8 Positives from Game: Ozil & Santi Gel, Giroud’s Balance, Gibbs is Back

The cannon roared and the parked Boro buses were left in smouldering ruins; and the smoke could be seen all the way from Stamford Bridge. Arsenal were ruthless today and only Boro’s excellent goalie Mejias Osorio saved the Smoggies from a giant walloping.

This is how we all like Arsenal to play when facing teams that play defensive – impressively only conceding three goals in their last ten games: attack relentlessly and never give them time to settle, with pressing them as high as possible up the pitch. The tempo of the whole team was very high and we passed the ball round fast and with real intent. There was structure and plan to our game today.

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The first goal was very well worked and a pure team goal involving the likes of Alexis, Welbeck, Gibbs, Santi and OG. It was a well deserved and necessary goal, as we had had lots of possession and a number of decent untaken chances until then, and we had to make this dominance count.

And before the Smoggies could find back their breath, OG found the net again: a quickly taken corner by Alexis and a clever run by the Frenchman to the near post was enough to unsettle an ill prepared Boro defence…. and Ollie’s finish was Poldolskiesque. Boom Boom: 2-0 and potentially game over. To really have made us feel at ease the boys needed to score a third goal, and there were very good opportunities to do so, but the Boro defence and the impressive Spaniard Osorio defended their reputation of solidness at the back with pride and determination.

Eight positives from the game (in no particular order):

  1. Giroud: he has found the perfect balance between his two roles given to him by Arsene: that of enabler of others and creator of space and that of classical centre forward play, including scoring goals. Enough said.
  2. Gibbs is back: Kieran was a great support for the team’s attacking endeavours today. He provided width and penetration from the left flank for 90+ minutes. His assist for OG’s first goal was very sharp this time round; and delivering dangerous balls into the box is just what he needs to add to his attacking game if he really wants to become a super quality, modern left back. Top stuff.
  3. Santi and Ozil CAN play together, even when played centrally. Santi played very well in his deeper role and Ozil was in his element in the free role behind the attackers. Furthermore, with Alexis mixing it all up by coming centrally and deep to get the ball as well, the Spaniard, Chilean and German provided a multi-dimensional creative attacking force today. Together they made our attacks unpredictable and their relentless energy and attacking thrust was simply too much for Middlesborough. They were a joy to watch.
  4. Gabriel’s first game led to a clean sheet and he had a good all-round performance. He looked at home next to Koz and really seemed to enjoy playing in the shirt in front of the home crowd. We need to see him tested in more difficult games but he impressed with his speed, reading of the game and tenacity. I also loved the unorthodox way in which he collected a yellow card for the team!
  5. We did not miss the BFG today. The tactics to push Boro high up the pitch and not let them get into play suited two fast CBs today, as we played a high line for which we need fast defence players in case the opposition spring a counter-attack on us or play one over the top. We might well see Wenger swapping between different styles of play depending on the opposition going forward, with him choosing two out Koz, BFG and Paulista to suit a particular style/ tactics… TBC.
  6. Chambers had a good game both defensively and from an attacking point of view. His final ball when assisting the attack needs to improve further but for a nineteen year old this is to be expected. I loved his drive and strength in the one to ones especially.
  7. Alexis’ defending is just so good. Nobody makes more tackles than Alexis in the team and he reads danger so well for an attacker. He is a constant menace to the opposition and his drive and energy are so contagious to the rest of the team: he applies the whip and leads literally from the front. He also played very unselfishly for the team and he was rewarded by another assist. He was also very unlucky not to score from Santi’s free-kick with an unbelievable header (given his size between the giants).Top, top player.
  8. The football we played today was us being back to the future. I love that we played deep against Citeh and Spuds, but this is the sort of footie that makes us all purr. Wenger’s tactics were spot on and the team’s attitude was fantastic, and the resulting football was a compliment to the eye. More of this against Palace please! 🙂

 

By TotalArsenal.

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20 Responses to 8 Positives from Game: Ozil & Santi Gel, Giroud’s Balance, Gibbs is Back

  1. Mr Bond says:

    Good post. Thanks for the incisive analysis. OG has really come in leaps and bounds. I was one of his critiques but am humbled by his day to day performance. Must admit that I was a little apprehensive before the game with Boro’s display against Man city and Liverpool, but relaxed a bit when I noticed that Boro wants us to play our game. Give Arsenal time on the ball and they will slay you. A better show than our last game or even the one before that. I still don’t understand why we lost that spuds game. I guess we showed them too much respect. Arguably we should be at Wembley come may. TA let me digress a little. Does Walcott still have a place in this squad. He’s almost as if here’s there but not quite. Oxlade Chamberlain looks more composed with an assured control, speed and penetration. I fear for his Arsenal career. This is the Arsenal that we all love , that made us die hard gunners. Looking forward to more assured and result oriented football.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Mr B 🙂

    To appreciate Giroud fully, we have to look at his team roles and how effective he is in them. And he is extremely effective, even when he does not score himself.

    Re Theo. Why focus on him and not Welbeck, I ask you? The difference between them is perceived work rate AND effectiveness. And one has fab bread and butter stats..

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    If I had written eight negatives about the game, we would have had fifty comments by now…. 🙂

    Good time for a break. Back in a few days.

  4. geoffchase says:

    Hi TA

    Just watching now. I’d agree overall. I liked the space given by Ozil to Santi and vice versa. When ones on, the others away. Ozil was unselfish in that he was consistently shadowed by two Boro players most the way to the sideline. That’s one less player in the middle than before. Did the opposite towards the middle and back when the ball came down his line…

    So, I’d add off the ball matters to allow on the ball to look it’s best.

    Comfortable win.

    To get your fifty comments, let me say that I persinally thought Scz was truly SQ today. Utterly, perfectly SQ. Why he doesn’t start EVERY game is beyond me. No one could possibly argue he wasn’t awesome… 😀

    Cheers — jgc

  5. geoffchase says:

    Have a good break… JB volunteered to give 82 comments in reply… 🙂

  6. Gerry says:

    Only 8 TA? – I agree with all you’ve said. Nice and succinct which leaves room for everyone to expand a little more. I think you’ve finally got the hang of this review writing? 😀 😀 😀

    Two things to note first. and they link to @Mr B’s point above … The Spurs game.
    1, – Boro’ beat Chelsea because they played like a team who had nothing to lose, and it gave them great freedom to really play their game. They game to us with an idea that they could win again, and that was their downfall. They had something to lose?
    2, – We did was what Spurs did to us. We also went there with a primary tactic of not losing. Conceding space to a team capable of exploiting it is not wise. We found that out, and may be learned from it. Boro’ did here. Lesson to both sides is to compete in the second third of the pitch with every bit as much effort as you do in the first third.

    Crystal Palace most certainly will.

    The little things that pleased me from almost every player amounted to very very promising future for the rest of this season.
    From front to back:
    Giroud – He is an intelligent guy (he has a degree inn Engineering, I believe), and has applied that to his game, and despite what you say TA, his movement around the pitch is something he has added this season. How much of that is down to him or the coaching staff, only they can say, but it is him applying the intelligent movement as each occasion arises. Pulling markers wide and deep are subtle things, but spotting that the space he had for his second goal was just blatant opportunism … and boy did he take it well! 😀
    Alexis – Not at his very best, and I think Arsene is taking risks with him. His 40 yard dash to get on that long range one-two with Giroud showed his knee problem did not trouble while the adrenalin is flowing, and was worthy of a goal – Bellerin would have got there with a bit to spare ha ha – He is is own worst enemy if it eventually puts him out long term? However, forwards or backwards, his energy epitomises what the team as a whole need to do, which I guess is why he played?
    Welbeck – Another tireless worker upfront. Nothing he did was exceptional in this game, but time and again he was the body to play the ball off, or chase down a breakaway helping out defensively.
    Ozil – Not a lot I can say that I haven’t over previous matches. Involved throughout in that high role that suits him best. He had 7 key passes that on another occasion would have led to an assist. He is the player that has the the next pass already in his head before the ball arrives. Watch it again and see what I mean? Priceless.
    Cazorla – Back to his best after being crowded out by Spurs. This game probably as much as any other, showed him at his very best. The quote from MOTD that ‘he could play in a post box’ as they highlighted him wriggle out of a three man challenge was one side of his game. The other was him working towards a pass he wanted to make, but delays until the right moment. The pre-assist pass to Gibbs is typical of several he made all game. He knew the space was there for Gibbs to run into, but play it too soon and it may run out of play ..slightly delayed, and it is spot on!
    Flamini – His stats say he got 7 out of 7 tackles in, which backs up the general impression you got that he had a good game when needed. I disagree with a comment elsewhere that Coquelin slows play down. More a case of this game suited Flamini better, as Boro’ did not swarm forward in great numbers, allowing Flamini to do his job well. Coquelin has faced far more difficult situations, but no reason to fear if Le Flame steps in again?
    Gabriel – I have to start the defensive praises here. Not only did he step into Mertersacker’s boots, but Koscielny did not destroy his game worrying about our new boy. That is praise in itself! However, my favourite moment was a blink and you missed it, but to me it said this fella has Presence! – Gabriel receives a pass back high up in our half, it was a long pass a tad short of pace. Consequently, Boro’s golden boy Bamford has a 40/60 chance of getting there.
    Gabriel sees him coming. Does he panic and kick the ball away aimlessly? No. Does he plan a touch to one side or the other? No. Instead, he stops the ball, taps it forward straight in Bamford’s line … ‘Okay sonny, do you feel lucky? Well do ya?’
    He didn’t! Bamford ducks out of a full bloodied challenge .. 😀 😀
    Our Eastwood-esque defender is going to be a pleasure to watch, even as a DM.
    Koscielny looked the best he has ever been, minus his regular partner, albeit in a light game defensively speaking.
    Gibbs – Just when you think he might be reduced to bit part player, he pops up to remind us what he is all about.. Not able to cut out crosses into our box every time, but offensively he is something else! The ‘live’ commentary team said he was playing like an orthodox winger. Not only getting crosses in, but moving around inside the box. He had one shot saved and was very lively in the final third throughout. However, it may well be the case that AW is using a control mechanism by keeping him and Bellerin out of the same team, so both don’t get forward at the same time, thus leaving us horribly exposed. Certainly his interplay with Santi, Alexis, and Mesut looked very complimentary, and he got a rewarded with an assist.
    Chambers – He too had an inspired game after quite a while on the sidelines. Very comfortable in defence, often assisted by Welbeck, and played off Gabriel like they were a regular set up? His final ball may not have matched the efforts on the other side, but close interplay with Ozil and Santi usually ended well. Should be well pleased with that comeback?
    Szczesny – Once again found himself with a changed back 4, but only one save to make in the first half showed he need not worry about them. The final shot against the bar looked like he was a tad lucky with his clean sheet, but the replays showed his hands were there if the ball finished inside the post. Not a difficult game, but to me he looked his happy, smiley, confident self. That will be important should he be called upon again.

    Finally, Mr Dean the referee. I actually think he is warming to Arsenal? I saw him purse his lips in a gesture of, ‘Phew, that was close’, when one of our shots went inches wide. Nice to have a nod of approval as opposed to what we often get from the men in black?
    Noted Mr Dean, well done!

    Sorry for the HT-esque response, I am sure other will pick their moments too …

    VCC – Hang your head in shame for your Mr Zippy comment. 👿

  7. Gerry says:

    Sorry TA – I took 3 hours writing my reply. You only get fifty responses straight after a bad game, you have to allow for people to wallow in the joy of victory ..

    Stick around, it’s the Cup draw tonight … unfairly done before Man U’s match!

    Cheers

  8. Gerry says:

    Well even if you are not commenting on the post, spare time for this:
    http://the4thofficial.co.uk/2015/02/16/abou-diaby-stretchered-beyond-arsene-wengers-faith-confines/?

  9. jnyc says:

    T, if u take a break, enjoy. . We have historic cold weather here in nyc.i wish i could get away right now.
    I love your idea of maybe playing gabriel and koscielny together when we plan on pressing higher up. I think flamini was fine vs this opponent, but I’d be worried going into a bigger challenge without coquelin. I think he’s become that important to us. ..

    Theo is great to have as an occasional starter, threat off the bench. Big teams have players like that on the team. An expensive luxury, but effective. And i wouldn’t put it past him to improve his work rate if he wants more minutes.
    I always remind people, his injury came while helping out in defense.

  10. geoffchase says:

    Gerry

    Indeed, Gabriel has Presence! … He was very very solid in the tackle, and even in the professional foul that earned him his carte jaune… I think there will be those who avoid him… he didn’t appear to feel pain! 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  11. steve says:

    Damn it, why is no-one commenting?
    I really wanted to see an outpouring of high spirited comments so that my cynicism would get lost in the mix rather than highlighted as a justified area for debate – I hate being “that” guy.

    First just let me say it was a great result and performance! I got so merry (pissed) while watching it that i didn’t bother reading the in-game comments nor did i add a bit after the match – my apologies guys it was a great result and the house was rockin 🙂

    BUT if i have to be “that” guy then…..
    Is this not just Aston Villa version 2.0?
    Have we not established by now that if the opposition gives us all the time and space in the world that our football shines through?
    Can we take these type of wins as any kind of a reflection as to how we will do against teams that actually press hard and fast (top teams)?

    I take what Gerry says about each player in his comment but there are so many “buts” in a game like this that it is hard to take it as a solid foundation for a positive and consistent change.
    For example;
    Giroud scored two lovely goals BUT i didn’t see a lot else from him really.
    Walcott, come on man a beautiful through ball in on goal BUT fluffed the goal once again.
    Ozil had a great game BUT wasn’t bullied or hurried in the slightest.
    Welbeck tried as usual BUT i didn’t see much end product.
    Sanchez gets a pass for first game back
    Cazorla dictated the game once again BUT when pressed it was only by one player at a time and there was always space to run into, not the type of siege pressing effort we see from better teams.
    Gibbs had a good game BUT he was given so much license to play that he almost ended up as an out and out left winger.
    Kos, again had a good game BUT hardly had any pressure.
    Gabriel, the same as Kos.
    Chambers had a good game BUT had no whiff of pace down the flank to contend with this time.
    Szczesny, no brain fart this time BUT shouldn’t we be expecting this anyway.

    It sounds like i am complaining but i’m not, the result and performance was immense it is just that i am pushing for a little perspective especially after last time, but just reading through this comment i can see how cynical it sounds lol.

    I used to think we were inconsistent, really good sometimes, atrocious other times but i am now beginning to think this is not the case. The complete opposite in fact, i think it all depends solely on how the opposition approaches the game and as such we are actually quite consistent. If a team allows us time and space on the ball we win, if they press us hard and fast but don’t have the fitness to maintain that pressing to a high enough standard throughout the game then its a 50/50 – usually we can weather the initial storm and win in the end. If they press hard and maintain that tempo effectively for the match then we loose (Dortmund, Pool, Spurs etc).
    It is probably why our record against top teams is so poor.

    Very glad about the result and performance but very cautiously optimistic also lol.

    Monaco, Everton, West Ham, Liverpool – results and performances in these games coming up will see me heap the plaudits in the comments section but for now i’m keeping quite 🙂

  12. retsub1 says:

    Nice post TA you are totally correct about the responses. Anyway tonight I am a Preston fan and so far they are doing well.

  13. retsub1 says:

    PRESTON. 1 up yeeha

  14. AB says:

    Evening TA. Good post, lots of positives, and a welcome period to prepare for a tough run of fixtures. Steve has reminded us that we were not playing against the finest opposition – fair enough, but it was a good run out, we played some great touch football, showed some sharp finishing, and got some playing time for people who needed it. All job well done in my book, even if no basis for euphoria. I thought we would have a toucher afternoon, so I’m very happy with what we saw.

    Various bits of transfer speculation above and outside this site. Walcott, and the way we are deploying him at present interests me. Is Wenger taking care with his reintroduction, or is he reminding him that he has competition for his place? I could see Theo being sold in the summer, esp if he is tricky over contract negotiations; we have more options this time than we did 2 years ago. I’m not at all complacent about this as I rate Theo highly, and would love to see him really fulfil his potential with us. But I don’t think he is sacrosanct by any means.

    The other one I wonder about is Santi, if a good offer were to come in. He is playing beautifully but, at 30, you wonder whether he is going to find himself in the Rosicky space quite soon – unless Jack and Rambo go down the Diary route…. With more young talent likely to come in next year, i could see us trading if there’s a good offer; not least if we could strengthen more in attack with a Reus or Draxler…. Sorry TA, we are months away from the TW and I’m already speculating!

    Finally, so we draw a trip to the manure eh? Well my prediction is that we will win at least one of our games against them. I hope the city win has convinced our squad that the only thing stopping us is our own inhibition – we have a better balanced team, which should be at least a match for the mancs. Lets hope the pool have a stumble…..

  15. oz gunner says:

    Good stuff TA. It’s always the way when we win comfortably. Life is great, we’re all happy.

    We lose and shit hits the fan and supporters come out in droves.

    One negative for mine..szcz keeping a clean sheet. If ospina was in goals it would have been 2 – -2 🙂

    Santi definitely looks more suited to the deeper role alongside the DM. When ramsey came back he was pushed up the field and had a couple of stinkers. The line-up worked expertly. Like JNYC I love the idea of different game plans tailored towards different CB pairings.

    So United vs Arsenal…who didn’t see that happening? They’ve got to make money I suppose.

    Not liking the reports Santi has agreed personal terms with Athletico. It’s probably guff but if they offered 15 million I think he’d leave (he’s always said he’d go back to Spain to finish his career.)

  16. 17highburyterrace says:

    Indeed, it is quite depressing that so few can muster up a comment when Arsenal play well… It’s called “entitlement,” but it’s also a situation where so many (so called) supporters have been enticed to blame “it” (our collective suffering?…) all on one man. Until he is gone, for many, I fear, a win *is* a loss…

    Luckily we will surely trip up soon enough and all will be restored. In this competition we now have ManU at OT…which, with a little luck, could be a chance to heap derision anew on the manager (and the club which allows him to pick his players, who will also surely come in for some stick)… Before that, 4 matches in London where we have to win and win with enough style to convince everybody we WILL win up in Manchester… To me, it’s tiresome in the extreme, but this seems the culture–you buy your ticket (thus) you’re entitled to your happy ending… (It’s not the way sport works–full stop. There are other forms of entertainment which do… I recommend them…)

    So, on that account, all are correct. There is much to be enjoyed BUT you do so at your own peril as these things cannot guarantee to be reproduced against better competition, let alone in the next match. If one was to read back my in-match comments you would see that I particularly enjoyed the spacing and the way players were popping up all over the place w/o regard to starting positions. When you have players with intelligence and quality (and a good measure of experience) this is possible. For me, it was the best I’ve seen Arsenal play that I can remember…

    That said, I do think the way Boro set up flattered us in terms of style but was very pragmatic–as the modest scoreline reflects. In essence. they ceded most of the space between the center circle and their penalty box and their wider players funneled our guys to the center where we struggled to get past their CBs and (of course) their keeper. Lots of pretty build up play but only end product after half an hour. We stung them for the 2nd goal so quickly that they really couldn’t afford to react to going behind w/o risking a real drubbing. After that goal the attacking urgency went out of our game a bit as the last thing we wanted was a repeat of the Leicester nervousness. All told, the collective focus seemed very, very strong as was the “killer” instinct to get the 2nd goal in that period when (both) teams are most vulnerable–immediately after scoring…

    No individual player breakdown for me as (after all) it’s a team game AND I write too much as it is. (I will say this…the brilliance of Santi’s pre-assist had to help inspire Gibb’s actual assist; the perfect weight on it which gave him the time to pick out Giroud…was sublime, IMO… Yeah, time to move him on, or at least his agent is doing well to suggest Arsenal might have to give him some good money to stay…) TA hit on 8 good positives and Gerry and F11ngers (and others) show there are more–even if they come with qualifiers. It seems to me that players back from injury and real competition for places is helping us all over the pitch. The manager maybe deserves credit for that, but maybe he also should be slated for how far off we are in the league standings. All I’m angry about is that he lied about Alexis’ fitness and screwed up my match preview. But, as I wrote in that one: misery is in the eye of the beholder…

    So, no misery for me, but, as I asked in the preview (and got no answers…) and judging from the volume of comments here, a 2-nil win (in some measure of style) seems…how do they say it… JUST. NOT. GOOD. ENOUGH. Or maybe the lack of comments merely indicates that what most Gooners truly want is the sense of relief they (maybe?) feel; after avoiding another humbling, and, er. stumbling (block)… Well done then, and thanks Arsenal for giving (many) Gooners a week-long vacation from the pain of “supporting” their team.

    I’ll be taking one myself… Preview for CP, however, will be written by Friday… Thanks for reading…

    😀 :/

  17. Gerry says:

    Yippeeee! Comments at last. Not many, but it may be a start? Perhaps TA, you should not announce the fact your having a break ..?

    Responding to Steve. Yes, you can only beat what is in front of you. But there were technical things in this game that showed a big improvement. Well I think so anyway.
    How will it affect us going into the next game? Will ‘Palace try the ‘high press’ thing? Should we be worried if they do?
    The key difference is how do we do things differently to the Spurs game. I think we went into that game exactly like Boro’ and Man City did. That is, to think we/they can counter attack from a deep defending position, by falsely assuming the defence was strong enough. Chelsea can manage it largely because of Hazard. Boro clearly thought so, based on their record in the championship?
    Surely that bubble has been burst now? If you watch the opening few minutes of the Boro’ game, we did not instantly start ‘on the front foot’. Instead, from our kick off we played the ball around our back 4 to see how much pressing they did. Only when it was obvious they were not going to did we truly kick into gear. There were several mistakes made in the Spurs game, and giving away possession when under pressure was the biggest one. Boro’ did exactly the same. Why? Because there was no outlet ball. Players got caught because they were looking for someone to play it to. The alternative, when being closed down was the big hoof forwards and hope for better on the next wave of attack.
    We have seen that from both sides now, and the answer is pass and move. To do that you need plenty of movement off the ball. Much easier to do when no pressure is applied, but HT’s point is the players moved intelligently around, rarely did any get in the way of another, or an option not to be available. They key to that is not wait until the guy you have passed to is surrounded before you move to a space for him to play it to, but do it as soon as you play the ball. A moving target is much harder to nail down?
    If you do nothing else this week Steve, I urge to watch the game again, but just follow Ozil’s movement around the pitch. I think then you will see what I mean about knowing where his next pass is before he gets the ball. Once everybody is in tune we will play even better than that, no matter who the opposition is.

    HT, like you, I was amazed that TA left so many openings for people to comment on, I began to think it was my post length reply was the stopper. Yet even Steve was expecting a wave of euphoria to drown his sense of realism. Is it just that fans like to be critical?
    I came away from the game with a feelgood factor from every player, even if they did not have an exceptional game themselves, there were part of the team that played exceptionally well. So much so, I spent a long early morning writing about it..

    Moving on in OGAAT and OGA mode, the Man U game can be put aside for a while. Steve is right. We have to show things in between or the doom merchants will be out predicting another 8-2.
    So for all Palace are a more collective unit under Pardiue, they are limited. The can press with spirited unity, but they are limited. They can show they are capable of winning matches, but they are limited. It is up to us to exploit their limitations by building on what we do well.
    As always, I reserve my confidence level to rise and fall according to how balance our team looks, and more especially, how they are set up. I am hoping that AW realises with all his vast experience, that he has seen enough to know how to play to our strengths, and knows what are strengths are, and will not undermine that when giving returnees game time. I am not quite so confident about the latter. What he is doing with Walcott, I would like/hope/pray he does in equal measure with Wilshere, and later with Ramsey. That also applies to Akpom too, in so far as they all from, Welbeck and Walcott to Wilshere and Ramsey have to show they add something to the team, without detracting from it.
    On this point, I am a bit like Steve and Ozil, in so far seeing the negative side of Wilshere in the team. Yes I recognise that he adds drive and desire, and no small measure of talent when at his best. Positionally however, I think the place where he least detracts from others game is high up in ‘the hole’. Worst position is the B2B.
    In the last game, as with the others where we have played well, Ozil has the freedom to roam across and near to the front line. Cazorla, in the deep lying role has the freedom to move across the pitch, whilst bringing play forwards .In the final third is where the intelligent movement That HT spoke of occurs. Replacing Ozil with Wilshere works fine around the box, but JW tends not to do the wide part, and that congests the middle even more. Replacing or displacing Cazorla from the deeper role, either takes away that full width movement whilst going forward, as JW does not do the wide thing, or pushes Santi forward, but to one side or the other.
    Now if Wilshere actually played a disciplined role like Coquelin, he could do the DM thing?

    That is my argument. I hope there will be small changes, and all of the above get their game time when appropriate.

    For Palace I see Coquelin stepping back in. Possibly Monreal and Bellerin, and the latter to link up with Walcott. Alexis is an unknown quantity.
    With Monaco to follow, the tweak there might be to stick Gabriel in alongside Coquelin, probably at the expense of Welbeck. This will be the toughest game imo, as they can be hard to beat these days.

    Onwards and upwards.

  18. The Cockie Monster says:

    Thanks Totes !……………………but I`m disappointed that the post is not balanced !, to be a fair and unbiased site we need to level it out with 8 negatives for us…..sorry ….the doomers !. hahaha
    There will only be positives if at the end of the season we have the same or bettered last seasons FA Cup and 4th trophy !. I`m already sharpening my knives in anticipation at losing 5-0 to Palace !…..oops !…..I feel a stirring in the loins !. hahaha
    Although I must admit I loved every minute of the `boro game, especially as my …Cockie Stress Free Plan….( patent pending )….of knowing we won, but not knowing the score and watching the recorded game in “real” time is the perfect entertainment for a Sunday evening accompanied by a selection of Sandwiches, Beverages and Sweets and a smile on my face knowing that even if we are losing 9-0 with ten minutes to go, I know we are going to score at least 10 to win…….unless my wife has found out about your wives and my kids and is playing an evil trick on me !. hahaha

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers guys. Some fine and indepth comments. Thanks Steve for the laugh. Well played you eleven fingered salmon hahahaha. 🙂

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    New post new post 🙂

    Marcus is happy but wants a lot more from our boys…. 😕

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