Did Arsene finally sign the next Henry?

And other observations and afterthoughts from an important FA Cup win.

Alexis Sánchez Arsenal Toby Alderweireld Southampton

I don’t know about you, but I thought yesterday’s game against Hull was a bizarre one. The Tigers were toothless and sedated, clearly just making up the numbers and focussing merely on their defence. Arsenal played some fabulous football but lacked killer instinct, seemingly unable to finish off our opponents.

Never change a winning team, they say; unless, of course, you don’t believe you can win and feel there are bigger fish to fry. They had made ten changes to the team that beat Everton on New Year’s Day and, although some rotation is necessary around this time of year, this was a clear indication of how Bruce viewed his chances/the importance of making it to the next round.

Yet, Arsenal had looked shattered in their last game against the Saints, and continuous injuries to a large number of key players meant that Hull could and should have had a go. But, I guess if you are only two points above the relegation zone, and think of Wigan, who won the FA Cup just 1.5 years ago but are now second from bottom in the Championship, one can understand Hull’s reluctance to go all out for a win at the Home of Football. Survival in the PL is surely, but to some extent sadly, their one and only objective this season.

We played some good football with the rejuvenated Rosicky making the difference in the beginning. Rosa on the ball in full, elegant flight makes me think of those streamlined skiers doing the down hill slalom. His nickname should be graceful dynamo (JM take note! 🙂 ), and his energy and quality end products were key in the first half. Cazorla was also involved and effective, and behind them ‘last-chance-saloon’ Le Coq offered almost solid protection to our make-shift back-four (Bel-BFG-Cha-Mon). Hull did not pressure him much it has to be said, but he still had a very good performance (except for one or two reckless looking moments, maybe).

Wenger had positioned the hardly tested Campbell and long-term injured Theo on the wings and workaholic Alexis in the centre. There was great fluency up-front and the Hull defence were pulled all over the place. Our Chilean full blooded Cabernet Sauvignon proved to be a very good stand-in for Ollie, as he was able to find a good balance between playing the holding striker role as well as being deadly in the box himself.

However, we were wasteful up-front, and we did not capitalise on all our running and passing the ball round so well early on. Luckily, the BFG, despite having played in all recent games, was strong and fresh enough to out-jump the switched off Hull defence and score a Giroudesque opening goal after twenty minutes.

After that, there were more chances but the rusty Walcott and disappointing (and rusty) Campbell were wasteful when the game should have been put to bed. Our inability to put weakened opposition decisively to the sword – think of our shenanigans against 100% ‘away-games losers’ QPR on Boxing Day – remains a worry.

And I reckon this is what Alexis foresaw from the start and why he was desperate to start the game, even though he had been offered to have a rest. Everyone knows that winning the FA Cup remains our best chance for silverware this season and the red hot chilli pepper does not want to miss out on it. However much Cazorla has improved and Rosicky and Ox offer drive and enthusiasm, without Ollie, Rambo and Pod, and Theo and Joel not having their shooting boots on as yet, we are simply not deadly enough in front of goal.

Sanchez scored a fabulous, dare I say, Henryesque goal to give us all a calm end to the game. And just for this, we should love him.

In summary:

  1. Ospina and the defence did okay but, to be fair, were rarely tested.
  2. Le Coq needs a bit of coaching by the Flam, but might just keep himself in the squad with his recent performances. He adds bite and energy/stamina and finds through-balls easier already than Arteta or Flamini. However, we still need to add an experienced ready-to-roll DM, before anybody starts thinking differently… 🙂
  3. Alexis in the middle could be a long term alternative, especially if we get a Draxler or Reus to play on the left wing (this TW or in the summer). I am starting to believe Admir’s claim that Alexis will turn into the next Henry.
  4. Theo made some good runs, especially in the second half. His first touch and finishing were poor but this surely will improve again. The really good news is that he survived in the game and showed us again what he will bring to the team.
  5. Cazorla and Rosicky played very well together and should be played more often.
  6. Campbell tried very hard and made some good runs – with and without the ball – but his finishing and some of his passing were well below par. I hope he will get more chances to show us what he is capable off.

It was an important win as the FA cup really matters to us. We made it hard for ourselves by not scoring the second goal much earlier in the game, but the job was eventually done by one of the best Wenger signings ever. However much we doubt his ability to push us on to the next level once again, let’s never forget that he can still attract the very best to come to the Home of Football.

 Written by: TotalArsenal.

85 thoughts on “Did Arsene finally sign the next Henry?

  • I don’t think I will copy my morning piece over TA,. It has been up all day so I am sure some will have read it anyway.
    So apart from us both having similar views, I can bask in HT’s comment that thoroughly whelmed me. Thanks HT, very nice of you.

    I know after the event there is a certain amount of, ‘Well it was only Hull, and we should have beaten them’, but it was still a job hat had to be done. In the past we have struggled to create the openings we did here against 2 banks of 4.
    Therefore I am inclined towards the positives. One of which was having a balanced side which proved to be more important than having our ‘better’ players who do not gel so well.
    Nor do I think it was Hull’s ‘plan’ to be so ineffective up front, but like us on a bad day, passes to and from both their strikers went astray far too often.
    I notice also you excuse Alexis who missed two sitters before he eventually scored. The first was similar to JC”s and Theo’s, in hitting the keeper’s legs, and the second trying to be too clever with a delayed chip, when Santi was in clear space on the far side.

    I have the benefit of watching ‘The Breakdown’ earlier, and our first from Per seems to be a copy of how teams play us, with all players holding back around the edge of the area, and then running on to the ball. I have been saying for ages that Per should try it from the back post, but this was even better. But if they want to de-clutter the box even more, the could put one of the smaller guys on the near corner of the box and threaten to take it short occasionally. Some body has to come out to cover that ploy.
    Possession wise it was pretty even, so despite our misses, understandable from those having their debut starts of the season (although I could add I think Akpom would have scored all three 😀 ) we were that bit more clinical in our passing and movement..
    The only thing that concerned me was that could not find that same pace and touch immediately after the break But after an intense fortnight of many games I think they did well to weather that storm and finish strongly.

    If the draw is okay tonight, it could bring long term benefits, both with talents we have, and in the TW?

  • Agreed Gerry, Hull had to be beaten and I dont underestimate that. However, we made it very hard work and rely soooo much on Alexis.

    We, you included, should take a deep deep bow for this guy. To point out his earlier misses, both shots on target and well defended by Hull, is a bit disappointing. Others should have taken the weight of his shoulders in my opinion. They did not and in the end he did what had to be done. Take a bow.

    Agreed that another good draw is what we should hope for.

    I reckon your comment has lots in it, so I would put it up here.

  • I suppose it might give them something else to read while they wait for the Cup draw ha ha

  • At TA insistence … a copy over at the end of the previous post. Skip it if you’ve read it already.

    A few comments on comments, and my thoughts on the game overall.

    Ospina did what he he did very well, but I think Stoke would/will give him a sterner test.

    Our back 4 had little to do in the first half. Ince out wide got round Monreal a couple of times. Bellerin did his best work going forward, but put some timely tackles in, and a couple of outstanding bursts of pace. One in particular, when the ball crossed from the right aimed at a player in the clear on the edge of the box, and every chance for a run for a one-on-one with the ‘keeper, yet somehow Bellerin, who had a good 10 yards to make up, intercepted it to nick it out for a corner. The key was he saw the danger as soon as the ball was kicked, and was in full flight in an instant. HT will be pleased too, as he passed the ball with his left foot at times 😀
    Chambers looked comfortable back at CB, although I wish he could play on Mert’s left side.

    The DM position was left solely to Coquelin and he did his job very well. But as @Frozen pointed out above, one tackle was a leg breaker on another occasion, studs up below the knee, but luckily not on a standing leg. It could have been a red, should have been a yellow, and would have been off for another silly one late on. That aside, when he gets hiss long range passing game right, it is very good. A couple went astray because Theo is not quite Theo yet, but one was very Song-esque with a dink over the top for Theo to have another one-on-one with their ‘keeper. He is nearly the player many of us thought he might be, and perhaps if he had more time with Arteta early on he might have done so? As it is, he still looks like a youngster developing into that role …. but he is 24?

    Of all the ‘double pivots’ to work out brilliantly, you have to say the Cazorla and Rosicky must be way up there in this game. Virtually every good thing we did in attack stemmed from one or other of this pair. I give an awful lot of credit to the experience of Rosicky to be able to give Santi the freedom to look his best, yet at the same time be in ‘the other space’ to support or initiate play himself. Worked like a dream and should have resulted in more goals.
    Add that pair to the work rate and sheer class of Alexis, between them they made a very stubborn Hull rear guard look slow and awkward time and again.

    Walcott will get better, but 75 minutes is a good return after such a long lay off. Switched playing nicely, both the middle and on the wings promises a lot more to come. Missed a sitter, but, as he said himself, it was good to be in those positions.
    Joel Campbell …. I think I have finally worked out why he looks so brilliant on the international stage, and at times look like a schoolboy out of his depth with Arsenal…..
    He has a split personality. Let me explain. He has a ‘laid back’ side that only looks like he is casually interested. He also has a ‘F*ck me, I’m brilliant! I can do anything’ side. On International duty with Costa Rica he starts every game and has every opportunity to show off the latter to the full. These 10 minute cameos for Arsenal do nothing for him. It exposes the former while he is still trying to work up to phase two. Less time in the EPL doesn’t help either. In this game we had a glimpse of the player he could be. That run off the left wing, a quick one-two with Alexis, and only the ‘keeper to beat, and like Theo’s attempt, where a little dink over the keeper’s leg would have brought about a deserving goal. The more he plays the better he will play, but AW, he needs to start games!

    For once Arsene agreed with my list of subs being used, albeit later than I would have liked, but I know he was waiting for the security of the second goal. Consequently we never saw the best of them. Ox got a kick on the knee and was a passenger thereafter. He should have been de-subbed for Akpom straight away, and M-Niles on for Alexis. The former got no service, the latter got no time. Shame, but see if the draw is kind to us this evening, and we may be able to judge them better?
    I was confident we would win this game, which is something I do not normally comment on. Partly on the basis that the splendid Hull fans who commented on the post knew the true state of their team, but also, for an hour at least, we were going to have an attack that would score against most teams. The big bonus was the Rosicky partnership with Santi working so well. It will be more difficult against a stronger attacking team, but at least it is a Plan B that works.

  • Everyone loves a trip to the shore…Indeed a nice draw…

    Excellent write-up, TA, and we seem to agree about a bunch of stuff…If people want to see my earlier comment, it’s just a click away and maybe as much about the blogging as the football… 😆

    The problem with hyperbole is that it obscures nuance. If we can only resort to beating our chests and saying things like Ospina Good, Chezzer Bad and then go as far as blaming today’s sunshine on the former and tomorrow’s rain on the latter, discussion suffers…

    We can ALL see that Alexis plays at a much, much higher level than just about everybody in English football. Touch wood that he can stay fit, because we (desperately) need him. This doesn’t mean that we cannot notice areas of his game where he could improve. Santi, lacking the same (unreal) levels of fitness and athleticism–which were well noted by many over the Summer and early in the season–has also been playing very well lately and has been key in bringing others into the scoring and the attack more generally. As wee as he is, he’s also been a key guy helping to relieve pressure in our own half. I’d rather see him, head up, thinking about a big boot forward than Alexis, head down, trying to run 20 yards with the ball before thinking about a pass or what might happen if he loses it. Both are critical as the defense (American spelling..) is stretched badly. A crisis in the #1 spot, no matter how gleeful it might make some, means another body to try and integrate–just when stability is most needed. A regular pair of CBs would also be a real bonus…

    As we move into the 2nd half of the season and the games get even more critical, we’re playing more on the break (esp. in away matches) and the “all hands on deck” defense (and the fitness of our forwards to play this way) becomes critical. Alexis and Santi are showing the way and Rosicky, even at his extreme age, can also do it. Add in Giroud’s hold up play, Theo’s pace and Ozil’s outsized eyes for spacing and movement and we have the makings of a far better team than the current version. (Jack’s “little burst” might also work a tonic…) Those guys, of course, need to get themselves onto the pitch and back to full form.

    In the meantime, as I said in the previous post, even if our frailties were on full display and, at 1-nil, a replay (the most dire of all scenarios) would have been our normal sort of luck, we kept calm and never got desperate. The modest ambition of the opponent (who probably also didn’t need a replay…) helped matters, as did the fact that it was a cup crowd and not the more heavily taxed season ticket holders…Like I said, given the situation, we brought a lot of guys into the fray who may be forced to play similar roles in much tougher games. No complaints from me, then…

    One match a week (for a bit) can only do us good and hopefully help bring some more characters back into the fold… Perhaps even a face (or two) acquired in the transfer window?…


  • I honestly have nothing to add.feel like I’ve just read 4 posts in a row and all are great summaries. Cheers gents

  • Cheers Oz, it looks like everyone is taking a breather from footie / the blog.. 🙂

    If only something happened in the TW….. 🙂

    Night all.

  • Hey, J B, do u have any inside info on these szczesny rumours.? Aside from you loving it, is anything strange really happening with him?
    TA, good post. I think Alexis is more comparable to Suarez.. a bit more freelancer, slightly selfish (which we need) superman type, who scares defenders to death..
    also, a great influence on ox, no coincidence there, oxs defence is twice as good as before. Wait til he improves his final decision making.

  • @ Jnyc

    Don’t feed him anything like that. Now he’s going to act like he’s heard some stuff etc etc.

    It’s since been written off as media dribble. Just people wanting their 5 mins. Poor performance, taken out of a cup match (although people like to say dropped which is a load of shit), Ospina plays well = could get a few games = “see I told you, Szcz was dropped because of a locker room bust up”

    I’d be angry if words weren’t exchanged in locker rooms. Some home truths can really make players wake up and eventually make the group a lot closer.

  • “The Little Mozart”, Tomáš Rosický(No.7)(2006 -), who should be due for his testimonial match sometime next season (2015-2016; which coincides with his current contract run), throughout his time with us:

    “Trouble-causing Playmaker” (2006-2007)

    “The Great Composer of Ball Control” (2006-2007)

    “Frequent Assists” (2007-2008)

    “Breathtaking Through-balls” (2009-2010)

    “Improvisational Artist” (2010-2011)

    “The Game Director” (2012-2013)

    “On-target Attacks” (2013-2014)

  • Alexis Sánchez (featured cards so far, excluding this season with us):

    “Meandering, Penetrating Dribbles” (2007-2008)(on loan at River Plate from Udinese)

    “Stimulates Interlocking Attacks” (2011-2012)

    “INTI RAYMI” or “Festival of the Sun” (2011-2012)

    “Resonating Short Crosses” (2012-2013)

    “Bursting Runs & Shots From Wide” (2012-2013)

    “Cutting Line Breaks” (2013-2014)

  • Oz….
    I find the rumours hard to believe, also had to remind people that fabianski did the whole fa cup last year, while szczs did the whole bpl, and won golden gloves, so ospina was due for fa.. im sure he was promised at least that to come here.
    Just checking because the stories are everywhere.and szczesny wasnt the backup keeper sunday.

  • Good morning gang,

    It seems now that the ‘bust up’ was because WS1 was busted smoking in the shower.

    Given the trouble that JW caused, you can imagine AW’s anger. Done and dusted. It’ll soon be yesterday’s news.

    The Perrin story is also being fed, probably via Perrin’s agent. I still take the view that he may have been asked if he would be interested, but he is probably down the list of choices. If we miss the boat on several other options come the 29th of January, then possibly. I still think it may have been a ploy to see StE’s reaction with a view to other players, although it is reported Chesea have nipped in for one of their youngsters. However, that was a D.Express report, so every chance it will not happen.

    On the Cup draw, as away draws go, this is a very good one. They have been known to play good football, so it could be a good, open game that suit our pacey attack? Spurs have got the dreaded replay. Soon brought down to earth after beating Chelsea?

    Just been reading the Under 21’s report. Strange to see the two that had a few minutes for the first team the day before turn out for this. Regrettably M-Niles was in for Hayden. This is beginning to look like a more tedious injury that is not healing well, rather than him being kept out so he is part of the squad for the Stoke match. The latter is just possible as Coquelin is now just one booking away from suspension?
    Anyway, apart from M-Niles, Chuba Akpom was the other to turn out quickly. He failed to get his name on the score sheet, so a double disappointment for him? Tried hard though.
    From the report is sounds similar to the first team’s game, where they dominated the first half, score twice, but conceded one on the stroke of half-time. Second half the home side regrouped and got the equaliser. Both sides had chances, but late on Macey pulled of a close range save that kept it at 2-2.
    Ajayi was also in the side and has got a Nigerian International call up, but misses two matches before Arsenal will release him. The AFCON tournament goes on through February, so it should be good experience for if he gets some game time out there.

    Nothing instantly breaking on the TW front, so we wait in hope and frustration. I am still trying to get my head around Pellegrini’s comment that the FFP could hinder their chances of signing one player on their list, yet they would throw money at Messi. Likewise Chelsea. If they are going to be that blatant in defying the rules, they would be running the risk of being thrown out of the CL?
    We will wait and see …

  • @ Jync

    yep. he doesn’t play and newspaper run with it. Worst timing to have a bad game. Last season he was performing so he is rested and it’s not a media circus.

    @ Gerry

    cheers for the u21 recap.

    Smoking in the showers…ridiculous if true. Maybe some cigars after an FA Cup win but any other time and you deserved to be fined your match pay. It’s not 1995 anymore you have to look after your health when playing. I saw a picture of him with a smoke in his hand whilst with his mrs too. Must be a “cool” thing :stern look:

  • Goo dpost as usual.

    @Gerry Ajayi would probably be getting that National Experience off friendlies. Nigeria didnt qualify for the Afcon. I’m Nigerian so I know. ;( Anyways I’m looking forward too seeing him and Akpom put on the grren and white. 😀 Even in a friendly capacity.

  • Thanks for that update Xav, as you say you would know 😀

    I kind of assumed that the two games he would be missing were against Ivory Coast and Ghana(?), both regular qualifiers like Nigeria, that they all had. Well you can give us a full report on any games he does play.
    As ‘Untold would have it, a bit of lazy research on my part.

    Has Akpom played for Nigeria at a junior level, or is he coming to the point where a decision is to be made on who he plays for? Assuming again, he has a choice?

  • He hasnt played for Nigeria at any level. Same with Ajayi i think. Thus would be the decision making point i reckon. Although he’s still 18? 19? I’m not really sure about the rules governing that.

  • I am pretty sure Ajayi has played for Nigeria at Under 20 level – yep, just checked on his profile and that says he is a Youth International.
    Chuba is 19 now I believe, but I think they are okay whilst they are teenagers, or until they play a full International at senior level – over 21. Then they are stuck with that country, unless they qualify for changing their nationality by residency status.
    Much as you might like Akpom playing for Nigeria, I don’t want him disappearing for 6 weeks to come back exhausted from future AFCON’s thank you very much 😀

  • Hahaha lennon Youre right about Ajayi. As for akpom… much as i love to see him play for Nigeria I’d rather see him fluorish at arsenal so we good yeah. 😀

  • I wish WordPress would stick to one name, instead of me having to look out for it to see if it has changed … gggrrrr

  • Is Alexis the new Henry? In a word no. He is the first Alexis.

    I don’t think he is a skill full and well balanced as Henrt, then again who is? What I like about Alexis is he seems to be made of rubber. No matter how hard he gets hit, he gets up dusts himself down and charges off again.

    WhenTheo has been injured before it tales him about 6 or so games to get his GPS right. Hopefully it will be sooner this time, but I suspect it will limit Campbell’s opportunities and he is another badly in need of game time.

  • Henry was great Retsub, but what is it that Alexiscannot do. He can dribble with ball, is deadly inside the box, can score from well outside the box, can come deep and move the ball quickly forward,can do wing play and central Attack and even now and again scores with his head. Early days of course but I think there is a great similarity.

    What is missing in your opinion?

  • Differences I see: Henry floated with the ball. I’ve never seen a more majestic player with the ball. His finishing was sublime (those passes into the net)

    Alexis is pure hard work. That can make things happen. Pressuring, running, defending. All things that make him a competitor.

    Alexis = power
    Henry = finesse

    So many similarities between the two though.

    Alexis is exactly what we need at the moment. His professionalism and work rate should inspire his teammates. He understands that your job isn’t done when arsenal don’t have the ball. I knew alexis was good and thought he’d be the cream on arsenal’s cake. I was wrong. Because of everything he brings he’s the whole damn cake.

  • Excellent comparison, Oz, even though I don’t fully agree. Henry worked hard too and Alexis is a lot more than hard work alone. The way he created space and then a through ball for Campbell early on in the game was pure beauty for example. I can see what your saying though re Henry’s grace and Alexis tenacity

  • Dutch media are reporting the Pod made a real difference for Inter when he came on in 54th minute against Juve. He almost provided the assist for a late winner apparently. Good on him! 🙂

    Night night

  • On that last point TA, so much for a ‘tight groin’, eh?

    I never did answer that question in the Post’s title did I? Well I will now.

    Personally, I am more in agreement with Retsub, as I hate the term ‘the new XXX’. It is laughable when a 16 year old is described as ‘the new Pogba’, when Pogba is not even the finished article. What next, do we sign a 14 year old who is ‘the new Akpom’?
    At least your comparison is with someone who achieved an all time greatness, and as now retired from the game.

    But even then the comparison is unnecessary because what they bring to the team is themselves. There is a similarity with almost every player compared to another because of their movement and area of the pitch they work in. Take Jenkinson and Bellerin for instance?
    They play at right back, bomb down the wing, put in crosses, both have great stamina, and occasionally have a pop at goal …. oh, one is tall the other isn’t …and that is where it starts to fall apart?
    Now if you had said, what Alexis is doing for this team to what Thierry did in his era, then the answer is probably Yes. But there are no nearer being the same than the comparison I made above. For the simple reason, it is not what they do but the way they do it that makes them individual.
    However, the comparison of importance to their respective teams is something that will be discussed over the years to come, and not just goals scored, more their influenced on the team and fans alike. Listen to other fans of football, like the Hull fans on the previous post, or commentators across the board, they are both universally liked for what they bring to the game…, except maybe a few disgruntled Irish fans, but before his career is over, I am sure Alexis will upset somebody too …. But who is brave enough to suggest one is more important than the other, I wonder?

  • Hi

    Longtime, about to watch hull more than HLs on the player, buuuuuut… Alexis CS Henry

    Henry, or the one we remember was a 15-20 year old whisky. Smooth, potent, 40% alcohol, long lasting finish (remembrance)

    Alexis, the one we have who’s younger than the Henry we mostly remember, 10-12 year old whisky closer to cask strength. More full on, equally potent but 46% by volume (energetic, yes?), finish is not as long but more direct/brutal.

    Two of the same thing really, so I’m more with TA, but, will agree with others by saying I’ll enjoy watching him age and smooth out… 🙂

    Now off to catch all the game…

    Cheers — jgc

  • Oh

    And yes, he did.. And in both cases AW knew he had something special, but not how special… Unlike a lot of la Liga to EPL transfers he’s better suited here than there, rather than the oft vice versa

    — jgc

  • Agreed on importance, Gerry, and at the moment he is similarly important if not more. However, with the return of Jack, Ozil, Rambo, Theo and Giroud his importance will hopefully balance out a bit, as is needed in today’s game.

    To you the same question, though, is there anything Henry could do that Alexis cannot? That is where the real comparison comes in, and I have seen the light (ignited by Admir). 🙂

  • Hey Geoff, nice to see you back and lovely comparison re the golden liquid’s maturity (AB, a big wikkie lover, will be licking his lips).

    Enjoy the Hull game.

  • @ TA

    without doubt. Alexis is a hell of a lot more than that, and Henry did work his socks off. I just mean those qualities are what they excel in (in comparing the two). Alexis works harder and Henry has more finesse.

  • I repeat, it is not what they do, as they clearly can both do a lot of things, but the way that they do it. Nobody can argue against that the physical make up makes them do the similar things differently. They are unique to themselves. Bellerin is not ‘the new Jenkinson’.

    You’ve dug a hole TA stop digging!

  • Hey Ozzer 🙂

    Henry was grace on the pitch and had finesse agreed. Alexis has to work harder, but is technically very, very good as well, as is reflected in the great variety of his goals for us already. I am just waiting for the break away goal all the way from deep in our halve. He has it in him. 🙂

  • Oh and I don’t care about the way they do it, but what they can do and mean to the team, and since Henry left we have not had a player who closer resembles what Henry offered to the team. I can see where you coming from though, but that is not the angle I am taking.

  • TA and Gerry et al

    Alexis at 13:42 of half 1 … Blocked on to subtle chip just missing (bergkampesque one might even say)… Thus, he’s got the Henry subtlety or soft touch too.. Just sayin…

    — jgc

  • one thing alexis has over henry is his fearlessness. His diving headers are great to watch for someone so short. He is tenacious.

    Damn you TA, now I’m watching Henry highlight videos when I should be studying

  • All

    My additions to comments after half 1 and assorted heresies:

    A. Bellerin, a top game so far… Is he th coming end of Jenkinson?

    B. Nacho very solid. His defensive error vs Ince has much more to do with Joel Campbell not really helping defensively (too hands off even if in position and it exposes the defender)

    C. Cazorla – Rosicky .. What is working for them and us is we are now much more angled passing and switching sides father than north south focused. Willingness to try both sides, go back and switch make our talents more dangerous and creat holes and better matchups. I think that’s what works for them.

    D. Coquelin is a very good DM for us. The first rash tackle was 50-50 ball, but, yes card worthy. Rest is solid passing, very good positioning and work rate, and great tackling otherwise. IMO, he’s inexperienced and on the 50-50 can be rash and get cards .. Reminds me of all our bitching about 3 seasons back about Koz, rash tackles and cards… We need another and better perhaps, BUT, there’s potential there.

    E. Hull aren’t that passive. They are trying. It’s as much us as them in how we are / were going…

    Those are my heresies..

    Cheers — jgc

  • Re .. Campbell and defense

    Corner at 30ish mins. He doesn’t challenge and Ospina has to make a sold save…

    — jgc

  • All

    Half 2 … My heresies and other tidbits

    A. Arsenal were slow out until 65 or so. Back and forth otherwise.

    B. Coq passing improved and good defending. Again, late howler ruins the feel good moments. Perhaps Koz can coach him out of it? He himself used to be the wild cannon… I also really liked how he held back and let .santi and Rosicky do their job in FRONT of him. A true DM pivots triangle, it let us be much more dynamic in shape and form going forward.

    C. JoelC a bit better defensively but still not much help to Nacho.

    D, Alexis goal, something from very little. Still on edge of box. Sublime shot and finish! Henry-esque?? 😉

    E. My hidden most special moment/thing that no one noted? A year off for a bad knee and surgery, and Theos first game back shows he still has, or appears to have, very good pace. That’s critical foe him and FAR from assured post knee injury and surgery, so …. My anatomy of the match (AOM) goes to Theos knee.

    Cheers — jgc

  • Geoff, Alexis is lethal from just outside the box, as his best 10 goals show as well. He can hit them hard from further away, but I reckon Arsene discourages such attempts by any of the players now.

    All agreed re Coquelin and him being coached by Koz is a great idea, et ils parlent la meme langue aussi! 😛

  • 17 🙂

    Hope you have time to watch the Alexis videos. The last one must give you some hope that Alexis, just like Santi, can play with his head held up. 🙂

    Looking at the footage of Alexis, both goals and general play, it is fair to say there is a complete attacker in Alexis: he really can play in all positions, including the nr.10. What a player. 🙂

  • TA you asked the difference between Thierry and Alexis. So I read the later comments and oz gunner has described it beautifully? Thierry was a much more graceful player who glided by players. Alexis on the other hand has a much lower centre of gravity and I would say a more robust type of player. Don’t get me wrong, Alexis could go on to be every bit as great a player as Thierry (although that is asking a great deal of anyone) but in my opinion he will never be as good to watch as Thierry.

    I am probably a little biased, Henry in my opinion is the best Ársenal player I have ever seen

  • TA


    16 goals and 8 assists in 25 appearances, 10 and 6 in 18 EPL … Are 25-30 and 15 assists out of reach for year?

    For those who may doubt … Bottom line matters, no?

    Cheers — jgc

  • You see what you have done, you have people discussing who is better?

    That is why ‘the next XXX’ is so unnecessary.

    You ask what can one do that the other could, which boils down to who was weaker in some areas, and who is stronger? I leave it to others who lived through the Henry years, but if you want me nail one down, try this. Henry was better out wide, or another, Henry’s first touch was better?
    The good news, according to JM’s cards, are that Alexis operates at a very high level consistently, and his final season before coming to us was his best to date, and I would say, even better now?
    To Geoff’s heretic approach as to the ‘bottom line matters, no’, I say NO.
    They are two exceptional players; one is called Thierry Henry, the other Alexis Sanchez.
    If you are keeping score …. then you the poorer for it.

  • Fair enough Retsub 🙂

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Thierry was a magnificent, beautiful player, fully agreed. When you watch the above Arsenal Alexis summary video, you might be able to see why I get so excited about Alexis too.

  • That is what we do here Gerry, debate, compare, love, despise… it is called blogging. If you dont like it just stay out of it. The comparison in terms of ‘do we have a new Henry in Alexis’ is a relevant one for me. I have no interest in discrediting Henry by the way, far from it. And as far as I can see nobody is doing that, except you re your Alexis observations… 😉

  • Those stats are superb, Geoff, and that with Ollie, Mesut, Jack, Theo and Aaron missing for large parts of the season. What a player! 🙂

  • Alexis is our Tasmanian Devil !……..I wanted him five years ago when he was at Udinese !. Ten out field players like him and we`d win everything, he has it all and the massive bonus of work rate to die for.
    If I was to compare someone to Henry it would be Akpom !…..I said somewhere ages ago that his style,running, body language, arrogance etc` was like watching a young Henry, then a few days ago, Alexis said the same !…….basically I`m just fcuking too good at this seeing potential stuff ! . hahaha
    Next Future Mega Star !………Daniel Crowley…..said it before we nicked him from Villa……nice bit of theft Arsene !.

    Alexis ! (voice over by VCC at the end)

  • Hey Total, great post as usual. Most of your facts are foolproof and man do I miss this blog. 🙂

    Anyways, good match by the Arsenal and it was great to see Theo back on the field. He looks rusty as expected but there is no doubt he will find his killer instinct soon. It was great to see him make his trademark runs and the future looks bright for us, especially with a few key players returning from injury.

    For me, the MOTM was probably Coquelin or Santi. Le Coq screened the Defence with perfection and he sprayed passes to his teammates with such perfection that it would make Xabi Alonso jealous and should keep his place in the starting XI. Santi was the main creative force and was superb yet again. The two mentioned above are undroppable at the moment.

    While he kept a clean sheet, I doubt Ospina is happy. He would probably have preferred to have more of a challenge to prove his worth. Which begs the question, would you start Szczesny or Ospina against Stoke? Start a keeper who is low on confidence yet more physicaly ideal for said opposition or start a keeper raring to prove his worth?

    Also, who do you think we should signin this TW? Schneiderlin/ Wanyama would be ideal but I have a feeling they won’t leave until the summer. Cavalho would be nice to have but he would be cup tied and unable to play in the CL. But if he ends up like Matic, it would be a good long term deal.

    For CBs, I would prefer a aggressive and PL experienced CB, Ashley Williams and Winston Reid come to mind. For me , either would be a great addition to the team. Many newspapers report a 63million pound bid for Isco. Ballocks is you ask me. I would much rather spend that amount of money on Pogba.

  • Those henry goals…breathtaking. The amount of power he generates whilst still maintaining his technique. Glad he was ours.

    One part of alexis’ game that is not talked about enough is his range of passing. That video shows it in all its glory. Imagine if we have a clinical finisher like Eduardo…he’d be racking up assists willy nilly

  • Nice one Cockie 🙂

    Loving the VCC voice over especially.

    Akpom…. I want to see more of him to judge. He reminded me of a young Kluivert when I saw him first.

  • Shrillex 🙂

    Good to see you back and some fine questions and observations. MOTM was Alexis for me as he produced the assist, scored the all important second goal and just fought like a lion. However, agreed that Santi and Le Coqie played very well too (and Rosa of course).

    I dont want to say too much about the TW potential purchases, as I wanna avoid disappointment by raising expectations. Also, Wenger is a hard negotiator and for that he needs a wall….. which is….. the last day deadline…. 🙂

  • Yes Oz, they are breathtakingly beautiful. What a Player! 🙂

    Sexy Alexy’s passing is very good indeed and rather than wanting a clinical finisher, I believe that once we have Ollie, Theo, Ozil, Alexis, Jack and Rambo on the pitch, or five out of six of them, we will be scoring goals for fun, and the opposition will just not know where they are coming from or how to defend against them. Total Mayhem – Total destruction. 😛

  • Best of Thierry Henry (featured cards):

    “Deadly rush” (2002-2003) (Legend card for time with Juventus)

    “French Resonance” (2004-2005)

    “King of Cool” (2004-2005)

    “Masterful Attacks from Vital Area” (2005-2006)

    “Goals of Pure Inspiration” (2005-2006)

    “Looping Shots from Wide” (2006-2007)

    “The Attacking Free Spirit” (2007-2008)

    “Multi-Skilled Striker” (2008-2009)

    “The Goal Storm” (2008-2009)

    “Sniper-like Runs & Shots” (2009-2010)

    “LUMIÈRE DU BLEU” or “Light Blue” (2009-2010) (with Les Bleus)

    “Illuminating Leadership” (2011-2012) (returning to us on loan)

    Overall, Thierry Henry (Offense and Speed at maximum) is just a little better than Alexis Sánchez, when both are at their peak of powers.

  • Shrillex – On the TW choices, many will fall by the wayside because they will go where the big wages are, and forget their opportunities to play. Bony is a typical example?

    Pogba could be tempted by ManU’s mega wages, whereas Isco might come here. But not at £63m.
    I too, doubt if they will be tempted by £25m for MS, and I don’t Wana as high as some others do. But there are others on the list.
    Personally I would like them to grab the Polish kid while they can, which is probably more realistic knowing AW?
    The more interesting ‘either or’ duo doing the rounds I think is the Cavani/Dyabla pair. Both would like to come here, and only one is likely to come in January – the cheaper one. But if Oz is looking for a clinical finisher like Eduardo, then look no further than ‘Diabolique’?

    The CB thing could yet have a twist too, with Winston Read coming on the free in summer, while we travel at ‘budget class’ and get the Ipswich pair with ‘bags of potential’?

    Then there is this constant theme of needing an attacking midfielder, which PD above could be considered, and with Draxler being teased away in a swap deal. My only question is, who would such a player replace Wilshere or Cazorla, Ramsey or Ozil. Surely one of these is more likely to go ahead of OX or Walcott?

    See what the window delivers before worrying about that, but a few names will be dropped from the new squad list at the end of the month?

  • ….And I agree with cockie about Akpom being more like Henry. But I think I already mentioned that sometime here before. Lol

  • ‘Morning boys… The Alexis vid, plus an espresso, of course, is a fine way to start the day… It’s very exciting to watch the highlights and see what a talent we’ve got…Hell, it even got Cockie to comment and pat himself on the back rather than in all the usual spots… 😀

    Plenty of great comments here, esp. JGC observing that Alexis is the rare guy who does better coming from Spain to England and whoever it was (retsub, maybe?) who noted that he’s made of rubber (if he’s not actually bionic)… touch rubber, or something, of course… Good job on getting the discussion going, Totes…

    Obviously Alexis is wonderful player and playing at a very high level already at Arsenal. In many respects he has carried us in the first half of the season. The question, however, and unfortunately, remains…Can he integrate with other world class players and allow us to compete at the very highest level?

    It does not denigrate Henry to say that things were easier in Henry’s time at Arsenal in that it was before the sheik-o-garchs came to town. He brought us to the top of the English game and the European one as well. And, IMO, did more than ANYBODY (even the manager, and Lord Dennis…) to create the lofty aspirations Gooners have for their club. That his injury and ultimate fecking off to Barca was timed with the stadium move, divides the Wenger period as much as anything. On the other hand, it’s great he felt the allegiance to us to come and do that cameo loan spell with the great goal vs Leeds and showed us his true gunner heart…

    He also showed an ability to integrate with the best team I’ve ever witnessed–the Barca group from the end of the previous decade. Messi, Eto’o, Henry (plus Xavi and Iniesta), for me, will take a lot of doing to top… It’s all very delicate when a group reaches those heights (and plenty depends on luck and the defense behind them…) but it’s telling that guys with obvious class such as Ibrahimovic, Cesc and Alexis (not to mention plenty of others, like the little guy who now plays for Stoke…) who were supposed to carry the torch, could not…

    Under Wenger (who also makes the title of this post…) Alexis has a chance to mature AND be a (Messi-esque?…) focal point. Indeed, as the video shows, he CAN play with his head up, find the correct pass and deliver gorgeous dead balls. All he lacks, sometimes, is patience AND the belief that his teammates are good enough to deserve his service, i.e., that he doesn’t have to do it alone. For me, this next phase of Arsenal is all about finding a kinship with the other truly world class talent Wenger has bought…Mesut Ozil. That he’s found a good partnership with Santi Cazorla in recent weeks suggests a lot of possibility… And, like you say TA, there’s plenty of other talent–up and down the squad, and in the physio-room–which can rise up and do their bit to help Alexis get even better…

    It’s a mountain to climb and patience is not what drives the average Gooner. Still, t feels like an opportune moment. With all our major (younger) attacking talents out we have a chance to re-integrate slowly around Alexis. Theo seems ready now (that long ball over the top at Swansea should’ve rescued a point…) and Giroud will be a fixture. After that it will be Ozil and Rambo and then (maybe) Jack… Again, the possibilities are tantalizing but the reality is that if results don’t show immediate progress, the narrative will be all about defensive frailty, we’re playing the wrong guys (more ‘ard nut English lads, please…) and buy (BUY, BUY!!!–to fill the gaps, at least, who cares if they’re Silvestres and Squillaccis…) and change the manager, change the manager… Imagine if we were trying to have this discussion with only the Southampton match as our recent reference… :/

    OGAAT, then, and Stoke *should* be a good chance to see the Alexis show in full flight (and why we bought him, instead of Bojan)…


  • Pat on the back is the least I can do, 7eventeenho !…..if my Knob was big enough I`d rather fcuk myself instead for some self appreciation !. hahaha

  • Hey Seventeenho, fine comment and observations. 🙂

    Alexis as a Messiesque fulcrum… I like it a lot. I reckon he is a team player, as he had to be at Barca, but yes he is critical of the players around him in terms of their quality to do something with his services. I reckon this is a good thing: it raises expectations, work rate, and overall quality of the game. Maybe somebody can do a stat comparison on who produces the most key attacking passes at Arsenal – I reckon Alexis will still be high on the list. He is also at times selfish, but once again, this is not a bad thing. It is of course all about balance and there is plenty more to come from him and the team in that respect.

    The notion that the likes of Cesc and Alexis have not made it at Barca, because they were allowed to leave, I take issue with. Just because a player gets dumped by a Spanish giant does not make them automatically inferior to top, top quality. Robben was unceremoniously dumped by Real and won the CL and many other silverware; same goes for Sneijder. Alexis was dumped because they felt they had to purchase something new, Cesc the same. But we can all see (and read the stats) how bloody good they are.

  • Hey TA I’m from around the eastern regions. Anambra. Currently residing in the west though, Lagos. Of course my favorite Nigerian player is Papillo. Nwankwo Kanu. Jay jay Okocha comes close but Kanu has the added advantage of having played for arsenal whereas okocha and his bolton team harmed us in a couple games.
    Kanu was phenomenal though. And he could control the ball as good as (maybe even better) than bergkamp. He wasnt the fastest but he was slick as hell!!! He also won almost everything there was to win as a footballer at club level. And the ’96 olympics. Lol. Youtube his videos. talking about him is like talking about Bergkam or Henry. You end up feeling like youre not doing him enough justice. Looool. 😀

  • Gerry, I disagree about Bony. He has a good chance to shine at M.City, with all of City’s main strikers out, he may well be able to break into Pellegrini’s plans. It’s a big gamble, but if it pays off, he’ll have big dividends. Though hopefully he’ll be another case of Balotelli.

    The polish DM,krystian bleik could be a big name in the future. But do we want an inexperienced player in our team? Sure, in a summer TW, but definitely not in a winter TW.

    As for strikers, I doubt AW will bring in anyone while Danny and Ollie is here, not to mention Theo,Alexis who can also play as a striker, so consider that topic closed.

    Draxlers case is a little difficult to tell. For me, we will only get him when we either lose Santi or Ozil, one of which I think will leave during the next summer TW (I just have this unshakable feeling). If Ozil can prove himself and beat Santi to his starting XI position, then I’m afraid Santi will leave as AW wouldn’t want a old-ish player at the club, however good he may still be.

    Also, I’m hoping to get a new goalkeeper. I know you’re gonna hate me for saying this, but I have a feeling Ospina was brought in as a second choice GK. What we need is a top goalkeeper who can immediately break into the starting XI and give Szczesny the slap in the arse he needs. Hopefully we’ll land Lloris or Cech, however unlikely it may be. Begovic wouldn’t be too bad either. If we do this, we’ll have an improved,matured Szczesny/Martivez/Ospina.

  • TA, I agree… It’s rather loco the way that RM and Barca cycle through talent… If Arsenal are the beneficiary (Ozil and Alexis), then all the better. Robben, who maybe works the edges of cynical play (diving) due to his tragic early baldness struggled with a lot of injury during his earlier years… The media is truly brutal and the spotlight shines very hot. The treatment of Cesc by the Cules (who wanted a combo of Eto’o and Xavi) really bothered me. Now that he’s a blue, of course, I couldn’t care less… 😀

    The bottom line in my comment is that it’s tough to compare Henry and Alexis not just on the qualities they bring (Oz, I think sums up those elements very well…) but also because of the change in the game. The hoarding of talent these days is extreme and guys who 10 or 15 years ago might’ve carried a top English team have to have that balance between selfishness and being the perfect teammate if their team is really going all the way. Alexis has been a stunning workhorse and kept us at our approx. (minimum) standard. Can he be a key element in getting us to a higher level? Depends on if he can continue to produce AND bring out the best in his fellow attackers… Always the issue as talents come together at the top of the footballing pyramid…

    Speaking of…Is this Bony to City thing a done deal or just talk?… He’d be an upgrade to Dzeko (in my opinion) as a stand in for (and occasional partner to) oft injured Aguero… but don’t tell that to Admir… 😉

  • Cheers Xavier,

    Does Anambra have a claim to fame: what is it well know for, if anything? And how many inhabitants? (just out of genuine interest). 🙂

  • Seventeenho 🙂

    Hope the coffee is hitting the spot now. Do you have the house to yourself again now? 🙂

    I am more hoping that Alexis can keep up this incredible level for the rest of the season, and others to share the load with him by co-creating chances and by taking them better. I am looking at Ozil, Jack, Theo and Aaron to step it up and allow him to become even more deadly, rather than the reverse.

    There is a general belief that Alexis is too selfish at times but this is not correct in my view. The stat about the number of key passes above indicates he is already a great team player, so I am not going the expect any more of him in this respect.

  • Xavier,

    Yes Kanu was a great player, both for Ajax and the Arsenal. I will never forget his hat-trick against the Chavs. The third and winning goal was simply sublime. 🙂

  • Indeed, the people are back into their schooling…And today, I don’t even have any pickups to execute…Plenty to do around here, however, as the death star melts what little snow we’ve got… 😦

    The only worry I have about guys like Alexis (and Ramsey, the Welsh Alexis, IMO…) regarding selfishness (or “confidence”) is when they come deep to help out and find themselves on the ball. The two ends of the pitch demand very different priorities so keeping possession or (even) booting the ball away are sometimes good ideas–i.e., not every touch can make a break. Horses for courses, after all, but you gotta let your runners run (or something)… If they’re gonna come back to help they need to think safety first (and be aware of numbers fore and aft) at least until the center circle is in sight. This (unglamorous) work is another area where (the keen observer will notice…) Ozil (and Arteta…) really shines, even if it’s the sort of stuff which doesn’t make the highlight reels and might be a reason why AW thought a position on the wing would work for him…Of course, it’s always simpler to just call him (both Ozil and Wenger and sometimes Capitan Mike too…) a lady part if these ideas are not coincident with results and they didn’t die trying…

    Please note, I’m not really arguing with you here…just trying to look at things beyond the highlight reel and trying to remember that it’s a team game first and foremost. Stars, of course, are fun and Alexis most certainly is one… 😀

  • Gerry

    I think you misunderstood me. I don’t care who is or isn’t the next XXX. What we have here is a guy who, barring the next xxxx, I can’t even say the “I” word, could give us 25-30 + 15 assists which we haven’t had since Henry. That’s 40-45 goals per season of involvement. That would be a huge boost for us and has been so far given all our I-words…

    To me, that does make him the next contributor of that level.

    Cheers — jgc

  • Geoff – I quite agree. It was not you who introduced ‘the next XXX’ into the discussion.
    Alexis is indeed the best player in the Arsenal line-up since the Henry era. No problem with that at all. But I also agree with 17HT when he says, in so many words, that they are each a product of their time.
    I am not even arguing with TA that both players could do similar things when playing.
    What I did find irritating from TA was the use of ‘the next XXX’, and the discussion did indeed drift towards their contribution to the team as I suggested, rather than the implied ‘cloning’ in that phrase?
    But I disagreed with your comment on ‘the bottom line’ being the only thing that mattered. I take the view that what each do or did with their respective teams, are as unique as the players themselves. We are lucky to be graced by both. No point in arguing over who is the better of the two, imo.

    What I do think Alexis has done at the present time has shown Arsene that the team around him are not ‘world class’, not a team that will win major trophies on a regular basis, and if he is going to keep Alexis, big changes are going to happen over the next two TW’s. That is what I meant in a comment I made when I said we were in for a major upheaval.
    If top players are going to be available, even on a pre contract/loaned back/here in the summer arrangement, you can bet AW will be pushing for them. I think players are playing for their place, right from Giroud through to Szczesny, to even be at the club, not just a place in the squad, over the next or 4 months. Young and old will be under scrutiny.
    Watch this space…

  • You might remember we did a football predictions quiz in November:


    So hear are my questions:

    How many points will we get from all our PL games between now and 2 January 2015 (games to play are: MU (H), West Brom (A), Southampton (H), Stoke (A), Newcastle (H), Liverpool (A), QPR (H), West Ham (A), Southampton (A))?

    What will be our position in the PL come the second of January?

    What will be Arsenal’s top-three of goal scorers by the second of January (all PL games of this season)?

    What will be Arsenal’s top-three of assist producers by the second of January (all PL games of this season)?

    We have conceded 13 PL goals (only three teams conceded less this season): How many goals will we have conceded by the second of January (all PL games)?

    Who will be in Arsenal’s top-three of official PL Man of the Match awards by second of January (all PL games of the season)?

    Just for fun – everybody! is fit: what is your favourite eleven?

    The answers to the questions are:

    1. 16 points (nobody predicted this right…. all higher scores of course… 🙂 )
    2. 6th (nobody predicted this right…. all higher rankings of course… 🙂 )
    3. First Sanchez, Second Giroud, Third Welbeck/Cazorla
    4. First Sanchez, Second Cazorla, Third Welbeck/Ramsesy/Gibbs(!)
    5. 25 (nobody got this right)
    6. First Sanchez, Second/Third Cazorla/Welbeck

    And the winner is….. Nik with five points! 🙂

    The rest – D-Money, Gerry, Steve, RA, DavyDavy, Admir, TA, and Henry – scored three points, except for Shrillex who scored two and JB with a mere single point. 😀

    Congrats Super Nik. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s