Debuchy CB, Theo Starts, Coquelin for Ox? Liverpool Preview & Line-Up

Let’s get cool in the pool: Preview & Line-Up

Time for Le Coq to shine?
Time for Le Coq to shine?

After two great results and fine attacking football, in Istanbul and THOF, confidence levels are high and so are our expectations. Pool are a shadow of their former self and have become a team without bite: last season they scored for fun and now they hardly get more than one goal per game. We could be on the up now and Liverpool are struggling. Losing out to Basel for the CL will have hurt them badly and  their league position is even worse than ours (given expectation levels at the start of the season for both clubs).

Yet, I am nervous about this one. I guess the ‘good’ thing is we got an awful hiding from them last year, which will help Wenger to point out the importance of defending well in this game. We remain vulnerable at the back though, especially with Koz still unavailable. In a way, Liverpool have nothing to lose and will still have the sweetest of memories of last year’s encounter. This combination, further fuelled by a loyal and vociferous home crowd and a good away win mid-week, could be a dangerous one for us. Let’s pray they don’t score early and the team suffer from a horrible deja-vu experience.


I have seen Arsenal a few times at Anfield. It is a great, traditional stadium with a fantastic atmosphere, and there is a lot of respect for Arsenal, both for our football and the way the club is managed. It was at Anfield where I first saw Cesc Fabregas in action. He played next to Vieira and opposite of another great midfielder, Gerrard. I will never forget that game for Vieira’s and Gerrard’s goals, and especially for Fabregas’ incredible ability to read the game and anticipate where the ball would be in the next few seconds. I knew straightaway he would become a great footballer.

I also will never forget how Thierry Henry got a standing ovation from the Pool and away supporters at the end of the FA cup game that we won there (1-3). He had scored the last goal in real style, out-pacing and out-smarting Jamie Carragher from the centre of midfield with a fabulous run and a very composed finish. It was so great to witness this with my own eyes.

Liverpool is a fine football city and nowhere in the country, other than the good parts of North-London, is there more respect for good football – and therefore Arsenal – than in Merseyside.

But tomorrow we will play there a very important game and for ninety plus minutes there is no time for sentimentality. A win would put a lot of distance between them and us and would be a perfect start to the congested Christmas schedule.  We have a bit of momentum now and it is important to keep it going.

In order to do so, we need to stay cool in the pool. I reckon Wenger will opt for 4-2-1-3 or even ‘6-4’, with a split in responsibilities between the ‘6’, mainly responsible for defending, and the ‘4’, mainly responsible for attacking. Only the FBs will have a bit more freedom to support the attack – one at a time – but the rest of the ‘6’ will be tasked to keep it tight – at least for the start of the game. Wenger really does not want to give Pool any encouragement that we will leave a lot of space for them to attack us. We want to control that game, and with our superior strike-force we can and should be patient, as our chances will come.

My predicted line-up is:

Ars v Liverpool Dec 14

I reckon Le Coq will play instead of Ox, unless the latter is fully fit. Even then Wenger might opt to play the Frenchman next to his fellow countryman, Flamini, against Pool. Arteta is still not available and Ramsey is out too, and Coquelin comes closest to Arteta’s style of play (and has more experience that the popular options on this blog of Chambers or Hayden).

At the back, I reckon Wenger will stick with Debuchy as CB partner to the BFG, with Chambers (available again) replacing Bellerin as RB. With Chambers, BFG, Szczesny and Gibbs we have four out of five players playing in their best positions, and only MD is out of position. Debuchy is versatile and experienced and I reckon he is the better option at CB than Chambers (or Hayden). It is not ideal but it will have to do…

Up-front is where it really gets exciting. Theo could be back, but I don’t think he will start. It would be great to see him on the bench though. Cazorla picks himself for the hole position and I reckon it will be Welbeck and Alexis on the wings, with OG in the middle.

Wenger will pick his strongest team after they all had eight days of rest and this surely is the biggest test of the festive season (with the Hammers away game coming close though). He is also likely to opt for the above mentioned initial division of a defending and an attacking team, in order to keep it tight and calm, whilst waiting for our opportunity to pounce. Not everyone will like a more defensive approach but I reckon anything else is likely to cost us badly.

I expect it to be tight with one to three goals, unless one of the teams scores early….. and let’s hope it will be us if this were to be the case.

Come On You Rip-Roaring Gunners – Let The Canon Roar!

Written by: TotalArsenal.


175 thoughts on “Debuchy CB, Theo Starts, Coquelin for Ox? Liverpool Preview & Line-Up

  • TA nice post. Mostly agree with your preferred XI. Except as I’ve always said I prefer to play players in their natural positions…if the reason Coquelin is preferred over Chambers and Hayden is expereiance in THAT position than playing Debuchy at CB is strange given that he has played exactly 1 game at CB before (per AW) and that against a New Castle team hard hit by injuries and suspensions. His experience is in his normal position and arguably at CB, Chambers has a lot more experiance and I do actually think that is his natural position he will eventually end up occupying long term.
    One option you did not mention/consider is that Wenger could play Nacho Monreal at CB…again I need not say hw I feel about square pegs in round holes…but if its experiance in THAT position you’re going for, Nacho has much more than Debuchy.

    MY preferred XI:
    Flamini-Ox (if unfit, Coquelin)

    We don’t really have a lot of different options due to injuries so we will be very predictable to set-up against. I personally think we are better than Liverpool in almosy every position and with the correct tactical approach and mental application we could and should destroy them…fully expect us to make them look like Barca in their prime. Or current Madrid though.

  • Good to see you back, D-money. I thought Chambers had a shocker against Stoke and is for me not the right partner for BFG. Debuchy reminded me of Koz in some ways and I reckon he will get the nod. I believe Nacho is still a doubt, but yes, if fit he could start.

    Your last line sums you up. 😀

  • HaHaHa it does. But I really thought about it and on paper at least we really are far superior to Liverpoool. The only position where they may have the edge is DM/HM where Can-Henderson-Lucas whilst not great or the quality I’d want at Arsenal, they certainly are not any worse than what we have in similar positions.
    What I liked about Debuchy at CB is his positioning and surprising aerial ability (which shouldn’t be tested too much if LFC go with Sterling as a false 9) and ofcourse his recovery pace is Kos-esque. But if we’re going to play Debuchy at CB than I’d prefer Bellerin at RB-much quicker than Chambers and should deal better with Sterling’s pace (Remember Montero? Admittedly only winger to destroy Chambers all season though) and Bellerin is much better offensively than Chambers.

  • Nice post TA. Capturing both the mood and the need, and touching on the history too.
    Not bad for a ‘short and sweet’ post 😀

    Whilst you may well be right on AW’s team selection, I have to agree with D-Money’s reasoning for the back 4. Which Chambers available, it seems madness to have the player we bought to replace BS, not to play him in that RB position. For one thing he is more disciplined CC21. It is tough on Bellerin, unless he gets a crack in midfield, but that may come in the second half?

    Overall, last result apart, our record up there is pretty good, and 0-2 seems to have occurred a couple of times. Liverpool, I feel, are more in a position that we were in, playing okay, but nothing going right.for them. Now lack of confidence has set in, it seems, they are a bit fractured, not playing as a unit. Does that sound familiar? I don’t buy the ‘wounded animal’ thing at all. If they couldn’t bring themselves together for the most competitive of all local derbies, then we have little to fear on that front. However, just like ourselves, that defeat could be a trigger for a revival. Or at least an attempt at a revival. It is up to us to stamp on it before confidence builds.

    So back to the team selection. I agree with the need to keep it tight at the back in the early stages, even if it means we are more selective when we attack in numbers. I also think we need the double pivot. If we play Ox from the start, and in the middle, it will mean more a 4-3-3, and somebody will be lost from the front? For all the talk of a Walcott return, I think that will only be from the bench. And given the time he has spent out with a ‘groin’ problem, whatever you AW does with Ox, it could backfire. At best it would be a used substitute to catch him before he makes it worse (this time?). Given the need for a double pivot, I think he will be rested, on not brought on unless we need him. The extra few days could save 6 weeks out.

    Coquelin is a great shout for the 2nd DM. Not only is he more mobile than Le Flam, he could also be used to man mark Stirling so he never gets a chance to drive forwards

    The front men do have a look of a 6-4 line up, shorn of both Ox and Bellerin’s pace to drive to drive them from midfield? So it will be no surprise to me if it is stalemate at half-time if that is how they play.

    What are the alternatives? Well the HITC blog put up some training pictures not on the Official website. The trio of academy players, Kamara, Iwobi, and Ajayi were all there. I am pretty sure I saw Hayden in a distant shot when I checked yesterday, and Maitland-Niles missed the Youth Cup victory over Reading on Thursday, and he could be one of the surprises? More similar to Ox in style and position. Has pace to get forward, and crucially, get back, and therefore would be more suited to the style of game we have played in our last two wins.
    Hayden and Ajayi are the more likely to play from the bench, with Hayden the most likely to take a DM slot on the hour. If there is another surprise, then it would be Hayden at CB, with Chambers taking a bench slot as a utility player. Ospina is the most likely unused sub, but may well get a start against West Ham.

    So my bench would read as follows:
    GK – Ospina
    CB – Hayden, alt. Chambers
    CB – Ajayi
    RFB – Bellerin
    LFB – Coquelin, moved if already playing
    MF – A M-N, alt, Hayden, Bellerin, OX.
    STR – Walcott, alt Podolski.

    Heavy on the defensive subs, which is where we may need them, and the current quartet all have the right batteries to go for the full ninety? However, if Ox is completely rested, then Pod would be the 7th man on the bench

    Most likely used, in order: Hayden Coquelin, Walcott/Podolski … lack of injuries and red cards permitting?

    Keep the faith …

  • Nice post TA . Have to admit I am very nervous about today. The Scousers may not be defending well, but attack wise were very unlucky not to get a few against United. Sterling could be a big problem and I think your choice of Flamini and the Coq is a good call. I might be tempted to keep Bellerin. At RB as well. A much as I like the BFG I wouldn’t want to see him one on one with Sterling.

    Key to get off to a good start. We don’t necessarily need to Score early as long as we don’t concede. I still think we have a soft underbelly and an early goal against us might set alarm bells ringing.

    Whoever The scousers play in goal is going to be very nervous. I would certainly try and put the keeper under pressure at crosses etc and maybe try to fire a few long range efforts in as well


  • I’m not sure why we keep saying they couldn’t score against vs Man utd and were unlucky etc etc .
    It was Man utd for crying out loud – the same team the foxes put 5 past ? Who cares about their performance against them .

    We are the mighty Arsenal with our swagger and pace back .

    Name me one team that has better pace on the flanks and center now ?

  • Difficult approach to get right i think.
    When i look at the Liverpool team atm its weaknesses are obvious – defense and midfield
    To not exploit that fact to the fullest extent would be criminal, luckily our attack and midfield (if OX is fit) is our strongest asset atm so i say play to our strengths and their weaknesses and play the same attacking 4-3-3 that we have been doing in the last couple of games – IF OX IS FIT!

    This front six:

    ———-The OX——–Cazorla———-

    Will decimate Liverpool’s back line and midfield.

    Their only strength atm is in attack but i think we should not overestimate the lallana—Stirling–Coutinho partnership and its performance thus far, it is a mere shell of its former Sturridge—Stirling—Suarez strike force that ripped us apart last time.
    These players are all small quick nimble players so Chambers in at CB should not bring a repeat of the lack of physical dominance we saw at Stoke and allows Debuchy to take up his favored position.

    This back five:


    Should hold fast against the diminished Liverpool front line

    I would give explicit instructions to Gibbs to stay back more than usual to support Chambers also.

    My biggest worry is while playing the double pivot that seems to be the favored choice we play straight into their hands and keep the game congested and defensive and put the onus more on their attacking three rather than their back line which would crumble against our attack imo.
    I hope we play the attacking Arsenal team we have seen of late and silence the crowd early, then maybe swap to the double pivot later to see the game out.

    If we go for a 4-2-3-1 as many of you have predicted and with OX rested also then in this case i cannot argue with TA’s line-up apart from the Chambers / Debuchy switch.

    btw this would not be my usual tactic when playing top teams in difficult away matches but Liverpool just at this moment in time look ripe for the taking using this approach to hit them where it hurts right now – in defense!


  • nice one @ Skipper – short and to the point !

    you have been to Anfield quite a few times, lucky you to have witnessed such great games !

    well, let’s put it this way – regardless of who they have in their team, we are man by man better then them in every single position including the GK’s for a change 🙂

    none of their players including Raheem Sterling would get in our starting 11 – that’s a FACT .

    if we can’t avenge our 5-1 now then you know what, may as well pack up and stay home .

    I bet, every single player in their wants to go out at Anfield and put on a show for everyone to see that the 5-1 was a once in a life time fluke (or Suarez) .

    as long as Kolo Toure plays, we can already expect a goal or 2 from him (OWN GOALS)


    1-4 Arsenal

  • JB, if Walcott makes an introduction later on and Giroud goes off then that would probably be the fastest front line i have seen for a while


    And even OX in the midfield behind them 🙂

  • Bollox! forgot again – nice job on the post TA, it set the scene nicely!
    I always forget to thank you mate lol, as soon as i read through it i just want to comment straight away and put my thoughts down and usually forget to show my appreciation for the post which brought me to those thoughts lol.
    Cheers matey 🙂


  • D-Money, Bellerin at right back instead of Chambers is a good call. Chambers is a work in progress in many ways, but bar two iffy performances he has been solid at RB. He also adds height and I think you selling him a bit short for his offensive contributions. Agreed though that Bellerina is superb going forward.

    I don’t really believe in the one for one comparison stuff. Rodgers let’s them play as a team and if he manages to get them to do that against us, the individual comparisons are less relevant. I reckon it all comes down to how well we deal with the centre of defence and set-pieces especially.

  • even if Theo doesn’t come on @ Stevie Wonder

    it’s still going to be the fastest starting 11 , we have had in a while, as long as the OX plays .

    only if KOC was back then Debuchy would him give us even more pace at the back .

    this front this is pretty impressive and I Reckon, AW will start them

    ———-OX ———————-Alexis———————-Welz

    ——————Giroud as the striker ———-

    you need Giroud in the holding role for them 3 to be mighty effective and come in place – Giroud creates space for them as well .

    am actually going to be disappointed , if we don’t win by a 3 goal margin today at least .

  • All agreed Retsub 🙂

    There is still potential in us for disaster and I would say this even if we played Koz today. That’s why the double DM pivot is crucial for me. Pool will want to attack, which will give us very good opportunity to punish them on the break. On the other hand, the best defence can be attack, and I sympathize with the more adventurously minded Gooners to some extent.

  • blimey, a lot of typos and what not in the last comment – apologies, as it was meant to be line, space and so on .

    where is young AFC these days ?

  • Hey Steve 🙂

    Yes if Ox is fully fit, I would be tempted to play him too, but I am worried about his defensive discipline though…. But 4-1-2-3 is a very attractive option today.

  • No worries Steve 🙂

    You are being very optimistic, JB, and that is even with the knowledge of Wojciech playing…. 🙂

    Let’s hope you are right…. And I like your attacking line-up a lot… 🙂

  • as soon as I found out that it was not on BT sport with that Tw@” Michael Owen commentating, I knew the omens are going to be good !

    looking forward to the GDC with my amigo and anyone that can join – kinda miss the Oz’s as well, all 3 of them with Prince, Alex and OZ .

  • anyone know who the ref’s going to be ? been a while since we had that Atkinson fella :s:

  • Yes AFC and the down under guys are being missed, and so high flyer Alcide… and the there is Neeraj, Dylan, Gino, zimmerframe, now even Terry treating us like a discarded woman ….. 😈 😀

  • To all the aforementioned and many more including Macko

    let bygones be bygones, if you have beef here with anyone including our leader who needs to keep the house in order sometimes –

    it’s Xmas time, come out and put all your personal grievances aside – we are one Gooner and BK familia .

    we all miss you , please come back and save us from Stevie wonder’s never ending comments that always include line ups and formations ahahahhaahhahahahahahahahahhahahaha

    you all know who you are – come back and let’s start fresh – I’m sure you miss us just as much as we all miss you .


  • this guy Anthony Taylor is an incompetent ref – how the hell is he still ref’ing Premier league games ? ??

    this is an absolute joke, only one ref was worse than Atkinson for us and we seem to have landed him , wow .

  • I’m up early…This one has me excited too…Also nervous and (sorry, but) I cannot share the full enthusiasm of those who believe we can roll them…

    But I’m getting ahead of myself here… Another great post, Total, and the personal anecdotes of games seen at Anfield is esp. fine. Fingers crossed this one is memorable for all the right reasons, unlike this same fixture last season…

    Ironic, 007, that you mention AFC… He and I did some substantial battle here but I was thinking about him as well, given that I spent most of that match talking him down. As they scored goal after goal after goal (and then a 4th in the first 20 mins), AFC was talking about formations we could try and subs that might be made. Instead, of course, we had to lick our wounds and shore things up. We gave up a fifth, but also got a pen and played the remainder of the match to a 1-1 draw…

    Personally, with us having Alexis and them losing Suarez (and Sturridge to injury) I have no worries about that match haunting us or repeating itself. I do, however, worry that both teams are so fundamentally broken through injury (and pressure on the respective managers…) that whoever gets the first goal might be able to shut up shop to the point that it becomes a roll of the dice. Get that goal, by hook or by crook (by dive or by set-piece…) and the die is–at least somewhat–cast…

    I would have to disagree that we’re better at all positions. In Gerrard and Lucas they have the better protection at deep lying mid and a pair who can move the ball forward smartly. As such, the game could involve pressing from the front with the hope that the ball ends up with those two for a quick strike or just some forward movement to win a FK or a corner. At that point, it’s a lottery, though, as 007 suggests, having our #1 back in goal may help whatever group of defenders we play… 😉

    We’ll likely employ similar ideas so I’d be sure to have Santi Cazorla, inch for inch one of the smartest and best long passers in the game, sit just a bit deeper. He might not have much (any…) size or athleticism, but a forced turnover which falls to him is a chance for us. Get the ball to any of our forwards and good things can happen. Alexis, Giroud and Welbeck (or Poldolski) on a week’s rest seems better than Sterling having played on Wednesday…

    Still, Coutinho and Ballotelli have talent, as do their Southampton signings, La-la-la, Lambert (albeit in a different, more English style…) If they actually look for the pass (not their natural game, except sometimes for Lallana) and take their chances, they’re a match, I hate to say, for any iteration of the rear group we’re forced to play. As such, numbers staying back and working as a unit will be a key, as is a bit of luck…

    So, conservative play (both teams) and get the first goal. Please Dennis please, let this be one to remember, for the right reasons rather than the wrong…

  • You are up early, Seventeenho. Are you enjoying the black, steaming stuff whilst looking at a peaceful white landscape blanket> 🙂

    Just in case you don’t know Ballstelli is suspended today.

  • Agreed with 007, people who might come here for a read should get back into the posting… Happy Holidays to all…

    It’s not easy being an Arsenal supporter and friction is (often) a result… Still, even if we’re not always a happy family, we should still do what we can to share a little love. A little Xmas cheer from a result today would surely not hurt…

    Disagreed about Oliver vs Taylor…The man with the hair is a much better ref, IMO…Sorry Totes… 😀

    US commentary team today includes Lee Dixon and Tim Howard…Interesting canned piece on Wenger and Rodgers and expectations and pressures on managers…

  • I should have added that my first ever international live game was back in 1976…. it was a friendly between my home team Roda JC and the then mighty Liverpool. I was nine years old and the game ended 1-1. 🙂

  • Aha…Missed the Balo suspension… We got a little snow but it was heavy…I got out on in yesterday and my back survived it, even if it killed the rest of me… Consider me excited on that account…

    Again, nervous about the match…and thinking that Wenger has to manage this one not only for tonight but for the tight group of matches starting on Boxing day…

    If it’s the morning of a day that ends in Y, I will be drinking espresso… 😀

  • Good Morning me Amigo – have been expecting you but not as early as this (your time!

    not that am complaining .

    you can disagree all you want but Stevie G and Lucas are no better than the Flame and OX in the double pivot or Santiago – Stevie G’s passing is no better than the current Form Santiago is in and Ox drives forward like no tomorrow at the rate of naughts compared to that Lucas fella – our Flamini is more disciplined these days 😀 long that may continue, so in short, on current form, we are man for man better than 2 blokes in their mid 30’s or dying legs 😀

    well, our Sczny only edges out their Brad jomes, only just – it’s marginal but am not complaining ahahahhahaahahahha

  • I got this from a Liverpool site re the game. Keegan played and Roda scored a late equaliser… I must admit I had forgotten this (not the score though!). Roda used to play with two fast wingers, Van Der Lem and Vermeulen and a massive centre forward in the middle. Nanninga would make history two years later by scoring a late equaliser for Holland against Argentina in the World Cup final. It is a bit like playing Giroud as an old fashioned CF and Alexis and Theo on the wings…. boom boom boom.. 🙂 (Broeks used to live in the same street as I grew up in).

    Today In History
    August 7th

    Extra Info



    Ray Clemence
    Phil Neal
    Alec Lindsay
    Phil Thompson
    Ray Kennedy
    Emlyn Hughes
    Ian Callaghan (Terry McDermott)
    Jimmy Case
    David Fairclough
    John Toshack
    Kevin Keegan

    Drew 1-1
    McDermott 14′

    Roda Line-Up

    Roda JC Kerkade Dacier, De Wit, Pfeiffer, Ziegler, Broeks, Meuser, Ehlen, Kolding (Toonstra 74), Van Der Lem, Nanninga, Vermeulen

    Goal(s) Toonstra (90)

  • wow – those were the days ehhh @ Skipper

    care free days !

    you even had a Vermeulen in the side 😀

    Kevin keegan , ahhhh

  • A bit off-topic but I’m watching the North East Derby and wondering (something I’ve actually wondered about for a while), would gooners be happy with Sissoko? Excuse the blatant cliche but he seems like the “big black beast of a CM” we need. His running power from midfield invokes memories of a young strident Vierra and from today’s crop, YaYa Toure. I’m aware he isnt a DM/HM in the strict sense of the word but then neither is Arteta so…to me Sissoko represents what Diaby is and could be if not for his injury record.

  • as we were discussing the competence or lack of from Mr. Taylor


    Newcastle 0-0 Sunderland
    Posted at 9 mins
    Sunderland want red. Gus Poyet’s eyeballs are on stalks. But Anthony Taylor decides that Fabricio Coloccini’s knee into the back of Connor Wickham is worthy only of yellow.
    It was your classic ‘orange card’. It could have gone either way, but was probably more clumsy than malicious.


    Newcastle 0-0 Sunderland
    Posted at 2 mins
    Referee Anthony Taylor holds out until only the second minute. Sebastian Coates catches Ayoze Perez to earn the game’s first yellow card and Paul Dummett curls the resulting free-kick over the top. Newcastle have started full of aggression and intent.

  • and that is what his manager fears @ D-Money

    Moussa sissoko to Arsenal – he said it before the Arsenal vs Newcastle game, which means there is something in that one .

    Pardew doesn’t hold back, he called and revealed our interest in Cabaye as well .

  • Those were carefree days indeed and the footie was fast and deadly with those power wingers. I once saw a picture in a local pub of Nanninga jumping for a cross and the covering defender’s head was at the height of Dick Nanninga’s shorts…. 🙂

  • ahahahhahahahhahahahaahaaah

    nice one @ skipper

    you are in a mighty fine mood today and are doing well with all these blasts from the past .

    well, in my day, it was rather terrifying to see our invincible team line up for hand shakes and so on – it was like a fine sight of seeing warriors and gladiators line up and tell their opponents , no matter what you do, we will shake your hands and then play you off the field with guile, venom and class .

    we didn’t appreciate them as much as we should have, I guess but no worries, our current lot can replicate all that as long as we find a beast of a DM from somewhere 🙂

  • Hey 007, Very nice and, as always, I love your confidence… Indeed, I’m up early, after the big ski day I took a two hour nap and still went to bed at the normal hour. That’s probably why I’m up early…

    It’s such a big match for Pool and Rodgers so we have to deal with that. His players and the more supportive supporters will be behind them unless we can put them to the sword. Given the pressures on both managers, I bet they’d agree to a draw if such things were possible…

    The fans, of course, are a different story and we appear to be building expectations for a big win…

    Ox has soooo many weapons but I worry about his head. He makes strange decisions and goes from big confident passes and shots a bit too early and often for a DM, IMO. When those don’t come off he seems to get even more antsy… Still, I hope he plays, keeps things simple and, if (or when) he tires, Le Coq can get a chance…

    Ooh, Sissoko should’ve done better there…

    He’s a good one, D-Money, but too much of an attacker considering our needs, I think… Cabaye, I liked better and Tiote is a real cynic, even if he’s much (much) smaller…

  • Yes JB, looking fwd to the footie. The Invincibles were awesome warriors. I kinda want that physicality back…. smash the Orcs with athleticism, power and technique in one go.. 🙂

  • “When I was young, Arsenal was my favourite club. There was my idol: Vieira. I have always liked this club. I still like it now” m. sissoko comments from as recently as last week that I just came across
    As for Colback at AFC…LOL. That’s honestly best way to express how I’d feel about that.
    Tiote to pick up a red…(Shame he misses the Man U game)

  • Haha, TA… Nothing like being well-rested (the nap and early enough to bed…) and then hearing the timer turn on the espresso maker (it takes 20 mins to get to temperature)…

    Inneresting that you like Colback so much…The Ginger Arteta? 😀

    I hate to say it, given today’s match, but Lucas (the palest Brazilian in football?) was good to start with and has learned a lot from Gerrard. Very cynical himself as are most of the S. Americans…

  • Whoa…Larsson to Fletcher with the over the shoulder volley… Only the crossbar stopped what would have been an amazing goal….

  • So, then D-Money, when it comes to Sissoko, you do support Wenger (or the new manager…) playing guys out of their natural positions?… 😀 Or would he be an upgrade to the likes of Ramsey, Ox, Theo, etc.?

  • I called it about the ref before the game and he hasn’t disappointed – I hope he stays away from any Arsenal game .

    oin the debate at #bbcfootball

    Newcastle 0-0 Sunderland
    Posted at
    Chris Goodall: Awful miss from Wickham, it’s no wonder Sunderland are in trouble with finishing like that
    Kyle Wilson: This referee needs to go to specsavers, really poor calls for the majority of the match so far, questions need to be asked here

  • Well DM you keep checking him out because he is developing very quickly now. If you have time watch his game against us and especially his very fine performance against the Chavs…. 😛

  • 17 HaHaHa that was unfair but deserved. Play nice 😉
    Reality is Arteta was a CAM at Everton and look where we play him…Sissoko would certainly be much more adapt at being adapted 😉
    That aside, there are many players currently in our squad in midfield he would certainly be an upgrade on ooff the bat anyways (Arteta,Flamini,Coquelin, Rosicky, Diaby etc.) And Jack and Ramsey are permanently injured or coming back from injury anyway, Sissoko also similar to Ox when he plays in the bOX-2-bOX role (forgive for that regrettable styling there LOL)

  • D-Money

    so was Stevie G – and look where he plays now or after he crossed that dreaded line .

    you lose pace, you drop back .

    that is why you had the likes of Mancini say this about Yaya.Toure – he is losing pace but no problem, he can easily play at CB down the line .

  • Agreed JB. But then the player must have the skill set required to adapt, just me, but I really think if required Sissoko could adapt. Also think Ox and Chambers could adapt/develop into a great pivot if trialed against “weaker” opposition initially.
    HT in the derby, scoreless. Game lacks quality and incisiveness. Hope ours isnt like that, doubt it though…not with our forward line.

  • I like Coback but I rather James Mccarthy .

    our next signing at DM will be in the 22-26 bracket .

  • 007, I cannot get overly concerned about the poor level of reffing in England except when we suffer for it. It’s generally worse when you have one of these guys with the Webb hairstyle trying to let them play but then making a couple of calls near the center circle to keep things from becoming a rugby match…

    This Perez kid looks good…and suddenly reminded me about another Arsenal trip to the CL finals…In that movie series about the Mexican American kid who starts his career at Newcastle but finishes it at RM… (Goal II, I think was the film title…)

    Oh Santi, how could ya… Said his physical therapist girl friend about his festejando and back page photos, down in Madrid… Hopefully it’s (our) good (little) Santi we see today…

    Nice one D-money… too-shay, as Viera or Sissoko or Wenger might say… And, also glad to see you back around here today… Older CAMs (Arteta and Gerrard for example) can move backwards as time goes by…DM is a position where experience (really) counts, IMO… Ox did a job in a big match (last of the season, 1.5 years ago at Toon) when Arteta limped off…

    HT and still nil-nil… Did Colback move from Wearside to Tyneside? That’s Campbell-esque in terms of having some brass cajones if he did…

  • Yep Colback was at Sunderland between 2008-14, although he was on loan at Ipswich for two years during that period. He caught my eye recently and I will keep checking him out..

  • let’s put it this way lads .

    as long as we get a proper DM with presence, I don’t care who he is or where he comes from.

    I would gladly take Sissoko, Tiote, Fellaini , no worries – such is our need in that position not just now but from a very long time .

  • wouldn’t mind that fella from across the road either – Jan vertonghen

    AW wanted him to play in the DM role but he chose the spuds over us .

  • it is, we need proper protection to compliment and supplement our attack .

    otherwise there is little point in having such fine fire power up front, when we are conceding sloppy goals at the other end like at Stoke for example – there is no one there to break play smartly and foul smartly in this current Team – Arteta does it but he’s out injured .

  • More talk here at half-time with Tim Howard’s beard and Lee Dixon… Dixon really goes overboard to not appear overly supportive of Arsenal… I don’t like it, but so it goes…

    Anybody else believe that both managers would donate an organ if they could take a draw here tonight? Also, how did Balo get his suspension? Too many yellows or two last weekend or something stupid that I missed by turning off that match a couple of minutes early?…

    Have we got line-ups yet?…

    Agreed about the DM situation, but we have a lot more flexibility if Arteta stays fit… Cabaye at 18 million (laughable at the time) doesn’t look like such bad business in hindsight… Truth be told, I don’t see us pulling the trigger on anybody in January unless he’s another Kallstrom (already hurt…) Does Schneiderlin fit the bill?…

  • that Racist thing @ Me Amigo

    in my opinion, it wasn’t racist as such what he posted – but one person’s humour these days is another’s racism remark, thin and fine line on that one

    got fined £25 k as well, could have ended up with a 5 match ban

    let me find what he posted and got done by

  • this is what he posted

    Be like Mario. He’s an Italian plumber created by Japanese people, who speaks English and looks like a Mexican. … jumps like a black man and grabs coins …

  • you can delete that one, if you feel it’s inappropriate @ Skipper

    I don’t have £25 k – just so we are clear 😀

  • Thanks, 007

    So we need a super mario at DM, who runs and jumps like a… but gives up goals like a…


    I don’t really want to weigh in what’s racist or anti-semitic or anything else… Suffice it to say that our job, I think, is (slightly) easier w/o Mario B in the mix and stomping on our players (as he did with Song in that game vs City… won, I think, by the hammer foot of Arteta)…

  • but what was really funny after that was that he deleted it and then posted ” hey all of you , just shut up as my mother is Jewish” or along them lines 😀

  • Now, that IS funny… 😀

    How does the younger Ameobi survive in this league…Thinner legs than Diaby…

    I guess nobody is worried about him after Bellerin kept him in his pocket last weekend… Sterling might not make our first 11, but he’s a step up…

    For Schneiderlin money we could also get this guy… Or his brother Kristof?… Or so the papers are saying…

  • Arsenal’s starting team:
    Szczesny, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Chambers, Gibbs, Flamini, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Alexis, Giroud, Welbeck

    Martinez, Monreal, Coquelin, Maitland-Niles, Campbell, Walcott, Podolski


    Liverpool’s starting team:
    Jones, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho, Lucas, Henderson, Markovic, Coutinho, Gerrard, Lallana, Sterling

    Mignolet, Enrique, Lambert, Moreno, Manquillo, Can, Borini

  • I keep checking the New Snow page for line-ups and some of the headlines are hilarious…

    I too will say that my son will only play for Arsenal, not Man City… 😀 Nabil Fekir, anybody?…

    Somebody’s got to score here…Damn Sissoko runs well, and Arsenal players might find him with a pass…

  • Well I’ve been away for about an hour, and there is still no news about the squad that has travelled up there. Very strange that we are not given a hint as to who AW is picking from?

    I guess JM will be on shortly to give us the full line up?

    Just read through the comments. No, don’t bother about Sissoko. Nor Vidic for that matter.
    Our shortlist will be filled by guys at the top of it, not those scraping in off the desperate list.

    One of the hilarious things I read this week, which you could put under a heading to do with ‘Pots, Kettles, and who is Black’ was Taarabt criticising Balotelli for his lack of effort 😀

    I also read read that one Liverpool guy was saying ‘they know how to hurt Arsenal’. I hope that is not literally? I am guessing it will be more likely crosses into the box?

    If there is no news soon I shall switch to the TV, and catch you later.

  • Once the Ox was passed fit, it would be hard to get that first 11 wrong, F11ngers… Just like your series of vids suggested, our (senior) squad is truly down to bare bones…

    Good to see that Theo and Nacho make the bench, though their presence could be symbolic only…

    Pool to play 5 at the back?

  • JM – on cue … telepathically speaking. Many thanks.

    Monreal the only cover for a CB? Unless Le Coq takes over at RB.

    Maity will get some minutes I hope, otherwise attack heavy bench?

    I think we need all of Steve’s digits crossed that we do not get any more injuries. 😀

  • Gerry, you might already be gone…But I think your statement might have racist overtones…lack of effort and black (even if I know you were referring to pots and kettles) is not considered politically correct over here… On the other hand, it’s awfully mild compared to something which might come out of Dave Whelan’s mouth, for example… 😀 (The football and stupid statement story I have been following…)

    Anyhow, I cannot believe this match is gonna finish nil-nil…mostly because TA picked a draw (and I didn’t) in the UMF…

  • Arsenal (Larsson) and City rejects (Johnson, Rodwell)… to close it out… Pardieu back on the asiento calliente?… Sorry, I don’t know how to say “hot seat” in French…and he’s off it mostly for the contributions of the young Spaniard anyhow…

    That’s funny Total…I think he considers that one his lucky 13th finger… 😀

  • I’ve just wrapped a lucky scarf around my throbbing extra finger and am all fired up for this 4-3-3 onslaught on Liverpool!!! 🙂 🙂

  • Was it a 6 fingered lucky scarf?… I usually wait until after the match… lol…

    Anyhow, a battle of formations today?… Mingo dropped for another match? And our Don Vito’s got a tougher time after Lemonpants did the job in the derby… (I dunno 007, I think Sisso’s great strike was gonna draw wood, but you’re the last guy with whom I want to argue about keepers…)

    Go on, eh…

  • when was the last time we played vs 10 men ?

    have played plenty of times vs 12 .

    can’t remember the last time we played against 10 though

  • More seriously…I think Ox and Santi need to sit back and play provider for the front group…As such, goals from Giroud, Alexis and Welbs seem more likely… First priority is stopping the fellow who fixed his hair (Sterling) and Coutinho and winning the MF battles…

    As always, however, WTF do I know?…

    Here’s a famous American Football owner from my hometown, who had the right idea…

  • Whoa…That turned out a little larger than intended…Sorry…

    See you Total… Have one on us, eh… 😀

    Very excited and I might have to, er, pull another one myself… one of these, however…

  • loving the decision to play Debuchy as CB, we need pace alongside the BFG and sadly, Chambers is another bambi when it comes to being pacey .

    don’t mind him at RB though, as he can whip in some delicious crosses for Giiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud

  • don’t mind one of them either @ Me amigo 🙂

    what’s your prediction ? give us a score then

  • Pardon the coffee porn (and the other large image), Total…

    BFG, Giroud and Alexis are my 3 Arsenal players in my FF team, so I will 2nd that bet…Long week perhaps led to a little extra practice on the corners and FKs?… Would be nice I think and Per is (over) due…

    The whole match could be very cagey until a first goal is taken… Hopefully we can get Steve to cross as many as he can… and/or tie up those scarves, so that it is ours… Hard to see this one staying scoreless as unbalanced as both teams appear…

    I’ll take nil-1 to the Arsenal but will always welcome more, 007…

    Did I see Chambers twisting in a pair of earplugs in the tunnel?…

    Time for the Elvis song…

  • Lala into touch from the kickoff…First call goes to the swarm around Sterling… Big noise up there…and Coutinho working BFG is a scary, scary sight…

    Stevie G FK, however, is overhit…Both teams too excited early, I think…

  • Ox is playing but only noticed with a giveaway on maybe 10 mins…Not sure if he’s fully fit…We’re sitting off and letting them have the ball, maybe even more now that Flams has taken the first yellow…

    Better than 4 goals (conceded) in the first 20 last time…

    Better now…first real bit of possession…

  • Bad time to give up a goal…

    007, will likely blame the keeper but it was poor one touching by our forwards (Giroud and Welbs) trying to start the break…

    DEBUCHY!!!! (off Skeletor)

    Back level but momentum with us, going to HT…

  • this isn’t working . even if we are 1-1 , not working at all

    OX needs to be on the bench for the 2nd half bring on Le Coq

  • yes, what was Sczny doing for that goal ?

    Watching the ball go in the back of the net and get it back outside .


    can’t wait to have a fully fit OSPINA back, be better than a spectator aka Sczny

    happy @ ME AMIGO


    our problem is that no one knows what role they are playing or are suppose to be playing, a lot of players coming in each others way and making it more congested then it needs to be for Arsenal .

    to a man (except for Debuchy and Gibbs) WE ARE SHOCKING!!!

    You can try and bitch like little girls about all the usual players you have grievances with, OX, Chambers, Cazorla etc etc but EVERYONE is SHITE today! WTF???

    We look like a team of strangers??

  • OX needs to be taken off, he isn’t doing much or anything at all – the poor lad is lost .

    but saying that, we are a 2nd half team and I guess, he will get another 15 minutes before he is replaced by AW

    our players need to take the pressure off Flamini, too many give away’s in dangerous positions, keep the ball and pass it – even backwards, possession is the key now to let all our players breathe a bit more .

    that’s the worst 1st half performance I have ever watched, so we can’t be as bad as that for the 2nd is the only positive I can take for now.

    COYG !!!

  • we don’t know how to press, we go near to the player but still stand off enough to allow him to keep loads of passing options open – closing down training needed!!

  • one too many mince pies and xmas puddings – all AW’s fault for giving them 3 days off

    instead of being fully refreshed and recharged, we look really rusty .

  • am honestly running out of patience here – what’s the point of having a sub bench and not using it when you are 2-1 ahead away ?

  • 2-2

    lucky result for us .

    AW has caused another injury to the OX by not substituting him earlier on .

    unable to put another game to bed against a 10 men liverpool side, bad but am not complaining, could have been worse .

    we just didn’t play with any sort of confidence at all – the 4-1 4-1 before this one , indeed a case of flattering to deceive .

  • I don’t know what the fuck they did in their week off but NEVER DO IT AGAIN!!!!

    JB, I think just like Gibbs when he had his shit game the OX was playing with an injury but even so his was just one shit performance in a fucking sea of SHITE today.
    Only players to have even a half decent game today were Cazorla, Debuchy and Gibbs.

  • Sorry to say it but we got more than we deserved. Three up front didn’t work today. The Ox and Wellbeck were just making up the numbers. Still we got a point and that’s a big improvement upon last time.

    A few players were grafting I thought Debuchy, Giroud and Santi had decent games, but even when Liverpool went down to 10 we couldn’t get a kick

    Coquelin looked like he was up for it when he came on.

    Just saw a sky sports fact Ársenal had 35per cent that’s the lowest figure Ársenal have had since 2003 when they started checking stats.

    “Arsenal have a better player in every position”. Hmmmm I think not

  • on paper we did, but sadly the game is no longer won on the paper anymore 🙂

    never give them 3 days off ever again , bad idea .

  • “never give them 3 days off ever again , bad idea”

    truer words have never been spoken!
    hear hear!!

  • Hello, people.

    We just don’t have enough bodies in the midfield. Rosicky would have done a lot for us today, perhaps even Arteta next to Flamini. I knew shit-storm was coming when Giroud was replaced – our aerial defence without him is much weaker.

  • JB,
    I also thought that the Ox just wasn’t feeling it today after the first 20 minutes and I wanted Wenger to take him off at halftime but somehow, that didn’t happen. Even so, as shite as most of our players were, we still had an incredible chance to go home with all three points but we managed to fuck it up somehow. We had a man advantage but you would have thought it was the other way around. All we had to do was control the game for three more minutes and see it out. Yet, we gave them a whole host of corners, resulting in a fucking FREE header. Unbelievable!!! This zonal marking thing, when it is not executed properly, it is just bad and awful to watch and digest. Can we try something better…?

    Anyway, overall this was a bad performance and a disappointing result but it is nothing to “blow a gasket” over. Based on our shocking display (bar a few players), I think we are actually Lucky to escape Anfield with a solitary point. Even though it is still a two points LOST!!! 😔😀

    Hope we see a much sharper performance and total demolition of QPR on Friday.

  • hello, coaching horrible ….. Ox no comment ……. Skrtel always punishes us when we play against liverpool 10 happens to equalize us when we returned all our defensive player there is a big problem in terms of team management the last action of Nacho would shoot at goal rather than trying to make a pass to Welbeck
    As they say JB is doing well with a draw will do better at the boxing day or we will plunge in the ranking !!!
    I wish you all a good party and a very good year 🙂
    GO ARSENAL !!!

  • Oh btw, big credit to Liverpool for playing their heart out and working their socks off. Even down a player, they never gave up and still dominated us, fought very hard for every ball and managed to get that equalizer. At a very minimum, they actually deserve that point. Not sure why they are languishing where they currently are (10th place)…

  • TA your call for Coquelin to start…was excellent when he came on. Ox was as shit as I’ve ever seen him, absolutely woeful, Sanchez too. But it doesnt happen too often so we’ll let it go.
    The fact that we never changed ANYTHING tactically despite being CLEARLY outnumbered in midfield is dissapointing and you expect better. Once they went 3-5-2 (or 3-5-1-1 with Coutinho behind Sterling if you wish) and we only really had Ox-Flamini in midfield with Santi playing very close to the front 3 then I thought we’d change it, at least once we were lucky to go in 1-1 at HT.
    They had 27 shots on goal, we had 7. We had 36% ball posession. That comes from being outnumbered in midfield and ofcourse our inability to hold onto the ball and misplacing simple 5-yard passes.
    But its not a train smash, as I said earlier Liverpool are shit and they will not be our competition for Top 4 (that’s the aim as always isnt it?) So given how we played let’s take the draw and smash QPR on Friday. We always show up against inferior opposition anyways.

  • hahaha how you lot are picking out individual performances out of that train wreck is beyond me 😆
    Shite to a man, from back to front!
    Take the point
    Count ourselves very lucky
    Hope it was a one off that EVERY player was off their game at the same time
    Whatever we did during the week, never do again.
    Move on
    Win against QPR

  • 007, Retsub, Admir and Gino, I gotta agree… and I appreciate the balanced comments there at the end… Those are some crap teams out there, and injuries lead to overplaying players and more injuries… There will be all sorts of finger pointed and would be managers who would’ve won the match…in hindsight, of course… You gotta give the boys a break at some point and managing requires thinking not just about the game at hand, but those ahead…No matter how many (f11ngers) you might have…

    Unfortunately, I had to drop out of the GDC, again, because of blind hatred (in the form of blame) for certain individuals on display–including a guy who was likely our MOTM and has a lot of consonants in his name… 007 did well to try and give him some credit there as the 2nd period wore on, however, so maybe I should’ve hung in there…

    What I see,overall, are two once proud teams forced–by league rules (favoring the young and the home-grown and hoping for a sense of loyalty in these days of Oiler money…) trying to depend on too many not very good players being forced to dig too deep… Subbing out Giroud, for example, as Admir notes, was probably smart for the run of fixtures ahead, but we need him at set-pieces… It’s tempting to say that the young players would’ve done just as well but watching Le Coq go to ground in a spot where he’ll never get the call and you can see the need for experience late on at a hostile ground… Otherwise he looked good, but a fresh player always will against a team that gave so much… .I would’ve brought on Bellerin to play ahead of Chambers (instead of Campbell) but WTF do I know?… (Lulu not getting on suggests he’s done at Arsenal…)

    Pool’s kids are woeful (too), but Lallana delivered a good corner and Giroud wasn’t able to injure Skrtl enough to take him out of the match… The foreign guys, when not enraged by the referee and getting sent off, are a cut above, but not by much…

    The oldsters weren’t much better, on the day (except our best defensive mid, Cazorla and Debuchy playing well out of position…) That Gerrard won’t get his contract renewed seems sad, but about right… Flamini is likely in the same situation with us…

    Gino makes a fine point…Any advantage we have in quality was equalized by the atmosphere and support generated by the Anfield crowd. Shame we cannot match it…Sold out to the Emirs, I guess… It’s a factor which will (continue to) cost us points… Luckily our buying power will grow with each empty seat bought by the corporate guys and other fancy pants…

    The tired narratives, of course, will continue. Yes, we should’ve replaced Vermaelen with a body–even if the former captain wasn’t (and isn’t) a contributor in recent years. Still, you get 15 million for him and replace with Chambers (and replace Sagna with Debuchy) but you still need somebody else in there, esp. if Kos and Mert were nursed through their WC runs… I’ve argued that Welbeck was the better roll of the dice with our deadline day money, but how worthless was he on the day?…

    So, both teams and clubs–and managers–keep their jobs but ours is the bigger loser on the day…even if I can’t find much to fault him… (Luckily, other Gooners will certainly step up, I’m sure…) Holding the points would’ve kept Pool out of the battle for CL spots but now they keep a toe-hold… Like other say, it would’ve flattered our team re: title tilts and other idiocies people take from single results. These next matches will be just as tough but probably more important ones to win… Until we get real bodies back (Theo surely was on the bench just for show–see Steve’s vids from the last thread…) there will be no easy matches…

    Good times…

  • Steve fair point. I think what I am getting at is changes could and should have been made earlier. The Ox was clearly having a stinker and Welbeck just didn’t turn up today. I can’t for the life of me understand why Poldi doesn’t get a chance. If nothing else he knows where the goal is

  • Sorry for the long comment and lack of smileys…lotsa love for our little group here in maintaining some perspective… I may even have to go back and see what google translate did for Macko… 😀

    D-money…I think playing on the break was very good strategy…Unfortunately, their first goal came from just that (Welbs and Giroud one-touches and then Coutinho beating our flat footed defenders and getting the correct side of the post…) As I said, some of the subs weren’t to my taste (esp. Giroud off) but they would’ve been fine if we’d held on… Hindsight is the great luxury real managers never have…Along with a free transfer every week and the two wildcards…

    It was a great chance to put their “Genius” Rodgers under Moyes-esque levels of pressure, but we failed…Again, props to the Anfield faithful, for not getting too ugly, too early…It was awfully quiet when we equalized and when Skeletor lay prone, but, if I hadn’t had to shut the ‘puter at half-time, Id’ve mentioned that that extra time was gonna be trouble unless we got up by a couple…

    Ah well… Enjoy your holidays…

  • Steve, do a right click on the image and opt for ‘copy imagine URL’, then go to Bergkampesque’s comment section, do a right click and opt for ‘paste’…. and click ‘post comment’

  • Look at the fear in Nacho and the ‘he is going to kill me’ posture of the BFG and Chambers thinking ‘well at least I jumped’… A picture that says it all, in a way. 🙂

  • One picture summing up Arsenal in a nutshell

    Our tough tackling, imposing DM Flamini deemed so insignificant to proceedings in the middle of the penalty area that he is stuck back on the post.
    BFG and Monreal cringing miles away like little girls
    Debuchy doing his best to command the area pretty much on his own and out of position
    And the only one anywhere near the danger is the inexperienced 19 year old but he is far to physically unimposing to effect the opposition player.

    The story of the season so far (defense wise)???

  • YOU FUCKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA YOU BASTARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    😆 😆 😆

  • Steve, it does not always seem to work: sometimes only the link shows up and sometimes the picture appears in the comment…. Don’t ask me why though! 😕

  • However, let me hasten to say I am overall happy with our boys today. I thought our defence did well. Will write more about the game at some point but just wanted to support the boys.

  • Um TA you were watching the Arsenal match weren’t you?
    We were completely played off the park mate, but hey i will wait for the review 🙂

    Now get out of my head, i need some alone time 😆

  • In my match preview for this game I wrote:

    “Mathieu Flamini will have a huge role on Sunday – he’ll have to protect the back four and help Oxlade-Chamberlain create something from the deep. The Englishman has been more comfortable playing higher up the pitch so Flamini should protect his back as well in case The Ox loses possession.”

    The thing is, you can’t do anything with a single midfielder even if you play against the team that is arguably two or three positions behind us in terms of quality. Aside from Coquelin, The Flame was our only natural central midfielder that was ready for the game.

    I believe that Bellerin’s ankle injury had given Wenger a headache – how to avoid both pairing Chambers and Mertesacker in the central defence and putting Chambers on the right full-back position? If we only had Rosicky…

    What worries me is the simple fact we can’t score enough goals to cover for all the mistakes our defence can make. Take a look at Škrtel’s goal – how many players in yellow shirts were standing there, as TA pointed out?

    After Week 17, we have 27 points. We have failed to beat any of six Champions’ League contenders (Oilers, Manure, Spuds, Everton, Liverpool) with only Spuds not scoring twice against us, we have spilled eleven points from the winning position and after our goalkeeper shared The Golden Glove last term, this season we have managed to keep a clean sheet in just four occasions.

    On a positive note, Cazorla and Giroud seem to be in a good shape while Debuchy has proved he is a fine replacement for Sagna (hell, he has already scored the same number of goals like Sagna did last term!).

  • Good one Admir. Let’s not forget we are playing nr.2 players in many a position still. Add Koz, Ozil, Jack, Rambo, Theo and maybe Arteta to our team and we will be able to get some wins from those title competitors.

    For me Danny was by far our weakest player, closely followed by Ox and Chambers. Giroud had a poor first half too, but a good talking to by Wenger saw him improve significantly. Replace Ox with Rambo, Chambers with Koz, Danny with Theo, and Santi with Ozil or Jack and we would have had a far better team today. And we all know which areas we need to strengthen the team…. 🙂

    Santi had a very good second half too, though; and not just for the assist..

  • @TA – I agree. I mentioned Rosicky because I think he would have been enough for Liverpool today. I don’t know what’s happening with the Czech but it’s not good.
    Welbeck won’t see too much of football if Theo returns to shape, I’m afraid. With all due respect for his pace and hard-work, he has problems with composure.
    @steve – at

  • TA,

    That picture sums it all up. It is quite funny and shocking that a Giant like Mertesacker, a player taller than everyone else on the pitch, would “coward” down like this when it mattered the most. He didn’t even attempt to jump. And this is supposed to be an experienced international (albeit retired now), someone renowned for his organizational skills, and worse your Captain, hahahaha…

    I guess a picture is really worth a thousand word, huh!!!

    WTF Per? 😄

  • Everytime I say we need to drop Per and I would rather see the kids then another Per horror shoow I am told we need his leadership, experiance and organisation…interesting. There is no doubt in my mind Per has been our worst player this season and been directly responsible for a fair amount of goals…I dont think he could have stopped the Skrtl goal TBF but him ducking and hiding like a little gir is disgraceful.
    I see many gooners trying to paint the picture we set up defensively and were playing on the break…LOL…which counter attacks did we have? We were played of the park coz we were outnumbered in midfield and couldnt complete simple passes and hold on to the ball. We were defending all the time not by design but because they forced us to. A draw does nothing for us, so if you think that’s a “good result” IDK. Saints, West Ham, Swansea, Spurs all won this weekend, so a draw means we lose ground. Man U doesnt matter, we wont catch them.
    We cant keep using injuries as an excuse anymore, Man U have arguably had as many or more injuries and their 3rd despite that.
    We didnt show up, as we never tend to v fellow big clubs that arent Spurs, but we dont need to beat those teams to get top 4. We’ve been getting tpop 4 without doing so for yearts anyway. We’ll smash QPR in the next game and then we’ll predicatably lose to the Carrol lead aerial onslought at West Ham. After that we’ll talk about injuries and defensive naivity costing us again, but nothing will change.
    As for January window, unless you get someone in by the latest the 10th it becomes a waste as its just more games with the same players and excuses. We need to replace Per in the starting XI, we dont just need a back-up CB. We need someone who will start. Same applies to DM/HM (Flamini/Arteta), we need a starter not a back-up. The players we have will be fine as back up, but should never be starters.

  • Good morning all, I am just going to clear up a few things, before agreeing with TA’s preview
    17 teen o – The trouble with the internet it is global, and clearly on your side of the ‘big pond’ you did not have a tradition of all cooking implements being the same as Henry Ford’s early cars, ..’any colour you like as long as it is black’? This I find surprising as from all my early years of watching westerns, they too were black, mind you so were the the films 😀
    Finally, my ‘who is’ was referring to the implements of the same colour, although our UKIP would be politicians would no doubt consider the players the same too 😀
    It was a colloquial reference n’er to be repeated.

    Admir and JB were right about the subbings, timng and need, and AW somewhat at fault for the ‘who’ who came off. HT’s point on future games is a little less strong given what AW has done for Ox’s Christmas?

    I also pointed out prior to kick off the the bench was ‘attack heavy’? And half explains why Campbell came on???
    The Bellerin ‘injury’ is a ‘Wenjury’ imo. However, when you have a strapping 6’4” Nigerian Under 20 international who has been training with the first team for several weeks, and you cannot find space for him on the bench, let alone for the final 15 minutes beats me?
    But WTF do I know, to coin a phrase.

    I agree, the individual pointing at players is not helpful, when, as TA highlights in his review, there is no response to what was happening on the pitch in terms of tactics?

    Nor does it help making snap judgements from photos. The large image show it better I think. To suggest Big Festive Giant is ‘cowering out of the way’ is hasty to say the least. My recollection of that moment is this:
    The picture is of the header made by the Liverpool player, standing on his own, and aimed straight at Woijech Szczesny. Ever thought that that BFG might have got a shout ‘LEAVE it!’?
    Neither was Nacho anywhere near to get an expectant clattering, so he may have heard the call too?

    Fine review Totes, as I repost this later. 😀

  • Oh dear D-Money, you do slip into your agiprop angst at a drop of a hat don’t you?

    Our injuries haven’t gone away.
    Man U are only 3rd at the moment.
    We play both Saints and WHA, who also have to play Chelsea. Win those games and the QPR one and we are sitting pretty with 10 points from 12?
    It may or may not happen, but to come out with your nonsense after one game …?
    Criticism of BFG is totally unfair given the changes in his supporting cast. We have hardly played the same back 4 more than twice since September.

    Take a tablet and have another lie down

  • Let me get this right, even though the personnel has changed and he is the only one who has been playing game in game out in and underperforming leaky back 4, the problem is the players coming in and not the one who has been there all along? Okay.
    My point about our injuries is exactly that…they wont go away…its been like that for seasons now…we need to start being pro-active and finding ways to deal with these injuries instead of using them as excuses. Ox is likely added to the injury list now even. I’d like to see this Utopia everyone keeps speaking off where all our players will be injury free just as much as the next guy, but until then, what’s our plan to deal with the injuries? If we cant play our normal game effectively due to injuries, maybe we should adopt another one? City had to play without a striker and found a way too win. I already said above the moment Liverpool set up in a 3-5-2 we should have dropped one of our front 3 into midfield or alternatively replaced one of them with Coquelin as early as possible. Markovic-Llalana-Coutinho had the freedom of anfield yesterday, especially in the 1st half, and that was something we could and should have fixed with a tactical tweak early on in the 1st half, but it never came. Whislt that was partly due to available personnel, if we were setting up to defend (as some claim) why not start Coquelin instead of Welbeck or Giroud? No one is pretending Coquelin is the answer but at a certain point you need to accept that certain players you’d rather play are injured and trust those you do have available, otherwise we keep playing the same players into the ground and that can (not saying it always does) lead to eventual injuries.

    Gerry, it is okay to disagree with anyone, myself included, but the manner you just did is regrettable mate. Cheers and Merry Xmas.

  • I actually think that Coquelin may be the answer, he is certainly fearless.

    Going back to the photo I think it’s a little unfair to judge players on facial expressions taken in a split second, but more importantly take a look at Flamini. If the ball had headed in his direction he would have had a pretty good chance of clearing it. So my question are our tactics to only cover one post a Corners? Or was somebody (Gibbs?) AWOL?

  • Rettsub – I fear you are right, It is usually Gibbs on that post, and I think he pulled away. Not having seen any replays, but somebody was back there picking the ball out of the net.

    The photo was of course from the first half, which went straight to Szczezzer.

  • D-Money – Strange as it may seem, I agree with quite a lot with what you say in your second version of events. Indeed I said as much in my comment before my reply to your earlier one.

    Per may be the one constant in that back 4, but when you go on about him needing to be taken out of the starting line up and have two makeshift, inexperienced or out of position defenders as our CB’s, does not make any practical sense … with the players we have available? This is where I get a bit twitter and bisted in your earlier version, not living with the reality of the players we have available now.
    Of course there will be injuries. Most of us knew that going into the game. Indeed, HT said ‘we are down to the bare bones’. We were actually weaker because our 3rd choice RB wasn’t available. But on the one occasion that Per and Kos paired up recently, Per had his best game. It is no coincidence that that partnership saw us have one of the best defences last season. Now I will be the first to say I think Debuchy has played his CB role far better than expectations. I would still rather have him at RB, but that not going to change yesterday’s result.

    You suggest that the club should prevent injuries with a proactive approach? Not saying what you think that might be, or if it would be any different to what the club has done, by changing the backroom staff and employing one of the very best?

    As for the game itself, you move on to tactical decisions, which I have already said I agree with what TA is about to say … ‘The way the players played was all about tactics’.
    To simply say they didn’t turn up is crass. They worked very hard to keep it at 0-0, and were fortunate to get an opportunity to have it at 1-1 at half time. You call for tactical changes, and there was a subtle one in the first half when Alexis dropped into midfield. It cost us in attacking terms as to be expected. Agreed on Coquelin. The difference is I said it before the game when I wanted Maitland-Niles or Coquelin to start instead of OX. But if they they played Ox, sub him on the hour. I am as angry as any of the critics that AW has done it again. First with Koscielny, then with Gibbs, and now with OX. I am even more pee’ed off this time time that, knowing he had only just passed a fitness test, that even when he signalled that he wanted to come off, he had to wait another 5 minutes or more before they got somebody ready …FFS! Maitland-Niles and Coquelin should have been warming up from half-time for the ‘known’ eventuality. But for the insane choice to bring Le Coq on earlier for Giro, and not Ox, so when he signalled it had to be M-N or Monreal so why the delay?
    Yes we all saw what was happening. Yes, we guessed Ox was not fully fit, and it is a repeat blunder by AW …. But what I don’t like to read is the rest ‘did not turn up’, or another faithful standby ‘We need X, Y and Z as starters’ .. presumably from the last transfer window?
    In your earlier comment you go on to predict our future losses, as well as our record against the top opposition. Such negativity pains me each and every time.

    Your final paragraph is exactly what Steve and I have been saying. Indeed, I just repeated it in my earlier answer regards to Ajayi. But even Maitland Niles at 17 would have been better than a (now) hobbling Oxlade-Chamberlain. Coquelin was an option, but replace the wrong player.

    Agree on some things, not on others. Okay?
    Merry Christmas, but not with bells on 👿

  • Gerry you misunderstood, I didn’t say we should prevent injuries proactively (though that should happen too ofcourse), what I said was that once the injuries occur we need to accept it, take it on board and come up with a plan B. That may mean not starting Ox and Coquelin instead or maybe even Ajayi, but to play Debuchy at CB and then say we lacked hight at the back through the centre is bizarre to me.
    You are frustrated, no I’d go with annoyed and maybe even pissed off, at my “negativity”…how do you think I (and all gooners, yourself included) feel knowing now already how West Ham will attack us and try and overpower us physically and aerially, but sadly not believing we will do anything to counter that? I will happily ber proven wrong ofcourse.
    The way Wenger spoke about Liverpool’s threat with Coutinho and Sterling between the lines pre game and post game is worrying. They hurt us exactly where he expected that to hurt us and that’s what worries me.
    Anyway, we will beat QPR by hook or crook, but I just want us to finally put a run of games together…and that means accepting that we may have to play West Ham without Kos et al and finding a way to win despite that, I do not know how to do that, nor do I know how to fix our injury crisis, but luckily we have people at the club are are employed to know how to do that and they need to start showing it, otherwise we risk depserately falling away whilst we wait for some of the cavalry to return.

  • Gerry ref the photo, unless we are looking at different photos that looks very much like the goal to me. Nachos in the photo is a bit of a clue

  • Hey guys 🙂

    Am about to issue the review. Please note that we should allow everyone to give their views and not make personal comments. As long as comments are made in a sensible and constructive way, and not done to irritate others on purpose, which none of the above comments are, they are all fine… 🙂

  • Quite right Retsub, just testing … my eyesight. I looked at the small photo, and missed the black bandage in the crowd background.

    I’ll look again at the hightlights once they are on the ‘Player.

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