Theo in Trouble: Would he make Arsenal’s Best-11?

A nightmare on Arsenal's wing

My previous post (in which I pointed out our need for improvement) was inspired by performances such as that against Crystal Palace. We were very lucky to leave with three points and in my opinion, given the squad we have, these aren’t words that should be coming out of my mouth – much less against such opposition. Anyway, the important thing is we got the three points and I’m hoping we have taken the lessons from that game.

My post today comes from a very curious place. I have noticed that Welbeck & the Ox have been getting the nod over Theo despite the fact that he is one of our team’s best finishers. Interestingly, when I watched Welbeck play against the Spuds, I thought to myself that Theo is in a very precarious position right now. I didn’t think anything of it atΒ the time but the more I see how our team is playing the more I fear for him.

Apart from Sanchez, I doubt there is a better finisher in our team than Theo. The problem is he offers very little when we are chasing possession. You watch how hard the Ox, Welbz, Alexis (obviously), Santi & even Ozil work to win back possession, and you begin to see Theo in a new light. In truth, he doesn’t work hard enough for the team. When we don’t have possession Theo is more of a β€˜lurker’. He lurks around waiting for one of his team mates to win back possession and he sparks into life. Mesut Ozil learned the hard way but is now one of our 4 top performers.

What makes this situation even more ominous is that these days we aren’t the Arsenal who used to dominate games from minute zero to 90. In a game like against Crystal Palace, Theo’s shortcomings would have been laid bare for all to see. On top of that, he would be playing opposite Alexis whose work rate would put him to shame. When we signed Alexis we signed someone who would take our team to a new level. He is simply an inspirational character. That is why some of our players have taken their games up a notch.

To be fair to Theo, he missed a whole year of football. Arsene Wenger said (and rightly so) that the pre-injury Theo was the best he had ever seen and that is why I am still backing him to regain his place in the starting 11. That said he can’t afford to rest on his laurels. When Theo got injured he left a team that was to some extent dependent on him and his goals, but he returned to find a team with stars everywhere on the field. He no longer can waltz into the team like he used to.

I still believe that Theo will get back to his best and reclaim his place. He will find that doing that isn’t as easy as he may have imagined. And who can complain when everyone in the team is making each other better?

COYG!

Thanks Voetbal International for picture

Thanks Voetbal International for picture

By Marcus

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54 Responses to Theo in Trouble: Would he make Arsenal’s Best-11?

  1. St. Henry says:

    Hey Marcus! Great point & question for the times! πŸ™‚ I agree with your assessment – unless something drastic occurs I suspect that he will be a super sub for this season. Here’s hoping for some great goals at important times from Theo!

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent post Marcus and you might well be right that Theo is under pressure to adjust his game in order to become a regular first team starter. The proof for me is whether he will start against Monaco on Wednesday. Wenger usually plays his strongest possible team in these sort of games and I reckon he kept Theo on the bench in order to have him fresh and uninjured for this crucial game.

    When it comes to the bread and butter stuff of producing assists and goals, Theo is first choice. Do we need him to play more defensively…. possibly yes, but it is not an easy one to answer, as we do not want to waste his big talents which lay in the attacking half. He would definitely start in my best eleven, with Debuchy behind him and Coquelin to help both of them with the defensive side of things. But it is also about balance and I don’t think Wenger is there as yet, and as such Theo might not yet be in his first eleven…

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    What also might be playing a role is Theo’s next contract. He signed for only three and half year, and if I am right, he has now had over two years of it – one in which he was injured. I guess the club will want him to sign a new contract very soon and without too much fuss…. but we don’t know what is going on behind the scene… πŸ˜•

  4. Mr Bond says:

    Thoughtful post. Remember I pointed this out in one of my comments on a previous post. In his absence while injured, the Ox performed admirably well and nailed down the position. When Welbeck came and was playing centrally cause of Olies injury he was equally good. Now mr hold up play is back and banging goals for fun and Welbeck have to go to the wings but the catch is that with all the goal threat that theo has in the locker Welbeck is still preferred and thats because the defensive part of Walcott’s game is almost non existence. Imagine a young Bellerin or chambers under pressure, you would expect theo to help out but he can never do that but a Welbeck will and will do even more. Iv said it and will keep saying it and I remember Gallas when he was with us equally said it although it got him in trouble. Theo is a one dimensional player that an intelligent defender wouldn’t find it difficult marking him out of a game. Sometimes he’s all speed and no end product. Can’t dribble and will not try to get the ball back if he lost possession. Next season is his make or mar season and he’s not getting any younger. He shouldn’t forget that other than the Ox,Welbeck, such young guns like Gnarbry are chapping at the bits for a place in the team and we need no reminder of what that player is capable of doing. I sincerely fear for theo.

  5. vin_unleaded says:

    He ought to get the nod over Danny for the Monaco game in which I wholly expect we’ll go for the jugular in the opening 15-20 minutes, unless wenger’s got something different up his sleeve.

    Cannot wait for Wendnesday – we (arguably) haven’t had this big a game at the Emirates since Bayern last season, atmosphoere should be something special.

    Onwards!

  6. omar says:

    dont forget he was out for a whole year, yes hees match fit now but i still dont think he is completely there yet. The other thing people tend to forget is that when walcott is in the team, 1 of his main jobs is trying to make as many off the balls runs as possible so its not easy to keep doing that and then track back aswell. The next few months are gonna be interesting coz although were doing well lately, i still feel we lack something going forward, have a feeling once theo is fully there, he will make a difference

  7. geoffchase says:

    Interestingly,

    I don’t disagree with the thinking. I suspect that Theo has sometimes, not always, left defenders a little exposed. More hopeful of being set for the quick turnover than the more certain yards. He would certainly better suit in a pressing containment approach on turnovers rather than one that forced him or asked him to run back more.

    Thus, echoing last post, I think we are playing a deeper game as it suits those playing. We will have a higher line with different folks there perhaps. Alexis can play either. Ozil can (enough anyway) now as well. Welbeck as well, which brings one back to square one perhaps for Theo.

    However, a different take to CMs comment on last post and relevant here is that, especially at home, many more teams than 2 years ago, are playing **not* a pressing game, but a disruptive game. I differentiate the two as follows:

    a. Pressing = turnover and fast transition to press/contain the ball as far up the field as possible. Generally, 1 on 1 or 2 on 1, looking to force the turnover on either a long ball prayer having cut off all reasonable passes or marked them closed, or on a poor dribble into a player all other options being closed off. A third equally positive outcome is forcing the pass to keeper who then belts it upfield. All turn the ball back towards us by forcing high risk, low opportunity balls from the other side.

    It’s about controlling shape and getting the ball back to go on offense with good shape.

    b. Disruptive = looks like a pressing game but involves more often 2-1 and 3-1. Goal is not to contain and restrict field space, but to disrupt passing lanes, foul often to disrupt runs and passes, and a greater focus on taking the ball by running many players at the ball handler. When this is done the ball may turn over but you are not in a position with players in shape and well spread to take best, or sometimes any, advantage. Thus, CP often won the ball but had nothing to really do with it. Hence, lots of ball, little or few opportunities really until we shut off a bit at 93 mins after almost getting #3 at 92 mins.

    So, you say, they sound the same. But, the difference is that a Pressing team is trying to control space and win the ball back anywhere. It’s a plan that focuses on organising defence as a form of attack and positioning with structure.

    A Disruptive team cares less about shape on defense and how it leads to attack with good team shape when the ball is turned over. Their goal is to take away the other team’s ability to move the ball regardless of what it does to their own ability to move the ball. It’s a negative form of football.

    It’s also highly successful at times. It is a great equaliser across teams of different abilities. It also creates a scenario when you are at home and know the field and have the crowd, where it is likely the better choice of odds.

    Keep the other team off balance and out of shape / ball and hope that despite having no real shape to go forward yourself much that you can get a quick breakaway or mistake to capitalise on. Then hunker down, disrupt more, and hope to hold on.

    Hence, I think when we play these types of teams, among others, or top teams away, that we seek to have a deep lying defense. That allows shape to be maintained and lets them, or forces them, to come to you. You then have shape to counter from, which we have the squad for.

    Thus, and perhaps this is now post length, we have the squad for it. It is perhaps something that has evolved and perhaps we are finally smart enough to do it instead of going after them like we have so often away against such teams (for which we have been punished).

    Sadly to say, it also means that Mourinho may know something and be quite clever having seen this first or nearly so?

    cheers — jgc

  8. St. Henry says:

    Great point JB about the balance on the right flank! Until you mentioned it, I didn’t consider that an additional factor keeping Theo out presently may be Debuchy’s injury.

  9. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    Great post Marcus..

    Yes.. I had the same feeling as you..
    Never though that welbeck will be so good as RW.. hehe..
    But Walcott will slowly back to his best.. and get his position again.. hehe..

    Just as TA.. I though Wenger kept him fresh for tomorrow fight. Hahaha..
    But maybe also.. because Wenger worried to much about his injured..

    Maybe he will be our supersubs.. with his speed and style.. I still believe he will score a lot.. Hope the best for him..

  10. henrychan says:

    Btw.. I love wenger play 4-1-2-3 or 4-1-4-1 style now.. I love to see Ozil and Cazorla can gel together.. cause I don’t need to left one of them from the team.. hahaha..

    Monaco injured is a very great advantace for us..
    And big win at home will secure our way to the trophy.. hehe..

  11. henrychan says:

    I forgot to say this.. hehe..
    I disagree about the ability of Walcott to defence.. maybe after his comeback from a long injured he now play more safety for his legs.. but before. We saw a lot ogf time walcott do his best on defence also..

  12. Gerry says:

    Another Marcus talking point eh? I am a bit like HT and transfer chat, but I get drawn in anyway.
    πŸ˜€

    You do write a good post though Marcus, which is very easy on the eye. Luckily for me, Mr Bond has said a lot of sense about Walcott and how we plays, so I don’t have to repeat it.
    Geoff, aka jgc, has made the intelligent point about styles of play, and what we can expect from ‘these types of teams’, and thus Walcott’s place in them, so I don’t have anything to add there.
    TA has slipped into the mode of thinking that there is a ‘best eleven’, and Walcott being a fixture therein.
    That I do disagree with, along with your conclusion at the end where you say you hope he will regain ‘HIS place’. Regain a place in the starting eleven perhaps, but I think the days are gone beyond a select few, say a top GK, stellar striker, and an irreplaceable CB or MID?
    The rest are playing for’A’ place.

    However, in Walcott’s defence, there is nothing wrong with a ‘lurker’ if there is an end product?
    Ozil, to a large extent is that sort of player. I have been saying for a while now, we have lacked such outlet balls in tight situations. Also, as someone reminded us the other day, Theo did get injured tracking back, and it was not even a malicious challenge that did for him, so you can understand why AW is not putting him in the firing line where games require it. Indeed, TA said as much in the last post about what Welbeck does that Theo doesn’t.

    The big question is, will the new contract reflect on what Theo can do really well in game that suit, or just shoring things up for a future sale?

    ….back to my fifth reincarnation of a racing database.

  13. Marcus says:

    Thank you all for your comments.
    One thing I forgot to mention is that if & when The Ox & Welbz start finding the back of the net regularly, the odds the situation will become trickier for Theo.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    great comment geoffski….. would have been good material for a ‘jgc post’… πŸ™‚

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry πŸ™‚

    Wenger has of course a best eleven in mind. It does not mean he will not use his squad as well as possible though. When we play the big teams, in the big competitions (PL and CL), he will play his strongest team…. and Theo is in it, and not Welbeck or Ox. That was my point. But the proof is in the pudding of the line up tomorrow. πŸ™‚

    I am surprised at how many see Welbeck or Ox as a threat to Theo. The first two offer hard work and number of skills to the team; Theo might not work as hard but he offers goals and assist. Only he would make it in the first eleven of one of our main competitors.

    I find Welbeck ineffective in many areas of the pitch, including his defensive cover. Lots of running and being busy but very little added value imo. Wenger will have his work cut out with him and I have my doubts whether he will make it in an Arsenal shirt.

  16. Gerry says:

    TA, I’ll have to disagree. I think AW knows about 6, may be 7, who are on that moveable feast known as ‘the first names on the team sheet’. Beyond that, it will depend on current form, state of fitness, position, etc.
    On the ‘I’ll have to think about it’ list:
    GK – I’d like Szczesny. but …
    LB, i’d like Gibbs, but …
    RB, I’d choose Debuchy, but I like both Bellerin and Chambers?
    CB, I like Mertersacker, but? Okay I’ll choose Per.
    CB, I like Koscielny, but? Nah, when he’s fit I’ll choose him.
    DM, I like Arteta, but ‘I’ll choose Coquelin.
    CM, I’d like Wilshere but …
    B2B, I’d like Ramsey, but…
    CAM, I’ll choose Ozil .. but I need Cazorla too
    Striker/Front line, I’ll choose Giroud.
    Wide, I’ll choose Alexis.
    Wide, I’d like Walcott, but….

    I make that 5 1st choices with those available now. Cazorla and Coquelin would make it 7 as things stand at the moment, not necessarily in the longer term?
    When Debuchy is fit,he would be added too

    So going into the CL game, I reckon there are at least 4 positions up for grabs, strangely enough, all out wide?

    Next Q & A?

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Wenger’s likely top game ideal first eleven:

    Sz/Os

    Debuchy – BFG – Koz – Gibbs/Nacho
    —————Coq————————-
    Theo–Ozil—–Santi/JW/AR———–Alexis
    —————Giroud———————-

    So for me there are only three further choices to be made.

  18. Gerry says:

    Except I see 4 options in there? D

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    The decision to make are:
    1. Sz or Os
    2. Santi/JW/AR
    3. Gibbs/Nacho

    And this is for Wenger.. It is was up to me, it is:

    Ospina

    Deb – BFG – Koz – Gibbs
    Coq – Jack
    Theo – Ozil – Alexis
    ——–Giroud———-

    If we can play these eleven fully fit in the CL or FA cup final, I will be a happy bunny. πŸ™‚

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Talking about lurking…. who is reading but not commenting? πŸ™‚

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Oh dear, just realized there is not a single Spaniard in my favourite eleven…. and 17HT is about to wake up……….. 😦 πŸ˜›

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    Indeed, To-tal (accent on the second syllable…) I am lurking…and working on the match preview… It should be headed your way in an hour or so…

    You’ve got no Dutch guys in your first 11 so I guess we’re even… πŸ˜€

    My friend up there in Washington State (Tacoma Tim) wrote a good one if you need to up your appreciation of el de Asturias (Santi Cazorla)… leelo por favor, si tu quieres…

    http://www.7amkickoff.com/2015/santi-cazorla-no-ordinary-second-fiddle/

    Overall I have to agree with both you and Gerry. I think “big” clubs have to have an idea about best 11s for Cup finals and critical matches, but also enough depth to get through the very long season. Now that we’re up into 3rd in the league we can (more or less) start thinking about a bit more rotation–in league matches… As such, we can put out some “best 11s” in these cup matches. Remember, however, that these biggest games are NOT necessarily the ones where we hope to run up the biggest scores. A clean sheet tomorrow night, like one up at OT in the Quarters of the FA Cup are the top priorities. Nil-nils in both of those matches would be perfectly fine results, even if they’re not so exciting for the fans, nor (supposedly) in “our DNA.”

    Which leads me to Theo and Marcus’ interesting post….What he (and others) might be getting at is that Theo is a “luxury” player–a guy who will add goals and buff out scorelines towards greater levels of fun and flattery. Is he a player Wenger will go to in the biggest matches? It’s hard to say… The threat he carries keeps teams with attacking FBs “honest,” perhaps, and I believe it’s simplistic to say that he adds nothing from a defensive perspective. His pace means he can make (chance saving) recovery tackles AND that he can force (chance making) errors up front… On the other hand, it’s hard to picture him dropping deep and dribbling us out of trouble as Santi, Alexis and Ox did so extremely well up there at Man City…Guys with great engines (Ramsey) also are needed when these tactics are employed…

    In the end, I think his slow re-introduction into the squad has a much to do with his contract negotiations as anything else. (The second factor is that our overall fitness and form is very strong in depth right now…) Still, playing him in a tight, tough match over a full 90 right now seems a long-shot. Later in the season (or if we need goals–say in a 2nd leg where the first didn’t go so well…) he might…

    OK, back to the preview…

  23. retsub1 says:

    Ok I admit it I was lurking. I have a lot of faith in Theo, before his injury he was playing really well and his finishing was getting better all the time. I have yet to be convinced by Welbeck, sure he is a worker, but one on one with a keeper give meTheo every time

  24. jnyc says:

    Another great post Marcus. You’ve started a fantastic discussion again.
    I trust arsene to find the right way to use Theo, even if it’s not exactly how we’d all choose. He’s a true luxury. Even despite his injuries, he comes right back into the team and starts putting in goals. No readjustment period.
    How many teams have a player like that, who is not a automatic starter. ?
    Super sub. , starter when u want a change of pace or tactics.
    Thanks Gerry for noting my reminder of how Theo got his injury tracking back. The reason i never forget that is, I’m sure Theo hasn’t forgotten, at least in the back of his mind.
    I have been calling on the team to extend him, because we want to compete with the big boys, so it’s time to pay a little above the odds for somebody, who though he’s not a great all around player, does something as well as almost any winger around. ….. produce. Great teams have to keep players like that..

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    all good points 17HT πŸ™‚

    I assumed you were writing the MPV so did not consider you a lurker hahaha πŸ™‚

    It is that two balls and a seven and the 11 fingers formation addict I was mainly referring to… πŸ™‚

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    All agreed Retsub. In my view, Wenger has four top quality attackers in Giroud, Alexis, Theo and Ozil. They all offer something differently and there is not a single aspect of attacking football that one of them does not possess. Theo’s speed, excellent first touch, lightning quick thinking and responding and deadly finishing are very important to the team.

    So Johnnie, I don’t agree with your luxury player statement, although I can see where you are coming from. In the big games he needs to start imo. πŸ™‚

  27. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA, you’ve got mail… Perhaps F11ngers is no longer interested now that Theo is only English and no longer “Young and English”… (That should get him, I figure… πŸ˜€ …) Where’s James Bond? His name is mentioned in the upcoming preview…

    In truth, I think that this last huge injury Theo suffered was the death blow in our chances for the bigger prizes in the 2nd half of last season. At that point, playing off of both Giroud and Sagna’s knock down balls, he was far more than a luxury guy. This year with Alexis in (and only youngsters at RB) different tactics are being employed. Defending deeper is the mantra and this 4-1-4-1 thing puts a lot more onus on the mids to drop deep and help out with possession (or pressure relief) play. I agree that Welbeck is far from the polished article but he may be just enough the better all round player to get the nod when a clean sheet is the priority. Ox is currently hurt (maybe?…) but HE could be the guy who is the long-term best solution. (Others even suggest Gnabry, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen him actually play it’s hard to tell…) In the end it might come down to economics and the professor may just be playing hard-ball with Theo, saying, “Go on then, just try and make it up at City or United or Liverpool.” IMO, being a “one-club” guy is such a rarity these days that Theo could go down the bigger legend by trying to look a bit less mercenary than say a Wayne Rooney or a Frank Lampard. We’ve stood by through (both) shoulder surgeries and now the ACL; signing a(nother) more modest extension and being a real contributor here at the business end would warm even the cooler gooner hearts, I think…

    So, personnel and tactical changes plus contract stuff might be all that is holding Theo back. He’ll get his chances…Maybe all he really has to do is take them….

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    You could be right, 17ho; it is very hard to argue against any of the above. Will check mail after the Oiler-barca clash. Cheers buddy πŸ™‚

  29. James Bond says:

    am here me amigo and looking forward to the next mouth watering preview already ; )

    sorry been away celebrating the birthday week and weekend !

    am back with a bang now though .

    Thanks Marcus but I disagree entirely with you since every one here is happy to agree with most of what you have written .

    I don’t want Theo to be like Sanchez, I don’t want Theo to work his socks of like DW e.t.c e.t.c

    I want Theo to be Theo and offer us those amazing well timed runs .

    in this team, there is only one player – I rate as being a BIG MATCH player and that’s Theo.

    if you don’t believe me then look up his stats and goals against the likes of chelsea, man city, liverpool, even spuds – the lad offers us something different which no other player in this squad offers us, not the OX’s not the Welbeck’s not the Alexis’s

    however, before he got injured, he was properly running back, supporting and helping his FB aka Sagna and even putting in those tackles, hence he got injured ?

    so all this criticism of him is unfair and I would keep him the way he is as still has that ability to run at defenders and beyond – race past them and time his run to perfection – he be the catalyst for Ozil and Giroud .

    he’s already scored 3 goals after returning and I bet he will score the 4th one tomorrow πŸ™‚

    also, Skipper made a valid point about who AW selects tomorrow be a big indication of the best starting 11 in AW’s mind – hence don’t be surprised if Rosicky, Theo and Ospina are in the starting 11 or least Theo and Ospina .

  30. James Bond says:

    saying that, RA is your man for this post – he will probably come soon and say that Theo isn’t Arsenal quality and is a liability or along them lines !

    where is Stevie wonders these days

    good to see Henry back πŸ™‚ hope the flooding and what not is all a thing of the past and everything is back to normal ?

  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    I hate to say this…especially to all those Gooners over all those years who wondered why Vincent Kompany wasn’t at Arsenal… but I think we’re down to two English teams remaining in the CL…

    Early days of course and anything can happen, but that was a bad mistake well punished by Suarez who didn’t even have to use his teeth…

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    2-nil Suarez..All work done by Jordi Alba, though Messi had a fine pre-assist…

    Dortmund have an away goal at Juve, however… So that one is still on…

  33. James Bond says:

    yep, the tie is already over for me – bye bye man city .

    bitey has done well but both the goals, the defense was at fault .

  34. James Bond says:

    dzeko is a very selfish player tonight – Bony needs to be given a run out

  35. James Bond says:

    GOAL

    Juventus 2-1 Borussia Dortmund – Alvaro Morata (43 mins)
    Posted at
    Tevez to Pogba to Morata – goal. Who needs possession? Dortmund were pulled apart like a Christmas cracker. Tevez, bull-like, feeds Pogba in a wide area and his left-foot cross is low and tantalisingly too good for the away defence as Morata applies a side-foot finish from 10 yards. He is unmarked but onsid

  36. 17highburyterrace says:

    Indeed, Middle Eastlands not much of a fortress these days… If Arsenal, Boro and Barca can keep clean sheets up there, how tough can it be?… πŸ˜€

    Birthday festivities, 007? Pin the tale on the Szcz-xy girl who popped out of the cake?

    Half-time and Juve have gotten a 2nd…The several minutes of that one I watched looked like Dortmund had their pressing game working… Guess I gotta watch the highlights…

  37. James Bond says:

    it involved a few secret missions, saving the world and serving her majesty to the best of my abilities @ Me Amigo

    how are you and the family doing ? has it been snowing thanks to fcuking Sczny or is it bright sunshine with clear blue skies due to fcuking sczny ?

    yeah, Juve are a quality team and the scoreline doesn’t surprise me one bit .

    they are probably the only italian team that I see making the last 8 along with the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea , of course .

    in hindsight, it would have been better for man city not to have qualified for the CL and instead have been part of the Europa league .

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sounds like a good B-day, 007…I had one earlier this month but they’re not such happy occasions when you get up to my level…

    Bright blue skies out here today…and we’re far enough along that we might as well move into full on Spring weather and call the skiing a total loss… Of course, it will make for even more of the extreme drought conditions in the rest of the state and a frightful fire season. So, just like with Sir Chez, we must take the bad with the good… πŸ˜€

    Pogba and Tevez are a pair of players they might want back in Manchester…And, if you include guys who’ve done time in “Greater Manchester,” the likes of Mascherano, Pique and the Toothy guy might be enjoyed as well…

  39. James Bond says:

    get in – Kun Aguero

    let’s score another one now, come on man ciiiiiiiiiiiityyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy we can do this !!!

  40. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gael Clichy takes the ball off Messi and City are on the board… Get another and all they have to do is win in Barca…

  41. James Bond says:

    I know what you mean – am probably going to be suffering from mid-life crisis shortly πŸ˜€

    good point about all the ex manc player – what team that could have been ehhh

    red card = Clichy = bye bye man city = me gutted .

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oops…Our man Clichy doesn’t do quite so well this time…2nd yellow and he’s off…

    Not looking good for your team there, 007…

    Holding the 1-2 is probably the objective now…

  43. geoffchase says:

    TA

    Happy to have it be a post (from well above) as no one has commented on it yet anyway! πŸ™‚

    With 2 away goals, Barca are home happy even with the tie, but I think they will hold or even get a third.. Call it an extra sensory insight (and if I am wrong, call it JBs fault, for one example) πŸ˜›

    I think AW like every manager has best 11s but they vary on prior game too. I think we will see TR as he tends to rise for such games also, and thus we saw him little over the weekend, which was business like (see above if TA doesn’t make it a post some time).

    There are players for winning ugly games, and those for big games where everyone is there to play. Unless Chelsea are playing in which there is always at least one team who doesn’t … πŸ™‚

    Along that line then, you tune the best 11 for the situation. CP was a good example. We had the right tactics for the team and disruptive game. The big error, if any, was that the most important player on the field, was… well, … the field… Just like a disruptive game, a poor pitch or very poor weather is a great leveller…

    Finally, as for Juve and BD, I don’t care as much for BD as they are now out of relegation. Would have been wild to see them, as they are clearly talented enough, win the CL and be relegated in one go… But, now they appear safe in the bundesliga, so I root for them less. With all due apologies for those for whom they are a (obviously?) second favourite team… πŸ™‚

    cheers — jgc

  44. James Bond says:

    the bench warmer aka Sagna comes on as a sub – forgot he even played football at all to be honest .

    what a shame .

    what a stroke of genius by AW in getting rid of TV5 and also Sagna to an extent .

  45. geoffchase says:

    I remember Sagna, he played at Arsenal with that Belgian guy.. whatshisname… At Barca, no?

    Further stories of better than all at Arsenal, not so much elsewhere…

  46. James Bond says:

    unlike me, you have a good memory @ Professor

    πŸ˜‰

  47. James Bond says:

    looking at Bony, who has just come on as a sub – he is offering nothing in terms of working hard for the team

    and Aguero who has been playing since the very beginning of the game is still chasing all the lost causes – that’s what you call passion and commitment and spirit !

    30 million = paid 20 million too many for Bony , I reckon .

  48. James Bond says:

    penalty MESSI

    hart savesssssssssssssssssssss

    wohooooooooooo oooooooooooooooo

    man city are still in it ahahhahahahaha
    2-1 FT

  49. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oh no…15 seconds from time, Zabaleta gives up a pen, but Hart blocks and Messi gags the headed rebound. So City have have a hope with the 1-2 result… So (only) a two goal win will be needed at Barca… Juve-Dortmund well poised at 2-1…

    Sorry 007, but I couldn’t agree with you less re: Sagna… I’m positive we’ll come up short in all comps (FA Cup final is 13 days away at OT, which is our only chance…) and playing a teenager at RB will be part of the story. Debuchy was a good buy but between his injuries and no proper 3rd CB we dropped a good 6-12 points in the league w/o Bac…

    Long term, given the economics of Stingy Stan, I cannot begrudge Bac his Alexis, Ozil, Wenger sized money… Good move? I don’t think so, but he was Ospina-esque (a personal favorite) for me… Injured Verms, for 15 million, however, has to have ALL the accountants feeling good….

  50. James Bond says:

    that’s fine, you can disagree with me all you want and be utterly positive about us winning no trophies this season .

    me, on the other hand, still believes that we will win the CL and the FA cup this season πŸ‘Ώ

    you make it sound as if both of Debuchy’s injuries were his own doings ? and remember Sagna also was out for more or less 2 years in the last 40 odd months due to injuries – such things happen .

    am disappointed that he left us and is now a bit part player, make no mistake but then again, when you decide to sleep with the devil (sheikh ) then you go the Adebawhore route for me as well as the Na$ri one . was it a footballing decision ? you tell me .

    but before telling me, give us a nudge to show that you are going to tell me and this way, I can go grab me self some popcorn !

  51. James Bond says:

    can’t argue with the personal favourite touch though, we were all very fond of his Mrs. you and glics more so than the rest πŸ‘Ώ

  52. jnyc says:

    Im a fan of Theo, want him around and playing alot, but we are so fortunate to have such great options now, that we can go for a little different skill set or attributes on occasions. It could be for work rate, size , balance with the rest of the available squad as many mentioned.
    thats what i mean by luxury player… we can use him as we see fit, which for me would be more often than not, especially including impact subs. This way also, we are not too dependant on him, and the alternatives can fill right in if hes not available.

  53. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey, I don’t want to argue (too much)… πŸ˜€

    IMO it’s definitely a football decision on the part of Bac…He can extend his career and (by all logic) have a better chance at winning stuff with his new, richer club. In addition he’s gonna make an extra 50,000 pounds per week for an extra year than we were going to give him. He’s tarnished himself in the view of Arsenal fans, of course. Please note, up above, where I suggest that Theo should think long and hard before he does likewise… To me, Sagna (in his position) is a far more “valuable” player than Ade or Nasri (or Theo)… Most players tend to move from club to club as opportunities present themselves. It’s not quite the way supporters want them to do things, but then again how many supporters have had to “give up” on their local or childhood club to enjoy the bigger exploits of their “current” club…

    I’m hopeful that we win trophies and I think we’ve got a great squad assembled by a great manager which will punch way above its economic weight. Still, when it comes to raw economic power we are clearly playing for 4th in English football. Unless things change–including owner investment level–we need more than our share of luck to beat the teams above us. Match to match and season to season, of course, anything can (and will, sometimes…) happen. That’s why they play the games. I know it’s a cynical view but it’s also one which lowers my expectations and thus my disappointments when our fortunes (and misfortunes) normalize…

    Who knows, if we play a good match up at OT (and then another one in May…), beat Monaco over the two legs and keep getting good draws…anything’s possible. The Oilergarchs might even stumble some in the league… One at a time, of course…

    πŸ˜€

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post πŸ™‚

    17HT has done it again and is saving you Β£0.80 or more from not having to buy a paper πŸ˜‰

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