Ospina, Coquelin, BFG and Nacho returns? Line-Up and Preview

Crystal Palace Match Preview

1st of 4 in London–Can Arsenal win them all?

palace fans

Obviously, matches must be taken one at a time, but to be a top club and meet the expectations of the modern supporter, just winning them isn’t enough.  Points must be taken and they must be taken in a manner that allows fans to feel sufficiently confident about what’s coming down the line.  After all, there’s enough anxiety in our lives as it is.  It’s an inherently outlandish idea–this is sport after all–but such demands do seem to come with the territory.

As such, these next four matches–all featuring no more than coach travel for the squad, and contested against clubs we feel we should beat–are critical.  In this period, which, in terms of playing matches in London also included the previous 4 matches as well, manager Arsene Wenger has a chance to test and tweak all elements of his squad.   Winning the matches is necessary, of course, but so too is finding out which players are best suited to the tactical approaches we take into our biggest tests as the season reaches its climax.  This means competition for starting positions but also noting combinations (of players) who can react to score-lines and mould their tactical play to our advantage.   Before getting into the specifics of the match tomorrow in Croydon, let’s look at the London fixtures and those which lay ahead.

London Fixtures

Previous 4

Aston Villa  (home league win) 5-nil

Tottenham  (away league loss) 1-2 

Leicester City (home league win) 2-1 

Middlesbrough (home FA Cup win) 2-0

Next 4

Crystal Palace (away, league) 

Monaco (home, CL) 

Everton (home, league)

Queens Park Rangers (away, league)

Following 4

Manchester United (away, FA cup)

West Ham (home, league)

Monaco (away, CL)

Newcastle (away, league)

santi short

It should be noted the games are coming thick and fast and these next eight will conclude (with an International break) on March 21–exactly 4 short weeks from tomorrow.   Fasten your seatbelts.  Right there in the middle is the big FA Cup quarterfinal showdown with Manchester United at Old Trafford.  We can play for a draw and a home replay in that one, but we’ll be happier with such a result only if we’re confident we can complete the job in London.  Our form leading into it, and the result up there, will be absolutely massive as the fixture list toughens.

Looked at in this manner the pressure on the team is too much.  So, to quote a wise, old (well not so old) Dutch blog owner, “O-GAAT,” meaning, I think, “Please Lord” in his native tongue.  Of course, it’s also an acronym for One Game at a Time, which is exactly how they must be played.

Tomorrow at Crystal Palace, home of the bird (the eagle) and the birds–the American Football styled cheerleaders who greet the players as they take the pitch–Arsenal will face their first hurdle.  Since taking over as manager, Alan Pardew’s team has only lost one in eight matches.  And, while Arsenal have taken nine points from nine since Palace came up a year and a half ago, it would be foolish to underestimate the challenge.  We should also remember that Palace almost stole two points on our ground in the opening match of the season.  An early set piece goal from Brede Hangeland was matched by one from Laurent Koscielny, but only an injury time winner from Aaron Ramsey prevented a real disappointment.

Palace will not be a pushover.  If they were, they’d surely be lower in the table considering all they have endured this season.  In the lead-up to our opening day match they were abandoned by manager Tony Pulis, who wanted a better contract after his manager-of-the-year winning work the previous season.  This was followed by a period of uncertainty before Neil Warnock managed for a stint of less than twenty matches, and now the Pardew takeover.  All told it’s amazing that the club has managed to avoid looking a favourite for the drop, and they have a resiliency which must be respected.

They also have some good players, including a very solid spine in the team.  Keeper Julian Speroni can both command his area well for a smaller keeper and come up with impressive saves.  Center backs Hangeland and Scott Dann are seasoned veterans in the league and deeper lying mids, James MacArthur and Mile Jedinak, if passed fit, are fighters with solid technique.  The latter, whose leadership has helped his mates through this turbulent season, can curl a mean free kick, so Arsenal defenders will have to beware of giving away cheap fouls in bad positions.  In attack, we all know Maroune Chamakh’s frustrating (but relentless and sometimes successful) approach to his craft as well as the pace in guys like Dwight Gayle, Frasier Campbell and Wilfried Zaha.  Yannick Bollasie and Jason Puncheon bring both power and trickery and should not be overlooked as attacking threats.

Pardew (to be aided by his captain, Jedinak, just back from Asian Cup duties with Austrailia) has the group working together; so, assuming this will be a simple trip across the river to collect three points and an exhibition of our more pricey talent, would be foolish in the extreme.  Instead Arsenal have to build upon the good work done last Sunday in advancing to the quarter finals of the FA Cup.  In that one, sublime spacing and build-up play amongst attacking midfielders Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Alexi Sanchez showed Arsenal at its very best.  Free interchanging all over the pitch with each other and line-leaders Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck–while also utilizing our very attack minded fullbacks, Calum Chambers and Kieran Gibbs–worked a real treat.  Even though the score-line was modest and came in bang-bang fashion, Arsenal were able to keep Championship leaders Middlesbrough pinned in their own half and hanging on for dear life.  It didn’t hurt that Mathieu Flamini, Laurent Kolscielny and debutante Gabriel Paulista were also working very hard to anticipate clearances and keep the pressure at very high levels.  If not for great work from the Boro keeper and CBs to cut out and force more difficult chances in and near their 6 yard box, the score-line could’ve been far more flattering.

Noting that the starting group vs Boro included 7 changes to the squad which took the pitch vs Leicester, it was enough to suggest that competition for places seems to be keeping our players at their best up and down the line-up.  So, despite the excellent display, I would expect a few changes from that line-up – especially at the back, where the first group seems far from set.  Although Wojchiek Szcznesy was hardly troubled in keeping a clean sheet in the cup match, I would expect David Ospina to come back into the team.  Per Mertesacker will also likely take back the arm-band and Nacho Monreal will most likely replace Gibbs at left back.  Hector Bellerin faces a late fitness test so Calum Chambers may retain his place.  Laurent Koscielny probably slides to the left side of central defence and may be the only other rearguard player to keep a starting spot.

Flamini, who likely would’ve been back on the bench in favour of Francis Coquelin, is reported to be struggling with a hamstring injury, but Jack Wilshere seems fully recovered from his longer term ankle problem and will likely feature.  Suggestions are that it still might be too early for him to start a match.  With all the rotation at the back, I think, especially on the strength of the display last Sunday, that the manager may not want to rotate much, if at all, amongst the attackers.

Here then is my best guess at our starting line-up.

arse v CP Feb 15

(Subs: Szczesny, Gabriel, Gibbs, Wilshere, Rosicky, Walcott, Akpom)

In my opinion the squad is looking very strong and very, very deep.  We still have players out injured, but only Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy are long term.  Just getting into the first 18 would seem a real task for guys like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey who are back in training or not far from it.  From a style and dominance perspective, the most recent match seemed a very positive advancement.  It’s all about production, however, and Gooners will not tolerate the slightest hiccup.  On this site, for example, that 2 nil result was seen as a very modest score-line by some, and only two players were singled out for genuine praise in a mid-week post.  Hanging on for a 2-1 victory over Leicester City in our previous league match was widely considered abject.  The less said about losing (after taking an early lead) in the most recent North London derby, the better.

Given this atmosphere I sometimes wonder if squad depth isn’t a bit of a double edged sword.  Obviously, we need it if we wish to compete on multiple fronts, but expectations–amongst supporters at least–seem so high that when score-lines are not lopsided or any frailty is shown, managerial choices are scrutinized at a level that would please a laboratory scientist.  Amongst Gooners–all of whom are would-be managers–there is no such thing as bad luck and fault can always be found.  (On that note, the referee for this match is Mark Clattenburg, one of the better ones, in my opinion, but he’s working on only minimal rest after a midweek Champions League match.  Strange call might play a role…) Excuses are not tolerated and 2nd chances are few and far between.  Here in the Goonersphere, players are measured not only on recent performances and results but against legends from previous decades and names from around the world who we might buy as replacements.  Others maintain a hair-trigger on a metaphorical weapon aimed at the manager’s head.  Suggestions abound for players on the bench, or not even available in the squad, who are seen as superior options to any player who has done less than impeccable work on the pitch.

That’s the reality at any “big club,” I guess, but it works against building a sense of trust amongst players–the 11 on the pitch at any one time and the (proverbial) 12th man on the terraces.  If any mistake will be punished–by our own supporters, no less–a very brittle confidence must be a consequence. This is the dreaded hand-brake Wenger talks about.  Fear of mistakes inhibits our best play.

With his “little knocks” and keeping players “just short,” the manager clearly tries to keep the squad insulated from this atmosphere and collective confidence, we would hope, is high after the previous match.  If circumstances were to cause that confidence to wane, however, a small tremor of anxiety might be enough to set off an avalanche of negativity, hence my belief that tomorrow’s match is for far more than the 3 points on offer.  These matches in London have the potential to lift us up a level and prepare us for tougher travels yet to come.

Still, it only takes the slightest of missteps to sow the seeds of doubt; Crystal Palace tomorrow thus takes on added significance.  Go on…

By 17highburyterrace

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73 Responses to Ospina, Coquelin, BFG and Nacho returns? Line-Up and Preview

  1. Flyguy says:

    Enough of the Ospina experiment. Bring back Szez, superior keeper in every aspect (except on twitter). Ospina is a major calamity waiting to happen with his exaggerated dives and constant push outs instead of catching. He’s a marginally better Flappyanski and enough is enough now. One cigarette in the shower should not be a bigger suspension than a red card!

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks 17HT for a very fine, thorough and enjoyable match preview. 🙂

    The line up works for me, although I am hoping Theo will start instead of Welbeck. It is a very attacking line up and we have to hope that Santi does not abandon his ‘support of Coquelin’ duties. Gibbs played very well last week, so I would not be surprised to see him start tomorrow. But I like the line up you are anticipating very much.

    Very good analysis of fans’ fickle nature when it comes to supporting the team and manager, and we are still a loss away from the doomers descending on us. But football is a means of letting out life’s dirty, boiling steam, so in that respect even losing has a positive impact… 😉 And by continuous winning, Arsene and the team are simply letting the doomers down…. how very dare they…. I want my fecking misery!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😆

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Forgot to say, I am really glad Jack is back. I agree it is probably too early for him and Arsene will want to play both Santi and Ozil tomorrow, but we might see him play the last thirty minutes.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Flyguy, I reckon Ospina can make a few mistakes before being regarded as inferior to Szczesny… the Pole in goal has hardly been Mr Safe Hands himself this season…

  5. 17highburyterrace says:

    Yeah, TA, I think the Walcott/Welbeck pick is the toughest right now and maybe the two Southhampton boys can do a bit more in terms of covering for one another if Bellerin is out due to injury…

    Agreed also about the letting off steam element but the team as currently assembled looks pretty good to me, so somebody needs to say it. (I think) We’re definitely not quite set with an automatic first 11. Competition for places each and every match is a chance for guys to step up and make themselves undroppable, ideally while doing the bits that make positive results for the team…

    On that note I’m personally amazed at how quickly the szczentiment is shifting back towards the PIG. The derby loss maybe somehow hurt more than the (at least equally woeful) showing at So’ton, where the keeper errors seemed much of the difference between a nil-nil and the final scoreline. Of course, regulars on the site here may favor Ospina because we’ve been worn down by declarations of his world classiness vs being (personally) responsible for climate change and global terrorism and other signs that the end of the world is near… 😀 It too seems a position that is up for grabs. At this point Szcz starts in the “one which looms” up at OT…so he’ll certainly get his chance–later if not sooner…

  6. Gerry says:

    Fantastic and comprehensive look at our month ahead before approaching today’s game in the singular. You have hit so many nails on the head it deserves a re-read 😀

    So sticking to the match in hand, I would be happy-ish with your selected line up, and think you may have your 11 out of 11 when duelling with Arsene’s choices.

    As you know, my bigger fear is that introductions of returning players is more likely to upset the balance of our team, rather than the problems faced by the opposition. In that respect, AW is almost of the same mind, in so far as he wants us to impose our game irrespective of opposition. Although it has been noted that he has ‘tweaked’ in some areas as regards to our opponents strengths. Welbeck gets the nod for his back tracking over Walcott if their strength is out wide, as it is today. The fact they have speedy and nimble strikers might be cause for thinking that Gabriel might retain his spot, with the ‘sweetener’ that Per can start against Monaco? Ideally I think Arsene would prefer to have Bellerin at RB, and give him clearer instructions as to how far he follows Gayle around the pitch 😳 So will will have to see what decision is made there regarding his knock. – We seem to be self-inflicting some defections, as this was another that happened ‘in training’, as would be that case of Flamini, not to mention the earlier disaster to Hayden?
    On the other side it is a close call between Gibbs and Monreal. and it might just go to Gibbs if we are to retain the majority of the side that played so well in the Cup game. That applies to the choice of ‘keeper too? And it gets AW ‘a pass’ with regard upsetting player expectations with the CL match following this?

    I also believe that our midfield to attack is very dependent on both Ozil and Cazorla playing their A-game, and for me, it works best when they vertically separated, not horizontally paired. The problem that brings is the need for the single DM. Unless we play a 4-3-3 line up, by having only two attackers aside of Ozil on the front row, and two defensive mids either side of Cazorla, Otherwise it then it becomes congested when both end up in the middle? Yes I know there is flexibility and switching of sides and positions, but what I am saying is, when one is forward and one is deep their lateral movement is uninterrupted which enables a free flow of play right up to the edge of their box. With a double defensive pair, Santi is pushed higher and the interchange from left to right by either can become clumsy and awkward, and more importantly restrictive.
    That said, Coquelin is going to have his hands full with the twin line of attack, which is why I think Gabriel in full ‘Dirty Harry’ mode might make them think twice?

    If the bulk of the side is from midweek is retained, allowing for the Coquelin tweak, it should mean that the substitutions can be all tactical? Apart from pulling off Mesut or Alexis to save them for the CL game, and even that can be part of a tactical switch, I don’t see any others having the need to come off except for injury?

    So, given the need to defend more than we had to against Boro’, as I cannot imagine them ceding that much ground in the middle of the pitch, I can see this might become a tight dual for long periods. If we get a lead in the first half, unless a big one, then we will come under greater pressure in the second half, and that is when we are vulnerable. Fresh legs early might help?
    However, a 0-0 at half-time may mean they will not over commit until the last 15 minutes, so we could just sneak a 0-1 and come away with the points if not the full applause they should receive?
    The truth is, our attack is stronger than theirs, and they do leak goals despite their excellent goalie, who reserves some of his best saves for us.
    Bigger changes to the team, particularly in set up, will bring bigger doubts in my mind, and following in ‘audio only’ will not make it any easier.

    One point on the referee. Don’t expect any bias in our favour, he can make mistakes either way, such is the nature of refereeing fairly. Clattenburg is as good as we get – Respect!

    Keep the faith ….

  7. retsub1 says:

    I live about 10 miles from Crystal Palace and it is snowing quite heavily

  8. lennon484 says:

    Orange ball then?

  9. Gino92 says:

    Very well written post 17! Of course we are all better manager than Wenger (albeit from the safety of our computers/smartphones), haha… 🙂 I have been away for awhile and I am glad to be back (at least for a short while anyway) on one of the best Arsenal blog sites around. Good job keeping it going to greater heights TA.

    Regarding today’s match, I have a feeling Ozil, Giroud, and Coquelin are going to have a very good game, especially our esteemed Number 11. 4 months of “forced vacation” allowed him to get a well deserved and needed rest (after Germany’s triumph last summer) and to slightly “bulk up” his upper body. He is kind of hard to recognize on the pitch nowadays, especially on dodgy live streams.

    I think your line-up almost looks like the one Arsene will go with except maybe for one or both of the fullback positions. I think Gibbs might get a start and if Bellerin is passed fit, he will definitely start ahead of Chambers because of the speedy threat of Yannick Bolasie. He would be too much of a handful for Calum Chambers, I think…

    Anyway, here is to a good thumping and feel-good atmosphere later today. Hopefully, all the teams above us and directly below will lose or draw. 🙂

    Crystal Palace 1 – Arsenal 4

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice to see you back, Gino, and good point about Ozil’s rest. He has been fantastic since he is back and how Manure wish he was theirs hahaha 🙂

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Retsub 🙂

    Is it staying or melting already?

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Gerry, this is a fabulous match preview, and a good follow up comment by you too. 🙂

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    My preferred line up:

    Sz
    Chamb – BFG – Paul – Gibbs
    ———– Coq — Santi ———
    Theo——————–Alexis
    ————–Ozil—————
    —————OG—————

  14. retsub1 says:

    snow has gone as quickly as it came, still pretty cloudy though. Pretty much agree with your team TA although I think Ospina should play

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Happy with either Sz or Os, Retsubster. 🙂

    Let’s hope snow stays away as we need to get this game out of the way.

    CoyGs

  16. FLO8 says:

    Sensational preview 17!

    I’m going to go with TAs line up versus Palace with the exception of Ospina in goal and Monreal in place of Gibbs.

    I think the boys are going to need to have another positive start and get their positional spacing both in defence and attack and horizontally and vertically correct to get maximum points. I’ve really liked the looks of Palace since Pardew took charge. Bolaise and Zaha are very tricky and Jedinak in particular is very physically strong with an excellent range of passing. Chambers and Monreal are going to need to very much focus on their defensive duties and Santi and Ozil will need to use their guile to circumvent the big Australian in midfield.

    That said, this Arsenal team definitely have the quality and tenacity to overcome Palace.

  17. steve says:

    God bless you HT, an excellent match preview lasting an entire (big) cup of tea – the perfect wake up, cheers bud 🙂
    I’ve obviously got here a little late and can’t add too much more than the other excellent comments but i will try and echo some of the more poignant points.
    Crystal Palace has the kind of setup that i would come up with if left to my own devices as you have seen in my many calls for the Akpom, Welbeck, Walcott, Sanchez and OX all in the same team dream line up. Basically a solid defensive spine and then everything else is dictated to pace, trickery and forward drive. Unlike Gerry who places the tactical priority hugely on the balance of our own team i in contrast am constantly wanting more analysis of the opposition before matches – just like my hypotheses regarding opposition with intense pressing vs opposition who give us time and space.
    Here i would demand Chambers (if Bellerin is not fit) play a “halfway line game” it will be non eventful for the lad going forward but plays to his strengths and more importantly helps nullify his obvious weaknesses. Gibbs would be the fullback who is allowed to join the attacking play but with a strong reminder that such an extreme and consistent foray forward like the one at Boro is not on the cards.
    I also think this is a game for Gabriel rather than BFG.
    We should win this game in midfield and keep the flanks nice and tight to avoid letting them play to their strengths.
    Thats about all i can add (or repeat) from the other comments really lol, its all been said in the excellent post and following previous comments.

    My predicted line-up if Bellerin is not fit; (don’t care which GK)

    CC21——–Gabriel———-Koscielny——–Gibbs
    —————Coquelin——–Cazorla——————–
    —Walcott—————Ozil—————-Sanchez—-
    ————————–Giroud——————————

  18. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey guys…Game is on…and the weather looked sunny…at the kickoff….

    11 of 11, 18 of 18 if you’re counting subs…Where do I go from there?… 😀

    PEN!!!

  19. 17highburyterrace says:

    Santi!!!! 1-nil

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Super stuff the predicted line up Seventeenho

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Sweet to be in the lead. Let’s fight for nr.2 now.

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    Palace have responded well and we’re giving up corners and FKs deep in our half…Nacho has already slipped a couple of times on the pitch…

    Earlier offside on Ozil was wrong said the commentator…and then he snuck the ball past the keeper at the near post…

    Thanks for the comments on the preview, up above…

  23. 17highburyterrace says:

    Replay shows foul for the pen was just outside of the box… Hmmmm…. Makes up for the earlier offside call, maybe…

    Palace are really pressuring us from the front and we’re struggling with it… At least their commitment is resulting in a lot of fouls… Need to punish their big push forward with a 2nd… Real match on at this point however…

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Very sunny in Londennium.

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Bad stream but looks like a messy game. Need to hold ball longer and pass better.

  26. RA says:

    Bit late in the day for me to say so, 17ht, but a really first rate pre-match, with practical points and a little philosophy thrown in for good measure!! 🙂

    Not being able to watch the game live is a real pain, and the only stream I could get was crap and was not worth going on with.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    All of a sudden better possession play…..

    Hi Redders 🙂

  28. RA says:

    Hiya, Total. 🙂

    Things going well with you? I have been meaning to ask you, for some time, how your projected Scottish venture was progressing — but you have probably moved on from that and is for another day in any case.

  29. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cheers, RA… I feel bad for you guys who cannot watch on a decent feed…

    We haven’t settled in attack but the CP press and desire for an equalizer seems a little extreme and as if we can get them on the counter… We just need that one good throughball. They do seem able to press and foul enough to put us off… Players are slipping on the pitch a bit…

    For all their bluster their final balls are woeful….

    GIROUD!!!!

    2-nil right at the half… Welbeck angled shot parried straight to Ollie!

  30. 17highburyterrace says:

    That’s halftime…Scoreline is good and though we’ve looked a little slow tracking the ball, we’ve done what was needed to soak up their pressure. Ospina’s made some catches and a punch, but hasn’t had to make a save…

    Espresso time… 😀

  31. steve says:

    testing

  32. steve says:

    your blog wont let me paste the website names for stream links TA, sorry lads you will have to stick to your shit ones

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Steve, not more than one link at a time please…. then it should work.

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Redders, all is well, especially now the Arsenal are wining. 🙂

    We bought a house in the South of Bonny Scotland and we are moving there in the summer. Time to leave the flatlands… 🙂

  35. RA says:

    Thanx, steve,

    I have tried, cricfree.tv/watch/live/crystal-palace-vs-arsenal-live-streaming and maybe it is my wifi but none of them are too clear.

    I will try your suggestion in the second half. 🙂

  36. steve says:

    the acestream link is ok, not sure about the Micast or any of the Flash crap but you might be able to find one, hope that helps (it wont let me post the main one i use even though its a separate comment)

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    2nd half on… We were rather efficient in front of goal in that first period… Not exactly the possession dominance we expected but I like that we seem comfortable defending…

    They’re on the front foot again early…

  38. RA says:

    That’s fantastic, TA, and I am sure you will love it. Scotland is a wonderful country – except for the rain in the West! 😀

  39. RA says:

    We seem to be allowing Palace to press us right back and we are allowing them too much lee-way. [from what I can see!!!] 🙂

    Time to bring on Theo to threaten them with counter-attack pace?

  40. RA says:

    Don’t worry, steve, you have really helped and I can at least see something! 🙂

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    You will have a lot of the wet stuff in Manchester, Redders. It is nice blogging inside when it rains outside though! 🙂

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    You may not have seen it on your stream but Ozil just blocked out a Palace player and held him off with his body for a goal kick… 😀

    Next goal seems important… Palace have a player down (Campbell) but have also won their 7th corner… Now Giroud gets a yellow and another FK for Palace…

    Just gotta keep soaking it up and hurt them on the counter…

    Wow…Ozil so good on the counter but Alexis toe poke just wide…

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    Ospina had a Sz moment there…

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    So many players slipping on pitch

  45. 17highburyterrace says:

    Crszczazy moment there from Ospina who then fakes injury for awhile?…

    Bolassie on for Campbell but a lot of Palace attack seems to end with him…

    We’re happy to defend and play on the break…which is all good as long as we get the next goal…

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    Third right now but we need the Jacks to hold on

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    BFG has been ideally positioned for nearly every final CP ball today…That one was better, but Gayle heads over…

    Another ball out of play from Bolasie… Not much possession from our boys…

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    Jacks winning now!

  49. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gibbs and Rosicky on, Ozil and Welbeck off… Shoring up, I guess…

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Burnley equalised against Cockie’s fave team 😆

  51. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sounds like Matic got sent off for a stomp in the other S. London match…

    In ours, the CP guys are dropping like flies…and their subs have been used up…

    Scrappy today, but we’ve defended well and been very efficient when we got the chances…

  52. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gabby in, Alexis out…

  53. 17highburyterrace says:

    Dammit…Clean sheet gone… 1-2…

    Geezus… Too close right at the end…Ball off the post as Ospina misses the cross…

  54. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow…Way too close right at the end but the points come our way… Lost a bit of concentration at the end or they just finally got some better balls in?… Definite trouble up front holding possession to kill the match off…

    Chavs draw at home to Burnley…Swans beat ManU

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    Three very valuable points that almost slipped to two…. We need to look at our inability to keep the Eagles away from our box for long periods of the game. But we are third now and only the Saints can get above us now.

  56. Admir says:

    We tried again to retain the lead with the very same “let’s put all available defenders on the pitch”-approach in the dying minutes of the game. That backfired against Liverpool when we had eleven against ten on the pitch.

    That Özil’s piece of geniality (I don’t want to know how TCM will read this sentence) was magnificent. Too bad Alexis didn’t score.

    Nevertheless, I take these three points, especially as the other results went our way so we are sitting on the third spot now with seven matches at home and five on the road left. We have a busy schedule next week – Monaco and Everton.

    Our away record now stands at W6D3L5. 50% of available points collected. Last season we won 61.4% of the available points on the road.

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Admir-Admin 🙂

  58. The Cockie Monster says:

    Superb Pre-Match 17 Sillyballs !. 😀

    So far a BIT ( Bulge In Trousers ) day and I don’t care that we played less than brilliant, because at this stage of the season it`s all about the results and OGAAT…..Oh God !, Arsenal Are Terrible !…..or ……Oh God !, Arsenal Are Terrific !…..as long as we win I don’t care !.

    PS !……OGAAT for you Broke Backers probably means…..One Gay Arse Attempt Tonight !. hahaha

  59. Gerry says:

    Writing ahead of seeing any of the match, or up coming review, I can only go back to my preview thoughts. Fresh Legs!

    While I understand AW’s dilemma of not disrupting a team that got a two goal lead, it was predictable that they would be more fired up at the start of the second half. So my thought is/was after 10 minutes why not introduce ONE change. At least that guy has time to get up to speed with game, without taking away from the game in progress.

    Strangely enough, the potential candidates were the ones AW used.. Gibbs down the left side for example.
    Rosicky as an attacking option?
    Gabriel to shore things up.

    To leave the latter with only 5 minutes to go was not the answer, although I will wait for a viewing to see how effective that was?

    But we got our three points, and as the previous post made comparisons to the ‘Invincible’s team’, they too scrambled over the line a few times, so let’s not be too picky how we come by them, eh?

  60. TotalArsenal says:

    I am yet to watch the game properly as well, so nothing to comment on as the motd highlights were limited. It will be interesting to see why we were unable to release the pressure on the defence, especially late on. Taking Ozil and Alexis off might have made this worse.

    Saints v Pool draw today?!

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    That was a good read, Gerriander 🙂

  62. retsub1 says:

    Thanks Gerry it was indeed an interesting read. A friend of mine just called and offered me a ticket to the Spurs game. Now let me see go to Spurs or take Oscar for a walk..

    Oscar fetch your lead

  63. retsub1 says:

    Haha the Hammers are 2 up at the Lane. If I had gone to the game I would be struggling not to smile

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    Just woke up and what a nice scoreline there at the WHL… Not too many comments on our match this morning either…Take the points and run? Maybe?…

    Whoa…Very close to 3-nil… Lloris does well to kick behind after saving…

  65. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow… Alex Song does just enough to let Kane go to ground… and Spurs rescue a point even as his pen is blocked… Finishes 2-2… Pochettino Time, I guess… 😦 Or maybe it was Hammer Time… You remember Hammer Time, Don’tcha?… 😀

    So… I dunno if you guys who watched our match on a poor stream (or didn’t watch at all…) really will find much joy in watching it again. I’m tempted to watch the last 10 minutes just to see what happened with the introduction of Gabriel… Trying to play a new formation may have been a little much given the language situation. It might also be noted that (at the end) you’ve got 5 guys who have all done a bit of time at center back during the season… Another reason Sir Chez might not be so popular with some of our English fans might be that he’s pretty clever with the time-wasting. A(nother) round of fake injury teatro earlier in the half may have made el colombiano timid to do it again and get a yellow…Maybe? The fact that we couldn’t hold the ball from the kick-off (after their goal) until the whistle seems like something to work on… But, like Spurs, sometimes it’s important to be lucky…

  66. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nobody watching any football…Or only down at the pub?…

    Looks like Pool are gonna win in on the South Coast, leaving us in 3rd… 2nd goal came on a wayward pass from our (next year’s) DM… but a ball which should’ve been easily cleared by Slippery Jim (Ward-Prowse)… Watching the match, it’s hard to fathom we dropped points to either team…

    The weather here is crap, but it looks worse over there…

  67. retsub1 says:

    17ht the weather is pretty grim here. I watched both the spurs and Liverpool games.

    Just before the Kane penalty they showed where his last four pens had gone, . All of them were fairly close to the centre of the goal. No surprise when the keeper saved it then! He just got very lucky.

    Liverpool are starting to look a little dangerous . Ok they didn’t create a lot, but they are proving very difficult to beat. A little like last year maybe?

    I listened to the Arsenal game on the radio. Old pc has problems and am still coming to terms with a Mac ggrrrrrr

  68. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sturridge healthy makes Pool better but he is very one-footed… Coutinho’s goal was a one in a hundred so I would expect 99 more tries and Ramsey to hit a couple before he makes another like that…

    Our biggest issue coming out of yesterday’s match will be finding our best group of defenders–who can keep the focus for 90+ minutes. Against a team like Palace (or even Spurs) we shouldn’t need to have big defensive efforts from guys like Santi (or Alexis or Ozil or Welbeck…) in order to win matches… In truth, we REALLY could’ve struggled if Le Coq had gotten a yellow for his foot on chest in the opening moments or if Palace had one or two better balls in… The other French fellow whose name also ends in “lin” will be good competition after he arrives in the Summer… 😉 In the meantime, I fear for us in the tougher matches this season…and we may have to score more than 2 goals/match. If we can secure third (and keep progressing in the cups) we will have some good tests to see what we’re made of, including some really big ones up at the larger stadium in Manchester…

    As much as many supporters probably enjoy the routine feel (and sense of relief) of these wins over the smaller clubs, they also show where we’re still (very much) a work in progress. Onto the CL on Weds, then… Notes please from anybody who’s actually watched a little Monaco this season… Cheers, Gerry, (others?…) in advance… 🙂

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

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