Santi and Coquelin in DM-pivot, Welbeck and Alexis on wings: Line-up & Preview

Arsenal-AS Monaco  

Champions League Round of 16, First Leg

No Changes from Saturday?

The past and present are coming together for Arsene on Wednesday night.

The past and present are coming together for Arsene on Wednesday night.

There’s something about being a supporter of Arsenal which is strange.  Maybe it’s the same with all football clubs and all teams in all sports, but I would doubt it.  For Gooners, there’s the game, but there’s also what it means.

Nothing means more than the elimination rounds of the Champions League, the biggest trophy (literally and figuratively) in all of club football.   Arsene Wenger, the longest serving manager of an English club by approximately a factor of 10, has gotten his teams to this stage of the competition every year since the second group stage was eliminated.  It’s a feat which represents an amazing consistency and, as they say, if you’re not in it, you can’t win it.  Still, as so many of Wenger’s detractors might argue, we haven’t won it, so what’s so great about always being in a competition we DON’T actually win?

The answer, of course, is money, but that’s a topic that (ideally) will not be on our minds as our supporters take up their (most-expensive-in-all-of-Europe) seats to watch their team play AS Monaco tomorrow night.  Those same fans will know that just about anything can happen.  Four years ago, in this same round and in memorable fashion, Arsenal came from a goal down to beat FC Barcelona on the strength of goals from Robin Van Persie and Andrey Arshavin.  More recently, in the group stage last Autumn, Arsenal blew a three goal lead vs Anderlecht FC, and, with it, the chance to win our group.   “Anything at Arsenal,” (or it’s converse, “No Such Thing as a Sure Thing…”) maybe ought to be our mantra…

Drawing that latter match meant coming 2nd in the group and a possibility of drawing the three tough Spanish clubs (Atletico and Real Madrid and Barca) or Bayern Munich (for the third straight season) or AS Monaco–clearly the most promising option for progressing further.  For once, a bit of luck came our way.

Ah, Monaco…the tiny principality on the French Riviera which conjures up so many images.  For people from the States like me (of a certain age) it will always be the home of actress Grace Kelly who became Princess and later died tragically in a car crash.   Marry that to the image of James Bond playing Baccarat at the Monte Carlo casino and the romance of the tiny tax haven is extreme.  It is this tax-exempt element which has allowed the football club to punch above its weight.  It was a launching point for our manager some 25+ years ago and for one of our greatest players, Thierry Henry, not long after Wenger had departed.  More recently, it has been a gathering place for some very talented (and expensive) footballers.  This past Summer saw the exodus of Colombians Rademal Falcao and James Rodriguez, but Monaco still boasts pedigreed players like Joao Motinho, Ricardo Carvalho, Jeremy Toulalan, Martin Steklenburg and Dimitar Berbatov.  These players are attracted by the relatively higher salaries (or amounts they–and their agents–can keep due to lower taxes) as are younger prospects like French U-21 sensation (and the defensive midfielder many wanted at Arsenal) Geoffrey Kongdogbia, Portuguese mid-fielder Bernado Silva and the exciting Belgian speedster Yannick Ferriera Carrasco.

With players like these, Monaco didn’t win their group with luck alone.  And, even though manager Leonardo Jardim insists his team is not all about defending, surely they will set out to limit our offensive threat and play on the break.  Why shouldn’t they, given that they came only a single goal shy of keeping a perfect record of 6 clean sheets during the group stage of this tournament and are unbeaten in their last 17 matches in all competitions having conceded only 3 goals?   In their most recent match, despite playing with only 10 men for over half the match, they kept a clean sheet and prevailed over Cote d’Azur rival Nice, poaching the winning goal with pressing from the front.

Breaking down such a formidable opponent will not be easy even if Monaco may have to shift personnel due to injury and the suspension of Toulalan.

Arsenal, by contrast, in recent matches at least, have been scoring early and then defending those leads with somewhat mixed results.  In our own league the clean sheets have dried up and a one goal lead at Spurs was not enough.   Against teams closer to the bottom, Leicester City and Crystal Palace, scoring twice in the first half has been a recipe for success even if we haven’t appeared fully convincing defending those leads and seeing them halved as the matches wore on.

Perhaps the best blueprint for this match was the last time we played against a team from another league.  Against Middlesbrough, leaders of the English second division, Arsenal played its most beguiling football of the season and two goals (scored in the space of just a couple of minutes) were enough to add punctuation to a pattern of dominance.  Our reward is a big quarterfinal match-up at Manchester United in the FA Cup.  Monaco tomorrow night represents a big step up in competition, but with the away goals rule in place (a clean sheet being the first priority for the home side) it may also suggest how Arsenal wants to approach our play in these cup ties.  A platform of strong defence, aggressive play from our full backs and dominance in midfield (to carry into return legs) will be the priorities.  As they say, you cannot win the tie in the first leg, but you sure can lose it…

Fitness news suggests all who played at Crystal Palace are available for this one and there are no new injuries in the squad, except that Jack Wilshere (an unused sub at the weekend) will be “short” for this match, even though “he did not have a setback.”  Hmmm.  Amongst the several languages Wenger speaks, “injury news” is the only one which does not have a translation dictionary.  My guess is that Wenger will not change much, if at all, from the weekend.  Here then is my best guess at the line-up.

arse v Monaco Feb 15

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

Keen observers (those still reading…) will note that this is an unchanged line-up from Saturday with the only change being Flamini in Wilshere’s bench seat.  Boring. boring Arsene…

Of course, what (the f**k) do I know?  I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Theo out there instead of Welbeck or Gibbs (who was very effective, especially in attack vs Boro) in at left back.  Has Hector Bellerin been dropped or is he truly carrying a knock?  His experience with continental referee styles might be helpful.  There was some suggestion that Szczesny might come back in for Ospina, who seemed hurt in the Palace match before carrying on, but I cannot see that happening as long as the Colombian does enough to keep winning matches.   We have matches coming thick and fast (after this we play Everton on Sunday then QPR next Wednesday), but exerting full dominance in this home leg, including, ideally a clean sheet plus a goal or two, might allow for more rotation in the future.

What do you guys think?  Will Wenger go for the same line-up or is this a chance to ring in the changes?

Regardless, this is as fine a chance to get off on the correct foot in the elimination rounds as we’ve had in several seasons.  The squad seems healthier, deeper and stronger even if the names of the clubs in the final 16 appear as daunting as ever.

Can we get past this round (for the first time in 5 seasons)?  How far can we go in the tournament?  So many questions and the answers start tomorrow night.  Go on, then…

By 17highburyterrace

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122 Responses to Santi and Coquelin in DM-pivot, Welbeck and Alexis on wings: Line-up & Preview

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Fantastic stuff, 17HT 🙂

    I am loving the background info on Monaco and yes they are very strong defensively. When we played them this season’s Emirates Cup we also did not manage to score against them. From what I have seen they are the Southampton – or maybe this season’s Spuds – of France. Very solid, disciplined and organised with a tendency towards controlling games and absorbing pressure naturally.

    They are fourth in the league, eleven points behind the leaders (Lyon), and both concede and score a low number of goals: played 25, won 12, drew 7 and lost 6, with 26 goals scored and 19 conceded, so just a small goal difference of seven goals. They are the lowest goal scorers in the French League top-10, and together with PSG they have conceded the lowest number of goals.

    I reckon our best strategy here is to attack with a high tempo and reasonably high line: a bit like the Boro game. Aim to get one or two goals as soon as possible and then sit back a bit and consolidate/playing on the counter.

    You are good at line ups so I am not going to argue too much with you. I expect Theo to start, as we need his energy and speed, and maybe Paulista gets the nod over one of our CBs… I also reckon Gibbs will start.

  2. retsub1 says:

    Great write up 17ht certainly sets the tone. I think you are pretty close with your team, although I expect to see Theo in for Welbeck.

    As you point out we seem to be quite capable of getting ahead lately, but then seem not sure whether to stick or twist. Not sure if that is coming from Wenger or confusion/lack of leadership on the field. If ever the time is to get it right, this is it, in nearly all of our recent games the other side has scored last. It mustn’t happen tomorrow

  3. St. Henry says:

    Nice write-up 17 and a good warmup for the game! 🙂

    Despite what some might say, I am always really happy that we are in a position to be excited about the UCL at this time of the year (as opposed to a certain team in red up north who were playing with kids as they are not in the tournament 🙂 ). It is a fascinating matchup as you point out.

    In many ways, Monaco are almost a throwback to the Chelsea teams of days past (without as much attacking punch) in terms of how difficult it is to score against them. However, my grounds for optimism is based on their group being Benfica, Zenit, and Bayer. I would like to think that Arsenal possess a much longer and stronger sting than those three (or the Ligue 1 teams Monaca plays against). Hopefully tomorrow will prove this to be the case! 🙂

    But, given the speed they possess on the flanks I would not be surprised to see Bellerin (think he made it to the squad and is not injured) in place of Chambers. It is a tossup between Monreal and Gibbs. On form Monreal should make it, on attacking potential Gibbs would. In relation to Marcus’ post yesterday, this is a great game for Theo to come on as a sub and score one. Here’s to seeing a happy post from everyone tomorrow 🙂

  4. 17highburyterrace says:

    Late night over there but thanks for the comments…Good stuff TA on the full Monaco record… Indeed, St. H., their CL group looks a bit tamer than some…

    It seems the questions about our line-up are in the spots I mentioned…Theo/DW and the fullbacks. We could very well be setting up a bit of a home and away sort of rotation in those positions. As such, Gibbs and Theo in seem very good calls…

    TA, I’m not quite sure we’re ready to break up the CB pairing just yet. So far Gabby has come in for the BFG in his one start but I think the German still does the crest exchange and gets us standing just right for the silly anthem… Since he arrived we haven’t heard a word about Achilles or Koscielny or tendons…If that’s what it took to keep Kos fit, then it was money well spent, I say… Is there a chance that Gabby could play at RB if we wanted to set up in a super-defensive manner?… If Gibbs reprised his attacking best (allowing Ozil, Santi and Alexis to pop up anywhere or be our CAMs)… we might come pretty close to what we had vs Boro in the domestic cup.

    Hopefully Gerry and any other French Football ‘ficianados will chime in with their thoughts on the opponent…

    Night night…

  5. Gunner4lfie says:

    I im a fan of Welbeck and Walcott, im not a fan of the Defensive scheme vs a Defensive team,
    So Walcott should replace Welbx and in my opinion Rosiscky in for Carzola just for burst of speed and change. Rosi still goes box to box!

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    You are probably right 17. If we play a high line, it could be better to play Gabriel nxt to Koz, is my thinking…

  7. Gerry says:

    Ha ha, HT, on that last point. I am still to see the last half hour of our ‘Palace game, and have seen very little of ‘my’ French side ASSE, so I cannot add much to what has been said by you and TA. Maybe Alcide can, as he has a broader view of Lique 1?

    Another fine preview HT, although, as with others, I don’t think you have your 11 of 11 this time.

    I think both Bellerin and Gibbs will more likely play, even more so than Theo. And that comes back to the last post of having the work rate of Welbeck rather than the flair of Walcott?
    Unless they have been practising with 3 CB’s, I think it unlikely that Gabriel will start at RB, or even come off the bench in that position. If he plays anywhere, it will be alongside Coquelin, or replacing Per?

    I also think TA’s comparison with Southampton and Monaco is about as close as you will get from our league. Both lost their big stars and had to regroup mainly with a mixture of youth and experience. Although if you put Jose M in charge of Southampton the likeness would be pretty close. They will miss Toulalan though, but the aforementioned Kondogbia is a big strong unit and may have a bigger role to play now. They are not without a threat going forward, as the sly old Berbs can wake up at any moment with a touch of brilliance.

    And I am sorry if I sound pessimistic if I say, the team that played Boro’ will struggle to dominate here. The size and surface of our pitch suits our game better, but even so, our transition is not sharp enough to catch a team like this out. We need the dynamism of the Ox.
    It would not surprise me if he makes the squad, and the bench, and may be the ‘surprise’ package in the starting team, ahead of Welbeck. Without him or Rosicky I do not see us having many opportunities to score, and just now the magic of Alexis has just dipped since he has been doing the defensive stuff. A solid 4-4-1-1 would look more of a threat?
    My choice would be the double DM of Coquelin and Gabriel, with Santi and Ox as the springboard to attack, and Mesut behind Alexis.
    Too radical I know, but the Giro would be kept for when we have done the damage, before half time. However, if we go into this with the ‘same as’ team, I fear a 0-1 result.

    Not that we would be out of it, as we would have to be bolder in the second leg, and they will remain the same. 2 goals there changes everything?

  8. geoffchase says:


    Reasonable calls I think. I like an attacking lineup and this is also little different than what faced City, so also… I think we come hard and see what comes.

    If I had to quibble, I’d ask about their right wing. Nacho was a little overmatched vs the speed of Zaha. Not overtly, theo-like pacey and on form he will be fine. Else, Gibbs…

    Per my last thoughts that ,as or may not reach post status(?) 🙂 … Monaco will play defensively but not disruptively, which, like Boro, favors us, especially at home… All my opinion of course..

    Cheers — jgc

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Geoff, do you want to polish it up a bit, or shall I use it at it is?

  10. geoffchase says:


    I can polish my time tomorrow morning briefly .. Else as-is is fine… Email me! Perhaps it’ll wait depending on outcome over my night, early morning?

    Cheers — jgc

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    I prefer you polishing it up, Geoff, as if is a bit raw. We need a guitar solo! 🙂

  12. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. Great post 17ht..
    If we want to had some fast goal.. I think Gibbs and Bellerin must play..
    But If we consider to be more aware about fast counter attack.. than Chamber and Monreal must play..

    I agree with your team 17ht..
    Although I hate to bench Walcott.. hehe..
    And I have a feelling that Paulista will play in second half to replace Ozil if we win 2-0 goals in first half.. hehe..
    And all our 5 CB.. will keep the save from any monaco forward.. hehe..

  13. steve says:

    i’ve been away from the internet since our last match and see i have missed the oportunity to comment on some excellent posts, i am glad i am back in time for this gem of a match preview – you’re spoiling us with these amazing previews HT, i can’t see you keeping up this kind of quality every time lol.

    I don’t know too much about Monaco but i keep my theory about Arsenal’s performances being based heavily on the opponents approach to the game. With the starting XI we are using atm if faced with High, intense, tenacious pressing we will look average and they will look dangerous, given time and space on the ball and we will no doubt look sublime. (i see Cockie has joined me in this theory after reading an excellent comment he made in one of the previous posts that mirrors my exact thoughts on the subject)
    Since i know very little about Monaco’s style of play i will leave it up to the others to predict how this one may play out, i just hope they stand off us and give us time and space to play our football, something like how Man City played against Barca last night would be lovely 🙂

    Considering my inability to judge many of the elements involved in this match i am instead going to head off on a tangent and bring up a point i have been thinking about this week after hearing a few more returnees are back in town 🙂

    When we have a busy fixture schedule, games coming thick and fast, in many different competitions, do we nearly have the crazy situation within our squad atm where we could play one game on, one game off?



    I’m not sure how far along Gnabry is regarding match fitness etc but in any case i could easily see Rosicky taking up that CAM spot and OX taking up his familiar role on the wing. There is a drop in class don’t get me wrong but not such a dramatic one that i couldn’t see us getting a result against easier opposition in between big games.
    now that’s what i would call an ability to rotate lol
    nearly every player rested at the weekend for example so a pinnacle CL match mid week can be handled by fresh legs – awesome.

    I don’t think we are there just yet but we are not too far away!!

    What do you guys think?

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to see you back 11F and some fine formations! 🙂

  15. steve says:

    fine enough to play one game on one game off during busy fixture schedules TA?
    I’m thinking by the start of next season we could realistically do this with the squad we have, just need another DM.
    What do you think matey?

  16. Mycal says:

    like the line up – would pick either walcott or welbeck on wing, and play the other on the weekend (probably theo). Re: BFG – i get the idea of playing faster centerbacks when using a high line, but not when they dont speak english. stick with das german

    at home to Monaco in CL 16…what’s the point of being timid – if we cant open it up on the first leg and put THESE guys down early, we should just pack it in and focus on FA cup and 3rd (or….2nd).

    Go for the kill early. send a message.

  17. The Cockie Monster says:

    Thanks for another superb pre-match, 17 Sillyballs !. 😆

    This should be a walk in the park !…Monaco are not a pressing team !….fcuk me, they have Berbatov !, this guy does not press, he has his own fcuking dry cleaning business in London paying his Romanian illegal cousins with Heather and Rabbit instead of £££`s !.
    These fcuking playboy tax dodgers would have only been away from a sunny ….not the bus, but the fcuking Yacht !. So this is either going to be a hammering for them or they will sneak a goal on a jet ski counter attack !.

    Here`s some info which backs me up !.
    They topped their group with these stats.
    P6 W3 D2 L1 Goals For 4…….Goals Conceded 1…….Yes !!….4 fcuking goals and 2 of them came in the last game !…..they don`t pay much tax and they don’t score many goals !.

    In the league they are similar to us ( apart from their goal scoring )

    Monaco P25 W12 D7 L6 Goals 26/19 Points 43 Position 4th
    Arsenal P26 W14 D6 L6 Goals 49/29 Points 48 Position 3rd

    After the sedation has worn off and I awake at about 21:45 pm, I expect to stagger from behind my Sofa and look between my fingers at the result on the BBC text and see we have won ……………….who said I`m a doomer ?. hahaha

  18. steve says:

    not a pressing team you say Cockie – a see a win for us then, unless like you say they sneak a break away goal.
    Happy days 🙂

  19. The Cockie Monster says:

    Should be………….These fcuking playboy tax dodgers would have only been away from a sunny casino patio, lounging in their speedos drinking martinis about two hours before kick off…….actually they will still be by the pool whilst I`m typing !……these wont park the bus…..but park the fcuking Yacht !…….bloody typing is crap and I accidently removed half my comment !. hahaha

  20. The Cockie Monster says:

    A cold night in north London will kill these suntanned poncey bastards, Stev11e !….they wont be up for it !.

  21. geoffchase says:

    CM et al

    We will see. Low goals for says that they are not full of firepower and/or able to counter well. Low against then says well organized. Ozil and Santi et al vs the unbreakable wall. Walls always break given enuff pressure so can we supply it? Suspect so… We will see..

    I’m off for an early run and then some work before polishing for TA.

    I’ll be hiding behind my sofa at work and gently peeking every so often at the scoreline.

    Cheers — jgc

  22. jnyc says:

    Good one 17. I expect bellerin to start if fit. I think he had won the job over chambers. I much prefer him anyway. Same for monreal, i think he also is Arsenes first choice for the time being, and i think he’s been one of our best performers lately, if slightly underappreciated..
    Arsene might go conservative with welbeck, over theo, but with theo rested and ready, i might go with him.
    And as some of you have noted, the look of the bench should be interesting.
    Jack, ox? It will be nice to see them playing soon.

  23. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Fellas, busy day out here and I actually will have to watch the 2nd half on “tape delay.” 😦 I guess my lifestyle isn’t quite as dialed in as I thought… 😀

    Good to see you back F11ngers but I have no idea what you’re talking about. Playing full new 11s (or nearly…) from one match to the next seems a recipe for disaster and certainly nothing I’ve ever seen (from any club) in my time watching the footy… Creative and different, however… And I always must remember that you aren’t after results…

    Regarding the match at hand… Stingy, stingy seems the thing–for both teams and it could be a real chess match. I’d like to think we have enough trickery and between quick passing, a dribble by a Santi or an Alexis and then those 1-2s off Giroud we’ll make some good chances. We’ll see, I guess. Between their stingy defense, the away goals rule and the (often tetchy) Euro refs, the whole tie could turn on very fine margins. On the other hand, their fitness/suspension troubles at the back could open the door for us to score multiple goals… “Hard saying, not knowing,” as the clever types around here like to say…

    OK, back at match time…

  24. steve says:

    HT, its not too crazy, in the past we have often made massive changes to the team whist in the middle of a busy fixture schedule, especially if competing in different tournaments (Carling cup, FA cup, CL, EPL). My point is that we are closer than ever to having an almost like for like first team and subs team, definitely not there yet but closer than ever. It would be nice to know that the tactic of making wholesale changes to most of the team but overworking a selected few could eventually evolve into simply playing an entirely fresh team. Don’t forget this is only during busy periods when we sometimes play as many as three games in a week etc.
    It is an “outside the box” way of approaching the situation i give you that but very doable and nearly employed in some situations already.

    I do find it very sad however that you feel the second tier team couldn’t get the results against easier competition, i have a lot more faith in that team than it seems you do and i hope for once you are very wrong in your assessment there bud.

  25. The Cockie Monster says:

    Some scary pace in team and on bench !….probably lose but win the….100M, 200M and 4X100M relay !

    Arsenal starting XI: Ospina; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck; Giroud.
    Substitutes: Szczesny, Gabriel, Monreal, Chambers, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow Wengerleaves Theo on the bench AGAIN! I am shocked.

  27. The Cockie Monster says:

    50 Tirades of Szcz/Bond Gay

    JB : ” The Bottom…smack it harder Wojciech !….harder…harder ! ”

    Szcz : ” I`m smacking it as hard as I can JB, my hands are throbbing ! ”

    JB : ” Use some cream and jerk it as you smack ! ”

    Szcz : ” Yes ! yes !… I feel something happening !…..It`s no good,, I cant get anything out of it !”

    JB : ” You Twat Szczesny !….fcuking Brentford Goalie of the decade and you cant get last bit of Ketchup out of the bottle ! “

  28. 17highburyterrace says:

    Indeed, I’m a bit shocked Theo doesn’t get the start (even if I picked DW instead)… I got the FBs wrong but otherwise same team as at Palace…

    F11ngers, It’s not that the deeper squad is poor or wouldn’t get some results, just that, IMO, you’ve got to give players game time together. If we’re solid with one 11 why would we insist a 2nd 11 try and match them? Instead, keep working players into the main group. Competition for places and periods of rest as nobody can perform at their best for 8 months in a row… That’s what I think we–and every other club–are attempting…

    We have kickoff…

  29. AB says:

    Evening HT. I’m following on the radio only. Sounds like we started really brightly, but Monaco seem pretty calm. Not hearing much of Ozil or Sanchez at the moment?

  30. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey AB…We did start well but now we seem to be struggling…No pace when we’ve got the ball and we don’t have it that much…Defending everything coming our way, however…

    Game’s a bit open for my taste and they seem able to break up most of our approach play…

    Welbs holding his ankle before our corner…

  31. AB says:

    Yup, sounds like it has switched over in terms of confidence and dominance. Ozil not getting into the game yet?

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil’s popping up in some very good spots but touches aren’t coming off for him…Same could be said about Alexis and Welbs. Giroud had one nice 1-2 early but is also struggling…

    Kongdogbia is disrupting a lot of our play in the middle and looking very good…

    Argh…another poor giveaway from a fine position from Messy…

  33. AB says:

    Kondogbia, one of the (many) potential DMs that we have been linked with. A good chance to test if he might be what we need…

  34. AB says:

    Grief. It just felt inevitable. Hope it spurs us on now.

  35. 17highburyterrace says:


    Kongdogbia from distance…deflected in by Mertesacker…. Now we’ve got trouble…

  36. AB says:

    We have a lot on the bench to work with. But we need some real spirit from the team now.

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    The game’s just too open with Monaco happy to control the space…They’re inviting 10 yard passes and we’re only making 2 out of every 3… Le Coq rash after a poor touch gets a yellow…

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    Spirit might help but bringing our players closer together and working some over-loads seems needed… Gotta work it out at half-time, I fear…

    Ah geez…We’ve got an Ozil-basher going on and on about the body language, blah, blah, blah…

    Welbs draws a FK and a yellow down the touchline…

  39. AB says:

    By the sound of it they have had to work hard We should hope they tire a bit in the second half, when we have pace and drive to bring in – Ox, Theo and Ros. I’m hoping anyhow……. I still feel pretty hopeful that we can come out of this game up.

  40. retsub1 says:

    Well I think it’s fair to say we got what we deserved. Some of our players seem to think we can just turn up and win without trying to hard. Unless we change up a gear this is heading for a disaster.

    If it doesn’t turn around in the first ten of the 2nd half we need to introduce some players who are prepared to give it a go (Rosicky, Ox and theo.

  41. steve says:

    well its half time and so far as i see it Monaco have shown absolutely nothing and we have somehow managed to show even less pmsl, what an empty nothing game. Very strange tempo and build up play from us i hope it changes in the second half or i might have to rely on you lot to tell me what happened because i will be away in the land of nod.
    One thing is for sure for those that watch the footy in the UK, Gary Neville must rate Ozil as poorly as i do after listening to his comments all game lol.

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    I dunno AB, Monaco look very comfortable and the pace of our play seems very slow… Personally, I think we have to try and drag them out of position by playing shorter, tighter passes… They look like the sort of team who will not fall for such ideas, however… As such, we’ve got real trouble here…

    The commentators are all over Ozil but everybody’s been poor…Some better touches from Bellerin would have really been helpful. Too many attacks just ending in poo…

    I gotta go pick up my boy and then watch the 2nd half on tape… Gotta hope for a real adjustment, in both attitude and tactics here in the dressing room…

    See ya…

  43. henrychan says:

    I think we need some change now..
    Walcott for Welbeck and Ox for Rosicky for Ozil..

  44. James Bond says:

    we need theo

  45. AB says:

    Cheers HT. Catch up another time – hopefully after a good comeback in this game!

  46. AB says:

    Grief. Now we are up against it, no doubt. We’ve missed too many chances here.

  47. James Bond says:

    0-2 berbatove

    Per = shocking.

    not winning the CL playing like that . woeful defending and reading of the game .

    this is a chelsea vs arsenal game .

  48. James Bond says:

    still plenty of time left to win this 3-2 though .

  49. AB says:

    Theo time

  50. henrychan says:

    Now I think Giroud must change..

  51. James Bond says:


  52. AB says:

    Gird seems unable to hit anything tonight

  53. retsub1 says:

    Three times its hit Giroud on the wrong leg

  54. James Bond says:

    it’s not his day, take him off already

    anyone else could have scored a hattrick already, Giroud = a shocker tonight

  55. James Bond says:

    take off Giroud, play Welbeck as a striker and bring on theo @ AW

  56. James Bond says:

    great decision and I have got my wish granted .

    Giroud off and Theo on .

  57. James Bond says:

    OSpina saves the blushes, one on one and saves it otherwise it would have been – start the engine time for us .

  58. James Bond says:

    what a run from theo and so so unlucky not to score on the rebound @ Welbeck

    theo saved the goal

    could you believe it ? I can’t

  59. AB says:

    This really is making horrible ‘viewing’

  60. James Bond says:

    would you believe it… we should be 2-2 by now, but it still remains 0-2

    come on lads, we can do this !!!

  61. James Bond says:

    OX on for Le Coq = great subbing, well done .

    we can score the 3 goals, keep the faith

  62. James Bond says:

    another fab run from theo, this is exactly why he should be in our first 11 .

  63. AB says:

    What is discouraging is that a full strength attack, pretty much, can’t register a goal against moderate opposition. Its just been one of those days for Giroud. But our defence has looked exposed again, after a period in January where we looked much harder to break down. We had poor luck with the early deflection, but we’ve not made enough of our quality.

  64. henrychani says:

    I still hope for Rosicky

  65. henrychani says:

    Wait.. Cazorla not Ozil..??

  66. AB says:

    We have a life! Not sure we deserve it mind! But welcome back the Ox – we’ve missed you

  67. AB says:

    sucker punch

  68. AB says:

    near post again

  69. James Bond says:

    Ospina should have done better there, poor poor

    1-3 .

    what a disaster ehh so much for drawing against Monaco and having an easy passage to the QF

    erm, yep .

  70. proudgooner says:

    School boy shit.
    they better learn from this.
    I am gpoing to the match v Everton as well great.

  71. James Bond says:

    Naive Naive Arsenal .

    our FB’s left our CB’s exposed far too much and frequently .

    I still believe we can win this and progress but will be tough .

  72. steve says:

    fuck me that was shite, not going to bother analyzing that turd of a performance, good luck finding 8 positives TA, if you do then the head of PR at Arsenal job is surely yours lol.

  73. James Bond says:

    What a task ahead for Arsenal. They need to go to Monaco and score three goals to have a chance of progressing. The problem? Monaco have not conceded three goals in a single game at home all season…

  74. steve says:

    one thing i did enjoy was watching how strong pacey youth made experienced players look completely rubbish, just like with Anderlecht though it was a shame it was Monaco doing it to us instead of the other way around especially when considering what we have in reserve. At least the youth of OX was added towards the end and provided a couple of seconds worth of joy tonight lol.

  75. steve says:

    JN, yes but they haven’t faced the mighty Grioud – 😆 😆 😆

  76. oz gunner says:

    Fucking great. Now we’ll go to monaco and win 2-0 and it’ll be a “valiant effort but we fall short again”.

    Losing 1-3 in a home tie is unforgivable

  77. steve says:

    JB not JN lol sorry bud

  78. Simba says:

    Ozil, Mertesacker, Giroud, & Welbeck are a joke. Wenger not serious. Welbeck ahead of Walcott on the wing? Bellerin is still raw still wonder why Jenkinson is on loan? I don’t understand the coincidence but Koscielny is just going the route Vermaelen took – change boots to Nike from Adidas end of story. Per and Kosc are not n form maybe we need to be radical and use Gabriel and ditch one of the two ir both and use Chambers.
    Sell Ozil and buy Schneiderlin, buy another striker, bring back Jenkinson, sell Wilshire, sell Mertesacker, promote Hayden to first team, eish we cannot continue like this because we won’t get anywhere

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    Feel so sorry for Ox: from hero to zero. Bad game and this will hurt us for a long time unless there’s a Monaco Miracle. 😦

  80. James Bond says:

    Former Arsenal and England centre-back Martin Keown
    5 live Sport
    Arsenal 1-3 Monaco
    Posted at
    “Arsene Wenger will reflect on this result and he will not be giving up on this tie. He will probably be feeling embarrassed because he’s a proud Frenchman. This will hurt to the core tonight, but he will come back fighting. So don’t discount Arsenal.
    “But this might help Wenger find a better balance with his team, because his balance tonight was not right. Wenger will be given time, be given two more years to make this work, and I can tell you he will not be giving up.”
    “It’s OK to go out to a Bayern or an AC Milan, but to a Monaco? There are different sorts of questions Arsene Wenger will have to answer.”

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Oz, we were naive all over the pitch.

  82. steve says:

    TA he was not alone in that disaster lol, he lost it above the half way line, surely its not a case of loose it anywhere except the oppositions penalty area and we are fucked – well maybe it was tonight pmsl

  83. James Bond says:

    Ox made a mistake, sure but Ospina should have saved that one . if only .

    at 2-1 we were still in it, we still are as it’s not over until the fat lady sings .

    we have done it before, no reason why we can’t do it again ?

  84. steve says:

    JB 😆 😆
    That’s the Arsenal spirit lol
    90 mins at home – 1 goal (just)
    90 mins away – 3 goals, no problem, why not!!
    😆 😆 😆

  85. Admir says:

    Hello, people.

    I can’t say a lot after this defeat. I’m so tensed that my wife is already angry at me. I guess sleeping on the couch is not the worst thing that will happen tonight to me thanks to our boys.

    It’s not like we didn’t see the signals for this. We were below par against Leicester, we were on the back foot against Crystal Palace, we were the second best against Spuds. Aside from that wonderful performance against Middlesbrough (the Championship side), we’ve been rather poor since that game against Aston Villa.

    Then, there was that game at the Emirates Cup when this Robben-like manager of Monaco totally outsmarted his counterpart. It’s was a carbon copy of that match as we couldn’t create a clear-cut chance in their box. There was always a player ready to make a block or a clearance.

    Ospina – poor performance. I think he should have done better with Kondgobia’s deflected shot and he didn’t cut the angle for Carrasco’s shot.

    Bellerin – couldn’t cope with the opponents.

    Mertesacker – a night to forget.

    Koscielny – just a bit better than BFG.

    Gibbs – his first touch was too heavy in two occasions. He is closer to Clichy than to Cole, I’m afraid.

    Coquelin – a booking didn’t help. Had some good tackles in the first half.

    Cazorla – better in the first half but dithered with the final pass in one occasion.

    Özil – he created a chance for Alexis in the first half and found Bellerin before Giroud’s chance in the first half. He was invisible for the biggest part of the second half as his passes went everywhere except where they should have gone and his dribbling didn’t produce anything.

    Welbeck – like Gibbs, he is much closer to Gervinho than to Henry. He uses his body well but he can’t score. I don’t know if he is a member of a religious group that forbids its member to score goals but I know he’s been frustrating in front of the goal so far.

    Alexis – tried hard, created, missed and lost the ball before their second.

    Giroud – if Nicklas Bendtner had been less talented and much more committed to football, he would have been Giroud’s twin.

    Chamberlain – scored a beautiful goal before opening the counter-attack for Carrasco’s goal. Had to make a great tackle to prevent Moutinho from scoring.

    Walcott – had a good chance.

    Rosicky – didn’t spend enough time on the pitch.

  86. henrychani says:

    What a bad day.. night here..
    Losing 3-1 is worse than losing 2-0..
    Only miracle can win us a ticket..
    If only we lost by 2-1.. the road will be much easier..

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Admir, I reckon our tactics failed rather than the individuals but that is for another post.

    Night all. 🙂

  88. henrychan says:

    What a bad and unlucky night..
    I jump when Ox scored.. and though yes we can make it away.. but the third goal had burried my hopes..
    It’s just happening again.. yes we still can win at Monaco.. like we did at Allianz arena.. but 3 goals it really a big rock.. knowing monaco’s way of playing.

  89. Admir says:

    Don’t worry, henry. We won’t win the game in Monte Carlo. We’ll lose that one too (1:0).

    Let’s focus on what we can do – keep the third spot and try to retain the cup.

  90. oz gunner says:

    @ TA

    It was like playing a Sir Alex team…they sat back and cut us open with clinical counter attacks.

    Rookie mistakes everywhere. Where the hell was out defensive shape? That second goal looked like a juniors game (every player sucked to the ball).

    As for our finishing…why on earth was Giroud trying to send the ball through the net? That missed header…inexcusable. Even alexis knew the free-kick only needed a flick on to the far corner because it already had plenty of pace on it.

    The chance made by Theo…Giroud only needed to place it over the keeper. Instead he whacks it into row z.

    Welbeck did the same. He just needed to dink it over theo. Instead he smashes it into him.

    I feel sorry for Ox too but Ospina should have saved it. Then again Ospina shouldn’t have been left high and dry by his defenders.

  91. pain says:

    I watched the match and I think if giroud is dropped for Walcot and per is dropped for gabby. The gunners have a chance.
    They wasted too many opportunities( which I don’t think maybe Walcot would have wasted) and that shows their naivety. They’ll probably think…well job done so let’s defend and play on the counter for 90 minutes. Arsenal can win this

  92. Gerry says:

    Okay. Okay. Okay. Enough of the player bashing. 90% of you felt that this was a winnable game? Well now you have woken up and smelt the coffee, or in HT’s case, drunk a gallon, here are a few pointers for TA’s review.
    1, – Arrogance.
    This game had taken on the assumption that a team that finished top of their group in the Champions League with almost a 100% record were the equal or less so than Crystal Palace or Leicester.
    2, Deployment of players.
    Forget ‘best 11’s’. Forget strong benches. Look at the reality. We have a team of players who work hard for the team. BUT. They are being asked to do a job that takes away from their real strengths.
    3, Identify exactly who performs best and where, and then it is up to the manager to enforce it.
    Sounds easy. It isn’t.
    4, If you want to play a formation or style, make sure you have the players capable of carrying it out.
    5, With almost a full squad fit, or soon to be, when changes are needed, do it.
    Purely down to AW and substitutions.

    I cannot find 8 to match the ‘positives’. Nor do I have time to write the post length comment it needs to explain all of the above. So briefly:
    Alexis’s form up front has dropped off. No coincidence it matches the time he drops back defending or retrieving.
    Cazorla is a CAM, not a DM back up.
    If we play with a solid DM who can support the attack with accurate passes, alongside another who will do similar, but not at the same time, then the above two do not need to come deep.
    When a game is not going our way, and a bench full of pace, to quote our esteemed doomer, and the game is lacking pace and thrust, why think the same eleven are going to reinvent themselves after half time!!!!!

    TA said it after the last game. We are still learning how to play the counter attacking game.
    Monaco have been playing it it all season. Please don’t go down the easy route of blaming individual players. Yes the were errors made. Yes they could have done better in certain situations. But it should not take a blind man long to realise their task could have been made easier.

  93. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. Forget about the game.. make me sick.. huhuhu..
    Now at least we know that we still need a strong DM like Kondongbia and Pogba.. or Calvarho.. We need to play Walcott more often.. And maybe we really need to bring Porto-man Martinez.. hahahaha..

  94. henrychan says:

    @ Admir.. hehehehe.. don’t be so cruel..
    We will win at Monte Carlo.. but I don’t think we will trough..
    I just hope Kondogbia absence.. hahahaha

  95. Gino92 says:

    Poor performance? Yes.
    Bad result? Yes.
    Tough task ahead in Monaco? You betcha!!!
    Mission impossible? most definitely NOT. It will be very difficult to score a minimum of 3 goals but it is not impossible. I believe the players will learn from their horrible showing and come out firing from the get-go in the return leg. We will probably win it 4-1 or even 5-1. Arsenal are just way too good to be losing out to Monaco in the knockout stage of the CL. Many can understand losing out to a Bayern Munich or to a Barcelona team full of superstars but not to a Monaco side. Last night, too many players had an off-day which is usually a recipe for a disastrous game. We will be ready for the second, of that I am sure.
    I remember too many people writing us off after losing 4-nil away to AC Milan 3 years ago but we came back strong and almost nicked it from them. Same thing happened at home to Bayern Munich and we went to Germany and beat them and only lost due to the away goal rule. I don’t believe it is going to matter that we will be playing away at Monaco at all. We have got nothing to lose at this point (3 away goals a daunting task but if Monaco can do it to us, we can do the same to them) and everything to gain. We will be going there to press them very high up the pitch, win the ball back as quickly as possible and try to score at least 2 goals in the first half. For this to happen though, we will need Gabriel Paulista to play instead of Per. His lack of pace costs us a lot especially when we are chasing the game. We also need Rosicky in the middle. With those two changes, I am sure we will give it a very good fight and come out victorious in the end.

    So my fellow gooners, all is not lost. YET… We still have a lifeline and we will see what happens in Monaco. As long as we learn from this bad performance and do not repeat it, we should be ok. I am feel negative after a bad Arsenal performance and loss, but strangely, I am not feeling that way now. Perhaps, because we are not going to Bayern Munich or Barcelona to try and score 3 goals, I guess… 🙂

    Keep calm and be hopeful…

  96. The Cockie Monster says:

    There was me saying it would be a walk in the park !……..I genuinely thought we would stuff the bastards……I bet you would rather I was back to dooming and we win !. hahaha
    Seems we hate playing teams who press us and we hate playing teams who counter attack us !. What the fcuk do we do ?. hahaha
    Right !……Everton will murder us…..minimum 5-0 !. 😀

  97. The Cockie Monster says:

    Is it just me or has this season had more…..” That’s the worst I have seen us play “… than ever ?.
    When you think how many games ( like the lot I posted the other day, they were mostly away games and we were pressed ) we have been shockingly bad ( not so much my opinion as to most I have read on the web )…`s quite amazing that we are in the FA Cup quarters and 3rd in the league !…..must be that 17 other teams have had….”That’s the worst I have seen us play ” games than us !.

  98. steve says:

    Cockie, ” That’s the worst I have seen us play “… than ever ?.
    Its because our team is FULL of “hot or cold” players, when they have a good day they have a very good day and when they have an off day they are shite, they never have a run of consistently just better than average games that you could build on for the future development of the team.
    I actually feel a little sorry for Wenger, he puts out the same team that plays beautiful football one day and that everyone has picked as their own first XI bar maybe one or two players and they play absolutely terrible – what the fuck is he supposed to do with that lol
    That whole spine of the team always has a question mark hanging over its head for me, probably why the crowd these days is sat in silence waiting to see which fucking team turns up before either cheering or not.
    BFG, Cazorla, Ozil, Giroud – that spine screams inconsistency and a lack of pace, one player maybe but the whole spine of the team and you end up in the situation we are in atm

    For me its a case of asking and answering simple questions and filling the team accordingly;

    which players would you be confident would stick the ball in the back of the net once through on goal? (Giroud doesn’t have the pace to ever be through on goal lol)

    Which players have the tenacity, drive and skill to transition from defense to attack with pace and purpose whilst also battling all the way in the other direction?

    Who would you feel confident in taking up the lone DM role?

    The back four just needs to ditch BFG imo

    The team:

    ———-Wilshere———The OX————-

    I would go with youth (obviously) but Rosicky and Cazorla are good options also.
    Out of that attacking five up front only ONE started yesterday and maybe that is where we are falling short, well definitely imo.
    If we are trying to play counter attacking football these days i can’t think of a better set up than this, Giroud or Welbeck can sub for Akpom later in the game to shore up things.

    If we are looking to grab 3 goals over in Monaco then this is the type of team i expect to see, goal scorers everywhere. If its the same team as last night i fucking give up lol.

  99. 17highburyterrace says:

    ‘Morning fellas… Having to cut out at half time messed me up, but not as bad as watching what I saw upon my return… On the plus side we’ve got a few more comments than when things go better… 😀

    I have to agree with Gerry about the player bashing…I don’t really see the point. Giroud’s been good but he stank yesterday. The BFG looked commanding in our box at Palace, not so much beyond the halfway line late with a leg out to the ball. Ospina could’ve done better (on all three goals, perhaps) but he got out nicely on that 1 v 1 (which would’ve made it 3-nil)… We can go on and on (and I probably will, at some point)… To me, in the end, the failure seems collective and existential.

    At our home stadium the expectations are high, the fans start out excited but (at heart) are nervous and lack belief. The players, if anything, try too hard but lack a real plan against the better sides. If early goals don’t come, the nerves set in and our play gets rushed. Indecision and inhibition gets worse. Calls for greater spirit (thrust, desire, decisiveness, etc.) are the natural cry from the crowd and the players react. Bad decisions ensue. Monaco’s goals ALL came from players high on the pitch losing out on challenges (or simply losing the ball…) and then the opponent–in too much space–taking their chances.

    Over here we call it choking–underperforming in the big matches or at the critical moments. Giroud did it all night long, as did the rest of the team all over the pitch. The desire is there but maybe there’s too much of it… The question is why…

    Basically, IMO, Arsenal has created a situation where the customer (the supporter) can never find satisfaction. Wenger and the players want to please but they cannot. Better players (ones who actually care less?…) AND less pressure (we need our “Moyes season,” maybe…) is probably the answer. A recalibration of expectations and true, heartfelt support for the guys would also be in order, (and is actually the easiest of all solutions…) but I cannot see that happening…

    For example, Nil-nil would’ve been a fine result last night (esp. in light of the result we have…) but how many Gooners would have taken it?… We demand entertainment so at least we got THAT. Probably not too many are happy about the form it took, however…

    Another example: Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain is a player who appeals to many. So much power and skill and such obvious desire to make things happen. Coming in for Coquelin (who, IMO played quite well but got lured forward way too much and was out of position on the first two goals…) Ox went even further forward. This is a 2 legged tie and this is THE position where a player MUST balance defense and attack. Goals against (in the home leg) are more important than goals scored. Ox pushed forward and finally got the latter, but then (so excited he was hardly able to allow a legal kick-off…) he made the critical turnover and failed to track back on the break. In essence, *his* match finished 1-1. He was at the heart of the action but, again, his personal scoreline is a worse one than if it had been nil-nil (and the match had finished 0-2).

    IMO, What’s been lost–amongst Arsenal AND its support–is the ability to see the bigger picture and then play that longer game. Glory is demanded and foolishness ensues. This was the ManU home match all over again. We lost that one after going bonkers trying to get an equalizer. I love the hopefulness of many here on the site and I’m sure I’ll conjure some when the return leg is upon us. IMO, however, this tie is over. That team (Monaco) last night is too good AND they’ll have better players returning into the team. So, just like that, we’re out of the CL… The key now is the reaction. Everton at home and QPR away are chances to right the ship before our last chance at a trophy. Can we play for a nil-nil up at Old Trafford or even nick a tight win? I hate to say it, but I like our chances away from home better than in our own stadium. (Which means I don’t really like our chances at all…) The team, the manager and (dare I say it…) the support need to close rank and do what they can to get the business done. Will they? I have no (f**king) idea…

  100. shrillex says:

    Disappointing game from the lads…. Let’s face it, Monaco were the better team and we should have been killed off by now. But here’s some things we need to change going into the second leg
    1. Drop Ospina–I just do not feel secure with him in goal. Szczesny probably wouldve saved the third goal and Ospina seems to drop every damn ball.

    2. Bring Gabriel into the team— we’ll have to go into the second leg with our guns blazing. We would’ve to put bodies forward to get the three goals. So bringing in a faster CB is a must to cover for the space that we’ll probably leave behind. Let’s face it, per just ain’t build for fast paced games.

    3. Bring Walcott in– while Ozil has his moments, we might need the pace of Theo for counter attacks. Monaco will probably park the bus, which means there won’t be any space for Ozil to exploit, so just get him out.

    4.Get Giroud back on form— Ollie had one of those off days and we will desperately need him to put away the chances if we want to crawl back into this tie.

    4. Bring a proper midfielder in— coquelin did his job quite well, considering he had to cover for Santi who was bombing forward at every opportunity. Preferably Wilshere, who has the discipline to stay back and help coquelin and has the prowess to kickstart attacks.

  101. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oops. Sorry F11ngers to post right on top of you there… I should’ve waited for TA’s post, probably, but I fear it might not be out until (his) late night…

    Did you get a chance to watch the match?… Also, I’m confused…Do you guys not get the CL matches on the telly? Please explain… IMO, going by commentary alone is a different experience…

  102. The Cockie Monster says:

    Other than a win…0-0 is always the best result at home in the CL knock out stages and I for one would have been well happy with a 0-0 !…………….but you bastards wanted me to be positive and look what happens !. hahaha

    I have never been Mertsnailers biggest fan !…… fact I think he is distinctly average !, but a lot of people go crazy on his ability to organise our defence to out weigh his lack of movement ( fast )….well fcukers !……we seem to be playing a lot of games where there is a lack of organisation !….so who`s to blame ?.

    Everton and QPR !!!……………………….OGAAT !……. 17 Sillyballs !……anyway we will lose both 5-0 !. hahaha

  103. 17highburyterrace says:

    Double oops…Posting on top of Shrill as well…

    One area of “hope” (or at least excitement…) for the return leg is that we’ll have to go all out in attack. Frankly, I think that will allow Monaco to play their counter game even more… (Moutinho is clever and has a fine range of passes and that YFC guy plus Berbs is a great combo of speed and poise…) In other words, it will be an exciting first 10-20 minutes, but it could be over almost as soon as it begins…

    Overall–if we can get past the emotions of the result–the real question is how can this Arsenal team go forward and find success. Suicidal attack seems to be what happens if we cannot score early, yet defending all day long doesn’t look natural either… Better balance is the key, of course, and it happens at the rear of MF…Better players in that part of the pitch (including Ramsey, Wilshere and probably an outsider–Schneiderlin is likeliest, but damn, that Kondogbia guy looked the part…) is the real answer…Probably…

  104. 17highburyterrace says:

    And now I’m posting over the Cockie… 😀 … You speak wisdom sir… Too bad you can’t bring yourself to watch the matches (or at least the losses…)

    We may have a better chance up at OT if we play our Cup D… (Sir Chez in goal, Gabby and Kos as CBs…) Of course, you’ll be hiding behind the sofa and probably playing with some D cups instead…


  105. The Cockie Monster says:

    The thing is my one handed skiing friend…….I know what stress can do to our bodies, for example, it`s a fact that Ambulance call out for suspected heart attacks are at there highest during World Cup tournaments !.
    Here is one of many links that can be found on the web !.

    By not watching lives games I feel less stressed and by just watching the recordings of the ones we win leads to a much healthier Cockie !. 😆

    Actually, I might watch the return game as I know we are more or less out of it, so wont get as stressed and can always turn off if we get into a favourable position !. hahaha

  106. The Cockie Monster says:

    Interesting that link as you can see it peaks in the penalty shootout and is at a low when the Germans are in a…..who cares 3rd place play off !.
    My heart rate peak is when I see a photo of Mmmmmmourinho !……quick call 999….just the mention of his name ! hahaha

  107. 17highburyterrace says:

    😀 Cockie, you are a wise, wise man…

    Indeed, the stress of Football is just too much…And, what’s worse is that it’s all Wenger’s fault!!… 😀

    This insistence on “entertaining, attacking” football has made the experience just about intolerable. At first it seemed like a good idea, you know, the goals, the anything can (and probably will) happen, etc., etc… Hell, it even led to Ollie (as in Garch…) Abramovich sacking your Moo-man because he wasn’t entertaining enough… After a few years, however, even the Roman grew to like the idea of winning matches one (slow) crucifixion at time, offering a way back for your hero…

    That’s the current problem, IMO–Gooners can’t be happy with a boring 1-nil over 90 mins, much less180. So we attack and attack and get nervous if we haven’t scored in the first 20 minutes. (And then we get mad at Ozil for not rushing the keeper when he’s got the ball in his arms….) We push everybody up–gotta keep the ball in their half to keep the crowd excited–and eventually something’s gotta give. Unfortunately, it’s our net which bulges when we miss that tackle (in their half) and they flow into space and get the (lucky) shot in off our (other, slow…) ternan (turning…) German… In truth, the (single) away goal set the stage for all that followed…

    On the other hand, at least we played “The Arsenal Way.” Surely that has to be worth something…


  108. The Cockie Monster says:

    We are all too romantic, 17 !….we would all love it to be attack attack attack with beautiful football, but the reality is…..and this is just EPL…..there are only 2.64 goals per game scored !….so in theory neither me or Transplant are going to get our 5-0 predictions, although the week we beat villa 5-0, he did not do the UMFL hahaha…………fcuking boring at 1.32–1.32 all !.
    Apparently, there was a mini Wenger cardboard cut out in last nights programme !……..Transplant is probably using it as structural integrity devise to keep his Hampton up !. hahaha

  109. The Cockie Monster says:

    Has to be a collectors item that programme !….I bet transplant is in his office with it (Little Arsene ) protruding from his trousers zip with Terry in a trance like state !. hahaha

  110. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good stuff, Cockie…And I know you are THE true romantic around here…Or, at least you, er, appreciate a lot of things which might have a romantic element…or something… There must already be a youtube or three burning the Wenger cut out…or giving it a taste of the prison romance…

    Anyhow, nobody seems to want to do too much in the way of forensic examination of what we saw (or didn’t see)…Time to break up my comments and tweet back at Piers Morgan or Myles Palmer…

    Or maybe get my day going out here…

    On the other hand, it’s Spurs-day isn’t it? Time to scout Everton as they put it those Young Boys…

    Please pardon the pedophilia humor (American spelling, both words)… Just putting it out there (and noting that it is wrong) before anybody else does…

  111. The Cockie Monster says:

    Spuds out of the EL !.
    They will now have to get higher than 5th in EPL to get into CL next season !……………………Official !………….I am now over last night !………….and it was surprisingly easy !…….Thank you Spuds ! 😆

  112. 17highburyterrace says:

    And Pool go out on pens… Tough stuff and they could be very tired on the weekend hosting City…

    Everton looking like they’re gonna go through, pounding the Young Boys (as it were…) up there, 3-1 now…So, still in for a CL spot, one could argue…

    Spursday football is something we should strive to avoid, I think…

  113. TotalArsenal says:

    Fantastic comments 🙂

    Been really busy today. I might write about the game at some point tomorrow.

  114. Gunner4lfie says:

    IF you want to play to win, well that’s all you can hope for now! you go big or go home, Either which way you have nothing to lose if you don’t try to win!


    Rosicky Wilshere Carzola Ozil

    Walcott Welbeck Sanchez

    This is how I would line up against Monaco for the 2nd Leg you bring on your ATTACKING options! I think you could rotate Ox if you want for Wilshere or Rosiscky But all 3 of those players are not scared to attempt to shoot outside of the 18. So take note as I said before Monaco likes to pack it in so you must shoot outside the box to draw them out! In fact Look at the OX goal the only shot outside the 18 keeper had a late reaction with all the bodies in the way! I would strongly suggest this! It will tactically change how Monaco approaches the game! Take them out their comfort zone!

  115. proudgooner says:

    I have a coyuple of them player cxut out from the programme, i have to admit i would have quite liked that Arsene 1. I agree a collectors piece indeed. You will be seeing them on antiques road show in 100 years to come 😉

  116. proudgooner says:

    i am off to the Everton match on Sunday.
    I am expecting a strange atmoshere. The wierd thing is the lads were trying very hard last night maybe even to hard. The dodgy thing is they lost there heads and went toooo gun hooo

  117. Gerry says:

    G4 – Interesting? You almost picked the players that I had down as my preference for the first leg. However, the difference is huge.

    I don’t mean to be cruel, but your team is about as naive as our lads not defending when we got it back to 1-2. You somehow seem to have forgotten that we don’t ever have 100% possession? What happens when they have the ball? No RB. No DM. A back 3 , untried.
    What are you on?

    The point I have been making has been that we have ‘lost’ our best attacking player in Alexis because he comes too deep to get the ball. These 40 yard runs to get on the end of a one-two may look spectacular but serve only one purpose. It knackers him for the second half. Throw in Giroud and Welbeck doing similar things, it is no wonder we have little left in the second half of these games.
    Without a proper defensive platform it will remain a problem.

    We need two platforms to approach the different styles of approach from our opponents, along the lines that Geoff highlighted. Those that want to play on the counter, but leave us space is when we need a double DM pivot, and I mean two DEFENSIVE midfielders. Not just blockers, but ones who can play the ball quickly and pass long and short, accurately. With two of them, they will be under less pressure to hoof it up field. Now to do this you either lose a front line player, or one of the creative mids. But if the double D’s do their job, not all of the front 4 shouldn’t need to half to keep starting their attacks from inside our half.
    I see little point in bringing fresh legs LATE on in the second half when all the zip has gone out of their team mates.

    So for the return leg at Monaco, and I don’t think having their ‘better’ players back will make much difference to their style of play, so my team would be:
    ————————- GK – AW’s choice
    Bellerin – Mertersacker – Koscielny – Gibbs

    ———-Gabriel——- – ——–Coquelin———

    ————————— Ox —————————–

    –Walcott —————– Ozil —————-Alexis

    The 4-2-1-3 suits our players better as the double pivot gives the FB’s more freedom to go forward. This line can be adjusted in many ways. Cazorla for Ozil, Giroud or Akpom for Welbeck, Rosicky or Cazorla for Ox.

    Now you could say that Gabriel is an untried DM, but he can play there, and is a good reader of the game. Above all, he has Presence! Until the end of the season I think GP5 will be most suited here. It should mean we can then see our most potent attacker get back to doing what he does best, causing havoc in and around the opposition box.

    In other games where teams ‘high press’ and don’t gives us space, then Cazorla would be the preferred choice over Ozil.

    In between, back in OGAAT mode, Everton, and In particular Lukaku are looking quite lively now, so hopefully we can score the goals that suppresses their adrenalin rush in the second half. Unfortunately, I think Mert will pay the price in the back line, so Gabby will have another chance to shine at CB. So Cazorla will play the CAM role, and Ox or Rosicky the drive role.
    I think Giroud is preferred in this too. So Mesut and Per drop out from the above set up, in a suitably revised way?

  118. Gunner4lfie says:

    Well if you read why I put what I put, ARSENAL HAS Lost this already if you choose to go any other route! Monaco will park the bus so having 4 defenders is offensive suicide when you absolutely have to score 3 goals against that defense! What do the gunners have to lose that they haven’t already lost like this last 4 seasons in a row! either play to win or go home!
    What I posted is not naïve but the only way we will bring it to Monaco! Its the chance you have to take if you want to win a game needing 4 goals! Rosisky and Wilshere are enough to cover. Paulista is quicker to recover than Mertesacker so it works but you need goals and you need them quickly! So what if they score what is the chances of arsenal being the first team to score 3 goals this season on Monaco!

  119. Gerry says:

    G4 – I think you are right in one sense, you could indeed play with only three defenders if you consider the tie already lost. Given they have already beaten us on the counter when we had 5 in place.
    However, it is very naive to think just because you put together an all out attacking front 7 that they will be able to play as a TEAM? The biggest problem, and the one thing that got repeated over and over again in the last game, was that we did not use any players out wide. Your selection of 7, to a man, like to come inside?

    What I put forward is not perfect. But what we gain is having Alexis high up the pitch where he can score. Interchange with Welbeck and Walcott, and there is a fair chance we could get back two goals without conceding? Like you say, it will not matter if we concede one more as long as we get a sniff at a 3rd. Ox can run his legs off in the first half and Rosicky take over in the second. If we really want to test their defences with pace then give Akpom half an hour at the end. This idea that we have to score quickly is nonsense. We have 90 minutes to score 3 times, as long as we do not concede more than one. This is one game where we know exactly what their tactics will be. So we should play to our strengths of quick passing and above all, quick transition from defence. At least that gives our strikers a chance of a clear shot, and all of them are can find the net.. Once the first goal goes in, they will get nervous.

    Far better than giving them every chance of adding 3 more to their tally?

  120. TotalArsenal says:

    new Post New Post 🙂

  121. Gunner4lfie says:

    Well again every team that has played in Monaco has failed to hit more than two all season. They pack it in to much our team doesn’t take enough chances at goal outside the box to make them open up. Their record speaks for itself. In fact the average shots a game against Monaco is 9! so unless the gunners can hit 35% of there shots in the back of the goal playing defense doesn’t matter. Wilshere in my line up is a more of a holding midfielder which will allow rosiscky to run back and forth. There is nothing more than the love I have for my gunners, but as we all know repeating the same mistakes is insanity, Which they have done now for 6 years its just appauling that people will continue to support the tactics when you need a win. Keep on with the same line up it hasn’t worked now in the champions league for 16 out of the 17 seasons. anything with 5 defensive players on the field for the gunners = guaranteed throw in the towel. Monaco will not throw more than 3 or 4 players forward in this next game so having more than 4 defensive players is just obsurd. they wont want to be caught on the counter. Need Proof look at the last 15 mins of the game every Monaco player was within 15 yards behind half way the last 15 mins of the game.

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