualification phase but he will definitely be playing in the tournament proper later on in the year.
    My problem is i think they have the tabs mixed up as it seems backwards, if i click on qualification phase Giroud is there and if i click on tournament he is not (should be the other way around obviously).
    I am hoping they have just got it backwards and then AMN would be available for the Gala game because he is not listed in their version of the qualification phase.

    Re-jigged list:

    Players completely out of contention with Long term injuries:
    Arteta – Calf
    Wilshere – Ankle
    Ozil – Knee
    Diaby – Everything

    Players that need to take advantage of the extra time to heal from injuries:
    Koscielny – Achilles
    Gibbs – ? (he definitely had an injury)
    Monreal – Knee
    Walcott – Groin
    Rosicky – Thigh
    Sanogo – Calf
    B54 – ?

    Players that have healed from injuries but are not match fit and should not be unnecessarily rushed back for a game that does not matter:

    Players that need to be rested before fatigue causes injury:
    OX (maybe)

    Players that are not registered for the qualification stage of the champions league:

    Players left available:



    LB – ????


    from that list available it looks straightforward:


    But its a free game and as the boss has said (on the website)

    “there’s not a lot at stake and we have given a lot in the last two weeks.”
    “We have to recover a little bit.”
    “there’s maybe a 10 per cent chance of first place.”


    we’ve got four strikers – use them all!!! πŸ™‚


    The back five picks itself (no need to risk Szczesny unnecessarily)


    Just got to pick the midfield engine
    normally it would be Ramsey and Flamini but i think we need to freshen it up a bit in that area, especially for a game like this that we can experiment in.



    There you have it, shame Hayden is still not match fit as Gerry informed me because i would have liked to have rested bfg and put Chambers in there with Hayden as DM.

    Now i just have to think of who our fourth choice LB is lol (Monreal, Gibbs and B54 all injured)

    This has to be one of the craziest seasons i have ever seen for injuries!

    Anyone else got some other suggestions?

  93. Gerry says:

    Steve, I have a worrying update on B54. According to the site I was on before I went to feed the dogs, he is out of contract?
    It seems his old one has not been renewed after the 30/6/14, but he still played in the Under 21’s right up to the 17th October. Not in the squad for the last 3 though. So technically he is still with the club, as we hold his registration(?), but not on contract. He may be seeking to find a club, and we are probably due some ‘compensation’, but no fee.
    Alternatively, he did sign a new contract and he is injured?

  94. steve says:

    cheers for the update Gerry, sounds like an iffy situation.
    if Monreal and Gibbs are still getting over injuries, B54 is AWOL and Coquelin is out on loan who the hell is our left back choice mate?

  95. Gerry says:

    Back again Strangely, B54 is a member of that GROUP stage squad.

    If you click the arrow at the end of the first team squad right hand side, he is on that page. Give it another click, and you find Alex Iwobi. Along with the other usual suspects. That includes defenders Tafari Moore and Glen Kamara. But, George Dobson, Stefan O’Connor, and Maitland- Niles were all included in the ‘Tournament stage’ and get through on the main list by vritue of their age, all 17, and been with Arsenal for two years.

  96. steve says:

    I’ll take another look Gerry, just off to walk the dogs first πŸ™‚

  97. JM says:

    Players in contention vs Galatasaray:

    Szczesny, Martinez

    Bellerin, Chambers, Mertesacker, Gibbs, (O’Connor)

    Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Cazorla, Flamini, Zelalem, Maitland-Niles, (Kamara)

    Podolski, Sanogo, Welbeck, Campbell, Akpom

    18 (11 starting + 7 bench) squad members & the other 2 in () as likely emergency backups.

  98. Gerry says:

    So taking your last question first – Who have we got for LB?

    Well out of the above, Tafari Moore is a right back? Or Stef O’Connor, a CB, but good with it. Both are right-footed.

    Regarding Hayden, he is a thinking player, so I would imagine he has kept himself pretty fit, so it all depends on how well his ankle/foot stood up to training? I have seen his name mentioned on one website, so there is a possibility he will travel. If he plays, I would have him in for Chambers, and put him back at RB, and put Bellerin of the Gibbs wing?

    Midfield: Maitland-Niles, Ramsey, and Kamara

    Up front: Campbell, Giroud, Podolski


  99. Gerry says:

    Well done JM for joining in this bit of distraction fun

    I think Zelalem and Akpom will both be in the Youth team?

    I will happily swap my Giroud for your Sanogo, if you think he is fit?
    I still think Hayden will be in the squad, even if not a starter.
    Gibbs might be another?
    Rosicky another, but if fit again, could start?

    I like my midfield trio though πŸ˜€

    I just hope HT is enjoying the sunshine, as he would be pulling his hair out at my line up πŸ˜€

  100. JM says:

    @Gerry, December 8, 2014 at 15:35

    Both Zelalem and Akpom (1st team squad members) will have to fill up the available numbers for our bench (7 players). They are expected to suit and join up with their 1st team mates in this match.

    Giroud is unregistered for at least this last group stage match. Sanogo might start from the bench to avoid unnecessary complications recurring.

    The rest of the 1st team members are injured, regaining fitness from injury (at least 10 in number: Monreal, Arteta, Wilshere, Walcott, Ospina, Ozil, Debuchy, Diaby, Gnabry, Hayden) and rested (Alexis, Koscielny).

  101. Admir says:

    Speaking of beatable opponents in the Knockout Stage…

    Group A:
    Atletico have already secured their place among 16 but they can slip to second if they lose with a two-goal-margin against Juventus. Juventus need at least a point to secure the next round if Olympiacos beat Malmoe. In case Atletico beat Juventus in Turin and Olympiacos beat the Swedes, Olympiacos will go through due to better head-to-head (2:3 defeat in Turin, 1:0 victory in Athens). I would like to avoid Atletico. Juventus have a strong defence, three top midfielders (Vidal, Pirlo and Pogba) and Tevez in the attack but I have a feeling we would beat them.

    Group B:
    Real Madrid are on the top and I don’t want to play them as they look unstoppable right now, especially that crazy SOB Cristiano Ronaldo. In case Basel make another big upset in Liverpool (they have already done it once), we can play them provided that we somehow win our group. Even if the Swiss side have been rather successful in England lately, I’d pick them as our opponents any day. They need a point against Liverpool.

    Group C:
    In “The Emirates Cup Group”, Monaco need at least one point against Zenit at home to secure their place in the Knockout Stage while Bayer’s visit to Benfica means nothing to Portuguese side as they will end on the bottom of their respective group. No matter how the last week pans out, I think we can beat all three possible opponents.

    Group E:
    Bayern are safe on the top. I don’t want them, two in a row was more than enough. We can’t play Manchester City while Gervinho’s and Cole’s Roma and CSKA Moscow are both beatable opponents. CSKA must win in Munich and hope for a draw or City’s victory in Rome. In case both matches end as draws, Roma would advance to the next stage.

    Group F:
    The gap between the second-placed Barcelona and third-placed Ajax is ten points. It’s either Barcelona or PSG on the top and the other one on the second place. No team will want to play against either side so it’s irrelevant how their match ends up. Barcelona need a victory to win the group.

    Group G:
    Chavs have already secured the top spot. We can’t play them while our possible opponents are Sporting and Schalke. Sporting are two points ahead and have a better head-to-head (3:4, 4:2). William Carvalho’s side will play Chavs in London where they need to stay undefeated. Schalke will pay a visit to Maribor who still have a chance to qualify for Europa League in case they beat the Germans. Whoever ends up second I think we can beat them.

    Group H:
    Everything is clear regarding Champions’ League – Porto are on the top, Shakhtar are second – while Athletic and BATE have the third-place trophy to battle for. I’d say we would beat whoever we would get from this group.

    Don’t want to play against: Real Madrid, Bayern, Barcelona, PSG, Atletico.

    Would rather avoid even if I think we can beat: Juventus, Shakhtar (war in Ukraine), CSKA and Zenit (trips to Russia have been a nightmare to us).

    Wouldn’t mind seeing them on the opposite side: Bayer, Monaco, Schalke.

    Yes, please: Basel, Olympiacos, Sporting, Porto.

  102. Gerry says:

    I see Hayden is not in the training photos, but early days yet?

    All of JM’s picks were there though? Interesting?

    Good one of Stef O’Connor mixing it with Podolski.
    I hope Kamara gets some time out there, as that could seriously ease our DM woes if he and Hayden come good?

  103. Gerry says:

    Well done Admir for extending the fun beyond our Gala game. Yes, it is possible to pick up a beatable team without winning, but I would rather be top and take some of the aggro away?

    Good for you taking time out to do all that. Group C would be good if we don’t though.

    Come on Anderlecht, you can do it!

  104. steve says:

    Thanks for that info Admir, nice one, interesting read.
    Its good to see you and JM have joined the chat πŸ™‚

    Gerry where are all the usual suspects? (17HT, TA etc)
    I come back and everybody f*cks off lol, do i smell or something?

  105. steve says:

    i guess so πŸ˜†

  106. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey there, F11ngers…Can’t smell you from here… πŸ˜€

    Sorry, just a bit of a busy Monday and I don’t know too much about the youth prospects beyond the times I’ve seen them in the first team… I’m gonna trust the manager to rotate and rest appropriately. For me, it’s time to get our #1 (Szcz) back into the team, beyond that, anything goes… Toonies at home on the weekend is the priority, from where I stand, but I’ll be watching with interest tomorrow and trying to follow a bit of the team news beforehand…Usually the club will post the names of the traveling 18, I’m pretty sure…

    Overall, I’m still rather reeling from the performance at Stoke and cannot imagine things getting much worse than that. As I said, the scoreline, I thought, flattered us in the extreme. We need to get bodies healthy, add a couple to the squad of useful players and somehow get through this holiday schedule OK. The potential for a very rough ride, I fear, is staring us in the face. One at a time, however, and I’ll be trying to take whatever positives I can from the match in Istanbul…

    Also, thanks Admir for the run-down on the CL groups… Gotta run…Keep at it fellas…

  107. Gerry says:

    Tuh! You had to mention Stoke didn’t you! πŸ‘Ώ

  108. steve says:

    You said it 17HT
    Get players back fit – out of anyone’s control
    Add a couple to the squad – out of anyone’s control until January

    So the only thing we can do is rotate the first teamers for busy times ahead in the EPL with what we have left (youth) and forget the Stoke game ever happened!!!! πŸ‘Ώ

    Good to hear from you bud

    (I think TA has lost all motivation after the game that shall not be named) πŸ˜†

  109. James Bond says:

    #afc v Gala (4-3-3): Szczesny; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Chambers, Bellerin; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Flamini, Ramsey; Campbell, Sanogo, Podolski

    Six kids on the bench for #afc tomorrow v Gala: Akpom, Zelalem, Kamara, O’Connor, Iwobi, Maitland-Niles

    β€” David Hytner (@DaveHytner)

    Arsene Wenger Names Arsenal Starting Eleven For Galatasaray 24 Hours Before Match

  110. James Bond says:

    Arsenal vs Hull in the FA cup .

    Ties to be played on 3-6 January

  111. steve says:

    That’s great news JB!!
    Looks like Wenger found the answer to the “who plays left back” dilemma – Bellerin
    I’ve got to say he’s had a pretty hard start to life in the first team lol, Dortmund away, Stoke away and now Gala away out of position lol poor kid.

    Good to see so many youngsters on the bench and the return of Debuchy (i hope not rushed), all nicely set up in a 4-3-3, i’m actually looking forward to this.
    If Ramsey’s form continues to be shit i hope Arsene grows some balls and takes him off at half time for Maitland-Niles and i don’t see Podolski lasting the full 90 so we might see Akpom as well at last πŸ™‚

    ——A-M-N——–Flamini——-The OX——-

    Would love to see that line up in the second half πŸ™‚

    A match for the youth followers to enjoy πŸ™‚

  112. TotalArsenal says:

    Some fine comments and fresh line ups for the Gala game. It will be a welcome albeit meaningless distraction tomorrow. I expect Dortmund to win and our faith to be second. Let’s hope we have most of our top players back in February so we can get through a few rounds.

  113. TotalArsenal says:

    Home to Hull is not an easy but quite exciting draw. We are lucky to play at home again. Back to back cup winners would still be a successful season….. πŸ™‚

  114. steve says:

    Not too bothered about the cup or the champions league, fourth spot in the league is top priority for me this season. write 2014/15 off and start fresh next season with all our players back and fit πŸ™‚

  115. TotalArsenal says:

    Don’t write it off yet Steve. πŸ™‚

    Night all πŸŒƒ

  116. Gerry says:

    I agree TA, the season is yet young … in more ways than one πŸ˜€

    I have just seen today’s presser, and it is music to my ears. And Steve’s no doubt.

    What we have both been saying, now looks likely to happen .. more out of necessity, true, but AW looks quite happy about it.

    Chuba Akpom – Very close to the first team.
    Stefan O’Connor – Looks very good in training … and only 17 mind.
    Matland-Niles – Has made good progress.

    The truth is out I am happy to report … on B54. He has not gone, only injured.
    Obviously got the Hayden bug for bad timing, as he would surely have got Gibbs spot tonight?
    Mind, AW has agreed with Steve and I on putting Bellerin there, over the other possibilities.

    It looks like the young wheels are starting to turn? It was good to hear Ox (in the presser) talk up the young guns too. In 15 years time he will make a good manager methinks?

    The only complaint I have against tonight’s team is that all the kids are on the bench, meaning we only get to see three of them. The above trio I suspect? I would have liked Kamara to have had a game. Also see how Zelalem has progressed?

    But let’s not be greedy. Unless the score in Dortmund is looking hopeful, I would guess at the following subs:
    Akpom for Podolski – creating the Fingers front three?
    O’Connnor for Debuchy – Calum going back RB, as I am expecting Hector to be fine, which might be good for the rotation stakes later?
    A M-N would be a natural for the Ox or Ramsey, but Kamara would fit the Flamini boots if he is looking at cards turning yellow to red? But to keep the attack alive …Zelalem?

    Meaningless tie? Nah, This could be the making of more than one career, and I cannot wait to see it all unfold …. at last!

  117. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA, you’ve got mail…

    I love the enthusiasm of you guys who love the kids so much… Injuries–and proper recovery–as well as a lack of stamina to play your best football for a full 90, I think, comes with being a normal teen prospect, rather than a true prodigy, Gerry. Leaving the very young ones on the bench gives the manager the most flexibility and the players time to absorb the tone of the match–from the crazies with their flares in the stands, to the patterns on the pitch… Hell, even guys like Ramsey, Ox, Campbell, Sanogo, Szcz and of course, Chambers and Bellerin, are still very young, IMO… Traveling to Asia must be exciting…I’ve never made it myself, so I’m jealous…

    Anyhow, lots to do this morning, but I’m looking forward to the match at lunchtime…

    See you then, if anyone is around…

  118. steve says:

    Gerry, great news about B54 and bloody shame he misses his chance tonight.

    I wish AW had just said f*ck it and gone with a complete youth line up:

    β€”β€”—-A-M-N–—-Kamaraβ€”—–The OXβ€”β€”—

    But it will be good to get Debuchy and Szczesny some game time in preparation for the busy period and to see what our forgotten front two (Podolski and Campbell) can show.

    Really looking forward to tonight’s game πŸ™‚

  119. Gerry says:

    Me too,Steve. It has take on a whole new level of interest now.

    I can see AW’s problem. He could hardly say he was ‘paying respect to the competition’ if he went the whole hog?

    Not only that, if Dortmund are 2 down with half hour to go, we need to have a chance of winning? Not that your line up would not give it a go, but they might let a few in without Per to organise? You also missed having Huddart in goal, as he is registered, but did not travel.

    It still rankles with me that the last game was an opportunity to give a couple a go from half time, just to a chance to get one under their belt before this? More Ajayi really.

    Good news though, the Under 19’s have won 1-3, Mavididi opening the scoring, Robinson who I think is the guy who has moved into B54’s spot? the second, with Eyoma tying it up.

    Similar score for the next level will do nicely?

  120. Gerry says:

    Sorry HT, I was busy getting the UMF table out – fully certified this time.

    Now it is time for my tea ..early breakfast = early dinner = early tea in this house. Back after 6 with a bit of luck.

  121. 17highburyterrace says:

    You two are full on dingy… πŸ˜€ Or is it spelled, “D-I-N-G-H-Y?”

    As in… It’s gotta be a big enough step up for any of these guys, and a bit of a sink or swim as individuals… Why would you want to put them all in the same life-boat and then invite a team of experienced (if past their prime…) footballers to shoot the little (plastic) dinghy through with holes?…

    Is that where the dual use of the word comes from?… πŸ˜€ You’d have to be “dinghy” to go out in that little boat…

    We want to build confidence, not destroy it…Sure, it’d be a great story to tell in the pub–The day we all went to Asia and got turned over 6-nil, Great fun, good coffee, AND I got to swap shirts with Eboue!!!…

    Surely some of these guys must have larger aspirations… πŸ˜€

  122. Gerry says:

    HT – I remember a youth side that went up to Liverpool in a cup round and beat them 6-1

    Sure they are not going to last the 90 minutes, but give them a bit of credit for having a lot of skill. They work hard to get opportunities like this. They play in the under 21 team, our ‘reserve team’ after all.
    I am not saying that they will immediately walk into a first team start, except possibly Hayden, but the likes of Akpom could relieve the overworked Welbeck, M-N likewise for OX or Ramsey. A fit B54 would also go close to a start if a future Gibbs/ Nacho calamity.

    Yes they will make mistakes, but so do those in the squad at the moment.?

    I think you will be suitably impressed by O’Connor if he comes on. Why should it always be other clubs like Everton who played Rooney at 17, and not us?

    Keep the faith …

  123. steve says:

    HT, i just remember games like the 2007 cup final when we used to show case our youth, we played Chelsea off the pitch that day but Drogba nicked it for them. Apart from Almunia in goal and Toure the rest of the line up was;
    Senderos 22
    Hoyte 22
    Traore 17
    Walcott 17
    Fabregas 19
    Denilson 18
    Diaby 21
    Aliadiere 22
    Baptista 25

    There’s lots of youth in there and that was a final!!
    This is a nothing game so theres nothing to loose, if they get hammered its expected no big deal but it would be an amazing experience for them all.

    How long before you jumped in your dinghy whilst watching the seniors get hammered against Stoke?
    The youngsters couldn’t put in any worse performance, and even if they did manage to nobody would care – look how empty the blog is today lol

  124. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey guys…I’m only needling ya… If TA ever looks at his mail and posts the comment that I sent him (extended only very slightly… lol at myself…) to serve as a match preview, you’d see that I enjoy the kids as well and think he’s got the balance just about right…

    If you ask me, F11ngers, our troubles at Stoke began with 25 year old Gibbs (“football age 22, due to injuries… lol…) unable to close down a cross, 19 year old Calum Chambers failing to get air under his feet and 19 year old Bellerin and 21 yr old Martinez flopping to the ground in desperate stabs at…well, I don’t know… Everything happens just a little quicker in the senior division…

    That’s my fear about such collective efforts…And if all they hear from the fans is “get out while you can…” Well, that’s not the greatest, either…

    Trust me, I wouldn’t want to play a squad of nothing but Artetas and Flaminis and BFGs either… (And the Bellerina did his part to get us level moments later only for old man Ollie to have his puffy hair let us down…)

    Like I said, given the situation, I think A-Dub’s got it just about right…even down to announcing things early to try and manage supporter expectations…

    Back at match time…

  125. Gerry says:

    HT – I am more cynical about the announcing early bit.

    I think it is done with the sole intention of getting the Turks not to play the full first team, and may be give their second string a bit of an airing?

    It could backfire of course. But if Dortmund are 2 up at half time, then I think they will both settle for a draw? What AW is desperate to avoid is injuries to anybody else, so he is acting like a large dog wagging its tail?

  126. steve says:

    HT, i love the way you kept BFG’s name out of that whole defensive debacle lol, tallest bloke in our team and supposed to be the leader lol.
    But hey you are right to some extent and although i am all for giving the kids a go, away at Stoke is not the game you want to try it out for the first time lol, that’s a tough place for seasoned professionals. But he had no choice due to injuries and considering the performances of other defensive parties in our team (Gibbs, BFG and Flamini) i don’t think the kids did any worse tbh.

    Now onto the Gala game πŸ™‚


  127. proudgooner says:

    Lets have a good performance tonight, really looking forward to seeing Campbell, Podolski, MD, Bellerin etc and other lads who have a chance to shine on the big stage.

  128. TotalArsenal says:

    Here it is Seventeenhohohoho! πŸ™‚

    New Post New Post! πŸ™‚

  129. proudgooner says:

    I think he is ready now to realy show us what he is capable of

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