Rosicky King of NLD, Le Coq & Rambo, Ozil to add magic: Preview & Line-up

Little Mozart knows how to win a NLD: passion, power, and quality! COYG! :)
Little Mozart knows how to win a NLD: passion, power, and quality! COYG! 🙂

A bit more than 24 hours to go for the NLD. It is fair to say that both sets of fans are feeling confident about this match. A text from a Spud mate read as follows: ‘I hear Sanchez is out and we have Bentaleb back: thing are looking up’. Both teams are on a good run and have a recent, big scalp to their name: The Spuds gave the Chavs a 5-3 hiding and we overcame the Northern Oilers at the Etihad.

It is fair to say the Spuds are going through another transitional season under the new management of Pochettino , and have had with a mixed bag of results until now. For example, they beat Leicester away in the league but succumbed to them in FA cup at home; they beat the Chavs at home but lost there by 3-0; they beat Villa away by 1-2 but then lose to Stoke at home by the same score the week after. In the league they do not score many goals (35, 9 less than Arsenal) but concede a lot (30, 5 more than Arsenal), hence their goal difference is only five, significantly less than the teams above them (Arsenal has a difference of 19). And in the league almost 80% of the Spuds goals are scored by just three players; Kane with 10, Eriksen with 9 and Chadli with 7.

So we know who to keep quiet and I reckon if we deny them space, play compact and attack them on the rebound, we have a very good chance to come away with a result. Should we approach them the same as we did with the Northern Oilers? That is the big question, if you ask me. Inviting them on to us and taking them down on the break is of course attractive. On the other hand, it would also be good to dominate them in their own half and get the job done as soon as possible. We have the players to do either and I wonder how Wenger will approach the game.

Key is of course the role of the three midfielders and whether we press high or not. With either Flamini or Coquelin we will give the back four protection, and then it is up to the other two midfielders to find the balance between supporting the defence and making the transition towards attack. I hope our defence will be allowed to play deep enough to avoid any risks of them being exposed by the Spuds.

They are likely to put a lot of muscle in the centre of midfield with the likes of Dembele, Mason, Bentaleb and Paulinho. To win the battle in midfield we need to match this physicality and overcome them with clever and incisive passing. This also requires a calm head, especially in a NLD, and as such, this is another big test for Coquelin, if indeed he gets the nod by Arsene. The biggest challenges in midfield are for the two players who play in the middle of our second ‘4’ in the 4-1-4-1 formation. Who should play there, and what should be their remit: sit back and keep it tight, or push forward and hem them in their own half?

I reckon Aaron and Santi are the obvious candidates for the two central midfield positions. They are in fine form and know how to execute Wenger’s tactical instructions. They know how to sit deep and make the transition forwards when in possession.

I don’t think Wenger will tweak his back-five for this match, so let’s move on to the front three. The big question is who should replace Sanchez’s goal threat and who can find the best balance in supporting the defence on the flanks, yet offer speed, ingenuity and control of the ball when in possession/on the break.

Giroud is a given, so who to play on the ‘wings’? I reckon we will need Ozil’s quality to unlock defences and add a much needed goal threat. The partnership with Giroud has also been fantastic in the last two games: it has been good to see Mesut and Ollie exchanging goals and assists.

That leaves one position, and it will be either Theo or Rosicky I reckon. Theo offers a great goal and assists threat and Rosa has that passion and offers better additional defensive support.

With Bellerin on the right, whose strength it is to add to our wingplay there, we might not need Theo as much, and either Ozil or Rosa can play in front of the young, blossoming Spaniard. On the other hand, Theo is so confident and has that wow factor, especially on the counter…. I have a feeling that Theo will lose out, but only just.

So my predicted line-up is as follows:

Arsenal v Spuds Jan 15

Let’s play compact, deep enough as a starting point, disciplined and full of passion – and our quality up-front and in the middle to shine through.

Let the mighty red and white cannon blow that skinny chicken of the ball. 🙂

Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners: Make Us Proud!

By TotalArsenal.

182 thoughts on “Rosicky King of NLD, Le Coq & Rambo, Ozil to add magic: Preview & Line-up

  • I think you are pretty close to AW’s line up, TA. It is a good post to get people talking, whereas in truth, without Alexis there is little wriggle room?
    From my view looking at your/AW’s line up, even allowing for your limited graphic not displaying it as you would like, Giroud apart there are not many ‘regular’ goal scorers there. A number who can score, and hope fully will, but may be not always take advantage of every opportunity? I think therefore the big alternative that AW might use is starting with Theo, as you mention yourself.
    The other one is what I suggested yesterday, is having Akpom down the left, but more as a twin striker. Again, what is key is having Ozil in the area behind the two, and Santi the broader area behind him. Formation-wise, more a 4-2-1-1-2, in attack, and Ramsey making the extra man up front if and when he can. This of course works with Theo as well, but with less pace on the left.
    I know the negative is Akpom’s lack of experience, but I feel he is one goal short of a hand full, and is more likely to force them back when our guys are fresh. Walcott can come on with Rosicky if we are chasing a result.

    Of course, if AW goes for Gibbs and Chambers for Monreal and Bellerin, then Theo makes more sense. But the is less likely on current form? Although Chambers coming on at RB to close out the game, leaving Bellerin to track Ericksen would not be a bad call either?

    It is going to be a close, ‘one goal in it,’ type of game I think, as I have said before, Spurs do seem to play their best against the better sides. A fantastic one to win though.

  • Great post TA and even though we can all pretty much agree that there is only one real spot up for grabs it is still a difficult one to call (imo).
    In your line up if Giroud drops deep as he likes to do who is going to get the goals? It could end up with the midfield madness we saw at the start of the season. In the Villa game no problem, the game was stretched and quite open but i just feel this is a whole different kettle of fish and a goal from an Ozil pass to a Walcott run for example would be far more likely to work and gain us the result.
    But (and its a big but) is Theo disciplined and match ready enough to do the defensive side of his duties well enough to stem the flow the other way?
    Plus Rosicky is the derby king!!

    Its a tricky one!

    I will go with Theo to start
    If that tactic works, when the position needs freshening up bring on Akpom as a sub.
    If it doesn’t work or begins to look like a weakness then bring TR7 asap.

    Thats the best i can do to add anything to your completely thorough preview and i am sure nearly (if not completely) perfect predicted line up.

    Good work boss man!


  • Agree with everything in the post TA. Gerry, i don’t see chambers in for bellerin in any difficult match, i think his problems with quick wingers were too obvious, maybe against weaker sides.. same monreal over gibbs. But who knows? Tomas must be involved at some point. Its only right. These guys play very physical against us, i hope our boys are ready.

  • Gerry and steve 🙂

    I would not mind at all to see either Theo or the Pom get a chance tomorrow. Although, other than OG, there are not any other 0.4 goals per game scorers, the likes of Ozil, Rosa, Santi and Ramsey can all score a goal. Like Gerry, I dont think it will be a game of many goals, and yes chances will have to be taken.

    It might be Theo, who is a 0.4 goal per game scorer, instead of Rosa, or even Ramsey, with Rosa moving next to Coquelin. If we want compact, the above line up might be it; if we want more adventure, Theo or Akpom could be added on the wing. Fact is that we field a very strong team tomorrow, and that’s bliss. 🙂

  • Alexis might play after all…… Wenger saying that he is ready to ignore the advice of the Arsenal medics….. hahahahahahahaha Wengjury afterall? 😕

  • Very good preview, Total…and I like the personal touch with the text from your Spud-bud… You’re right that they have a lot of size and power in MF and Kane is not a small guy either. With guys like Lennon and Defoe now gone, they’re a big team. As such, it presents a different challenge than we had up at Man City. In fact, they may try and invite us onto the ball and want to play more for the press and the quick interception and counterattack. After all, that’s how they got their goal in the earlier NLD this season…

    Both teams need to be careful playing it out of the back because our high press is good too. (I’m remembering those cheeky goals Giroud created pressing keepers vs So’ton and Sunderland last season.) It gets better when Theo is in there, but Rosicky (maybe) plays the better D further back. It’s interesting (and great) that BOTH guys had the good goals the last time they got to play Spurs, with Theo emphasizing his to the fans with the classic 2-nil hand gesture. More than most, I think he understands the extra pressure and atmosphere of this match. With his scoring boots now on, I think he gets the nod as a starter. Rosicky has done so well in long sub appearances so my guess is that he’ll play that role once again. Alexis on the bench as well, for the intimidation factor, if not for his actual input if a late goal is needed. Injury, Weng-jury (or an attempt at a Winter break)…Who (TF) knows?…

    Cagey game with few goals? The BFG has made noise about being extra focused early (to avoid the blow-outs in the lunch-time kickoffs from last season…4:45 am here on the West Coast…ugh…) so clearly a conservative start is on the cards. Both teams, however, have the attacking DNA so if an early goal would go in, all bets are off. Hopefully we’re confident enough in our basic play that we don’t go wacko just because of a bit of luck one way or the other. Stick with the gameplan, grind them down (easier if they try and use all those big guys) and take the points 4 miles South…

    That’s my hope, at least… Go on…

  • I don’t mean to pick on Gerry–and trust me–I’m happy that Akpom has signed on for a new contract…but, I don’t see him getting a bench spot (let alone a start) tomorrow. The big “confirmed” fitness news is that Welbeck will be back for this one. As such, even if Alexis doesn’t suit up, DW will… Thus, for me the 18 are… Giroud, Theo, Ozil, Santi, Ramsey, Coq, Nacho, Bellerin, BFG, Kos, Ospina (Starters)…And… Welbeck, Rosicky, Flamini, Chambers, Gibbs, Gabriel and Szcz (Bench)… If anything, Alexis might get a bench spot from Chambers…

    That’s just my best guess, and, as always… WTF-DIK?

    With another (critical) 3 points on offer in midweek (vs Leicester) and then the cup match vs Boro there will be plenty of opportunities up and down the squad…including for Akpom to get his goal and then his handful…

  • Good build-up for THE game TA! 🙂 Nothing much to add – I tend to lean towards 17’s lineup. Wenger did pull Walcott off against Villa – prepping him for NLD? Excited and looking forward to 3 points – looks to be a close one though.

  • To you point reg playing style TA I suspect that we will start compact and then look to take control after ~15 or so minutes. The back four to the spurs and the two in front do not appear to be quite like City’s (even without Toure) so would be surprised if we simply sit back. I’m still trying to figure out how in the world they beat Chelsea the way they did – fluke?. Bentaleb has been good but not sure if he can handle Santi & Ozil & gang. Paulhinho, I think, has not been in form. Am I being too dismissive of these guys? The X-factor for the spurs I think maybe Adebayor.

  • Nice additional comment, 17ho, and all agreed. Theo could indeed start but it is a close call. To have Theo and Bellerin on the right seems a little too unbalanced to me as they are very similar, and both stronger going forward than purists in defending. It all depends how compact we want to be. I am a huge fan of Theo and I would love him to show the Spuds what the score is, so cannot really lose on this one! Rosa is just so good in these NLDs: the perfect mix of professionalism and passion, and that is what we need tomorrow, so I really hope he will start as well, and if that is instead of Ramsey or Santi, I would not mind it too much.

  • Good point about their line up and philosophy, StH. 🙂

    It is more Southampton like than Citeh like, I reckon, but we could see a cautious approach by both teams. If so, Arsenal are more likely to take the initiative as the beautiful game/desire to attack is only in our DNA – the only thing I disagree with 17 about – and that would be fine with me, as long as we do this with discipline….. a big role there for young Ramsey, no doubt…

    My biggest worry is how we deal with getting in front, especially if we do so in the first half. Against both Citeh and Villa we had weak starts to the second half which we cannot afford to repeat again. Keeping the shape and discipline will be vital and once again, Ramsey, as well as Santi, have a big role to play IF we manage to go ahead tomorrow. AAhhh exciting times. UTA< COYG!

  • St. Henry… IMO, Spurs are a decent team and Pochettino, who was barely keeping his job a few months ago, seems to have settled on a group who will work for him. You’re right, Paulinho, was out of favor for a long time, but he played the full 90 last weekend up at WBA. The smaller English guys (Rose and Mason, but also Walker and Townsend) play hard and cynical and aren’t afraid to shoot from distance. Dembele, when he’s in form, is a strong player with skills to match his size. Beware his 1-2s and forward runs w/Eriksen. Chadli too. Lamela plays with a chip on his shoulder as wild as his haircut… Overall, the group seems more settled w/o the stress of trying to get goals for (chronically underperforming) Adebayor and Soldado. At the back, Lloris is a shot blocker and some observers who have very strong opinions about keepers (well, just one, actually 😉 …) think he’s the best in the world and want us to buy him… Fazio is big and Vertonghen is the Belgian we should’ve bought (rather than Vermaelen), again, according to some. I like our defenders better and I’m really looking forward to Gabriel getting in the mix. The (proven) best pairing will play tomorrow but he should get a chance soon enough…

    I dunno, I think of Spurs as pretty attack oriented but they do seem to be defending better lately. It’s true, in the recent matches, that we’ve looked our most flimsy immediately after half time, but I’m not overly concerned. Maybe the instinct to get that critical 2nd goal needs to be reigned in, but when they come (as they did at City and vs Villa) they’re pretty sweet. It seems to me that our current captain (the BFG) is well aware about the importance of these early minutes–if so in the first half, then maybe equally so after the break. It’s gonna be a long time before a lot of Gooners feel a real confidence in our defending, but it’s coming. Obviously, Ospina cannot keep clean sheets forever, so the reaction (his AND amongst his teammates) to a concession will be critical. If we can put that off for another few matches, however, you will hear no complaints from me… 😀

  • TA, I hear you about Walcott and Bellerin on the right side…It should be noted that there’s plenty of interchange amongst our attackers and he pops up on the left (and central) quite a bit as well, at least in these recent matches. Giroud covering a lot of territory and Ozil and Santi watching him and all of them filling the (empty) spaces has been a key and a real improvement in our D and looking dangerous in attack and on the counter. For Gerry, a creative sub, if we had a lead to defend might be to take Theo off (saluted by the crowd for a brace or a hat-trick…) and push Bellerin forward and give Gabriel his debut…in the derby…at RB… Probably a little *too* creative for AW to try unless it was a big lead we had to defend…

    Now, I’m dreaming and that’s never good… Additionally, it’s too early in the day for a nap, so really no good…

  • Evening TA. Exciting (and nervous) times – high hopes for tomorrow, but plenty of reason to feel apprehensive about a spuds team thats starting to play pretty well. You’ve prompted the main area of selection debate (I think Theo gets it for me, for his goals) and I’ve tried to think of any others that might be there – the only question in my mind is whether Gibbs might get a run out, or whether Nacho is actually deemed to have nailed the first choice LB? Personally, I would favour keeping it with Nacho based on form and stability across the back, but I don’t think Wenger will want to see Gibbs out for too long, and the NLD is a big deal for a local boy.

    Everyone is predicting a tight, low-scoring match, but I’m not quite sure why given the attacking strength these teams possess; I see goals tomorrow, and very possibly some cards in the mix. A strongly skewed result, either way, seems quite plausible, if one side can find their shooting boots – there will be plenty of attacking play and opportunities created. My punt therefore is 4 goals or more scored; hopefully we will have the majority!

  • Hey AB 🙂

    Four goals or more: big call, but you could be right. Would both managers take a draw now? I think so and that’s why I expect one, and with not too many goals.

    I’d like Gibbs to start, but don’t expect it and same goes for Theo.

    How’s life treAting you?

  • nice one @ Skipper

    you make a very good case for Rosicky to be included in the starting 11, however, am going to stick with Theo as he is in a good place now and recovering rather well . he will be a big player for us going forward and one who can help us win the CL as well as FA cup .

    For that to happen, he must play a lot more with Ozil to get in sync with him and get those crosses in for Giroud . Do Remember that he has provided many delicious passes and crosses for Giroud and both of them enjoy and compliment each other well .

    if we play with a 4-5-1 , which you effectively have in your prediction, then that takes away that crossing factor and threat Theo carries – also worth noting that the spuds Defenders are hardly top notch hence we need Theo to be running on their shoulders and beyond .

    Love Rosicky but he is better used as a sub tomorrow and then gets a start vs Boro for me .

    other than that, I am going with the same 10 you are .

  • You might well be right, JB, and it might make or break us tomorrow. I would play Theo AND Rosa in the NLD, but Wenger is indeed likely to choose one of them.

    How are you buddy, and how is Jane?

  • Hi TA. Life is generally pretty good. Work as ever a bit busy and tedious, but family is all good – mind, for a Friday night I’m the only one still awake; wife and my boys been asleep since before 8! I’m leaving the whisky alone for this month, otherwise I would have a bigger smile on my face by now. But hey, there’s a big match tomorrow and I’m really happy with how our squad is coming together and the way we are playing.

    The injury disruptions to the last two seasons really frustrate me, as we could have had so much more to be pleased about without them. And then you look forward and wonder with anticipation who Wenger will try and bring in come the summer – as I fully expect another of the calibre of Oz and San!? There was a sense last year during the FA cup run that we were just due a break and for things to work out for us. I get that same sense again now; we are due major honours again in the next couple of seasons – we just need maybe 2 more players and one season without crippling injuries.

    But looking more closely, I can’t help but feel that we have a much better team than the spuds – even allowing for my inherent bias. But derbies, like cup games, are influenced by the occasion and the side that is both really up for it and able to keep a clear head. Will we start with our recent intensity? Spuds certainly will. Can we stay solid a disciplined at the back and defend as a team? I don’t think the spuds will. Can Ospina continue as he has? Loris won’t give us much. And can we take our chances when they come? We need to keep Kane and Eriksen away from shooting positions, but the biggest uncertainty for me is whether our own folk will be sharp or profligate in front of goal? Theo, Giroud, Rambo and Santi will all have chances tomorrow – the first three are coming back from injury and Santi from iffy form. But all look to be getting their eye back for goals. I may have to break my dry Feb policy if they all come off tomorrow – here’s hoping anyhow!

  • At least you picked the shortest month to go whisky free… 😀 Except for the madness in that choice, I’m otherwise all agreed although I might be a bit more positive about the form of our attackers. Rambo is the one guy who hasn’t tallied in his comeback so he might be a tad over-eager. Still, he’s now got so many great strikes under his belt that a good punt might be on him with the opener… It IS a big occasion, with both teams wanting to avoid the loss, but it’s hard to imagine there won’t be a goal, after which things have to open up… I would guess…

    8 o’clock bedtime seems about right for me with the early kickoff…

  • all is well at my end @ Skipper

    how are you and your family doing ?

    Theo should get the nod ahead of Rosicky in this one and I think AW will more or less start the same starting 11 as he did against the Villains .

    bear in mind that we play the foxes in the midweek, hence, the trio of Rosicky, Welbeck and Alexis will have a role to play in that one ?

    from now on – the games will come thick and fast – blink it and you will miss it sorta thing, a great opportunity to move forward at the rate of naughts – we win tomorrow and I feel we are in a very good place .

    some people have today mentioned to me that if we lose then the spuds leapfrog us ?

    well, if we win and man utd lose then we leap frog both the saints and man utd to 3rd .

    if I had a spare bob , I would put that on Arsenal being 3rd by the end of this weekend .

  • Hi there 17! Yes its the best month in terms of duration – although usually its the first 10 days that are hard and after that I don’t miss it. I usually (well more often!) go dry in January, as it sort of works after all the Christmas excess. How about you – when did you last do a month without caffeine? I sense a tremor on the web!! Seriously, I think that probably harder.

    Rambo looks to me like he is nearly there. Yes, too many flicks and stuff, and the shots haven’t landed yet. But he’s making some clean strikes and what we have seen from the last 18 months is that this turns into goals and then lots of goals. If he doesn’t get another injury I feel pretty confident that this patters will be repeated – hopefully starting tomorrow.

    Grief, I’m really talking us up aren’t I!? Its not that i’m dismissing the spuds by any means – they will give us a challenge, unlike villa last week. But we do have a squad that should give us a sense of confidence.

    My only gripe is the messing about around Sanchez. I don’t care hugely for mind games – let maureen do the playing with himself. But I would care if we risked playing a half fit Sanchez tomorrow – that would be madness given his value to us over the coming months, and the depth of the squad we do have available. If he is injured I don’t even want to see him on the bench. If not then lets skip the dicking around.

  • man for man we are better than the spuds , minus maybe the goalie but hey – football isn’t played on paper is what they tell me .

    as long as we don’t get Le Coq sent off, it should be fine .

    PS: man utd don’t necessarily have to lose , even if they draw against the hammers on the monday, it will be good enough for us to leap frog to 3rd .

  • Whichever side we put out, hopefully we will be too good for Spurs. There is a lot more pressure on them being at home. I hope Bellerin plays, he is a pretty good crosser of the ball and hopefully he can supply the ammo for Giroud? Rosicky or theo is a close call I could make cases for both of them. The only downside of theo/Rosicky and Bellerin on the right is we won’t win to many headers

  • rets,

    we don’t need to win too many headers, thanks to the more accurate and precise distribution from Ospina – he more or less finds Giroud in the center and has the distribution range to find theo on the quick counter attack .

  • Mr Bond I was thinking more about when the enemy are attacking. You could always rely on Sagna to win high balls both from an attacking and defensive standpoint.

  • AB 🙂

    A drink free month, hey? Is that any good for the body – did you look into it? Or is it all about self control?

    Must be weird to have them all in bed from eight: good opportunity to watch a few recorded matches… 🙂

  • the enemy attacking ? let them attack all they want- we have Le Coq, the BFG, Giroud and co waiting to take them all down and out, ha

    The spuds don’t play very many long balls and all credit to their manager, his philosophy is pretty similar to AW’s – keep it on the floor and play football .

    I rate him as a manager .

    my only concern is conceding free kicks near the danger zone , other than that I feel pretty comfortable playing them at this time of the season .

    it’s a 6 pointer ? not really as there is still a long time to go for the season but north london is red.

  • T A I really like Bellerin, he is far more interesting than Sagna going forward. That said Sagna was a great defender. Tomorrow I would have Sagna, next week Bellerin.

  • let Sagna along with his other money grabbing mates, Clichy and Na$ri increase their bank balances without doing that much in terms of contributing to the teams success .

    look at players like Anderson – he in all his glory before leaving man utd a few days ago , takes a photo with all the medals and what not that he had won at man utd but did he actually contribute towards their success or was he just a bench warmer ala Sagna ?

    he is getting what he deserves now, no sympathy for him ever since he took the gorgeous Ludvine up north, ha

  • From the Guardian, quoting Arsene:

    ‘For Wenger, Arsenal’s recent upturn – which has as its centrepiece the 2-0 win at Manchester City three weeks ago – has been based on subtle tweaks, such as the deployment of a more solid midfield three, with Francis Coquelin in a defensive role and Santi Cazorla also involved. Wenger has moved Cazorla in from the wing and watched him thrive.

    “The balance of the team can depend on one player,” Wenger said. “Getting that one player right gives you the efficiency and it is not always a player who makes headlines, someone glamorous. Most of the time, it is a player who works in the dark and has a real team attitude.

    “It can be a Coquelin type, or Cazorla but, sometimes, the balance is to have one more guy who keeps the ball up front. It has been quite positive having Cazorla central. He has a good balance between attacking and defending. He is a better defender than people think.”

    Wenger talked about the chemistry between his creative players and the “real strikers” such as Olivier Giroud who, he said, “dictates a bit your game, because he has a certain style”. Wenger continued: “All the others are more similar types, with mobility, speed and technique. It’s to find the right balance.

    “For example, if I told you at the beginning of the season that [Luis] Suárez would score two or three goals for Barcelona, when he scored 33 last year [at Liverpool], I would say: ‘It’s impossible.’ So they have to find their space, their room and their aura in the team.”

  • Sagna will always have a place in my Gooner heart, Retsub and JB. I don’t think we did enough to keep him and he gave us fine service over the years. I also liked him as back up for BFG. I wonder how he feels in his current fringe role….

  • didn’t do enough to keep him ?

    skipper – he was injured 2 years out of the last 3 or 3.5 or along them lines – he got nothing but praise and a big massive kiss from AW on the forehead at Wembley .

    it was a money move and fair play to him, he left after giving plenty of notice to AW which enabled him to get a better version of him in Debuchy – we got Debuchy, who I believe is an upgrade on Sagna .

    even when Sagna was at Arsenal, he had been dispossessed by Debuchy as the first choice RB for the french team .

    sure, he could have solved our CB situation but what can you do ? a contract on BETTER terms was offered to him but he clearly was thinking about the last pay cheque and the lure of a multi-million signing on fee and a £150 k per week was hard to turn down .

  • The question is whether Sagna was offered a good package or not… and whether he was just after the biggest package possible. The truth for me lies in the middle and I don’t think we did enough to keep him. Debuchy might be an upgrade but definitely not from a fitness point of view! 😉

    Night all. 🙂

  • As always good write up TA. I agree with your predicted line up with the exception of the Little Mozart for Theo. I don’t feel a wing duo of Ozil and Rosicky provides a sufficient goal scoring threat. I think Theo in place of Rosicky provides a better attacking/defensive balance to the team. That said the Little Mozart could get a run out in Ramsey’s place thou?

  • Just following on from that last comment TA – Where we lost him was in the years of his contract, when let’s remind ourselves. he was reckoned to be one of the best RB’s in the league, and got no financial recognition for it. He then had a double leg break while doing his job,which took a season or so to recover, by which time his contract had run down …. and they haggled over his first pay rise in 6 years! He was on almost ‘entry level’ wage for a first 11 player at £60k?
    Thank god he got a Cup Final and winners medal at the end, because he got little else.
    So JB, don’t just toss him in with the real money grabbers, he deserves better than that!

    Today’s game could be a real moment in time for us. If Man City win was a ‘turning point’ in the way we approach games, then this could be when we see the clear open road ahead of us?
    We need the win.
    I agree, playing away from home is possibly more help to us, in they are expected to perform like they did against Chelsea. If they do, then we have a real fight on our hands. Unfortunately, that puts a lot of power in the hands of the referee?

    I will remain reasonably confident of at least a score draw … until I see the team sheet. Not because I know better than AW. But it is a bit rich saying ‘playing Cazorla centrally is giving better balance ….’. Yes AW , It makes him play at his best. As long as you don’t cock it up by putting Ozil out wide. One in front one behind please. Thank you.
    Tell him Prof.

  • Gerry I agree with you about Ozil, he will be wasted out wide. Ozil was excellent last week and most people had him as a candidate for motm. However Spurs away is an entirely different kettle of fish. I have to admit to being one of the Ozil doubters. Its games like today that will really test him. I don’t doubt he is very talented, I just feel sometimes he can disappear from a game (Bayern from memory) Hopefully he will have a cracker today.

  • TA

    Great post. On short actual vacation in hanmer springs of n-zed. Hot pools and children running up to do water slides until they fall over.

    Tomorrow will come down to, just to be different, faith and consistency. He who plays a game well and consistently, AND, true to a style they are capable of. Wil win. That’s Arsenal by my reckoning.

    It also means that mistakes and not playing true to the players you put out (read as defensively when playin Ozil and Theo and TR) will be punished.

    So, I’m obviously not on an alcohol free month, but taping from n-zed, land of the currently meta-physical…. I can see hobbits! 🙂

    Seriously, ish, though. It’s about playing to a style that best suits your team in a derby, rather than trying to be something else you’re not. It’s where Spurs, IMO, have often gone wrong, and, serious threat, what Pochettinno might be fixing.

    3-1 Arsenal, 1 from OG and 1 assist by Ozil…jgc-damus speaks!! Noting that … anything free, comes with no guarantee!

    Cheers and good night / morning — jgc

  • Morning All…

    Like that team Total…

    Agree with Gerry though, it needs more goals, therefore Theo 4 Tom.
    And we’re ready to rumble…

    Priority to me, a clean sheet…

  • Geoff, you are making me and the girls very jealous. Those are the sort of holidays we love to do in Southern France in…… July/August… Long time away. Good point about sticking to natural style.

  • Kev, I love to see Theo today, but if you want a clean sheet above all then a hard tackling and good ball carrying Rosa is surely better than a speed king…. Unless it is about scaring the Spuddies and keeping them from pressurising us, for which Theo’s threat is ideal…

  • If you read the Wenger/ the Guardian quote carefully, I think you find that the ‘wing players’ are free to move around as Giroud provides the holding role. As such, Ozil is not moved onto the wing in a strict way and will be found regularly in the middle. Key is for him to be able to find and use space. And the same goes for Alexis when he plays ‘on the wing’. 🙂

  • Hugo Lloris; Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose; Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb; Érik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Mousa Dembélé; Harry Kane

    Substitutes: Michel Vorm, Ben Davies, Federico Fazio, Nacer Chadli, Paulinho, Benjamin Stambouli, Roberto Soldado

    Eric Dier comes in at centre-back to play alongside Jan Vertonghen, with Federico Fazio on the bench. Mousa Dembélé starts in midfield with no place in the team squad for Andros Townsend today.


    David Ospina; Héctor Bellerín, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal; Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin; Mesut Özil, Santi Cazorla, Danny Welbeck; Olivier Giroud

    Substitutes: Wojciech Szczęsny Kieran Gibbs, Gabriel Paulisa, Mathieu Flamini, Tomáš Rosický, Theo Walcott, Chuba Akpom

  • Welbeck ahead of Theo ?

    interesting but I LIKE IT !!! I likey likey very much actually .

    AW you are a genius, ha

  • Yup, a lot of sense in the selection, depending on how rusty Welbs is. He will certainly offer plenty of press and defence, if rather less goal threat (normally). And we have plenty on the bench to refresh when we need it. Man for man our first 11 looks hugely superior – can we play as a team and make this count? COYG!!!!

  • cheers TA. I would have preferred Rosicky over Welbeck but his chance to press and shine. Rosicky does like playing the spuds though.

    Spuds…pfft. Shadows for them still.

  • nah was only 10 minutes, ha

    Hello AB and Aussie

    what are the predictions then – give us a score

  • Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson
    Football Focus
    Giroud has that… je ne sais quoi

    Tottenham v Arsenal (12:45 GMT)
    Posted at
    “Olivier Giroud gives something different that Arsenal don’t have. He is much maligned but he does have a great record. It takes all sorts of different players to make a team, he holds the ball up, is good in the air, and Arsenal need a player like that with their midfield runners. I think he is really underrated.”

  • Ospina injured ?????????????????????????????????????????


    no nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo



    to giroud

    and Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooozilllllllll


    wo00000000000000000000000000t wo000000000000000000000000000t

    ozil you lil beautyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

  • Osipinaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    another fab save !!!

    come onnnnnnnn!!! keep it tight lads, not acceptable

  • our right side looks well exposed and weak – both bells and Welz not doing enough .

  • we are going to need to make a counter register as 1 goal doesn’t look like being enough for us today

  • let’s put it this way @ AB

    if we keep it at 0-1 at HT then it’s going to be nothing short of a miracle.

  • this is not for the weak hearted .

    be brave AW

    take off Welbeck for Rosicky or Theo

  • kane on giroud = Yellow

    now take your time getting treated @ Giroud

    let’s take the sting out of this one

  • Nah Welbeck is offering an outlet. Created the goal with a great piece of brilliance. Need santi to get into it

  • Ospina takes out kane ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

    agreed, santi has gone missing

  • am happy with OSpina’s save and what not .

    but we haven’t played well enough to keep it to 0-1 , do we care ? NO

    cheating spuds, cheating Rose,

    we got 2 harsh booking for nacho and welz, good on welz to react that way and tell everyone what a cheat rose is

  • it should have been the yellow the other way for diving .

    am sure Atkinson was a ref in one of our recent matches as well, i don’t like both the M’s (mike dean and martin atkinson)

  • Henry Morris: Ozil’s on fire!
    Mathew Penistone: Is this the same Mesut Ozil? Tracking back like an old school wideman, scoring like an old school finisher… and he won a header!

  • He is truly an abysmal referee. Mason could have broken Mesut’s leg early on and just a foul.

    Rose dives and Welby gets a yellow. Monreal got a yellow for not disappearing in a puff of smoke when Walker ran into him.

    Incompetent does not even begin to describe him!

  • Welbeck did well for the goal, but other than that, he doesn’t look right to me. I would take him off pariculsrly as he has been booked and had a scuffle with Rose going into the tunnel. Santi isn’t performing today either. Good effort by the team, but Spurs look a little hungrier to me. Time to change things around a bit.

    Ospina has made some good saves ( one for the camera) but he looks a little shaky today. Worth keeping an eye on.

    Theo and Rosicky on early in the 2nd half I think. We have done very well without looking over impressive.

  • definitely a dive by walker. Monreal did nothing but that sod threw himself to the ground

  • That said, we are very much second best into tackles and our passing is less than wonderful.

    Bellerin has gone walkabout and the Spuds could have got a couple of goals down our right.

    Need to sharpen up in the second half.

  • agreed RA. We’ve had to scramble defensively and we’ve had no fluidity to our attacks. they’re breaking them up easily

  • Oz I agree. Would bring on 3 Coqs if it were possible. We are going to need foot soldiers to hold on.

  • take out the save for “the camera” he still had to make 3 important saves prior to that .

    he didn’t have a shaky moment as such, he took out KANE 😀 that was class ahahahahahahah

    our players are not in sync at the moment, everyone really is looking shaky and not their usual self hence on that basis our most solid player is Ospina .

    i would certainly bring in Rosicky for Santiago and Theo later for Welz .

  • sometimes AW doesn’t help his own team by not making the obvious decision and the easy one ? take off Welz

    saying that if welz scores a goal or provides an assist then AW is a genius ?

    fine line and a very thin one .

  • where is Bellerin

    where is Welbeck

    where is our team ? ? ?


  • Glics – make some room for me behind the Sofa, am gunner join you if this stays the same 😀

  • this is deffo squeaky bum time

    Ospina again to the rescue .


  • we need a runner and outlet, this is perfect for Theo to come on and release the pressure

  • Giro must be injured from all those ankle knocks, he has posed no threat at all.

    Let’s see Theo light it up.

  • Lots of local youth RA; guarantee of intensity. We have quality though – I just hope it prevails

  • Apart from scoring first we were a poor second throughout.

    Gutted and disappointed.

    Incidentally, what did our secret weapon, Theo, do in the 20 minutes since he came on?

  • Bollocks. No reason to get a bottle out tonight then! Hey ho. On to the next one. Pain in the arse to have a spud visiting tomorrow though. We weren’t up for it enough and their strength and energy dominated us. Playing on the counter is not our game unless we have no alternative; and sadly our attacking midfield threat didn’t really show up today. I thought we would come back into things in the second half – how wrong I was!

  • well deserved win for the spuds (yikes) .

    back to the drawing board , I reckon .

    the man city blueprint doesn’t always work especially if the stadium and ground isn’t as big – it was the wrong game plan, everyone saw it wasn’t working in the first 20 minutes and AW still didn’t change it .

    we had our plan B , which didn’t work , should have reverted to the Plan A in my opinion .

    this was self inflicted and could have been avoided .

  • You have to say Spurs played well and we were just ok. To many players didn’t turn up today and our keeper was one of our best players. I can’t think of many of our team who had a particularly good game. I thought Rosicky looked lively when he came on, but it was a little late then.

    I don’t want to single out Ozil because he didn’t have a bad game and scored a good goal, but when the going got tough I didn’t see a lot of him. Santi chose today to have a bad un and Welbeck looked far from match fit to me

    Still think we willl celebrate St Totteringham day this year. A set back but not the end of the world

  • Agreed BJ. Really needed to change tactics once they equalised.

    @ RA

    Well…he could have been one on one with lloris had he not stuffed his first touch. At times he looks like a wannabe henry out there. Needs to stick to the basics.

    We looked flat and ridiculously slow. Seemed they burned us every time and very clinical when defending.

    Piss poor showing up to a derby with that sort of intent. Bellerin was absent as was everyone forward of coquelin.

    This Wenger-Injury to santi was poorly timed. Sick of these ‘shit one player is back, you can have a break now’ deals. Happens too often. Spurs 40 games = no injuries. Arsenal = on comes Akpom to save the day

  • James, not sure that it had anything to do with a game plan mate.

    To me, the team that wanted it more, won the game.

  • AB,

    I don’t think we had either a Plan A or a Plan B, whatever that means.

    If there was ever a need for confirmation that we need Sanchez that was it. Giro and Welbeck could have played all week and not managed to threaten the Spuds goal, partly because they got nothing from midfield in fairness, but without Alexis there was no energy or invention.

    Maybe Sanchez is Plan A, B and C?

  • Never mind Oz, we are only 6th by a point — hope shitty United lose this week-end as well. 🙂

  • Just a quick recap.

    — Ospina was OK-ish. Mert, Kozzer and Monreal were OK too.
    — Bellerin was often naively playing out of position as a shadow CB. (Why?) Not too good today.

    — Coquelin put in a good effort and had energy too.

    — Özil and Cazorla were not up for the physical side of the game – and unable to exert any skill as a consequence.

    — Ramsey was trying hard but he was away with the fairies.

    — Welbeck and Giro showed not a lot – certainly not top quality today.

    So, 5 OK-ish. 4 not at the races. 2 were pretty hopeless. [The above gives a clue which was who!] 🙂

    OK – that’s hot off the press — but I am not sure I will be changing my mind! 🙂

  • Hello, people.

    Villa and Spuds are not the same thing. You can’t go out against Spuds with Giroud down the middle unless you offer him enough pace on the wings.

    They were simply much better today and more up for this game. We managed to spill the lead for the umpteenth time this season.

    Now, what would have happened if we had had Alexis for today’s game? Who knows. Wenger obviously screwed things up with him and it’s not like he wasn’t warned about it.

    Now, let’s focus on beating Leicester and Boro.

  • I’m watching Atletico-Real (2:0) and I think we need to get Simeone next summer. If we don’t, he’ll end up kicking our ass as a manager of either Oilers. The man is a genius. An evil genius, that is.

  • Not a pretty or comforting game to watch. But we had our chances, and again couldn’t convert them. Giroud, Kos and Ros all had clear chances, but poorly taken efforts. We didn’t make full use of our quality, and instead allowed their sheer effort to prevail. From looking 5 points clear at half time, the table looks pretty depressing now.

  • Poor result and the Spuds wanted it more than us. We played with 0 conviction and this is what happens when the Center of your pitch is not playing well. Santi and Ramsey were two of the worst players on the pitch today (Ramsey has been poor since returning from injury) and it highlights the need for another CM to spell him when he’s struggling with form.

    Of course Sanchez was needed as we lacked the ability to take on defenders today, save for Welbeck on the goal. Another issue is when Theo comes on, we seem to always telegraph a through ball for him. Back to the drawing board and hopefully we can regroup for Tuesday. I would give Koscielny a rest and give Paulista a run out. If there’s anyone else who could play Ramsey’s spot, I would get them in too. I’d imagine Theo will start at RW too.

  • Admir, the problem is Ramsey is underrated defensively. Rosicky, Santi, Ozil and any other option we have at CM would either sacrifice some offense or defense, which is problematic. I could see either Ozil or Rosicky starting at CAM on Tuesday though. Let’s hope Sanchez is back too!

  • I can’t express how sick that game made me feel, to watch your bitter rivals line up how I have always dreamed Arsenal would, with half the team young English players with pace and tenacity and then to play in the same manner with drive and determination supported by that pace and tenacity – just makes me sick to my stomach. They were literally first to every ball and strongest in nearly every challenge and tackle.

    Playing a starting XI full of flare players is not a bad thing against teams like Villa but when you’re in a battle you are always going to be found wanting. Dortmund, Liverpool and now spurs have all played like this against us and played us off the park.

    TA was absolutely correct in shouting for Rosicky to start as he always shows that forward drive backed by the sort of tenacity that you need in a derby match and he looked a cut above the rest when he came on because of that. He was the only guy I saw make a trademark Arsenal through ball that almost saw Walcott through on goal at the end.

    Its not the end of the world I suppose and Wenger just needs to learn who he can play the flare players against and when he needs to employ a bit more steel and tenacity (not that he could have done today as they were all injured save Rosicky). I would just like to point out though that the “best” starting XI that was so unanimously agreed upon in one of the earlier posts was only missing one or two players today and just got completely shit on for 90 mins by their closest rivals – not a great sign lol.

    My overriding thought coming away from this match was just how ridiculously slow and cumbersome we looked compared to the spuds.

    Quick player ratings:

    Giroud – Harry Kane when he’s in his late thirties and thinking of retiring from football due to lack of pace.

    Welbeck – Welbeck wtf?? I though players coming back from a couple of months injury normally get put back in as subs and usually in comfortable games – starting place in a NLD debut wtf Wenger??

    Ozil – not his worst performance, but don’t forget I rate him pretty low to start with.

    Ramsey – Still going full flow in his “shite form” stage, it was a lifetime we had to wait last time around god knows how long it will be this time.

    Cazorla – beginning of the season Santi turned up and as such was completely ineffective.

    Coquelin – tried his best but the spuds midfield were given enough time and space to be able to run rings round him most of the time.

    Monreal – decent performance tbh

    Koscielny – his passing is getting worse but apart from that not too bad.

    BFG – If he chested it down perfectly for one more spurs attacker I was going to loose my shit.

    Bellerin – got drawn out of position way too much but if anyone gets a pass it’s a 19 yr old on his derby day debut.

    Ospina – top performance, thank you for keeping it from being a complete thrashing.

    Good luck to whoever does the match review for that steaming pile of shite!!

  • Admir & HH, I say Rosicky for Santi when he’s dropped in form a bit and OX for Ramsey.
    OX’s defensive qualities have been good this season on the wing and he definitely has the drive and tenacity that Ramsey does, he also adds blistering pace through midfield – won’t happen though Ramsey is here to stay form or not.

  • Being a Spud fan is like watching your own vasectomy whilst the surgeons play a new testicle card game called Snip!. Yes, you will still be able to play with your own balls and maybe even score a few times, but there is no hope at the end of the day of producing any worthwhile trophies !.

  • not many have a better sense of humour than AW :

    on if Kane should play for England…
    When you have scored the number of goals he has scored, if you don’t put him in there, somebody will give him a passport to another country.


    could have been worse if Man City had won, and also Liverpool had won –

    LiverFOOL’s next 4 games

    SAT 14 FEB 2015 – FA CUP
    Crystal PalacevLiverpool

    Spuds next 4

    TottenhamvWest Ham

    Arsenal Next 4

    SUN 15 FEB 2015 – FA CUP
    Crystal PalacevArsenal

    let’s start another run of victories , shall we ? this time make it bigger than a 5 game streak !

  • Before your final judgement Steve you need to ask how many of the spuds you admired so much today you would want in the Arsenal first 11? Not too many in my book – mostly they would be squad players. What they did bring was the young, home-grown passion to a derby game; and they did for us, no question. But the season is not one big derby and sustaining that performance is what will matter in the end; I don’t see them doing it. But then I’m biased, and I thought we would have enough to win today.

    We missed Sanchez and the Ox today – well who wouldn’t? And we had a couple of below par performances – but I wouldn’t brand any of our folk as ‘shite’ today. As for selection tactics, Welbs looked a very smart move early on. We could have made some earlier changes in the second half, but equally, if we had buried one of the golden chances we fluffed, then our formation would have stayed looking pretty smart still.

    For all the fact that we were plain outplayed today, it still feels like an opportunity missed – the next best thing after thumping the spuds is plain robbing them! But they are 1 point up on us now and need to go away to the pool next, whilst we host Leicester; must be a reasonable chance of reversing the tables therefore. It would be nice to be 3rd and closing in on city; but there’s still time for that if we don’t let this set back disrupt our progress. How often have spud defeats spurred us on for the rest of the season? Let’s hope we can use it as a salutory lesson once again.

  • AB, no you are correct not too many (maybe Kane tbh) but that is because we have our own!! 🙂
    Like i said the problem was they are all injured. The tenacity and passion of players like OX, Wilshere and Sanchez would have made a huge difference today plus if Welbeck was match fit and playing in his favored position he would have provided even more.
    Its a shame Rosicky and Walcott didn’t start but who could have predicted Santi would have a bad game.
    What i was trying to put across is that flare is great in most games but in a NLD you need some pace and tenacity.

    Btw 90 mins of constant spuds attack only broken up once for a cross that got ricocheted off of Girouds foot for an Ozil goal is Shit imo, but don’t forget i value the actual football being played more than the result of which a 2 – 1 defeat is not too bad i suppose.
    And don’t forget that most of the players that i back don’t make the Arsenal starting XI either (If Sanchez returns to claim his place on the wing over Walcott there won’t be a single English player in the starting XI atm or in many of the “best XI’s” provided by the guys here).
    Its a shame because as you saw today properly managed that type of pace and tenacity can shit all over teams who aren’t ready for it.

  • that’s on the premise or assumption that the english players you want in the starting 11 are better then the ones we already had playing today ?

    if, so then you are mistaken .

    if we have a full squad available then in this current team that played today, we would only have Alexis in and another one of our english players Welbeck out .

    that be our strongest playing 11 and one that I believe, not very many including AW would disagree with meaning that your vision or wish of having more english players won’t be entertained anytime soon . Maybe JW would just be ahead in the pecking order of Ramsey provided Ramsey continues his struggles and JW is at the top of his game (unlikely for another month or so )

    @ Steve .

    let’s be grateful that this wasn’t a 5-1 or a 7-1 , believe me, if it was Sczny in goal then most likely it would have been a repeat of liverpool last season – they had as many chances and as many sloppy give away’s .

    let’s all put it down to a bad day at the office and blame an early kick off ? other than AW’s baffling tactics ?

    Liverpool played away at Everton and least were playing football – we went there with the Man city blue print and that didn’t change throughout the game, when we could have and should have taken the game to them – we had the players to do so .

    AW does have a plan A and Plan B but he isn’t brave or bold enough to change it like the top tacticians would these days and hence this is something that he needs to address .

    now watch 17HT come out with all the chest beating and defending of AW and saying that all of us on here know better then the greatest manager in the world and that we only make noises after a DEFEAT and so on or maybe he won’t as he will be as gutted as everyone else .

    but hey, the gist of it ? we shouldn’t have been giving this much respect to lesser teams aka the spuds or anyone else away – do it against the top 4 teams, by all means but would we play like this against West ham ? well, the answer is when we played them, they were unbeaten at home but we didn’t abandon our philosophy and got a result – we should have stuck to our guns and played the Arsenal way .

    it was beyond belief how casual some of our players were today . Least Welbeck showed a lot of passion even though he was very ring rusty .

  • Evening FFGs 🙂

    Disappointing result today and not much to add to the above comments. Will do a short review at some point tomorrow but not sure when. There were still plenty of positives in this game and I think it will serve as a big learning exercise for the bigger cup games coming up.

    Welbeck instead of Theo or Rosicky was a big surprise and one that did not work out, despite the preassist for our goal. But the big problem was that as a team we were unable to relieve the pressure, which was more of a tactical problem than rubbish performances by players Imo. We have to take this one on the chin, learn from it and give Leicester a hiding of epic proportion. As the Chinese say Tiang yang. 🙂

  • Serious here !……… of life`s biggest killers and the instigator of a lot of illnesses and aging etc` is stress !………that’s why you will never get me watching a game against them cucking funts ! ( or any of the big teams )……I feel down as hell, yet you brave crazy khuntz had the added stress of watching that game !…..kudos to you !.
    Reading all the comments on here and another site it cries out to me ( and this is very hard for me to say ) that we were just beaten by the lot better side on the day !. Pocahontas said that he set his team up to pressure us !. If that is the case, then to combat this, we needed high pressurising and up tempo players, not casual joggers !. Why was the team not set up in the second half to counter the Spuds pressure ?… I said, reading the comments it sounded like it was inevitable they were going to win !…….this is where a better coach may have changed tactics or players and set up a different plan !.
    I would have taken a point before the game and have not jumped on the bandwagon after we beat Mansour City !………they have been decisively average at home lately, so it was no shock we won there !. We are still an average team and I still have to read stuff on sites where people are putting up our remaining fixtures saying how we have the easier run in !…….fantasy delusional !…..OGAAT !.
    This time last year we were 1st with 55 points !………then it all went pear shaped !……..I`d settle for 4th now !……….whether we drop like a bomb from first to 4th or rise from 6th to 4th……4th is about our level….if we`re lucky !, as we have to rely on other teams fcuking up !……`s now in the laps of the Dennis`s !…………..Praise Dennis !………….lets make a sacrifice to him !………….it`s Ok, I`m not talking about a child or your wife or even a pet, but come on…..Stev11e can spare a finger !…………..Sacrifice the finger to Dennis for 4th !.

  • You have never been on the red and white bandwagon, Cockie, but that Man City win was special. And Wenger did a lot better than Maureen at WHL. 😉

  • I was in 2004 !…….when it was mathematically impossible to be caught for the title . hahaha

  • “he’s one of ours” sing the spud faithful.

    2004 cup win at shite hart lane. Hereeeeee’s Harry!!!

  • @ BJ

    of course…5-1. Ospina was good for parts but his parring left a lot to be desired. Often palmed it to dangerous areas. I know you have to reassure yourself but the blinkers can come off.

  • least he was palming them back into dangerous areas instead of picking it from the back of the net after being a mere spectator – OUCH

  • Cockie, the absence of Sanchez and OX who provided a hell of a lot of pressing all the way down the flanks when we were at City meant that AW game plan (the same one we used at City) was always going to be a hard one to pull off. Add that to the fact that Santi had one of his off days and Ramsey was poor and well i was just sat waiting for them to win for 90 mins tbh.
    I think Wenger could have tried moving Welbeck into the middle and bringing on Akpom, Walcott and Rosicky but tbh it was 1 – 0 for a very long time and even i thought fuck it, keep it as it is we might just escape here lol so i don’t blame Wenger too much, by the time he made those changes the horse had bolted (you win some you loose some).
    Tenacity, pace and pressure won out against flare and subtlety, without certain key injuries it could have been a different story – sickening game to watch.
    Its shit mate but you’ve still got to watch it 🙂

  • JB, re your earlier comment, i know mate i have resigned myself to excepting that most people (AW included) see this lot as the starting XI which is fine with me as long as i get to see my guys take the field in the FA cup 🙂
    Hopefully Wilshere will be back soon and the front three of Akpom—Welbeck—Walcott can do the business with OX and Wilshere in midfield – my fucking dream come true 🙂 it bothers me not what competition its in lol.
    please Wenger, pretty please 🙂

  • I am looking forward to these positives you have lined up TA, you bloody need some after a game like that lol, good luck buddy.

    Where’s HT?
    Come out and play, your man didn’t do too badly today to be quite honest and that’s coming from an Ozil doubter so he must have had an alright game in reality. where you at?

  • @ BJ

    fear not Szczesny will be back in the line-up soon enough and you can continue with your fetish.

  • Morning all. It is difficult to know where to begin. One word comes to mind .. ‘Tinkering’

    The next problem I have on one showing, is what we did differently to when we played Villa and Man City. Part of it is easy to explain. Spurs did not play like either of those sides.
    Luckily, if I care to watch it again I will not have M.Owen on commentary!

    So what difference did having Welbeck on the right make? Well much was made of his blistering pace when he set up our goal. But one alternative was Theo … with more pace, and possibly a better understanding with Bellerin? The other Rosicky, who with less pace, but far more experience, and thus able to support more in defence?

    I only raise these questions because we do not normally see Welbeck on the right? So why now?

    The other change I noted early was Coquelin on the right supporting the defence. Clearly it needed help as most of their attacks were coming down that side, partly I suspect because Kane was winning the physical battle on that side?

    Thirdly, and why MS is very high on the list in summer, was the lack of players in the Flamini mould offering a ‘pass out ball’ to under pressure defenders? Where was the pass and move spirit we have shown recently. Hoofing a ball up field is not a long term solution.

    Finally, why at half time when at 1-nil up nothing seem to change in the second half?

    Being ‘English’ has F-all to do with it Steve. It is about the ‘Team’, and the togetherness within it. We had more players who have been involved in more NLD’s than they did, especially as in the title of the post, ‘the King’, alas not picked.

    Unfortunately most of the dissing of our team comes with hindsight … e.g. JB’s short lived delight at Welbeck’s presence?

    I did not have time to voice my concerns, and with early hindsight, that looked misplaced. I wanted to see the same pace and energy that we had shown previously. But I never like going down the road of ‘what might have been’s. As TA will say, if he follows up his comment in the review, it was more about tactics. The big one was playing Giroud in the deep role again. This had the effect of ceding territory to them right up to the halfway line, if not beyond. it also meant any long clearance had no challengers? At half time we could have copied their approach and put Giroud against Danny Rose? But we needed pace down our left side. Not that we did not look threatening on the break, but this time it was all a bit unbalanced?

    However, it is not a case of going back to the drawing board, more doing a better job with what we know we can do. They imposed their game on us, we were not set up to to do anything more than we did … score on the break and defend the lead. We failed to add a second, and failed to keep a clean sheet.

    Move on.

    OGAAT. Same approach as the previous two games, but keep a better balanced side?

  • There is really no doubt that good defence come when all the team defend well.

    Why do I say that? Because the converse is also true. Good attacking starts at the back.

    Finally if those points are correct, then what makes both defence and attack work well – or not – is the linking midfield.

    Yesterday Ramsey ran his but off, but unfortunately it was unproductive as he seems to have permanently lost his pace, and never got to the tackle when the Spuds attacked our defence, and could not get up to support the attack.

    No one doubts Cazorla’s skill, but in games where he is pressured by physically imposing players he loses the ball too easily and cannot use those skills in attack support, or in helping the defence.

    Those two not working out for whatever reason is a recipe for trouble.

    To add to the problem, Belerin seemed to be shadowing Per in central defence, and rarely kept to his defensive position at right back. It is no coincidence that Kane’s first goal came from a cross to the far post, on our right, and guess what – he was not being marked.

    Kane’s second goal came from another cross which Kozzer allowed him to head back towards our right post, and again there was no sign of Bellerin.

    I know Belly is young and experienced etc, but before picking on other players further up the pitch, it has to be recognised that if the defence and midfield are not sound, the attack, even if they were on form, cannot function properly.

    I could be wrong, as I am not a qualified football coach.

  • Oh — and the Spuds were better and deserved to win. Not a popular comment, I suspect, but true none the less. 😦

  • Maybe Welbeck supposedly being a better ‘defender’ than Walcott, was the reason he started yesterday, so that he could give Bellerin some support.
    Also Danny is better in the air than Theo, obviously, and would help against the Spuds airiel attacks, which were a feature of their play…
    We may have still lost with Walcott and or Rosicky in the side anyway.

    What worries me was, another 12.45 ko and Arsenal looked sluggish.
    How many 50/50’s did we win??
    How many time did the Spuds turnover the ball in midfield?

    Is there something wrong with our preparation for these early starts, still?

  • Gerry, you are right it has fuck all to do with being English, i was saying it has everything to do with tenacity, pressure, pace and that drive to be first to every ball. Basically playing like its a cup final (which a NLD should be played like). Players like Sanchez, OX, Rosciky, Wilshere, Welbeck when match fit and even Theo. It just so happens that quite a few are English which i personally really like but don’t get me wrong it has absolutely nothing to do with actually being English – just look at Sanchez lol.
    And i’m not blaming Wenger either, his hands were tied because of injuries and if you look at the front five in the line up we had the slower option in our squad filling each position and it simply culminated into what looked like an incredibly sluggish performance from us, especially against the pace of the opposite numbers in the spuds team.
    Do not get me wrong i take everyones point that this is probably the best XI as far as quality and skill go but sometimes, just sometimes fight and pace trump silky skills and a NLD may be one of those times – unfortunately most were injured so we will never know.

  • Gotcha Steve – It comes across a bit more nationalistic though, when you just named Wilshere, Ox, etc.

    Still,at least you will not have to explain it to HT now?

    I’m not so sure we were just sluggish, rather than being hemmed into a small space where the likes of Santi had no where to go? Blind alley Wilshere would not have solved that problem either. Having Giroud in the deep role, when he was being kicked around with little help from the referee was not much better either? Having no outlet ball was the biggest killer, and I can understand why the big hoof was preferable to being outnumbered deep in our own half.
    Being tactically out-thought is one thing. But to continue to play the same in the second half is hard to fathom. Did they think Spurs would tire? If, as RA suggests that Bellerin was so poor, and we been there before both with him and Chambers being hung out to dry, there were options on the bench at 1-nil up. Bring on Chambers for Welbeck, and push Bellerin forwards. Bring on Flamini? Bring on Rosicky for Ramsey. Give Akkers more than 3 minutes, and put some direct pace upfront to give them more to think about? To do nothing just to allow Welbeck his 65 minutes of a comeback. To stagger the changes when we needed more than just a tweak ….

    Like I said earlier, the players could only do what they did because of the way they were set up?
    You don’t blame the manager. I don’t blame the players.

  • Gerry, we all agreed on the line up before hand and the City type game plan that had worked so well recently. It was an incredibly obvious case of just one side really wanted it more than the other and i don’t know how much you can blame the manager for that. We were only hemmed in because we kept giving the bloody ball away once we had gained possession, spurs turned over possession in midfield so frequently it was unreal. We had opportunities to play out but a “bad day Santi” and a continually poor form Ramsey could just not offer the transition between defense and attack that we needed, lest us not forget Giroud also had a terrible game as far as hold up play and passing was concerned. There was no way out because our players played shit and were beaten by players who played very well – simple.
    To my mind (not including any subs) only three players turned up for us – Monreal, Coquelin and Ospina, which is probably why it didn’t turn out to be the thrashing on the score sheet that it was on the pitch.

  • Look at me, defending the manager, praising Monreal, and not even singling out Ozil.
    Bloody hell HT will be lost for words 😆

  • What makes me laugh….or cry ….is reading bloggers who say things like….” only Lloris, Eriksen and maybe Kane will get into our team !. Same with a host of other teams other than Mansour City, Manshafter Std and The Chavs ( under the wonderful stewardship of Mmmmmourinho !. hahaha )….Swansea, Stoke, Southampton… it an “S” thing ?. Take Southampton away !…how many of there players would get in out team ?…..and remember, they had lost Chambers to us, Lambert, Lovren, Lalana to Liverpool, Shaw to Manshafter and had Shneiderlin and Rodriguez out injured….,still got well beaten !.
    So if all these team`s have hardly any players who would get into our squad let alone the 1st team, so why do we keep fcuking losing to them ?…..( probably would make a good post for someone more tactical like Total )…….now I`m not the most tactical alert blogger as I see it as a simple game, but there are a few things that I question and I`m not trying to doom, but try and get to the bottom of why these so called “lesser” teams can beat and not just in a blue moon, but consistently beat us !. ( as our league position acknowledges )

    1) Teams love to pressure us and we cant handle it !
    2) These “lesser” teams are more up for it !.
    3) These “lesser” teams have better coaches !.
    4) Wenger picks the wrong teams and tactics !
    5) Reading the in game comments it was obvious that they were over us like a rash, so why was there no management instructions/tactics or subs to deal with it…or was there ?.

    Last year we got an early goal in this fixture and then rode pour luck for the rest of the game, this year we do the same and our luck didn`t hold out, that is down to inept management imo !.

    Funny enough, I think we will possibly do better in the CL this year as our game seems more suited !……… long as we don’t meet a pressurising team like Dortmund or Munich !. hahaha

  • hahahaha Cockie, great pic mate and very accurate, NICE! 😆 😆 😆
    back in a bit, got a monster shepherds pie to devour

  • Time for some Sunday morning quarterbacking… I was hoping to see Total’s “8 positives” post, which will require some heavy digging, I fear…

    Yesterday was a screwed up day for me…the early kickoff, my determination to avoid the “debates” from the heat of the moment in the GDC–and the result–all combined to move me away from the ‘puter and the television. We’ve got rain (no snow, f**king Chezzer…) which is always trouble (flooding issues at the house) not to mention depressing. Additionally, when I went back to look at bits of the match I found I had mis-recorded it (preview only), a mistake that I blame on the early kick-off. As such, it was not so hard to put off my comments for a day…

    Overall, I think you guys have things about right. Bad days for our B2B players (Ramsey, Santi) and not much in the way of outlets. Rosicky, in hindsight, might’ve played from the get go, but surely we missed both Ox and Alexis, who (with Santi and Ramsey) were so key in keeping a bit of possession and relieving pressure in the fixture at Man City. The guy we really missed yesterday was Bacary Sagna, who might’ve been a kicking target for Ospina and certainly knows his positioning better than Bellerin. Welbeck, who looked less than fully fit (as everybody has noted) but did his best and you can see why he was favored over Theo given our game-plan. As Arseblog points out, the latter (quick as he is…) might’ve done more to challenge Bentaleb’s cross for the winner. Chambers was not on the bench, so the tactical change Gerry stumps for would’ve required Gabriel instead… With so many newbies (Coq, Bellerin, Ospina) already in, adding another was probably never a real option. Instead, this might’ve been a spot for Flamini (for Ramsey, maybe…) but the guy we’re truly missing, I think, is Arteta…

    I should probably just run away after saying something like that, but I could also say, “or his long term replacement” which then puts all the blame on Wenger for not buying him in the window just closed. My take is that the transfer stuff isn’t quite that easy and (until proven otherwise) I’ll assume he’s coming in the Summer. Schneiderlin will have his own issues, I’m sure, in these big derbies, at first…

    I think F11ngers (and others) are most disappointed that Spurs seemed to relish and use the atmosphere of the derby better than our boys, even in light of the early goal against. It IS disappointing and referee Atkinson played his role, rewarding their “English” cynicism over our more continental version, which to our credit, we didn’t really go to very much. I also agree that our clearances–throughout the match–were poor. Too many were straight to their players. Add in too many cheap corners and throws given and just not very much in the way of being able to play the long ball nor out along the ground and I gotta agree with AW about “our technical level” not being high enough. In the end, the early goal and thinking we could hold what we had, might’ve worked against us… When the scoreline changed, we made a few chances but didn’t convert them, but, in the center of the pitch, we couldn’t really change the tenor of the match…

    I do believe we will get back to business but the proof (of course) is in the pudding. Spurs have created a bit of a fortress (for a moment) up the road, so good on them. Relying on pure emotion (and their power game) to find that bit of extra quality may wear thin with all the fixtures ahead, as 007’s list suggests. We’ll see, but I think we’ve got the deeper squad–IF we can maintain our focus and give our best collective effort. After yesterday, however, the battle for CL positions is a strong one and Spurs (amongst a few others) are in it…

    Naturally, I hate it that one bad result brings out the worst in the Arsenal Fan TV folks (whose vids I don’t watch…) which ripples through the perception of the support… Whatcha gonna do, and who am I to want to play down the importance of the derby day emotions?… IMO, the reflex reaction of bad result = new manager is short sighted (in the extreme) but at least there’s not too much of that stuff here…

    So there you go… LC on Tuesday…

  • One other little (bitty) thing… I know we can’t but I WISH we could talk (with reason and perspective…) about our keepers. Here is where I really wish I had a tape of the match to watch at my leisure…as it is all I have are general impressions…

    Overall, I felt Ospina was very good and certainly should play again on Tuesday… This was the first of his starts where he was tested and I don’t really fault him for either goal. Additionally, with no Sagna as a secondary target (Giroud is the primary…) it’s hard to fault his kicking/distribution. I think he may need to improve the strength and direction of his blocks (the “parrying”) and may need to see the real value in going for a catch now and again to break up attacking momentum. He’s got tons of potential and this is a very young keeper (even if he looks older than the 26 years he’s supposed to carry…) with very little experience in English football. Still, in a charged atmosphere, nobody on the pitch can do more to calm things than the keeper. I’m loathe to ask the question here, but could he have done more on that account?…

    Now I WILL run away… 😀

  • Where are the positives, Total?… 😀

    Looking at the UMF as I watch these early matches (being a joker week for me…) the draws are coming and I really need West Ham to get one vs ManU as I didn’t see Toonies giving (the late one) to Stoke. Big header there from Crouch… Arghh…

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