The Coquelin Miracle, Streetwise Alexis, Koz is back: Eight positives from game.

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How easy was that? Easiest win of the season as the Orcs were scared into submission with all that bright light and unattainable football quality at the home of football.

They tried to rough us up for a while but Koz and Alexis put them to the sword with great ease, and that was it: job done. The only thing I regret is that we let the Debuchy injury go unpunished: sometimes I wish we were more streetwise and show the rest of the PL that we will not be messed with.

Eight Positives from the game:

  1. Alexis keeps delivering and was totally unimpressed with anything the Orcs threw at him. He is very streetwise and fantastic at avoiding contact with opponents when it is best to do so, yet he is not scared of any one and made of granite. His assist was simple and effective: just a case of quick thinking and good delivery; his first goal was very clever: he gave the keeper the eye, indicating he would once again opt for the far  corner (just before that Begovic had made a fine safe from a similar attempt) and then steering it precisely into the near corner; and then there was the free-kick: a touch of luck but great capitalisation on the Orcs’ nerves. What a Player!
  2. The triangle of the disciplined Coquelin, the wise Rosicky and the creative Santi. It worked very well again (as Gerry and others have already pointed out). Key is Rosicky’s understanding of the role, which is all about finding the balance of defensive support for Coquelin and adding attacking impetus by giving Santi support. Rosa did this very well. Coquelin was composed and strong and excelled in keeping it simple: what is happening all of a sudden….. a mini miracle in my opinion! Santi played with zest and passed the ball round incisively: our Spanish maestro seems to accept/understand that he is better suited in creating chances/key passes for others this season, rather than desperately being at the end of them all the time. With the likes of Alexis, Giroud and now Theo up-front we have very good goal scorers and what they need is silver service, and Santi’s is delivering it very nicely indeed right now.
  3. Koz looked sharp and played well for the whole game. We all know how important he is for this team, not just in his own role but also in terms of getting the best out of the BFG and the LB position. It looks like we are going to miss Debuchy for a while but if we can get Koz involved, fully fit, for the rest of the season then that is a huge plus.
  4. Ospina dealt well with the little threat he had to deal with, but, more importantly, he seemed to fit well with the back-four. They all seemed relaxed and trusting of Ospina and that is a good sign for a goalie that has played so few games for Arsenal. I had a feeling The Colombian would start (as per preview), but it appears that Wenger did not tell Wojciech his decision to not play him till just before the start of the game. I am sure this will be continued and let’s hope Szczesny senior will keep his gob shut.
  5. Bellerin did really well at RB and is progressing on a par with his blistering speed. Ox showed lots of energy and thrust, and is getting closer to meaningful contributions (goals and assists). Nacho played with real bite and lots of healthy aggression. Giroud battled well and played in the service of the team, and he also did well to stand above the Orcs’ attempts to provoke him.
  6. Ozil and Theo are back. Bliss.
  7. We are above the Spuds and gained three points on the Mancs.
  8. Clean Sheet.

So, a good, easy win with plenty of positives to take from. And the perfect preparation for the battle with the Northern Oilers? 

What did you make of the game?

Written by: TotalArsenal.

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80 Responses to The Coquelin Miracle, Streetwise Alexis, Koz is back: Eight positives from game.

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Comment by Mr Bond from previous post (relevant for this post):

    Mr Bond 1h
    Good result,comfortable win and sweet football. All in all its pay back time for what Stoke City did us. After the first goal we never looked back. Le coq is improving day by day. Hope this won’t be a false dawn for him and give our manager the excuse not to reinforce in that department. Walcott will do with more games to get in the groove. Carzola and Rosicky bossed the midfield. Alexis is a class act. Ospina gave me some jitters. He looks decent but have not been really tried and tested. Still wondering how Ozil, Carzola, Alexis, Ramsey, Walcott, Welbeck,Chamberlain and Wilshere will fit in the midfield. What will our best midfield combination and who will make room for who. If Wenger can get it right there we will go places. A confidence boost to head to Etihad. I believe we can get a result there. They are not as watertight as they used to be. For now lets take it one at a time. Keep the guns blazing.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes MR B, a confidence boost. The midfield problem is a great one to have but as long as Jack is injured it will be straightforward enough, I reckon. If all fit, I expect Ozil, Rambo, Alexis, Theo and Giroud to start, with great back up options on the bench, or to start every three or four games. Le Coq, Flam, Arteta and hopefully a new DM will fight for the DM position(s). 🙂

  3. After a few good games, Chambers had a few bad ones on the right. I now think Bellerin is better in that position. He definitely has more speed.

  4. geoffchase says:

    Hi

    will watch delayed in my evening (your morning). So, more then. Positives from what I read:

    a. Coquelin improving and perhaps having Koz back there wont hurt him either
    b. Ozil and Theo through on goal = rusty but already showing they will contribute

    Regarding a comment about Chambers. He’s 19 so entitled to a few off games. He covered us very well early on and looked quite the pro. I am confident he will come through this too. I see him as a CB of the future to replace Merts in a few years.

    And, no one is allowed to mention the “I” word… please no more.. argh

    cheers — jgc

  5. geoffchase says:

    JN

    I would also note that Bellerin vs Chambers equals speed vs height… difficult to call which is better, and it likely depends on the matchup perhaps?

    — jgc

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning guys 🙂

    Very few out to play as yet.

  7. tony says:

    first match this season i’ve watched n enoyed.le coq has impressed me much hope that goes on(can he be the new no.6?)
    With debuchy out chambers or bellerin against the oilers?

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes Geoffski, both through on goal and loving to be back. The roar when each of them came on was heartwarming. Next week against Citeh we could field a very strong team: how fecking great is that?! 🙂

  9. Gerry says:

    On that last point Geoff, is ‘one’ allowed to think Bellerin has grown an inch or two in the last 12 months?
    Against Thierry, even allowing for the buffed up hair style, he did not look like Cazorla against BFG 😀

    He also won a couple of headers recently, so his all round game is improving, even if he still has to use his speed to recover a few times.

    Agreed on Chambers too. Lot of games early on, coinciding with our nervous back 4, can not have been a help to his performances, but he will be back.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Tony, tough call. Both great talents but this is a big game. I would play Flam and Atreta or le Coq in the double DM and. Then opt for Bellerin, as his speed will add a lot. But Chambers offers a lot too.

  11. Gerry says:

    TA – I would be happy if they stick with the same midfield. Balance is more important than fitting in rusty returnees, imo. May be throw in Flamini and give Ox a rest just to be sure?

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    You have a point, Gerry. I reckon we need that extra quality that Ozil, Theo and Flam bring, but it depends on how fit they are. I definitely start Theo ahead of Ox and cannot wait for Ozil in hole, with Alexis and atheo on wings.

  13. geoffchase says:

    Hi

    Watched game and here are my thoughts:

    A. MOTM is obviously Alexis, BUT …

    B. Other MotM is Coq. Composed, back, screening. Several times a good Stoke outlet was received , their mid turned,,, right into Coq who, at minimum forced it back or slow sideways. Break snuffed. THAT is what a proper DM does (among others), breaks transition and slows it allowing us to: a) get back numbers; and B) close them down.

    — we got all that in a very composed game from him at every point on the field, constantly prowling just in front of Koz and the backs. Stoke weren’t bad nearly so much as Coq’s efforts did much to let us be our best…

    Otherwise, all agreed… For City, I’d expect similar and would likely try 2 DMs away, Coq and Flam with TR going off. That’s my defense first take. Else, I’d go similar to today in the central 3 with Ozil and Theo on later as needed.

    We will see..

    Cheers — jgc

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes Geoff, he had a very good game. I reckon he is making it hard for Wenger what to do re DM purchase right now.

    Are you still at home at the mo?

  15. oz gunner says:

    @ TA

    Great summary from a game we controlled from the get go. Can’t say enough good things about alexis. Some of our movement and speed is breath taking. Love seeing ox, santi, Rosicky and alexis dragging players all over the place.

    As for coquelin…you know I’ve been batting on about him for a number of years now. Can I tell people “I told you so!” Yet? 🙂

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha OzG 😀

    I can confirm you have been blazing the trumpet for Le Coqqie for a long time.

  17. Chris Breese says:

    Hello gentlemen, NIce blog going on here – free from the unpleasantries of so many others. Great performance yesterday from practically everyone and it’s good to see Walcott and Ozil back. I’ve been impatient to see them in tandem for months. I enjoyed Le Coq’s performance – unhurried, simple and effective. Just the job. The team always look better to me when Rosicky’s playing. He runs at defences, which always causes problems for the opposition, he can pick the killer pass and he’s got a bit of “edge” in his game that he brings every time. He also seems to be able to play well alongside the DM.
    Carry on the good work.

  18. retsub1 says:

    I would play exactly the same team against City incl Bellerin. They all played well and deserve a chance to build on it. the Ox is really starting to find some form now and if he can get his shooting boots on will be great. It’s too soon for Theo. Whenever he comes back from injury he takes half a dozen games to find his feet. I don’t think he is ready yet.

    Not defending Szs but whenever he doesn’t play our keeper seems to get a day off… Based on that Szs would never get another game lol

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Welcome Chris 🙂

    We try and stay positive here but it is not always easy. Luckily things are looking better now and yes having Theo and Ozil back is simply fantastic. They have another week to train and get fitter and they might start against MC.

    Fully agree re Rosa. He adds something unique and when in form he plays so well. He is also experienced and fearless and he leads by example. Maybe he should play again against Citeh?

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Retsub,

    Getting a day off was often on offer for Szczesny as well, but he tends to still get involved unnecessarily… A goal keeper at Arsenal MUST be able to deal with boredom maturely… 🙂

    My initial starting eleven against Citeh:

    Ospina/Szcz (cannot decide)
    Bellerin — BFG — Koz — Gibbser
    ——Flam—-Le Coq/Rosa——
    —————–Ozil——————-
    Theo/Santi————Sexy Alexy
    ———–The Roof on Fire—–

    Still on the fence re a few, but full fitness will be key. I think Ox is progressing but is not yet first team material, as his final ball is so often not good enough.. against Citeh we will not get many chances so quality in all areas is key. Just imagine what a win there will do to our confidence for the rest of the season….

  21. The Cockie Monster says:

    I think you will find that I also along with Ozzie baby, was pro Le Cog in the beginning and thought he needed a proper run in the team to prove us right, still needs the long run, but will he get it when ( hahahahaha ) we get a full fit midfield squad ?. Maybe me and Oz were separated at birth !………I came out 20/30 years earlier !.
    Tell me Oz !…….do you get stalked by gorgeous women all the time ?…..do you chase yourself around the house ? …….yes !….then we are indeed brothers !.

    “We try to be positive on here but it is not always easy “………….that last bit will be me !. I don’t even have to go into the current state of ….The Chart of Doom……as it looks pretty horrendous compared to last season !. hahaha

  22. oz gunner says:

    I wouldn’t change it up either. Except maybe Gibbs coming in for monreal. Rosicky is showing exactly why he’s such a vital squad player. His second half the seasons have been instrumental the last few seasons; looks like the trend is continuing.

    Flam to stay on the bench. No upside, less energy and passing range.

    Too soon for ozil when santi has been on fire

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Flam brings experience and that is what’s needed, I reckon: a cool head and no fear. Maybe Flam/Rosa is the answer.

    I am happy for Santi to start but Ozil is the better passer and throughball specialist, and he would give the whole team a boost.

    But you might be right. I reckon this game needs a different approach than ‘more of the same’ please, BWTFDIK! 😛

  24. oz gunner says:

    @ cockie

    Hahaha I can vouch for your love of Le coq too. The French football variety that is 🙂

    I do get stalked but that’s just them telling me to piss off and stop peeping through their windows. Perhaps yourself, terry and I are related?!

    @ Breesey

    Welcome. Good to have a like minded goober around

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Cocker 🙂

    Give us evidence of your Coqqie support in the past… 🙂

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    oooh, Ozzer just provided it 😳

  27. The Cockie Monster says:

    Yes !…..Oz the teller of truth !………..that saved me a lot of time going back to past posts !. 😆

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    How is Mrs Cockie, Cockie? And are you still bringing bread and cakes to the Orcs every week? 🙂

  29. The Cockie Monster says:

    Thanks for asking . She is stable, Totes. A million % better than the when it all started. Check up`s are less frequent, but is still on referral for a liver transplant. We take each day as it comes !.
    No more Orc away days, just 3 days per week around Cornwall ….. easy peezy !.

  30. oz gunner says:

    Shit sorry to hear cockie. I’m glad things are on the up though. Bet she’s thankful she has the most handsome bastard as her nurse. All the best!!!!

    @ TA

    Flamini definitely wins in the experience stakes but I just don’t think he’s good enough to start anymore. Don’t get me wrong I love flamini but I think he’s had a poor season by his lofty standards. Range of passing, speed and energy is what Le coq brings and he’s coming into his own now. I think a DM is only as good as the players around him (Le coq has never been flash in lower ranked teams). Le coq has risen to the Occasion again and should stay until he starts to drop in form. Previously he’s had a bad run with injury or he’s had to fill in at left/right back (performed very well might I add). I feel a player like schneiderlin needs to be purchased so he can fit in alongside Le coq. We’ve got the skill in the forward half, we just need to sure up the defensive half. Le coq has just saved us a helluva lot of money

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to hear that, Cockie. Hope the transplant works out soon and like you say, enjoy every day. 🙂

    Also good to hear you are now actively starving the odious Orcs. 😛

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Ozzer. The problem is we overplay LeFlam. But he is fresh now and I want him to play against the Oilers. Just my view.

  33. 4th Place Cowboy says:

    Good match. Agree with positives, but hated to see one of our boys get injured at the hands of those agricultural clowns. Impressed with Coq but don’t want his form to serve as justification for Wenger not making a DMid signing. ozil and Theo looked rusty as would be expected but glad they’re back.
    This win puts us in better position to achieve our annual goal of finishing 4th. After the match, commentator Graham LeSeaux summed up Arsenal perfectly when he said, “Arsenal neither get better or worse with each passing season…” The truth will not set us Arsenal fans free!

  34. steve says:

    why would you change a thing for the City match?
    Do exactly the same plus the extra option of an extra sub because we HOPEFULLY wont get another crazy injury.

    Sanchez——–Giroud———The OX
    ——————-Cazorla——————
    ———Coquelin———Rosicky——-
    Monreal——Kos——-BFG——Bellerin
    ——————–Ospina———————

    Subs:
    Tactical subs made at about 60 – 70th minute;
    Walcott for OX
    Ozil for Cazorla
    Ramsey for Rosicky

    Subs for cover:
    Chambers for Bellerin
    Flamini for Coquelin
    Gibbs for Monreal
    Szczesny for Ospina

    Don’t change a winning recipe just to fit in rusty players, you got it completely right Wenger – same again please 🙂

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    Steve, Wenger will make changes, no doubt about it. He cannot rely on Alexis saving the team for this one as well. At least one of Theo or Ozil will start.

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    Ask yourself who is going to score or produce assists and who is going to stand strong and calm when the pressure is on…. It is what Wenger will be asking. This game is made for Theo, and hopefully Ozil, but it might be too soon.

  37. steve says:

    who is going to score or produce assists;
    Sanchez
    OX
    Cazorla
    Giroud
    Rosicky

    who is going to stand strong and calm when the pressure is on;
    Kos
    Coquelin
    Gibbs or monreal
    BFG (on a good day)
    and pretty much the rest of the team – the pressure’s been on all season lol

    who is going to stand strong and calm when the pressure is on – last person on this list;
    Ozil 😆

    keep the team as it is ffs, its the first time i’ve seen us play Arsenal football all season! now here’s a good idea lets change it all up lol – not for me TA sorry matey

  38. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Frankly, that was a very good read Total. 🙂

    Happy New Year to you and your actual family as well as your BK one.

    All the best

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Don’t be fooled by the Stoke performance, Steve. They were very weak yesterday. I love your continuous support for Ox but this one is too big for him, and he offers very little in terms of goals or assists. His time will come though.

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Sharkey, really good to hear from and all the best wishes to you and fam too. 🙂

  41. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    🙂

  42. RA says:

    You have always written great Posts, TA, and this is no exception – really enjoyable summary.

    I watched the match in the way I have become used to, that is to say, with an expectant hope we would win well against the Orcs, and yet fearing that our physically smaller guys would be injured or rotationally fouled and put off our attacking game by the Orc sized Stokies.

    However, right from the start my fears were allayed as we really set a great pace and although the Kozzer goal started with a duff corner taken by Alexis, the tremendously impressive Kozzer not only recovered the rebound off a Stoke player, but presented it to our Chilean, again, who then waited while Kozzer got back into the box before making a beautiful pass to him which was cleverly headed in for us to go one nil up.

    Really that was it. Stoke seemed to know the writing was on the wall, and we played some tremendous stuff, like the Arsenal of old.

    Sanchez’s goals were the product of a special player, and my only concern was that the clodhoppers of Stoke would injure him.

    And therein lies another story, because we rely on Alexis so much that I fear what would happento the rest of our season if we were to lose him to injury.

    I would give the whole team a minimum of 8 out of 10 each, with Sanchez and Kozzer each getting a 9, and Sanchez being the MoTM because he inspires the rest of the team.

    The City game is going to be fascinating, and despite Le Coq and Tomas playing very well, I am a little concerned for the defensive duties in midfield when we come up against a physically big team with bags of skill.

    We will see. But with Alexis playing like he is — anything is possible. 🙂

  43. RA says:

    Sharkey,

    I could have sworn you had gone into year round hibernation it is so long since you have graced the blogs!!

    Good to see you! 🙂

  44. RA says:

    As regards the team for next week, I think we do not have too many choices, so I suspect that it will remain much the same.

    AW said that it is too soon to start Mesut and/or Theo as although they are fit now, neither of them is ‘sharp’.

    Probably a case of bringing on one or both as subs depending on the state of the game, altho he may be tempted to give the Ox a rest and try Theo, despite saying the above.

    Sorry to differ, TA, but I think Ox’s dribbling and surging runs from midfield has creates plenty of options for the other players in recent games, altho’ sometimes they peter out with no end product.

    I have wiped the slate clean about Theo, and after a year out, he must be given a chance to cause havoc to the opposition with his speed, altho’ , as you know, I would be telling porkies if I said I had always been his biggest fan – I wasn’t then – and I am still to be convinced – but now he will get the chance to prove me wrong. 🙂

  45. RA says:

    Well, as usual, I seem to come on when everyone has gone to bed or is at work! 🙂

    Will try again a bit later.

  46. jnyc says:

    I love le coq !
    Wish for retro action on the prck who pushed debuchy, felt sick seeing him hurt.
    Agree totally with steves line up and subs for next week…
    Good to see you RA !

  47. Gerry says:

    I am here but going shortly …tea time.

    As Walcott is angling for a new contract, we may well see the best of him. I gave my critique of half the team last week, him included. I certainly wouldn’t start him against Man City, I think they are wise enough not to leave space for him to run into, and know he does not threaten with lots of tricks?
    I am mostly with Steve on that starting line up. Except I would have Flamini in for the Ox as we may need that extra body at the back.

    The real key to the Stoke win was what I asked for in my pre-match thoughts. Quick passing and plenty of movement, and they all seemed to have brought their A-game in doing just that. More of the same will go down nicely. We need a good result there because Spurs and Southampton have both got Cup replays to deal with during this week, so they could both drop points at the weekend?

  48. a says:

    great article and great result yesterday. Think walcott needs a goal to get his confidence back, Giroud didnt do much , wonder if we have welbeck, it should be sanchez, welbeck and walcott in the near future

    I am happy coquelin is playing, he was playing well last time he had a run in the team.
    We still need another def midfielder as flamini will hopefull depart in the summer and arteta will have his final year next season.

    Obviously when arsenal win there are some bum holes who can’t be happy

    lou macari says he aint impressed with sanchez and that he didnt deliver against UTD when we lost, he must have been the only one to realise we ourselves screwed that game up, UTD didnt win because they were better

    Carragher – even though we dont play city for another 6 days – ” arsenal wont be able to control silva” obviously still bitter that we have sanchez, he should be more concerned that his beloved scousers are playing markovic as a wing back

    The media in general – a lot was made of our loss to stoke at there ground and most media outlets were hoping for us to lose but what they seem to forget is

    we are playing at home
    we havent lost to stoke at home
    why talk about our record and present hard facts at there ground when we are not playing there

    its like talking about a bird you nearly pulled at a club

  49. St. Henry says:

    Nice positives TA 🙂 It was a good game to watch. The part that I find puzzling is why the pace & rhythm of the team drops as much when away. Any thoughts? While Alexis deservedly got all the attention there were some jaw-dropping moves by Santi and drives by Roz. What a pair. Just reiterates why Lukas had to go. What a problem (after all these years) to have! 🙂

    Regarding the City game, I really would love to see Roz & Santi continue to be in the game. About the only one I see making way is Ox. More than Ozil, it may be Danny who comes in instead. Not sure yet if Ozil can provide the cover defensively as Danny can. On current displays, Coquelin seems to suit the team better than Flamini, I feel. Great run by Theo, too bad about the finish. On that basis, it would be a bit surprising to see him start against City. If Clichy starts for City, would love to see Bellerin take him on with his pace.

  50. ola says:

    What a nice game to watch, making it so easy with the level of confidence of the players, the spirit in which the Chilean has brought to the game and to the rest of the squad players, moreover the presents of KOZ at the back and the way Coq has handled that DM is quite impressive, but not the less, will still need a world class DM to keep up with pace in the league, and I also think Tomas dis pretty well and Santi too. I will expect the same line up but with exclusion of Tomas for Ramsey, Bellarin for Chambers, cus I think will need more balance in the back 4 and I will opt for Chambers .

  51. pette says:

    I am in luv wit d analysis here.a complete departure from d abusive lot on fb dat claim to b arsenal fans.

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice of you to drop in and fine observations, Redders. 🙂

    Also, a passionate defence of Ox’s contributions to the team. 🙂

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    Is it purely platonic, Johnnie? 😛

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    A, welcome and good observations. Let’s show them what we are made off on Sunday. 🙂

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi St. H, you are not alone in your selection views for next game. 🙂

    Wenger will go with the best options available of experience, quality and fitness. For me that is not all of Ox, Le Coq, Santi and Rosa. Maximum of two of those will play on Sunday imo.

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Welcome ola, yes Ramsey also has a good chance of playing.

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Pette. 🙂

  58. James Bond says:

    1st signing on the way – hint of defensive nature – dm or lb or CB ?

    2nd player soon to depart Arsenal, another loan and another striker bambi on ice aka you know who .

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    May it be so, JB. 🙂

  60. jnyc says:

    Naughty TA.
    Tell me, i think my other comment didnt make it, are you as impressed as i with the Ox lately?
    He has been unstoppable really when he’s determined to get where he’s going. I’m hoping that very soon he finds that end product that he’s been just missing lately. He’s taking his defensive work like Alexis also.
    I think we may have another monster on our hands. Imagine that along with Alexis.
    Remember arsenes quote about Ramsey, when he starts scoring, he will never stop.

  61. geoffchase says:

    TA et al,

    Yes, TA, I am in N-Zed just now… mostly skiving before next week when shit meets fan and my choices are reduced.

    My take for next week. We were very very good closing down on Stoke. Very very very good. Bonus, that comes from effort and has nothing to do with what the other team does or does not do. Nothing to do with it. Thus, repeat that at City and we are in reasonable shape despite them being a better side than Stoke.

    Thus, my side for City would be based on:

    a. Someone to shut out Yaya a bit
    b. Someone to sit on Cesc
    c. Someone willing to run back and get onto Hazard

    Clog the outletter and the two outletees, as it were and good things can happen. We also need to attack their outside backs with a holder in the middle. So….

    GK (Ospina, Scz who knows? IMO, it wont matter one way or the other
    Bellerin – Koz / BFG – Monreal (see notes)
    Coquelin
    Ox – Santi – TR – Alexis
    Giroud

    So, unchanged 4-1-4-1… notes:

    –> I’d prefer Gibbs, but I would prefer him more for the rest of the year
    –> I would settle for Flam in for TR if we want more defensive going to a 4-2-3-1
    –> Theo for Ox is not a defensive choice, here I prefer Ox even without the threat
    –> I could see Ozil for a tired Santi if we go defensive with Flamini, but Santi’s form is way up, …
    –> IMO, Coquelin is better with his countryman Koz behind him else I’d worry on injury

    Subs = Ozil and/or Theo if we go down too much (2 goals) in for Coquelin and someone who isn’t going well to get everyone forward (if you’re gonna lose, lose with your boots on!) 🙂

    just my heresies du jour

    — jgc

  62. geoffchase says:

    JB

    Too cryptic, however a top DM type would be nice… May your “sauce” be with us! 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    Johnnie 🙂

    Ox is still doing what he always has been good at when attacking. Agreed on improved defensive skills. His final ball is not improving and he still has large periods when he is ineffective. So for me the jury remains out. I like him a lot and hope he does well, but, at the moment, Theo offers a lot more (once fully fit).

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    Geoff, that line up will not be good enough against the NOs and I have no doubt that Wenger will make changes. But I have said this now so many times that I am boring myself, so I am going to leave it till the weekend comes. 🙂

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    As such, I sm hoping somebody will volunteer to do the NO match preview…. 🙂

    Night all. 🙂

  66. oz gunner says:

    @ Geoff

    Jesus…city have Cesc and hazard now too!!!! 🙂

  67. geoffchase says:

    TA and Oz

    TA: could try for a preview, but would be short and much like above. Basically, it is good enough if it is good enough. If we are solid at the back and able to shut down transition, we remove much of their attack. I would agree that Coquelin vs Cesc is going to be difficult, but … Equally, TR vs Yaya say. Real key is to not take the ball but slow. A slow game favors us.

    If I see a change it is Ozil for TR. Then in middle or lie wide? Wide behind Alexis might be interesting to pair them but then Nacho suffers behind them (or Gibbs for that matter). I like Santi wider with the fellow spanish speaker.

    Or if you are radical enough, 4-1-4-1 like last weekend but Ozil for Santi or TR. I’d prefer Santi for like for like, and TRs willingness to defend feistily, and TR because Santi is red hot.

    Other blogs have a simpler AR for TR and hanging back with Coq, but I’m not sure about fitness and readiness. I liked AR back there last year, as like JW he seems to do better just now with a long view from behind and then moving forward.

    Oz: yep, both. Long may they get in each other’s way. Cesc has rendered Hazard a little less visible. However, the main threat of Hazard as the US found in the WC is his ability to create a mismatch and, ON HIS DAY, be dominant. That said, he can be dissuaded, I thnk, by energy and focus. Here I think Ox does better than Theo, and Bellerin could do well there too (good matchups of energy and size/speed).

    Cheerios — jgc

  68. oz gunner says:

    Agreed professor. Bellerin is a great matchup for hazard. I think he would tie chambers in knots. I’d like to see Le coq mark Cesc. He creates too much and if he isn’t given time on the ball the forwards are starved of opportunity.

    As for city, Le coq to mark silva. Shame augero is back. Hopefully Kozzer can keep him on a leash

  69. oz gunner says:

    Sharkespeare and RA. The arsenal gods are smiling upon BK 🙂

  70. TotalArsenal says:

    They are indeed, Oz. 🙂

    How are your chillies growing?

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    Geoff, it would be your preview, so you can write and select players as you wish! 🙂

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    Just make sure you do not mix your southern oilers with your northern ones! 😛

  73. Gerry says:

    Some comments above worry me .. especially the jgc blend of Chelsea City, away at the Stamford Etihad? I hope he gets it right for the preview? 😀
    That aside, I think I would rather go with what works, as per Geoff, rather than change because we have the players. My particular worry is the thought of Ramsey starting. I have yet to see him start at anywhere near his best after an injury break. If comes in and tries too hard he will destroy that unity of purpose that they have got now. I know Totes, you are saying when he is fit, but that does not cover the real problem he has in his head. He is brilliant when he reaches his peak form …But, but but but, he has never reached his peak form in one step. Most of this is down to the fact he is not willing to accept he has to get the basic things right first. He knows he is better than that level, but does not seem to realise he is is not at his best either. Net result, over ambitious shots, back heel flicks that don’t come off, even straight forward passes that fall short.
    We cannot afford that luxury now!
    The other point Geoff made was about what we do, regardless of opposition, to which I would add the quick, accurate passing and movement. No side can beat that without fouling. Indeed, that is what we will have to defend against. I doubt if Aguero will need too many games to get his full sharpness, but we might just catch him at his weakest. Plus they will have lost Ya Ya Toure to the AFCON, so it could be a great time to play them if we maintain our momentum. I hope therefore, AW sticks to his usual plan of minimal changes for this one.
    The two he could make are; Flamini in for Ox – partly to answer @jync point, that why we are not the same away from home, is because the onus is on the home side to attack? – therefore we have the little extra protection at the back. With that platform, we can pick our moments as to when to attack efficiently. The other change could be Chambers in at RB. The only benefit of this would be to have Bellerin come on and add pace down our right side. Indeed the Buzzing Bee could start in that right midfield slot instead of Ox, which would be a bold step? Whatever side gets put out, AW will be looking to maintain that speed and fluidity up front, therefore, the likes of Theo, Aaron and Mesut will, I hope, take their chance from the bench. Mesut himself has said he hopes to be FULLY fit by the end of January. Theo’s injury most say will take 6 games to get back to his peak, and on previous evidence, Aaron even longer?

    For those of us who only see the team through the eye of the camera lens will be blessed with the presence of Thierry Henry’s debut for Sky Sports.
    It is funny, it is only Tuesday, the match is not until Sunday, and we are already talking in view of pre-match talk. Let’s have a fantasy break and get talking about the TW 😀
    Indeed, Man City may well kick start the transfer window into action with their purchase of Bony? Also away at the AFCON I believe, so will not be kicking off with a hat trick against us. But it could be the start of real movement this week, as teams who are selling make moves for their replacements … Saints looking at Cavalho for example?
    Who knows who we could have in our squad before the end of the week?.

  74. neeraj says:

    Hey all !
    This Sunday for me was one of those days when everything goes right.
    I studied the ‘whole sunday’ , absolutely aced my exam in the evening and came home watched Arsenal vandalize Stoke City.
    Sanchez was superb as usual. The balance in the team was perfect. The defence was tight even with the sadening early end to Debuchy’s match.

    I think Steve n Gerry might remeber that I had said Coquelin will do the DM job much better than the other 2 veterans. I am very happy to be proved right. I think Coq has the calmness and neat passing of Arteta and the bite on the tackle of Flmini. The only thing he is missing currently is a little bit of authority which I think is obvious after starting a match in the BPL after 2 years. The authority will come with time. I may sound very foolish but I think Coquelin might be better than Carvalho.

    Carvalho has not impressed me in the Champions League. He would’nt be a perfect player for Arsenal in my opinion. Schneiderlin or Wanyama are the player which suit the Gunners better. Plus they are proven talents.

    I feel Coquelin’s future role in the team (if theee will be any) will be a bit more clear after the clash at Etihad. We will see if he can play against City. If he does well I think he is one to keep.(he is out of contract in the summer)

  75. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Gerry and Neeraj ( afternoon for you) 🙂

  76. neeraj says:

    Morning TA,
    Sanogo has joined Palace on loan…..

  77. TotalArsenal says:

    That is very interesting, as Pardew is a good manager and he must see something in Sanogo. Hope he will play regularly and make progress this season.

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

    If this one does not get 17HT back blogging then I will eat a pillow of Cocker’s mancy, chavy couch! 🙂

    Marcus on the return of the creator: enjoy. 🙂

  79. Gerry says:

    Neeeraj, not too many pats on the back for your view on Coquelin. I can go back a few years when agreeing with Walter of ‘Untold fame, that he was a jewel in the crown of the Youth team. Largely, I have to say, based on his long passing game, not his tackling.
    What you have neatly skipped over is his ‘wilderness years’ with various failed loan spells? I believe he got sent off in his very first game for Frieburg? As it is now, he is one booking away from suspension?
    I also recall I said, after his first start on his return, at left back, that while he did well there he would do much better when he returned to the midfield?
    So you are not alone in singing his praises. But something is clicking in his head at the moment, and he is getting it right.
    I don’t believe all this tosh about never having a run in the side. It may have been in his late teenage years he got distracted, the old ‘too much, too soon’ problem that reoccurs every now and then. But whatever it was, he did not take his chance the way he is now. Not here, not on his loans, whre injuries did not help him.
    Simply put, he has matured. If he can keep going the way he is, get his passing game back up to the promise of his youth, he will indeed be a contender for a new contract.
    Not at the expense of a new DM, but in the double pivot role certainly

    Being part of the slowing down aged population, I think you are ‘dissing’ – as you young people like to say – both Artea and Flamini for their contributions during a troubled period. And Carvalho might not appeal on some of his CL form, but I read a comment this morning that made me see AW’s real interest? How about a ball playing CB role for WC?????

    Congrats on your exam, you have studied hard so you deserve to breeze through. Well done!

  80. Gerry says:

    Buggar! New Post ! I’ll copy it over later TA.

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