Alexis is back, Ozil in hole, Theo starts? Preview and Line-Up

Arsenal v Leicester City Preview and Line-Up

The best thing to do after a bitter defeat is of course to play a game as soon as possible and win it: the sweet taste of victory would do us all good. The PL bottom team will be visiting tomorrow and with no new injuries and Alexis back to add the chilli flakes, we are in strong position to give our momentum a well-needed and red hot through-start.


However, we cannot be complacent and a fully focussed and passionate performance is required of all eleven Gunners. Despite being at the bottom of the PL, the Foxes have had a few impressive away results this season: a draw at Liverpool, and wins at Stoke and the Spuds (FA cup); and at home they beat Manure with that memorable 5-3 victory, and they also took two points of us.

They have nothing to lose other than their manager, it seems. And as the above results indicate, they could give us a fight tomorrow and might even get something from the game, IF we are not fully focussed. Whether the players will fight for Nigel Pearson, I don’t know. He seems a feisty character to whom I am sure not all will warm. Fact is they are only four points away from safety and also still in the FA cup, so they certainly have all to play for.

But we need to focus on ourselves. There is little time for Arsene and the team to analyse what went wrong on Saturday, and maybe this is a good thing. Let’s put out a balanced, yet more attacking, team and let the cannon roar.

Predicted Line-Up:

ars v lei feb 15

Yep, I am going for our strongest possible team in attack, in terms of assists and goals per game producers/scorers, and yet there is balance. I am sticking with Ramsey as it is key for Arsenal’s remainder of the season that he finds his form. Next to him it could be Flamini or Coquelin, but the younger Frenchie will probably get the nod. In front of those two are my, and I reckon Arsene’s as well, favourite four attackers: Ozil in the middle, Alexis and Theo in the free roles on the wing, and Giroud to be the holding striker and to give structure to our attacks. Santi to get a well-earned rest.

Arsene might rotate a few in defence, which is always hard to predict. But I am going for an unchanged ‘back five’ as Wenger often sends out the same or similar team after we lost a game.

I am expecting a very strong response and a good win: it is up to Arsene and the boys to do us proud again.

COYRRG – Up The Arse!

By TotalArsenal.

218 thoughts on “Alexis is back, Ozil in hole, Theo starts? Preview and Line-Up

  • Nice post TA . Pretty much with you on the team, although I suspect he may rest Bellerin and put Chambers in. I think he will give Rosicky a run as well and maybe rest Rambo

  • A big thank you for the post TA it is most appreciated especially with such short intervals between matches and with none of us slackers stepping up to help, its easy to take you for granted sometimes boss man so i just thought an appropriate reminder of how privileged i feel (as do all the rest i’m sure) to have a timely and thought provoking post to comment on yet again before another important match – cheers bud.

    The only arguments i have about the actual subject matter are on Ramsey and Giroud.

    When you explained Ramsey’s inclusion you stated that it is key for Arsenal’s remainder of the season that he finds his form. I disagree, i think it is key for Ramsey’s remainder of the season that he finds his form but not necessarily Arsenal’s, we have Rosicky, Cazorla, Wilshere when he comes back and even OX as an experiment to play in that position. I am getting pretty bored of waiting for him to start playing anywhere near decent form and i would much rather see Rosicky or Cazorla take the starting place tomorrow.

    Giroud i don’t disagree on entirely, like Cazorla i feel he should be given a chance to prove that the NLD was a blip (unlike Ramsey who has been consistently below par for a while) however i would really like to see him subbed for Welbeck later in the game but with enough time for Welbs to get a decent amount of time playing in his favored position. I want to start to see what Danny can bring to the team once all the big names are back on the pitch, he certainly linked up well with Ozil in games previously.

    Thats about it though mate, apart from that an excellent concise post mate, nicely done and thanks.

  • I second Steve’s comments TA! I very much appreciate you taking time to post a preview of the Leicester match!!

    Versus the Foxes my preferred line up is:
    Bellerin Per Gabriel Gibbs
    Rosicky Cazorla
    Ozil Welbeck Alexis

    I personally see Chambers as an emergency right back as opposed to a true alternative to Debuchy. He is very much a Per style centre back in my view.

    I think this might be a good game for Gabriel to be given a run out and give Kos’ tender Achilles a chance to rest.

    I take nothing away from Monreal who has been excellent in recent weeks but this game might be a good opportunity to give Gibbs a run an stole the fires of internal competition.

    In midfield I think Ramsey has been struggling of late and weeks’ rest plus some
    competition for Rosicky might do Ramsey the world of good.

    Upfront I would love to see Ozil shifted to the right and Alexis returned to the left of our attacking trio and watch them cut inside on the stronger foot through match to create and shoot.

    As with Rosicky and Gibbs’ proposed selection I think this game might also be a good opportunity for Welbeck to get a game in his preferred centre forward position, which should keep Giroud on his toes.

    Hoping for a big win from the boys!! COYG!!!

  • Yes, I will add to what Steve said TA. I saw the plea for someone to step up, but I am stepping up my efforts to get on top of my racing form before the new season, so alas, nothing was forthcoming from my direction I am afraid. Sorry, but that is the situation for the next 6 weeks.

    As to your preview, after all the analysing of Saturday’s result, you are right. We just need to get back in the saddle and ride just like we were doing before.

    For all the reason’s you state, your line up could be spot on. And for all the reasons you state, there could be changes. That is what makes blogging a bit of fun …. as you often remind me,it is about opinions 😀

    At the moment I don’t think we cannot separate OGAAT from OGA, as you yourself indicated with Chambers. This game needs our full attention, but is very winnable when we think in Villa terms. The Cup game is different, and as silverware goes, a definite plus? A much changed and untested team there could easily come a cropper, even if it is an unwanted replay?
    Especially if we think Bradford, Birminham, etc!

    First thing I note is the oft used ploy of using Monreal on the left, allowing Bellerin to get forward on the right, but Gibbs needs game time. There is another problem to be considered, just how many players can you start that might need subbing? Gibbs, despite his setbacks, usually comes back pretty fit, but if he is to turn out again in the Cup, Monreal will be on the bench, and we are one sub down?

    If Gabriel is an option, as I think he is, then I would rather he start alongside Per. Remember Kos was nursing both achilles only a few games back and they have been demanding matches since. With Gabriel being quick, he could play either side of Per and cover advancing fullbacks? That would be my first change from your line up. He may even keep a regular midweek spot if it turns out well?

    Whilst I echo Steve’s thoughts on Ramsey, I don’t think this will be the game AW will bite the bullet. Not because I think he will turn up with his A – game intact. Nobody can predict that, least of all Ramsey. But in a slightly less congested game, I think he will offer something more than just stamina. In case anybody is thinking Bielik might be on hand, someone commented elsewhere that he is not yet registered? I find that surprising, as he was straight in the CL squad. We shall see, but he did not travel with the Under 21’s last night.

    Coquelin is the one player who is doing the simple things right, and we may have to wait a while before he drops out.

    Cazorla has had a number of demanding games recently, and this could be the time to rest him. He is probably better suited to the Cup game, and is an opportunity to play only ONE number 10.
    To support Ozil there is a need for Rosicky down the right to offset the return of Alexis on the left, and he can be counted on to do the 90 minutes. So if push comes to shove, I think he edges out Walcott for this one.

    Giroud took a battering on Saturday, but I am guessing Akpom is being warmed up for the striking role in the Cup, The option here is Welbeck. He flattered to deceive on Saturday, looking not quite ready in fitness terms. This is a bit quick, so I think he may be the bench option for Giroud.
    So my alternative line up would be:
    Bellerin, Gabriel, Mertersacker, Gibbs
    Ramsey, Coquelin
    Rosicky, Ozil, Alexis

    Bench: Szczesny, Monreal, Flamini, Cazorla, Welbeck, Walcott, ?
    Likely used:
    Welbeck for Giroud
    Flamini for who? – Defending a lead, Alexis. Keeping it safe,Coquelin /Ramsey/Alexis?
    Monreal for Gibbs or Walcott for Alexis
    I do not see Akpom being used, so Chambers may get the spare slot?

    The OGA eye is ever present in my thinking. The usual back 4, Coquelin, a tasty line of Walcott, Cazorla, Alexis, Akpom, Nominal striker Welbeck.
    Flexibilty and Pace being the dominant factors.
    Injuries permitting of course.

    Keep the faith …

  • Great post and very thought provoking. I wouldn’t twerk the defense, it is important that they play together consistently. Still the craving to see our new acquisition Gabriel playing is irresistible. Bellerin must not be dropped, it could dent his developmental ego and a team like the foxes will do him good to rebound. Ramsey MUST be benched, he deserves it. He is trying too hard looking for spaces to shoot and score another Galatasaralsque belter, yet the job of a good midfielder is to keep the heart of the team pumping with quick passes and vision. I personally do not rate him above Wilshere but Wenger is still right to keep them both coz two is always better than one.

    Against the foxes, Wenger must try the Coq and Carzola combo in the deep with the Le Cog marking and intercepting while Carzola takes the ball forward. I agree with your front 4, save that Ozil must play the big 10 with Sanchez and Walcott on the wings. He is our best passer of the killer ball!

    Giroud plays better in our home games so he starts but he is awful in most away games, so Welback must always start when we play away. Wenger can then decide when to substitute one for the other depending on the game plan.

    Ospina; Bel, Gab, Koq, Monreal- Coq and Carzola;-Sanchez, Ozil and Walcot- Giroud! ( R7 remains our best sub impact player!)

    Arsenal can end in top 2 with the way the Shites are playing. Infact no team is playing exceptionally well at the moment including Mourinho’s financial dopers!

    Up the Gunners! and Wenger is Le Boss.(Always)

  • Cheers guys, really appreciated. 🙂

    Previews are my least favourite posts to write as I rather review and analyse than look ahead in a structured way. In an ideal world we would have a dedicated match previewer, just like ArsenalArsenal have with a guy called Raddy. That way there is consistency and quality. But until now I have not been able to recruit one: never too late though! hahaha 🙂

  • Steve 🙂

    I understand that you would like to see more of Welbeck and his time will come again. Giroud did not have a bad game on Saturday, but suffered a lot from our inability to push up from deep. He did everything to help out and the Spuds defence got away with a lot against him… he was also fighting a lonely battle upfront. Also remember he had two of the four touches that led to the goal: although the last one was fortuitous, his link up ball to Welbeck started the move.

    For me Danny is still very raw, especially as a centre forward and it would be a huge risk to play him ahead of the super scorer and assister Giroud. Whether you rate stats or not, the simple fact is that to win we need to score more than we concede and Wenger will chose those that are most likely to deliver. Danny’s positioning and reading of the game is far behind that of Giroud’s and Wenger has his work cut out with him. I like his attitude and drive though.

    Re Ramsey. Yes Rosicky, Ox and Santi can do a stint or two in the b2b role but nobody has the continuous engine and ability of an inform Ramsey. And in the modern game, it is the Ramseys and Yayas who make the difference. We have a good chance to win a cup, maybe even the CL cup if all goes to plan, and for me a fit and in form Rambo is vital for this.

  • Thanks Freddie 🙂

    Plenty of changes there and I like your arguments. It is unlikely to see Wenger make so many changes though.

    I dont think Arsene needs to keep Giroud on his toes. He is not the complacent kind of guy; he knows he needs to work hard to get the best out of himself.

  • Gerry 🙂

    Good shout for PaulisTA. I just do not know how fit Koz really is. Wenger stated there are no new injuries so I am expecting Koz to be fit again… would love to see PaulisTA though! 🙂

    That line up would work for me too, but I cannot see Arsene keeping Theo on the bench again… And Rosa is a perfect player for the cup game imo.

  • Thanks Boyd and welcome to BK. 🙂

    Great comment and agreed with a lot, especially your final comments. I reckon this is the perfect game for Ramsey to find that extra bit of form and, as per my comment above, we need him to come good for the remainder of the season.

  • Good post Total…

    Yeah pretty much go with your XI for tonight’s game, depending on the fitness of Sanchez and Giroud (who took a battering at the Slum)

    Agree re: Boro game, that’s where I also see AW resting and rotating.
    I’m not underestimating Boro, but I think that Arsenal have more than enough quality among those players who’ll come in, to deal with a Boro team that was rather fortunate to win at City.

    Steve, Agree re: Hayden, that lad has a lot to offer, once he shakes off those infernal injuries. I think he might have played a few games already, but for those setbacks.

  • I agree TA. Whilst I would like to see the changes I’ve proposed, that is probably one or two too many to fit with Wenger’s typical approach to rotation.

    On reflection I agree with you Gerry about Ramsey. Again whilst I would like to see Rosicky get another run out alongside Coquelin and Cazorla in the middle, Wenger appears to have total faith in Ramsey and I’m think he’ll start vs the Foxes.

    I do hope Ozil is retained on one of the wings though. Their is something about his fluid style of play that reminds me of Pires.

  • Kev 🙂

    Against Boro we are likely to field a very strong team with the right level of rotation, which will still not be too many imo. The FA cup is important and we are well warned after Boro beat Citeh.

    It could be something like:

    Chambers – BFG – PaulisTA – Gibbs
    ———- Flam——Rosa————-

    Actually, that is a lot of change…. Perfectly good team though.. That is how strong the squad is right now.. 🙂

  • Yeah, again Total, I pretty much agree with your cup line-up…

    Akpom on the wing, could be a go’er, as it must be time to give the lad a start.

  • You are too kind FLO8. But we are both thinking along the same lines.

    Interesting, I have just had a look at the team photos in training, and one in particular was very revealing. Usually when they show the whole group running, and the number matches 18, it is usually the impending squad. Unfortunately, I missed Rosicky’s bobble hat, so it made 19.
    But both Wilshere and Bielik are there large as life??? Now I wasn’t expecting the former to be anywhere near ready, given AW’s comments yesterday. Beilik looks a good candidate to cover Coquelin though, in a like for like player. If we have control of the game, and a spare substitution, it could well happen?

    The usual suspects are there, but these are the stand out surprises.

  • However, just to dampen that speculation down a bit, none of our trio of goalkeepers was in the photo. Two will be in the squad.
    Despite that, I have to say, physically, Bielik does not look out of place.

    So if I conclude my over-excitement by doing the sums as I write, we can assume the following:
    19 + 2 ‘keepers = 21
    Minus –
    Wilshere = 1
    Benched =
    Monreal or Gibbs = 1
    Per, Kos, or Gabriel = 1
    Akpom, Walcott, Giroud, Alexis, and Welbeck = 2
    Chambers or Bellerin = 1
    Coquelin Flamini, Ramsey, Bielik = 2
    Rosicky, Cazorla, Ozil = 1
    Ospina or Szczesny =1

    That is the 21, but 9 heading to the bench. So it only means losing two? Admittedly, Bielik looks the easy one to miss out, but if Monreal and Kos are both heading for a rest, then both on the bench are unnecessary? So unless Cazorla is given the night off, which I don’t think will happen, or one of the non-playing front end guys drops out, again unlikely. It will come down to Flamini or Bielik. Damn it!
    So unless any pull up short in training, my hopes are dashed.
    Maybe in the Cup game, eh?

  • After Middlesborough, we’ll have six days to recover before Palace (a)…
    Monaco (h) four days after Palace is the start of a period where we could be facing two games a week throughout March and beyond…

    So far Wenger has utilised his resources quite well…
    Almost all the injured are back…
    So now the business end of the season is upon us post-Palace…

    It promises to be an exciting ride, even for those in hiding behind the sofa… 😉

  • great long comments to read through so far, finished a whole (big) mug of tea on them 🙂
    I like the theories behind all the different (if only slightly) line ups that have been discussed and when you read the reasons behind each the logic always seems correct, crazy then that we can still come up with so many different outcomes lol.

    I already stated my two changes to TA’s line up and i wouldn’t be unhappy to see many of the others discussed either but in reality if i was going to give a predicted line up and not a preferred one it would be simpler.
    imo it will be the same team that played Villa and did so well and spurs and did so badly. The only change made between those two teams was Welbeck for Walcott. Wenger will be eager to show that match was a blip for his best XI and not the beginning of a trend especially when given the chance to do so against relatively easy opponents, this also aligns with his unwavering faith in the players he sees as pinnacle to the teams success. It also solves a problem rotation wise for Wenger as Welbeck will be the obvious one to be dropped but of the two replacing him in that position one is just coming back from injury and one is steadily making his way back to full match fitness – a better like for like reasoning behind a substitution i cannot think of.

    So my predicted line up


    With Sanchez coming on to replace Theo with plenty of time left to affect the game, or the other way around (Walcott for Sanchez).

    Boring (for me anyway) but i suspect very likely 🙂

    btw nothing i enjoy more than watching your detective work try and unravel any hidden surprises Gerry, keep up the good work mate.

    Oh and with absolutely no disrespect to anyone else here on the blog who has provided excellent game previews in the past, if you are looking for a dedicated match previewer TA get that man Oz gunner on the case!! 🙂

  • allezkev, i couldn’t think of a better time to have a selection headache than at the end of the season, fully agreed it will be an exciting ride! 🙂

  • hahaha allezkev how weird is that! i was just contemplating watching it on a shit stream recorded and stuck on youtube. Quality is rubbish but interesting to watch nevertheless – maybe if i have time a bit later 🙂

    1st half link if you’re interested, second will be linked there somewhere 🙂

    Great work by the lads!! bring on the Semi!!! 🙂

  • shit i forgot that it shows the actual vid when you post a link, sorry TA 😆
    remove it and replace with this if you want mate;

    (add an “h” at the beginning)

  • TA…I’m very busy at the moment, but I too would like to thank you for the post and for your great work here. Of course, given my outlook on things, I really appreciate the “8 Positives” in the recent match reports. Best of all, unlike on a commercial site, you don’t have to click 8 times to get each positive… And look at pics suggesting the Russian (or Asian or …) girls I could date… 😀 😦

    I don’t know how others would feel, but (for me) writing the match previews (on a regular basis) might be the answer to my blogging, er, “issues.” So, if you (and the other regulars…) are up for it, consider my hat in the ring. (TA/others, lemme know…) Sorry I wasn’t able to answer the call yesterday…

    As for today’s match, it’s all about the matches coming thick and fast and setting up a first 11 and an FA Cup 11 which allows enough of a showcase for some, rest for others so we can really give our best in the CL… Additionally, (and controversially, I would think…) I believe that Alexis was held out even though he could’ve played in the Derby 😯 … With the matches coming thick and fast the “little knocks” and “not quite theres” (i.e., Weng-juries) will only increase… Here’s my call for tonight…

    Bellerin, BFG, Gabriel, Nacho
    Walcott, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis

    For Boro (but I reserve the right to change my opinion, of course… 😉 esp. if I were to write the preview…)

    Chambers, Gabriel, Kos, Gibbs
    Flamini, Ramsey
    Walcott, Rosicky, Santi,

    As always, of course, WTF do I know?…

  • I’ll watch it while I’m having my tea, Steve. Thanks.

    I have a feeling it will be either Santi or Ozil, making way for Alexis. We need a better start than last time and I think Alexis is the guy to inspire it. He can then pull off before he gets tired.

    But yes, plenty of variations along similar lines of thought.

    Steve, a bad call on trying to get OZ to do every preview. When he does them they are the proper job … but that takes hours and hours of preparation. I think TA is just looking for someone to do a simple job on a regular basis, and have OZ specials for the big occasions.

    Perhaps a shared job, mid-week and weekends?

  • Steve, Oz Gunner’s match reviews are special and take a very long time to put together. He is doing a PhD now, as he is clever fecker, and his devotion is to science rather than football writing. So they are rare treats to savour. 🙂

  • I take your point re OZ Gerry, not too much to worry about though as HT has thrown his name in the hat and with his excellent writing skills we won’t be missing much at all!! Excellent piece of news!

    Enjoy the vid, i will be following you shortly 🙂

    Sanchez and Walcott both to start seems a popular prediction by most, i certainly have no quibbles with the idea (if it comes to fruition) it will be interesting to see real pace and goal threat on both wings 🙂

    Unlike HT i remain bemused as to how Ramsey still retains his automatic place status over the likes of Rosicky and Cazorla but if he hits top form soon as HT predicts then he can shove that one back in my face 🙂

  • HT – I like your tonight’s line up. Very much in my, and FLO8’s thinking.

    As for the OGA one, I see you are quite prepared to have Sczezzer drawing the short straw with a complete fresh back 4 … Playing into JB’s hands I fear 😀
    For me it is Per and Kos for that one.

    I’d love to join you on the preview team, but have a much more time consuming thing in hand. At least I got my ‘linked database’ to work, which is a start. Just a couple of thousand races to analyse now 🙄

  • Seventeenho that is a fantastic offer and the blog would be enriched with your regular fine pre-match reports. In terms of content they are among the very best I read anywhere on the blogosphere! So I would love to take you up on it. And if and when you cannot do it, just give me a shout and we sort it out between us.

  • 17, so we only differ on Koz/PaulisTA, and you could well be right. I just dont know how bad Koz’s apparent injury is. If he needs resting than it will be PaulisTA indeed, or maybe he’ll get a crowd-substitution at 69 minutes..

  • Really excited about tonight’s game. With potentially Theo, Alexis and Giroud up-front we have three 0.4 goals per game scorers and with Ramsey’s running and Ozil’s service – and Ozil and Alexis swapping positions constantly; and Theo and Giroud doing the same – this could be a very, very fruitful game tonight. COYG LET THE CANNON ROAR!

  • Steve, I never did own up to my pet hates on certain players, and Ramsey and his ‘hitting form’ is certainly one of them. 😀
    I think he is a bit Walcott-ish,in so far as if he has to think about what he is going to do, it is likely to be the wrong choice. When he is on fire, he is instinctive, and gets it right more often than not.
    Wilshere is another, who could be brilliant, as can Ramsey, but his turn and run, and then think where he is going, usually combined with an ‘Oh Sh*t! moment when he realises he should have passed the ball sooner, drives me mad.
    Compare that with the way Rosicky does it, in a similar situation. His first instinct is to move away from the opposing player out into the open, turn one way to see if there is space to run into, at the same time as clocking where everybody is, and if not, he does a 180deg turn and moves off that way. That way he already has a pass in mind if things get tight.
    When Jack does his pass and move stuff close to the box, he can be on a par with Ozil, minus the ‘I don’t need to be on the end of this’ that Mesut has 😀

    Welbeck, and you can count the number of times tonight, how he will wait for the ball to come to him, even when he is closely marked. It ties in with TA’s view of him not reading the game fully. He clearly doesn’t anticipate defenders moving towards a ball that is aimed in his direction often enough.

    I could go on, but people might wonder if I am supporting the right team? ha ha.

    Enjoy the match …

  • OK, morning business is cleared…and because I’m not driving to the snow, I’ve got a moment to write…

    TA (and Steve and Gerry)… Cheers for the compliments in there…I guess then I’m on for the Boro preview (and others as they come)… As I tried to imply, tonight’s starting group (and who comes in as a sub…) might inform the line-up for Saturday, quite a bit, maybe…

    Gerry, that is some really good stuff about the various styles of some of our attackers… Much better than Ramsey is Shite or Ozil is God or Akpom (not Alexis…) is the new Henry, etc., etc… Very well done…

    On a completely different note…(and back to the ideas behind the rotation/resting/etc.)…

    AW has made clear (over the past decade) that his priorities are top 4 in the league–and then going after the trophies as he feels he can. Last year that meant the FA cup…This year, I think, he will be trying to get as far as possible in the CL while still trying to get through the FA cup rounds using squad depth and securing a top 4 (or better yet top 3) finish. It all depends on the draws AND how we’re holding up in the league. At the moment, unfortunately, Chavs have got a gap but we’re in the middle of a very large group playing for the remaining CL spots. Like others have said, this time of year the table (usually) starts to shake out a bit… Wenger has made recent noise about being confident that we’ll be OK in this regard…It begins anew tonight…

    I’ve said it a thousand times but I’ll say it again… As fans, we live and die with each result. The ones where the opposing fans are extremely riled up get us living even more “in the moment.” As such, losses at places (Stoke, Tottenham) where the opposing supporters are rabid (frothing, barely human…) creatures who gloat at our frailties, (including broken legs…) hurt even worse… In the end, however, they offer up the (exact) same 3 points as the ones we hope to take today… The manager knows this… Therefore, giving Alexis his winter break–or playing a pair of 19 yr olds in defense up at Stoke–have to be seen as risks which might’ve–and almost did–but then most certainly didn’t–pan out. If we win tonight that’s better than a pair of draws, points-wise at least…

    That’s not to say that we couldn’t done better at Spurs–or that I’m not gutted by what happened up there. Flamini (for Ramsey) might’ve been the sub to hold the 1-1 scoreline. On the other hand, getting Theo in (for Welbeck who gave his best for an hour) seemed not the worst idea. (007’s call for proactive subbing is as dyed-in-the-wool as his twisting of reality when it comes to our keepers. Because he will repeat it over and over, like with the narrative on Szczney, it becomes reality…for him at least and, maybe, for those of us who read it…) Wenger, in a match where the ref is clearly allowing the home team to tackle as they please, is probably wise to reserve the final sub until the end in case of injury. In the end this means he “threw on Akpom” (instead of shoring up with Flamini…) but is it really so (F**KING) stupid? IMO, a rule change is necessary so that injuries do not penalize the team that gets them (i.e. free subs but then the injured player is ineligible for the next match, or something)… In the meantime, keeping that final sub in hand makes sense–except, of course, to our own rabid fans who cannot see beyond the frustrations of the moment they’re experiencing…

    Anyhow, this match today can’t come soon enough even if it will have its own twists and turns (and frustrations?…) and set up its own new narratives. (Or, more likely, deepen the old ones…) We hope it serves to bring the points, bump us up the table a bit and get us back on track with a good team performance. Many will shout out for their favorites–and I hope the smaller, technical guys, the “flair” (not “flare”) players… I like, i.e., Santi and/or Ozil, do well… Ideally we will praise our guys who play well rather than scream (in indignation) over ones left on the bench as the team disappoints. I’m as happy as a anybody to hear well described criticism (Gerry’s post above, for example) as I agree that “argument is the heart of blogging…” but, we all (I think) support the same team, no?… :

    So, on that note… Go on you (freaking) Gunners!!!!!! 😀

  • mother fucking arse biscuits!! is it not on TV then???

    now i have to go stream hunting i suppose and with wiziwig down that becomes quite a bitch 👿

  • hahaha an excellent, exploratory and thorough comment by you HT quickly followed (sorry it wasn’t up when i was writing) by a short, sharp, juvenile rant by me.
    lol such a nice contrast lol

  • very happy with the starting 11 and subs bench .

    and you know @ 17HT – the truth is in there somewhere, if you keep repeating and quoting me then you know that what I repeat has merit and a lot of substance 😉

    Arsenal v Leicester (19:45 GMT)
    Posted at
    Arsenal welcome back top scorer Alexis Sanchez after the Chile international missed two games with a hamstring injury.
    He looks set to play as a striker as both Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck are on the bench, as is Aaron Ramsey as the Gunners make three changes from defeat at Tottenham. Mesut Ozil makes his 50th start for the club.
    Leicester hand a debut to Robert Huth and visit Emirates Stadium without a win in 16 league meetings with Arsenal.
    Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Rosicky, Walcott, Cazorla, Ozil, Alexis.
    Leicester City: Schwarzer, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Upson, Konchesky, Mahrez, Cambiasso, James, Schlupp, Kramaric.

  • this is the closest I will get to ever getting my dream starting 11 .

    actually, me and Steve were discussing this the other day

    Ozil playing behind Theo and Alexis – well , it’s finally happening tonight !!!

    7-0 on the cards here lads !!!

  • So Ozil is our striker??? Flanked by Walcott and Alexis – Both Giroud and Welbeck rested, along with Ramsey … How’s that for defying the predictors eh?
    I does mean Rosicky is in, and the back 6 unchanged.

  • Anything less than a 10-0 will be a disgrace !. Even a draw and the knives will be out !…which reminds me….where did I put that file ?. hahaha

    Why the fcuk is Flamini on the bench and no Akpom ?……..fcuk that !….. I`m sharpening the knives now !.

    Hey Hamez !………I was bigging up Crowley before he was an embryo !…..that`s my watch this space player !…….the laser is being re-calculated !. 👿

  • WOW that’s a crazy line up!! for Wenger anyway, for the likes of me and JB its going to be an interesting night tonight 🙂 🙂 🙂

    what a an unexpected turn up for the books, damn shame its not on TV 👿

    Thanks for the update JB

  • JB I don’t care if it is 4-4-2 as long as Ozil has freedom to roam high, whilst Cazorla weaves away deeper, and somebody stays back and supports Coquelin every now and then.

  • mate, it’s gonna be mental and you do know that if we slip up and don’t win handsomely or win, then the likes of 17HT are gunner be on our case, non stop ; )

    so just to avoid that, let’s put on a show and show everyone, what sexy footy is all about and how it’s done !

    I hope that Liverpool beat the spuds in the other one, a draw be as gold as well though

  • Anyone know of any good streams? I was told nkora was v good, but am struggling to get it up and running. Bring back wiziwig

  • I Think that both Santiago and Rosicky will help Le Coq @ Gerry

    with Ozil roaming in the pockets finding himself the space to set both Theo and Alexis on their respective turbo bikes 😀

  • what channel is it on @ rets

    I might be able to help you , if you told me the channel ?

  • Crazy line up. I assume Theo is our CF, with Ozil or Santi and Alexis on the wings. Otherwise it is Alexis… Hope this works out, but I fear we will be all over the place with lots of miscommunication and misplaced balls. Exciting though.

  • I’m with rets, anyone have any sopcast or acestream links??

    Can’t miss this one!!!!

    JB, i am sure HT is just as excited – Ozil and Santi are playing and with Sanchez and Walcott how could anybody not be – Rosicky is the Arsenal cherry on top – its gonna be a cracker!!

  • Thanks J B appreciate your help. Not even getting to the channels at the moment. Will keep trying, which stream do you use?

  • nah, I doubt if he’s excited – he’s the voice of tREASON , so trust him to take notes on what we are getting excited about and then if it doesn’t go our way, he will keep reminding us all of our wishes turned sour 😀

    but hey, let’s be blunt here – if we can’t give the foxes a thrashing with this starting 11 on a tuesday evening then we may as well start the engine already ?

    @ stevie wonders

  • I can see this being a Leicester smash and grab robbery !………too stressful !….I need my Sofa !………Bye !.

  • @ JB, we will thrash em mate no worries about that now.

    hahaha i bet Leicester just shit themselves when they saw that line up go up 😆

  • Cockie grab yourself a stream pronto mate, this aint one you want to be behind the sofa for!!!!

  • Ive got a Canal+ HD sopcast on atm and it should be showing the game in a bit (apparently), if it does i will let you know because the quality is fooooking awesome

  • You are all having too high expectations. Without Giroud we are likely to struggle as they will park the bus. Luckily he is on the bench. 😉

  • Whoa…Inneresting (and wild) line-up… Maybe AW (in consultation with our new physio…) told Alexis that if he took a couple of matches off he’d play him at CF… Is is the oh so crafty, Weng-jur-ter Break? I need to copyright these terms if I’m gonna start using them in the previews… 😀

    We’ve got plenty of television here in the States…Doesn’t it just mean that you have to mosey on down to the pub?… Or pay the Sky subscription fee… I’m confused…

    Back to the line-up. Playing Alexis at CF (and Total might be correct that it’s gonna be Theo instead) didn’t work so well at Everton in early season as I recall. Giroud came in, we got the goals to get a point and then the big guy broke his leg on the final kick… I dunno, I think we’ll be fine… Fingers crossed, of course…

    007, I could do a little GDC (you pay for the Sky, no?…) but maybe we should only call Ospina’s saves (throws, faking injury to waste time, etc., etc.) world class when they actually are. I like what I’ve seen of him so far, mostly… What do you think of rumors (rumours) about Memo Ochoa wanting to come to Arsenal. Frankly I don’t think there’s a chance in hell and (beyond his saves to keep a nil-nil vs Brazil) I really don’t rate him. It would be good in terms of Mexican interest in my world. Additionally, the hair is some of the best…

  • it’s not on Sky @ ME Amigo

    many many players want to come to Arsenal and play with Ozil and Alexis is all am gonna say on that one 😉

  • Yep it’s up and running thanks. I also found an I pad app called world tv. One of the channels on there… Nova looks like it may be covering the game

  • HT its on none of the satellite channels, not even sure if its on down the pub i can’t go down there for a while 😦

    Thanks for rubbing it in though mate lol, enjoy it on the big screen you bastard 🙂

  • am saying this now before kick off and I hope all of you are taking note .

    I always said and maintained that Giroud should be a super sub when everyone is fit – am happy it’s happening .

    i hope Giroud comes later on and scores a brace though !

  • Hey you go guys:
    HD quality stream, commentary in Spanish


    Your welcome

  • Whatcha gonna do F11ngers…007 just loves to stir the pot and create divisions between Gooners…

    Or maybe he’s just joking?…

    More likely it’s a case of high expectations leading to disappointment and frustration and lashing out. If we fail tonight (anything worse than 5 nil or is 10…?) surely it will be Szczzers fault. Question, if Ospina (Dennis forbid…) were to let in an early goal, would Wenger fail to be a proactive manager if he didn’t replace him at half time with Szcz? 😀

    Anyhow, nothing but love for my fellow Gooners. (The scoreboard gets wiped to zero with each new match)…

    We have kick-off…

  • I am pretty much with Cock-a-Doodle-Doo — whenever expectations reach such a high level, not just here but o other blogs too, there is often a horrible anticlimax.

    Our midfield and forward guys are all skilful, that goes without saying, but the other issue is that Leicester are big team – and I worry for our little fellers! 🙂


  • Ooooh…first chance goes to the visitors…Ball could’ve gone anywhere off Kos…Corner barely defended too…

  • Did somebody say Le Coq can’t pass?… You gotta name names F11ngers, if you are (also) trying to sew the seeds of gotcha between Gooners… I used to have a good memory, but not quite what it used to be…

    Nice interception and run from Nacho, but nobody really moving with him… Leicester not afraid to push forward in attack…

    Oooh…Marez does well and nutmegs Ospina…Lucky deflection off his heel keeps it nil-nil…

  • Coq, high ball to Theo is nice but not the mayhem it might be if it were somebody bigger/taller…

    Ohhhh…Whattaball to Theo from Ozil… Well saved…

  • Replay shows Schwarzer saved with his face… Corner headed not too far over by Alexis… Both teams knocking on the door…

  • I don’t want to speak too soon but this ref (IMO) is usually one of the best… Alexis pulled down and gets the call but kicks into the wall…

  • Oooh…Good chance there to pounce right after the goal…Rubberman (Alexis) down and they’re felling his knee… No extension to the Winter break, please…

    How ’bout that nice work and the Ozil almost goal to win the corner?…

  • feeling not felling… He looks fine…just time wasting now that we’ve got a lead?… 😀

  • Handball there? Le Coq doing well to keep the ball in their half…We’ve got our tails up… Alexis grabs his knee again, but hopefully just because he couldn’t keep the ball in play with Schwarzer stranded…

    Worrisome, however… 2nd goal here and then get him off?…

  • I’m hardly watching the ball, trying to see if Alexis is OK… Good work there from Mert to clear their open cross…

    Marez just wide with a curler…

  • Geez, now it’s Santi…

    For the English supporters…There is a tradition in the Spanish speaking areas to (sometimes) embellish or even outright feign injury, particularly when the scoreline favors your team… 😯

  • Messy FK just deflected wide? Corner not given… Too fast to see on the replay…

    We’re a little iffy at the corners…Ospina can’t quite make the catch…Surely it’s from taking advice from his taller #2 (Sir Chez)…

    HT, 2-nil but worries about Alexis’ knee (Santi looks OK though he’s held and rubbed several leg parts…)

  • how we playing then guys?
    I lost my stream 20 mins in and i’ll be fucked if im gonna watch that flash shit.
    Whats the general consensus? lucky to be 2 – nil up or well deserved?

  • that was a heart in mouth moment from Ospina !

    that is what happens when you train with Sczny – the lad is contagious, isn’t it @ me amigo (big winky 😉

  • well deserved @ Steve

    we should have been 3-0 up at half time, but we have been a 2nd half team for the majority of it in the past, so am still expecting another 5 goals in the 2nd half .

    Alexis is fine, don’t worry – he learned his theatricals at barca, so he knows what he’s doing in order to win the oscars 😀

  • yep sounds like (from the comments) we are a little flakey at the back and i get the impression Theo is going missing a fair bit.

  • I tried that JB i can’t handle that level of quality mate, its bloody terrible, i don’t know how you lot watch a game on that crap, sorry matey.

    Cheers though lol 🙂

  • am surprised that skipper joins us today in the GDC

    not gone to the pub today then ehhh

    you should join us more often, least we are 2-0 up at HT for a change

    can’t remember the last time we were 2-0 at HT .

    the foxes are putting in their tackles though .

    I would look to sub a couple of players after the 60th minute mark .

  • Sorry, F11ngers but I gotta agree with Total and 007 re: Ozil… 😀

    Leicester are trying to play football and but for a bit of bad luck this might be a much tighter match. We’re doing some nice dancing trying to break through their lines but a few of our nicest moves have led to saves… Instead we’ve scored at a corner and on a rebound. In both instances the keeper/defenders will be chastising themselves, but there was real quality on both scores…

    Le Coq and Bellerin play with great confidence but some of these Leicester players have been around the block a time or two and can read their ideas. Ospina has had a couple of let offs…007 will argue that you make your own luck. Oz will argue likewise and point to a (shared) golden glove. I still say the Mexican guy has the best hair…

    Overall it’s a good clean game being played w/o cynicism. The better team is winning…

    Only worry is about Alexis’ knee…

  • no worries i just found a new acestream link (this time russian) 🙂

    Do you guys know you can actually watch this shit on 3000 kbps HD streams instead of 250 kbps Flash rubbish?

  • Alexis starts the 2nd period and wins a corner early…looks OK, then?…

    Sicky volley from the corner is hard but off target…

    Agreed, get to the hour mark and bring on the (planned, reactionary, idiotic, etc.) subs…

  • American commentary suggests that ref Jones blew a handball call at Anfield recently…As such he’s let a few go already today…

  • hahaha could you see how desperate they all were to make that counter attack work – awesome!
    Shame Sanchez made that uncharacteristic pass to end it

  • excellent team work from Ospina and then the BFG !

    oh no and then they score one, booo

  • Had to take a call, but we appeared a bit shaky at the back there…Upson injury = plenty of ET…

    2-1… Shit…

  • surely that was a foul and the ref should have blown ? Cambiasso got lucky there in my opinion .

    never mind, come on you goonerssssssssssssssssssssssss

  • Another handball in the buildup?…Sneeky (and cheeky) from Cambiasso… Kos clearance was right to the scorer…

  • Ospina should have saved that, he got beat at his near post, not good .

    now we need to score another one before me amigo begins to get nervous 😀

  • Giroud coming on…

    Santi swerver tested Schwarzer but nobody to hit the rebound this time…

    Alexis off…

  • Whoa…Seems tough to call that one on Ollie… In fact Jones isn’t giving us anything…

    Marez left footed curler just wide…We’re living on the edge here…

  • Ooooh…Giroud heads down to Theo and we’re away…last defender cuts out the danger…

    And that’s Theo’s last action…Rambo on…

  • I cannot see the game but my earlier concerns about out small midfield v their more athletic guys seem to have merit??

  • A 3rd would be nice given all the ET which will be coming… Still, no need to play too open given the scoreline… As such, I like the sub choice…

    Jones gives another Leicester’s direction (on Bellerin)… Ozil and Santi getting hammered but keeping the ball well…

    If we can’t get the goal a spell of possession would be a treat…

    Corner now, at least…

  • And another… We’re looking dangerous from them… But so too at the other end… 1v1 with Ospina but the chip isn’t good enough… Huge let off…

    Sketchy to say the least…

  • we got lucky there, if Ospina goes down there on the one v one then it would have been 2-2 .

    good of Ospina to stand tall and make the chip look ordinary as opposed to be a brilliant finish .


  • Bells and Nacho got it all wrong playing the trap… Heart in mouth moment. We need to gut this out given that it’s 11 v 12 in our own stadium…

  • Ramsey hurt and he’s Welsh (i.e., likely not faking it)… Flamini on… Good times for the Ramsey haters, at least, I guess… 😦

  • I think the idea, F11ngers is for Giroud to be there…You have a point, however, as he’s not where (head down) Bellerin would hope he would be for the cross… Ramsey, before the injury, might also have popped up… As it is, we’re in a bit of bother here…

    Ozil fouled but again, not given…

  • Finally, we get a call… Supporters are finally holding Jones to account with the Ozil foul…

  • HT is your missis about?
    I really want to call the ref something but thought i would check 🙂

  • Simpson now carded… Flams shot from distance deflected… No defenders forward for the corner… 2-1 = good enough, I guess…

    5 mins ET

  • Ref calls a good one there as Coq goes to ground… Giroud blocks Shwarzer… Ospina now to waste some time after a boot in the chest or somewhere…

    Jones is blowing a bit more our way here at the end… Or not…Yellow for Giroud because Schwarzer kicks into his back?

    Just gotta see this out…

    FT 2-1…

  • that’s probably the best we could have done when it was 11 vs 12 .

    can’t see how Simpson got away with his persistent fouling .

  • In the end we survive… We have less “influence” over the ref when our support believes these matches will be a walk in the park. A little something goes wrong and the instinct to blame our own outweighs the desire to push the boys forward… IMO it costs us points… But the boys overcame it, so that’s a positive, I think… 😀

    3 of your positives, TA, could be each of the three points we claimed…As, in the end, they’re the things that really mattered?…

    Balotelli gives Pool the lead…Llalana with the cross…

  • Jeeeeeeez that was nerve shredding. Middlesborough will be right up for it and in our faces come the weekend. We will need to show some fight then. Any news on Ramsey?

  • Would prefer a draw at Anfield really – but will enjoy a spud loss as an acceptable alternative if need be…..

  • TA,

    Rasp was saying on AA that there is something wrong with the attitude of the players — no spirit.

    Other blogs are happy, as we all are with 3 points, but they are unhappy with the performance. 😦

    Oh, well we will forget all about it when we beat Boro, and if ‘Pool can hold on to the 3:2

  • AB. If we perform like we did tonight, we will not be in the hat for the next round of the FACup. Middlesborough will be up for it and right in our faces.

  • I did miss a big chunk of that game it must be said but from the looks of it our team at the moment is stylish, weak and slow.
    Give us enough time and space on the ball like in the first half and we can show you the stylish, up the tempo and close us down fast and hard and we will show you the weak and slow like in the second half.
    Gets me down really, especially after watching the Pool match where teams that are around us in the table and have a fair bit of flair in their respective teams themselves still know how to battle when the occasion calls for it and with more and more teams taking this approach against Arsenal i think the occasion will call for it more and more from us.

  • we need wilSHERE power .

    missing a leader in the middle of the pitch but Rosicky was immense , however, still lacking a Flamini in there (should start against BORO) – I think so .

  • Arsenal 2-1 Leicester
    Posted at 22:02
    Aaron Ramsey has a muscular injury which Arsene Wenger says “is a bad sign”.
    Arsenal 2-1 Leicester
    Posted at 22:00
    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said his side ‘dropped physically’ in the second half and were hanging on in the end.
    “I am surprised that this team is bottom of the league”, he says about Leicester. He also backs Leicester to stay up.

  • was Coquelin not up to par tonight then JB?
    I thought he looked ok-ish in that second half i saw, didn’t get much help from the rest of the midfield.

    Wilshere and OX in midfield – passion, bite, strength and pace, i keep saying it lol

  • no, he wasn’t quite up to his usual standard (fatigued ? )

    the first goal, he could have and should have done well, IMO – he did a Chambers impression on that one (you know where chambers ended up being too soft or looked for a foul and then boom, we conceded a goal ) more or less the same .

    the lad needs and deserves a rest .

  • fair enough, i’m going to have to watch it again on player anyway, i missed both of the goals lol, so i will keep a look out.

    Have to agree with VCC btw, boro will have watched that match intently – expect more of the same

  • Arsenal 2-1 Leicester
    Posted at
    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “We had some good moments in the game and a good spirit. We dropped in the second half and became a bit nervous. I’m surprised this team [Leicester] is bottom of the league. I knew that before the game. If they can keep believing in what they are doing I think they will get out.
    “Alexis Sanchez does not look bad, a kick on the knee. Aaron Ramsey is a bit more worrying because it is a muscular injury but the fact he had to stop straight away is not a good sign.”

  • JB….Arsene Wenger “I am surprised that this team is bottom of the league” This comes from a supposedly top manager, does he think every team will lay down for us?

  • “a bad sign” sounds like 3 months to me…… I’m pretty pessimistic when it comes to Ramsey injuries. Serves me right for bugging up his imminent return to form. Either Ox or Wilshere will have a chance to play alongside Coq; neither a bad prospect, but I do feel for Ramsey.

  • you know my thoughts on AW @ VCC .

    but in the end, we got the 3 points and have about 4 days to prepare for the next game .

    Giroud and Welbeck will be the key players for us on sunday . It should be ok as long as we have wilshere back for Ramsey, no worries .

  • VCC yes a real fight on our hands I expect. Would be a good test for us if we were rested. But not ideal given the 2 games we have just been through and Monaco to come. A chance for Ros to come in and shore us up again, as he has done often before at this time of year. Hope Wenger is right about Sanchez being ok.

  • Stev11ie …Wenger will approach the Boro game the same as he does every game, Lackadaisically.

    He pays absolutely no attention to tactics and formations, and pays other teams no concern.

    His drive and attention to detail has diminished, almost to extinct.

    A fair minded supporter would agree that Leicester at least deserved a point.

  • Looks like I was right to stay behind the Sofa and ignore Stev11e`s advise to watch an “easy” game !. 😀
    I`m just happy we won and the Spuds lost !………………..YES !.

  • Redders, I would not agree with that. We are struggling to dominate midfield and control play there, which led to sooo much pressure on our defence by the Foxes. The likes of Rosicky and Santi seem to struggle to link the back and front up whilst taking control of the midfield. I also thought Coquelin struggled with our very open style of play. On top of that, playing without Giroud made us look very cavalier and chaotic in the first half: it is like a free for all without much of plan. Luckily we scored two which was enough on the day, but we need to sort out the balance in midfield very quickly.

  • VCC, watching as i did, only the second half, i thought Leicester deserved to win it mate lol
    I never quite understand when the game turns into a battle like that what Ozil’s true value is, he just simply does not get the time and space on the ball he needs and he can’t dribble to save his life. So when you’re in a scrap but still looking for a goal which we obviously were sub him for Welbeck or Akpom – fighters who can dribble and might get you a goal 🙂

    I do have a little sympathy for AW as these games are not the best kind to have with the personnel he has atm, apart from Rosicky and Coq most are flair players in that midfield. Mind you i would not have taken off all the strikers who make runs in behind and brought on Giroud and Ramsey, who the hell is going to make a run in that lot lol.

  • Cockie, the good news is you have already scored four points in the UMF and still have games to come. Are you finally getting it? Muhahaha 😛

  • I read all of Stev11es comments, but should I take them seriously ?.
    Would you ?.


  • Steve, Ozil was by far our man of the match and was a good outlet for the ball till the last minute. He was fouled so much but the referee was once again a total dick. Pick on somebody else 😉

  • really i didn’t see much of that but will hold off on judgement until i watch the whole thing back whilst not being preoccupied with the spuds match at the same time 🙂

  • With Ramsey likely to be out for a while, we need the likes of ArteTA and Wilshere back as soon as possible to fill the void. This could be a great opportunity for Jack but we just cannot count on him given his injury record this season. He is the one that can link play up and dominate the midfield: that is his real forte. However, ArteTA can also play an important role here.

  • really when he first signed i was crazy excited just like every other gooner and thus liked him immensely almost automatically but it didn’t take long before i realized how useless he could be in a game (even though i was still a great advocate of his). Time has past now and the automatic support has been lost but the (imo) over hype has remained, so it may look like i simply dislike the guy on a personal level but that is not true.

    I don’t dislike the guy, i just don’t see what you lot do in him.

  • You lucky bastard Stev11e !…………..she`s fcuking gorgeous !.

    I usually have my choice of the BK Wags ( Wives and girlfriends), but now there`s a new challenge !….Fags !….Fingers and girlfriends !. hahaha

  • We can’t count on him due to his injury record?

    he got scythed down from the side right into his ankle, and up until then he had been playing consistently how the hell is this some sort of injury record that is affected by him in anyway?

    Pick a player who has had no injuries all season (i don’t know, someone from Chelsea etc), smash his ankle in a sliding challenge and now suddenly he can’t be counted on due to his injury record?

    It doesn’t make sense to me

  • hahaha Cockie i am sure with those rainbow laces you have you are never short on Fags to entertain lol

  • Here’s the thing…EVERYBODY (secretly) hopes teams will come to our place, play our game (which is a pretty, airy fairy one, sorry F11ngers and all the other rugby fans…) and that we will come out better. It makes for the better spectacle, after all… In the first half this is what happened and we were quite fortunate to go in two goals to the good. Nonetheless, at that point, a good (English) manager would still give his team the hair-dryer, you know, scare the crap out of them so their level doesn’t drop. Maybe the fans should’ve booed them off the pitch, as well… Instead, AW very likely focuses on the technical things we can do better… You can call this lack of spirit or you can say the drive of the manager has gone extinct. I don’t see it that way at all, but I’m just a single voice…

    In the other dressing room their manager (who clearly the players want to win for) says c’mon lads, we’ve got nothing to lose and so they play that way, as will Boro on Saturday and plenty of teams as the season comes to a climax.

    IMO, you cannot have it both ways. If Arsenal supporters expect nothing less than a fun night out (or a walk in the park) and cannot enjoy our team scrapping out a tough well fought win against a spirited opponent (who only got cynical late on) then I can’t help them. Likewise, if you’ve come to hate the manager who probably IS responsible for the style of the team and you want him out, a win maybe isn’t a win…

    I feel OK and I also think it’s a great prepartation/warning for the Cup tie.

    Let’s face it, this team we have has got some issues. We’re overloaded with small “flair” players (also known, perhaps, as attackers, but yes, Ox and Jack are English so maybe a bit “tougher” or something)… We’re also trying to work with smaller (Spanish) fullbacks who seem tasty footballers but maybe not the best when trailing a play. They nearly gifted Leicester a 2nd from OUR late corner. Bring in the English pair (Gibbs and Chambers) for the Cup match to pair with the East End accent of the keeper (Szcz). I also want to see Gabriel get a start, language barrier and all, but that’s just me… We need to rotate (and rest) players but it’s another can’t win situation for the manager. Again, only a nice day out and a hefty victory is acceptable…

    Personally, I was hoping Rosicky would be our Cup mainstay so his start surprised me but maybe Ramsey was already carrying a muscle issue? Regardless, his injury looks bad so more chances for the Czech (and Wilshere, soon enough. Players are looking tired. I continue to be impressed by Coquelin but he’s not perfect with his choices. This puts additional pressure on his midfield mates and we’ve been a bit late getting to those second balls. Risking injury on 50-50s isn’t my bag and gets even tougher when the ref won’t blow when the defender takes you out after you’ve won one. Similarly, Both Theo and Alexis don’t want to mix it up in a match like this so we do miss the bigger body of Giroud. Both did fine, IMO and I really like it that Alexis is looking for the pass as much as the shot–a very good thing in the long run… Agreed with F11ngers that Ozil off after an hour or 70 mins would be a nice luxury. With the other two “back from injury” and/or not playing at the extremely high level of the German (or Turk…) I can understand the subs as they came.

    In the end, the points matter the most so I’ll take them. If the strain of being pushed and having to hold a close result toughens up the team, all the better…

  • Loose from the quality of his football, technical ability reading of the game, positioning and clever runs…. there are his very fine stats of the real bread and butter stuff: goals and assists. In recent weeks, despite only just being back from injury, he has influenced every game with goals and or assists.

    But you are not the only one and that is what worries me. Us Gooners are very good at chasing talented but more introvert players away and that is why I respond quite feisty when I hear people doubting his fighting spirit and value to the team. The English fighting spirit is often a joy to watch and I understand that you are passionate about it, but there is a lot more to winning football nowadays. Support him more, is what I say. 🙂

  • You would have Ox play instead of Ozil because he has that extrovert passion that you are so keen on… yet he is having another blunt season and the games tally is adding up…. and his arse is being saved by the likes of Alexis and Giroud and Ozil who produce the goods whilst playing some fine football too.

  • Jack has had a bad injury record, Steve, and it does not matter who is to blame for this. He will always be targeted so he needs to learn to avoid these sort of tackles. He should study Ozil and Alexis who have a third eye for such tackles coming their way.

  • The way i see it HT Leicester played our kind of footy in the first half, from the parts i saw their passing was clever, accurate and quick and almost got them some results (especially on the break) in the first half.
    we can play that style as well so not overly impressed, but slightly surprised that they had it in their locker.

    They then change their style in the second half to hard, fast pressing and scraping which seems to work better so they stick to it.

    Thats a bottom of the table team showing two sides to their game and being moderately successful at both.

    We however cannot give back in a scrappy battle, we only have one side to our game and so it overwhelms us quite significantly.

    Thats a top of the table team with only one side to their game.

    Surely being at a top club like Arsenal we should be expecting our team to be able to produce both sides of the game proficiently? Mix it up and play the beautiful game, isn’t that what we pay the money for?

  • He should study Ozil – exactly TA, just shy away from the action areas, job done lol

    I tell you what, you can say OX would be better suited to a loan and i can say Ozil just doesn’t add enough to the team. Each of us thinks the other is bat shit crazy and we will call it a draw for now 🙂

  • But Steve the other difference is that I would like my team to win games first and for all, and you just want to see exciting football with ideally a lot of young English players on the pitch. You will not get this at Arsenal as the pressures on the manager – now and in future – are far too high.

    If Jack does not become more clever quickly and look how for example Ozil avoids injuries, his talents will not be developed, Steve. I am a huge fan of Jack, huge, but he does need to wisen up quickly.

  • TA battling and closing down all over the pitch whilst still playing beautiful football when you get the opportunity IS how you win games, just look at Barca or Bayern or even Chelsea. It just so happens that a few of these battlers in our team are English which i rally behind. but don’t forget the likes of Gnabry, he always battled for everything when he played for the first team and i rate him highly because he has that in his locker as well as the beautiful side (and he is German).

    Ozil avoids injuries?
    wasn’t Ozil just out with a broken leg? didn’t avoid that one very well did he.
    Pretty much everyone has been injured this season, dumb f*ckers need to wisen up pretty quickly i’d say 😉

  • Last two games have been ones to forget. Glad we got the 3 points this time. Lacked shape without Giroud up top and Coquelin clearly needs to be rested. Ramsey is having no luck at all, hopefully it is just a strain.

    @ TA

    We all appreciate your hard work keeping this site up and running. It’s the best around and it’s always a pleasure to read your writing. Too kind though. I’m one of the dumbest blokes you could ever meet. I wish I could help out more but the PhD along with marking and tutoring commitments have left me with limited time. Sorry gents.

    @ 17

    Thanks for helping out TA. Your comments are always a joy to read (some are that long it seems a shame that they aren’t posts 🙂 ). Great news that you will be writing more. 17 and TA duo…we just need Arsenal to perform on match day and we are laughing. The blog just went up a notch with this new signing

  • Well like Steve, I will watch the match later and comment then..

    From what AW said earlier, Wilshere looked like being out for some time yet. So the search for the best option there to support Coquelin BETTER will go on. The only fit senior guy is Flamini, but it will be no surprise to me if he is partnered with Bielik in the Cup. If he does well, then he could buy some time until Ox is back in two weeks. Arteta is as good as gone for the season, or at best the tail end, and it is his calmness that might have saved the panic (audio description) late on. However, if you want tough tackling, then look no further than our 3rd CB, Gabriel. See how he does on Sunday, and he could find the DM spot is his?
    The only other observation I would make is, if we don’t score a 3rd goal to make it comfortable in future games, then accept what you have, and look to stop the opposition scoring. The aforementioned Gabriel might be just the thing to assist a tiring Coquelin for the last half hour?

    We can but hope Boro get over-confident and leave us space to score …..
    Akkers for a hat trick! 😀
    I thought I would put that in to see if HT, in his quest to preview a much rotated side will have Acpom in his starting 11, albeit through gritted teeth? 😀 😀 😀

  • Cheers OzG, you could still do a few of your bumper previews every season, if you want to: say 2-4 a year and all planned well in advance,so 17HT and I know? 🙂

  • You can try Gerry, but 17ho loves to focus on what Arsene is likely to do rather than should do… 😉

    It is indeed a quest now for the right support for Coquelin and Flamini in midfield. We might have to put our best tackler, Alexis, next to the DM and let him do the b2b stuff for a while.

  • Not with his CURRENT injury problem TA?
    And when you say ‘…and Flamini’, I guess you mean when they are not playing together?
    Back later ..

  • Stev11e 22:32.

    I have absolutely no sympathy for Wenger with his team selections.

    You say you feel sympathy for AW as these games are not the best kind to have with the personnel he has atm. Well, he has had several seasons to tweak his personnel but chose not to do so, although every man and his dog has said he should be looking at a muscular/strong/hard man in defensive midfield.

    He is the most stubborn manager in the premier league and will NOT budge from his ideals for any one.

    Middlesborough will pose the same problems, and will he alter/look at their approach? I think not.

    He will just career into this game same as, same as.

    If we are not careful Middlesborough will use the same tactics that most teams use against us. Let’s hope we survive the hassle/pressure/intimidating fashion they will surely use.

  • Yes when they are not playing together, which I think will only work if we want to play deep and compact. And yes I was assuming Alexis will be ok.

  • Is that my mate VCC?? 🙂

    I admit I was among the first to bang on about the disproportionate number of really skilful but physically weak players in our squad – and that was some years ago.

    The personnel have changed over the years but the same physical disparity between us and the other top teams has continued. They also have very skilful players, and seem to have copied our tough midfield types from the days of Vieira etc.

    Maybe we will slowly change too, with the likes of young Bielik being recruited, and rumours we will buy a physically bigger player in the summer. But maybe not — Le Coq is a cheaper alternative, and has played quite well in fairness, but would he get onto the Citeh or Chavs teams? Hmmmm.

    Good to see you up and firing, VCC. 🙂

  • Hi TA, 🙂

    You are really a top guy, running one of the very best blogs, with a great selection of bloggers who range from loony to top, top commenters (to echo Arsene’s expression) 🙂

    It has to be difficult for you, and it is good that 17H can help out with more Posts in the future.
    He is a good guy too.

    What happened to your proposed tie-up with Wigan Gooner? That seemed a ‘marriage’ made in heaven as he writes some very good stuff, and knows how to administer a blog.

    Anyway, you have my moral support and admiration.

    [In answer to a question you asked some while ago, which I missed at first — I have been back to Wichita a couple of times – I rode a lot, and my cousin’s horse was not sorry to see me go back to the UK, and hopefully his back will return to normal 🙂 — and I have also moved around the UK for work – at the moment I am in Manchester – but the health issues have been a constant bugbear.]

    Keep your chin up – blogwise.

  • May be we are all paranoid in thinking that every team apart from Arsenal are high tempo pressing teams and that there is a conspiracy of the utmost underhandedness being planned against our pursuit of the holy grail of the EPL…..4th place !……………Conniving Bastards the lot of them !.

  • Did anyone read on newsnow the other day that a woman was attacked by her robot vacuum cleaner ?………..I thought what is extraordinary about that ?…..many a time I have been attacked by my vacuum cleaner in the privacy of my bedroom and it was only recently that I was informed by the missus that these machines are apparently a domestic cleaning aid !.

  • Thanks for the kind words Redders and good to hear you have been riding on horseback recently. I have only done this once and was scared sugarless, but just kept a brave face as I was with a rather nice woman at the time. 😉

    Do you know any fellow Gooners in Manchester?

  • RA….Hi Ya Buddy. Nice of you to be concerned. Hopefully getting back to my usual self, crackers 😉

    My blogging has taken back stage the past several months, unfortunately.

    Personal reasons and the falling out of love with Mr. Wenger.

    Hopefully, as you say we might start recruiting what we actually need, It will increase.

    Again, thanks Amigo.

  • I will try and use a pretty familiar example of what my whole gripe is with Arsenal;


    Look at his performances on the pitch this season, he is probably one of the smallest guys in height, thinner in frame than most also and not the youngest, also with such a pricetag he could be forgiven for concentrating more on what he has been brought here to do – simply score and attack.


    He always fights for everything, closes down all over the pitch, jumps for every header and puts all this effort in until the 90th minute. Even at such a small stature i would still say he is one of the best battlers we have in our team. He continues to offer everything he can to the game in all areas of the pitch and never wants to take a day off.


    is why he is such a revelation to us, because no other fucker does this in our bloody team!!!!
    in other teams it is the norm, in top teams anyway (don’t forget he was surplus to requirements at Barca), it seems it is only our team that players get let off from doing the gritty stuff and constant pressing because of this excuse or that excuse – Arteta needs to take it easy because of age or fatigue, Ozil can’t get involved because he needs his bloody space, Cazorla isn’t built for that type of battle, Ramsey’s still trying to find form etc etc etc, blah blah fucking blah!!

    IF you ever wonder why Sanchez has been such a revelation at Arsenal it is because he is an actual proper football player, used to playing in a top team where pressing and tenacity are expected week in week out and we havent seen that type of level for fucking years.

    IT is no wonder that OX’s game has improved so much in the closing down and general team play department now he has started to emulate Sanchez’s effort and work rate, Rosicky is another player who has always had this in his locker and tries to provide it whenever he get the chance to get on the pitch – even though he is the oldest guy out there (probably because he is left over from when we used to have a world class team).

    We need some fire in our belly and it has nothing to do with big muscular guys or dirty players, it is down to class, work ethic and tenacity – the same stuff that see us crumble every time an opponent uses it against us. If we get more of that in the team then maybe we can start to fight it out against the top teams again.

  • No argument from me, Stev11e !………I have banged on about players stamina and high tempo aggression since I first started blogging on Arsenal websites !….it`s down to one small thing that anyone can do !……..hard work !….simple as that !….as I`ve put on here previous and on others sites and is just an example as I can only speak for myself…… I run my fastest 10K when I was about 35 !…..just a shade over 35 mins !, no science involved !, no fitness guru !, no special diet !, nothing but me, myself and some hard work !.
    It`s not impossible for anyone over 30 to still run around buzzing like your wife`s vibrator !……Rosicky is an example !…..Linford Christie run his fastest 10M when he was touching mid 30`s…..fair enough it was on drugs, but hey !, so were all the other athletes !……so you can either be an Arshavin or an Alexis and the it costs nothing !.
    Winning trophies is not about playing your best skilful players, it is about getting the right balance, discipline, tactics and organisation !… much as I would love to see…Ox, Theo, Alexis, Gnabry, Bellerin, Akpom, Koz, Gabriel, Gibbs and Linford as the outfield players, making us the quickest team ever !….we need ones that can keep it going for 90 mins !….if that lot could have the hard work ethic of Alexis, we`d win the league with ease !.
    Mo Farrah is a Gooner, I`d ask him to come and train the lads !…….not only has he got the stamina to be Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth Champion at 10K and 5K, but also currently holds the UK 1500M record !….so he`s fast with stamina !…….just like Alexis and I bet 99% of it is down to will power and hard work !………………….so get up you cazy lunts and do a 40 min run like I have today !.

    So less of this Stev11e !.

  • Exactly Cocker!!
    I see we are on the same page and to be honest i thought all gooners used to be on that page – pace and work ethic, i guess most have moved away from this type of thinking recently.

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