Coquelin & Rambo DMs, Alexis & Ozil on Wings: MU v Arsenal Preview and Line-Up

Manchester United-Arsenal — FA Cup Quarterfinal —

Match Preview

Tine to Defend the Cup and Make a Statement

Arsenal's English midfielder Jack Wilshe

On the back of our most dominating performance of the season, a sumptuous 2-nil victory over Championship leaders and Man City beaters, Middlesbrough, Arsenal drew Manchester United, away, in the quarter-final round of the FA Cup.  It didn’t seem like a just reward at the time and, as the match approaches, its significance only increases.

Whichever team prevails in this one will be favoured to win the next two at Wembley and raise the cup.  Additionally, as the clubs are separated by only a point in the Premier League standings, the result tomorrow will surely set a tone for the ongoing battle there as well.  United Manager Louis van Gaal says he would trade cup progression for a top 4 finish in the league, but there’s no reason, given their lighter, Europe-free schedule, that United will not give everything they’ve got.

Arsene Wenger has similarly noted the tightness of the race for Champions League qualification, but he too will understand the wider implications of getting a result at Old Trafford–including a draw which would force a replay back in North London.  While both managers have gone to pains to play down the importance of this one, the FA Cup surely represents the most realistic chance at silverware for both clubs this season.

Our record in traveling to Old Trafford does not make for pretty viewing.  In our last 10 matches we’ve drawn only once, losing all the rest, and we actually haven’t won there since the Autumn of 2006.  During this run we’ve played there twice in the FA Cup.  In 2008, we were leading the league, but played a much changed team and were well beaten, 4-nil.  More recently in 2011, in this same quarterfinal round, we lost 2-nil.  To be clear, even if we’ve taken the more recent trophies in this competition, winning a year ago and in 2005, on penalties over the Red Devils at Wembley, (Man U most recently raised the cup the year before in 2004) United have dominated us in this period, finishing above us in the league every single year except the most recent one.

Even as they transition out of the Sir Alex Ferguson era and attempt to rebuild under Van Gaal, we have yet to actually assert our superiority in head to head battle.  Last year, during the disastrous season with David Moyes at the helm, ManU beat us 1-nil in the league match-up at Old Trafford, while the reverse fixture was a desultory nil-nil at our home ground.  This season, in our one meeting, at the Emirates, although dominating play early on, United scored with their first shot on goal.  Suicidal pressing forward in desperate search for an equalizer resulted in a 2nd breakaway goal which sealed our fate.

But that’s all history, of course, and tomorrow’s match represents a chance to wipe the slate clean and prove ourselves the superior team.  With the exception of our 2-1 loss in the North London Derby, 2015 has shown that Arsenal can travel to hostile environs and still get results, the blueprint being the trip to East Manchester and the 2-nil victory at Man City.  We only had a third of the possession in that one, but still managed to control the match and prevail.   Yeoman efforts from more attacking players like Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla helped protect less experienced defenders; Hector Bellerin and Francis Coquelin, to create a dominating defensive display.  David Ospina, newly established in goal for league matches, hardly had a save to make.

This being a cup match, however, there will be changes in personnel.  Wojciech Szczesny, demoted from the league matches, if passed fit after a midweek illness, will get his chance between the sticks.  Gabriel Paulista most likely would have started in one of the center back positions, as he did vs Boro in the previous round, but a mid-week hamstring pull rules him out, meaning our Big F**king German, Per Mertesacker, and Laurent Koscielny will surely get the call.  Spaniard Nacho Monreal seems recovered from a mild back strain so he likely pairs with his young countryman, Bellerin, at the other fullback position.  Coquelin, broken nose protected by an ominous looking white mask, surely will go at defensive mid.

The more difficult calls are up front.  It seems impossible to sit Olivier Giroud, who has scored the opener in our two most recent matches and brings so much shape to our attack while also presenting a real target when we have to kick out of our own half.  Likewise, Alexis Sanchez, who finally broke a 6 match goal drought in midweek at Queens Park Rangers, brings too much energy for a bench seat.  Santi Cazorla, sitting deeper in that match, also seems the key figure linking our rearguard to our attack.  Mesut Ozil, at the heart of the action in recent matches, also appears undroppable.  This leaves a single starting position open and my call goes to Aaron Ramsey.  Back from a recurring hamstring problem, his ball carrying and greater physicality looked the part in settling the result in midweek after QPR pulled a goal back.

This starting line-up does seem harsh on others who have been playing well, including Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck, who is returning to Old Trafford for the first time since his deadline day transfer away last summer.  Theo Walcott has also been a contributor, especially at the sharp end of our attack, and it’s always possible that Wenger might mix things up and start him.  Still, this is the 11 I think will start.

ars v manure March 15

(Subs: Martinez, Chambers, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Walcott, Welbeck)

Man United will also go with a very strong line-up and will likely stay with their most valuable player this season, goalkeeper David De Gea.  Despite the tactical innovations for which Van Gaal is famous, most notably playing 3 at the back this past summer in getting a weaker than usual Dutch National team to the semi-finals of the World Cup, experiments with similar tactics have not yielded good results at United.  If ever there was a match to go back to that plan, however, it might be this one, given that center back Johnny Evans begins the first of 6 matches out, suspended for a spitting incident.  Luke Shaw, the young left back bought from Southampton over the summer, is also nursing a hamstring strain, so it may actually be difficult for Van Gaal to field four defenders.  Traditional wingers like Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia have, at times, at least, been used as wing-backs, and I suspect they might be deployed in similar fashion for this one.  If they are, a deeper lying set of mid-fielders, two of Michael Carrick, Daley Blind and Ander Herrera will likely back up a front three of Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Wayne Rooney.

Unfortunately, for all who like more than a bit of pantomime (or real) villainy, Robin van Judas, er, Persie is injured for this one.   Adnan Januzaj, Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini are also attacking players Van Gaal might choose in his first 11 or bring off the bench if United needs goals.

Despite the high stakes in a cup match of this sort, I expect a cagey battle with both teams looking to assert control in midfield and not unhappy to let the other group have possession.  United should be the team more determined to attack in front of their home crowd.  While neither team would relish a replay, I think Wenger will be at greater pains to suggest to his squad that such a result is not a bad one and that fore-aft balance is critical given all the skill players United can throw at us.  In other words, I doubt this one will be hell for leather from the outset.  An early goal, especially if Arsenal can get it, might open things up considerably.

But my voice is just a single one.  How do other Gooners feel about this cup tie?  Who do you think will play and how will the match play out?  What would you do if you were in charge?  Is this match as critical as I’m portraying it or just another in a long line of tough ones?  Should we go all out for the cup or keep our focus on the league and the very difficult return leg of the Champions League eliminations at Monaco in less than 10 days time?  These questions (and others you might frame) need answers… Go on then…

By 17highburyterrace

130 thoughts on “Coquelin & Rambo DMs, Alexis & Ozil on Wings: MU v Arsenal Preview and Line-Up

  • nice one @ Me amigo

    that was a great preview with plenty of history in detail as well as being in a position to start a new era where we can have wood over them for the next 5 to 10 years, why not ? it has to start somewhere and now is the right time .

    I hope they play all their big players and we are patient and play to our recent defend first and then attack with intent will see us through .

    Also, I feel that we should start with one of Theo/Welbeck or OX at the expense of Ramsey .

    Which means, that Santiago plays deeper and Ozil plays in the center with Alexis on the left and on the right wing we have Welbeck, Ox or Theo = sorted ?

    last but not least – Gibbs will play and has to be play for me , his confidence must be sky high after wednesday , therefore those be my only 2 predicted changes from your starting 11 .

  • Great preview, as usual. 🙂

    I must say that I would love us to beat Scums, especially if – at some point – we field Coquelin, Ramsey and Rosicky in the middle. That was out midfield when we lost 8:2 and now Le Coq and Ramsey have matured and grown into better players than they were back in 2011. Actually, I’d dare to say that Rosicky is much better player now than he was in 2011.

    As long as we impose our quality in the middle of the pitch, we can beat the crap out of them. We just have to forget all defeats that have given us an inferiority complex whenever we play Manure. They’ve been lucky bunch of crap this term and there is a sound long over-due beating that is about to happen to them. Hopefully, Alexis will build on that goal against QPR and keep the Scums on the back-foot and Giroud is free to score at least once, if you ask me.

    Let’s say we’ll beat them 4:0 with goals from Alexis, Cazorla (2) and Giroud.

  • Thanks 7eventeen !……………you have reminded me how woeful we are against our nemesis team and I shall phone the Samaritans now and get in early !…………the bookies could give me odds of 100/1 for us to win and I`d think they were taking the piss !…….1000/1 and I might consider a little flutter of 50 pence !
    I shall be OK behind the safe area of my Sofa and my heart goes out to you brave souls on the front line who have to endure a stressful and nerve racking experience with the odds stacked heavily against you for having a pleasant evening !……………….fcuking masochists !. hahaha

  • Excellent preview 17ho! 🙂

    I can only be short as I am off to bed soon.

    I like your line up and I think you are very close with it. Let’s play compact and disrupt their play from the back. They are vulnerable to counters and we have the players to make them scream in the theatre of nightmares. COYG – Make Us Proud! 🙂

  • Evening 17 – great preview and balance. I suspect the only 2 areas where there might be questions are the ones that JB has flagged – Nacho/Gibbs and Rambo/Ox. or Welbs Really hard to call. Form would suggest Gibbs and Ox. Rotation would suggest otherwise. And then ideology might take you another way.

    Selecting Ramsey would be a characteristic Wenger selection, a show of faith in a high calibre young player who has shown he can play at the very top when on form. However, is this the game to bring him back for his first start after injury? And lets not forget he had not recovered full form even before his latest injury. It would be a very Wenger selection (and so you may well prove right), but it doesn’t look the right one to me – wtfdik of course, never having actually managed! If you left Rambo out of the start, then the obvious choice would be between Ox and Welbs with Santi stepping back with Coq – in this choice the heart says Ox but the head says Welbs.

    Gibbs or Nacho? I’m relaxed either way. It would be hard for Nacho to be back in the second choice spot after his efforts this season, but Gibbs looked good last time out so why drop? Given we have a few days rest I would have thought Gibbs gets the call, provided he has no injury concerns hanging over him.

    A big game for us tomorrow. I don’t have the same sense of curious confidence that we would deliver an upset – as I did before the City game. On paper I think we have the better team, but time and again we have not managed to play with the necessary combination of confidence and discipline; can Wenger install this amongst the team tomorrow? Lets hope so! COYG!!!!

  • Nice preview 17 (even if I had to grimace as you pointed out our lousy record at OT)! 🙂 It is a key match and I for one would like if we went all out (especially given the acknowledgment of our deep bench). With that in mind, I would lean towards the lineup we went in at QPR with. i.e. Ox instead of Ramsey. I feel that having Ozil on the wings puts too much pressure on the defense. The XI that played at QPR seems to be gelling, so why try to fix something that is not broken 🙂

    the key though, I think, is the mental part of the team. As AB says, I hope they are convinced in their heads that we can win this! Need to have one of those subluminal hyposis widgets I suppose! 🙂 Nervous but looking to see us beat MU tomorrow.

  • 17

    Great preview, I will add some statistics…. All things change in time, this is our time, like the man city game to change (recent) history. And it’s about time

    I like your lineup and JBs a touch more. That said, if their main CB is missing perhaps OG and Sanchez in the middle might break them. I don’t believe they will go for 3 backs as that is one thing that so far has proven suicidal vs the options we can bring. Thus, we should target the weak link to stretch them…

    We will see as AW has forgotten to call me (yet again!!) this week. But I like the forwardness of it.

    Equally as I said before man city about Coquelin, this is another chance for him to show AW and all of us we don’t need Schneiderlin and that he IS at least A major solution for the future. Then, I wasn’t sure he would or could step up. Now, I think he can and that he will nail the door shut a bit perhaps to make AWs summer difficult.

    We will see. I will be taping and thus part of the behind the sofa crowd.

    Cheers — jgc

  • HT – Up to your (now) usual top standard for previews. Great stuff.

    Yes the history of the last 10 years does not make pleasant reading. However, it was not that that made me grimace. As Geoff says that is just a time, an era, and era’s change.
    No, it was your line up, or more specifically the way you lined them up. Taken more as a 4-3-3, it has less of a deja vu moment of early days of trying to fit Ozil and Cazorla, whilst having a double defensive cover behind?
    But as TA has pointed out, I think Ramsey is more likely to get a run out off the bench in a first start back. Otherwise you are likely committing a change from the bench at some point? At least this way round, with him coming off the bench he can provide both an attacking threat and a defensive role, depending on the circumstances.
    Almost the same reasoning goes for having Nacho on the bench, as cover for either CB, as well as FB, or even DM if we are clinging on?

    Key to our offensive capability is Ozil having the freedom to roam, irrespective of any heat mapping that may show he spent the most time in X, X and X areas. For that, he nominally is given the key to Number 10. If he veers to the left, he makes space for Alexis to move in side, where he can be very effective, although usually well marshalled. On the right I would like Ox to start. If he resists cutting inside too early he can open spaces up in the middle. I also think similar attacking spirit in Bellerin has shown to pair well. Giro in the middle to be the recipient of any half decent cross.

    The post half time subbing of Ox for Rosicky is essential before Ox’s efforts get less frequent, and this is pretty seemless. When Ramsey gets his run will largely depend on how well Coquelin is holding up under their late pressure. And there will be late pressure if United are not leading with 15 to go, so I hope we are a little more proactive in our sub timings?

    I think Gibbs can take care of Valencia on our left, but ‘free-falling’ Young is something that Bellerin will have to be more careful of. We do not want too many free kicks raining in from that side?
    However, I do have a very amusing memory of Young in a recent Under 21 game, United v Chelsea. The said Young was solidly tackled by a 17 year old Chelsea right back, knocking the ball out for a throw in early on in the game. The very much over 21 Young took umbrage at being put on the deck, but no foul being given, marches up to him in a ‘Don’t you know who I am !’ posture. So, chest to chest, the 17 year old doesn’t budge. Looks him straight in the eye, and with unmistakeable lip reading said, ‘ F*ck Off !’ … Hilarious.
    Needless to say, Young had a poor game and was eventually was subbed.
    So Hector, you know what you have got to do?
    Unfortunately the highly talented youth team Chelsea put out were eventually beaten, but for an hour they outplayed a pretty strong United reserve team.

    I hope our lads will fare better. It could indeed be ‘our time’. However, the double drive of not wanting to lose, and desperate for a win from both sides does not make the outcome, or score easy to predict? Error or outstanding piece of skill could decide it. Both sides are capable or culpable … will lucky bobble hat prevail?

    Keep the faith …..

  • Hey All !
    Great preview 17
    I have missed most of your previous previews but you certainly have honed the skills required for the art.
    I agree with your team completely. I do badly want to give Theo a game but that is the state of our state of the art attack. 😛
    I have not watched Arsenal win against Man U since I started supporting in 2010 ( i could not watch the one we did win)
    We have got so close with the draws in the last two seasons that I feel its high time we won.
    I’m going to watch the match at 1am so I hope the Gunners keep me awake till 3am.
    COYG ! We can do it

  • Hey guys, thanks… Too much happening this Monday and I’ve already lost an hour due to our early time change…

    For me this one is all about discipline and taking our game to this less than convincing United side. I think we’re deep enough that line-up doesn’t matter too much. We can rotate or not, but we’ve definitely got a group which can get the job done. (Well done, Admir, for pointing out the guys who’ve come so far since the 8-2 up there…Wasn’t that a debut for the Ox as well?…) De Gea is a strong keeper, but it we can keep making chances, the net will bulge…

    We don’t need it to, however, for it to be a successful night. As such, our attack must come on the back of solid defensive and midfield play. The boys must use the knowledge that a draw serves purposes, even if, by a quick perusal of the fixtures, I don’t think a replay could be scheduled until early April.

    Like so many have mentioned, it really is high time to start turning the table on ManU. It doesn’t have to happen all at once, so, again, I’d take a composed performance and a replay. In some ways, the more we can play ManU, the more chances we have to restore balance (and assert superiority) in the rivalry.

    But that’s getting ahead of ourselves… Thanks again for the comments which make up in quality for what they might lack in quantity. I guess if things don’t go so well tonight a few extra voices will need to be heard…Plenty of pressure then…Let’s get it done…

  • Don’t get too down on the numbers. Lots will be waiting until closer to KO to see if there is any late team news.

  • I’ve just read the draw for the next round, should we still be in it, is after our match.

  • Lets be honest guys !………we can all dream and hope, but with our appalling record against these bastards, we will all be shocked if we win !…….anything other said is just rose tint and delusional !.
    I`ll be very happy to be shocked !…………………………talking of which and this ties in very nicely !………………………..

    Piers Morgan tweeted earlier……………………

    “God, if Arsenal lose later… I will take myself to the electric chair AND turn it on.”

    Mmmmm……just wondering whether we have enough Power Stations to generate that amount of electricity ?………big ego, big head and fat bastard all rolled into one, it`s going to take a lot power !…….. may have to plug into France !.

    Although on this occasion…….and I`ve wrestled with this ….. I hope he has a stay of execution !……tough call though !. hahaha

  • Cockie….it would take a brave man to predict an Arsenal win tonight, we are beaten before we step onto the pitch against that scum. Most we can hope for is a draw.

    Not sure who has the worst defence////us or them?

    Rooney will have his usual hey day.

    Waiting to find out who the referee is???????

  • Agree Vickers !……..certain players always score against us and Rooney loves playing us.
    We will definitely have to score because he will !.

  • Cockie you bastard i was just getting my support built up for the match ready and then i read your comment, not to sure if i want a win now if it means a loss could kill off Piers Morgan – such a bloody dilemma i have now!! 👿

    HT, stellar preview as has somehow become the norm for you, i don’t know how you keep churning out this type of quality week after week mate, brilliant stuff!!
    Can’t see your line up being too different either, i would have Gibbs at LB, Cazorla in Ramsey’s spot, Ozil in the middle where you have Santi and Theo and Sanchez on the wing – so only three changes from yours but what the boss will do is anyone’s guess.

    COYG!!! or DPFD!! (Die Piers, Fucking Die) not sure which one i’m most rooting for yet lol

  • Hahaha stev11e !.

    Definitely a COYG !……and DAD for Piers !………our James Bond can sort him out in…..DAD….Die Another Day !.

  • ahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahaha

    you leave my Piersy alone – allow it .

    I like his views, he says it how it is, a bit like Glics on a never ending Period 😀

  • what a fab starting 11 !

    we are going all out on attack !!!!!!!!!!!!
    me likey likey it

  • Alexis will score 2 on his own . easy .

    the question should – to score 7 or to score 5 ? 👿

  • Yes JB, plenty of pace, not a lot of height, attack or defence ???

    Mind I see Akpom has made the bench this time. I’m glad Ox is in there, but this has the distinct look of AW saying ‘ I don’t want a draw’

    So Man U play with Fellaini up front, are they going Big Sam’s route 1, I wonder? Coquelin better make sure his mask is in position with that serial elbow slinger in the vicinity.

    Apart from that it looks hunky dory. What was that you said HT about attack being built on solid defending 😀

    It has the potential to be 8-2 or 2-8

  • 19:13
    How are your nerves? It should be a cracking atmosphere tonight with 10,000 Arsenal fans packed in at Old Trafford.
    The usual allocation for away fans at Old Trafford in the Premier League is nearer to 3,000. Raise the roof!

  • Looking at the teams….on paper we should manage at least one more goal than them, defences are poor…BUT ..remember this is Arsenal we are talking about.

  • Hmmm. Like the wing pace. I don’t like the omission of Giroud though. Would be lovely if Webs scored a hat trick, but more a dream than a probability. Wish I had Glic’s sofa for this one….

  • we will be fine, relax now people – we will win this, we are the champions (never forget that !!!

    even if we go a goal down, we have enough fire power to score 3 past these bashtards

  • Mr Bond, if 10000 Gooners make it tonight it will be fantastic. Unbelievable that they scheduled this match tonight. It certainly means kids at school can’t attend. Anyone who does make the trek is going to have an early morning, let’s hope the boys perform for them.

    I think we can win this but I think the following will need to happen

    1 Szs has to play like he wants his place back
    2 someone has to stand up to Fellaini or he will bully us
    3. Cazorla and Ozil need to stay involved and not drift out of the game
    4 a little bit of luck

  • I don’t remember the last goal he scored with his head, but if you need an amendment, here it is. ‘Not much height (with the ability to head anything) …’

  • @Cockers – as they say: “Why or?” 😀 Why would “I sperm organ” (copyright by You!) postpone such a noble thing just because we’ll rip a new one to the Scums tonight?

    And, Cockers, imagine Coquelin scoring a winning goal tonight for us. How many Gooners would stand in the queue to tattoo “…uelin” on their pride?

  • @Gerry, Welbeck scored a winning header at the Hawthorns. He is a bit taller than Thierry, I think.



  • can the real Ozil still wake up.

    1-1 HT, that was a horrible way to concede but it had to be shrek .

    the ref is favouring them, I feel – we should have had a penalty .

  • And, we could have been behind had it not been for… (I’ll let you finish the sentence, 007. 😉 )

    We can really, really give them a good beating here. Just forget it’s United. Their defending is laughable and with a properly taken counter-attack (like the one Alexis and Welbeck should have finished with a goal) they are history.

  • thought Sczny should have saved their goal and that mistake he made, oh my days – not again Sczny was my initial thought – if you are coming out then catch the ball don’t punch it back in the air in your own box , phew

    winks @ Admir

    agreed, yes, the game is there to be won .

  • Jones and CArrick coming on – double change for Luke shaw and some other fella

  • double change for Arsenal

    Ox off for Ramsey

    Theo is also warming up – no only the one change

  • yeah @ henry

    we need both Theo and Giroud , deffo .

    maybe 65 to 70 minutes ?

  • great subbing – bellerin off and Chambers in on

    well d one @ AW

    2-1 ARsenal, come onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

    had to be Welbeck for the 2nd, no ?

  • JB,
    Love that Dat Guy scored against them northern old toilet mob 👿

  • The ref has been top notch, hat off 007
    Tbh Di Maria took abot 2 or 3 mins

  • Well done lads proud of you all. My man of the match though was the ref. he made some very brave decisions I n front of a hostile crowd well done

  • Hey guys, happy Monday!

    Great win and totally deserved. Soooo proud and well done DAnny for rocking
    Old Trafford! 🙂

    Ooh to, Ooh to be…. 🙂

  • Also another big team beat.
    4 points off City , we have beaten united now, beaten Liverpool.
    The we can’t beat the big clubs tag should be removed now.
    On wards and upwards 😉

  • AB,
    Oh yes there time will come 😉
    That one will feel just as sweet if not even more 😉

  • let’s beat them in the league first @ PG

    hence, I would hold onto that thought for a wee bit longer .

    but yes, I liked the team selection and did say it before K.O .

    brave team selection and the lads did us proud .

    start the engine time , off to Wembley we go


  • 007,
    I am going to try and get tickets too, it will be hard though as thje season ticket holder gobble them all up. But i will also try.
    Yeah the league win will be egually as important its true
    But it stands us in a good place
    I am gutted for the Ox though, he was on fire tonight aw well.

  • OX made the goal and I hope skipper acknowledges what a performance he put in today for us – he’s rather very critical of the ox, mostly .

    also, I think that whenever me AMIGO does the preview, we win

    so please, keep doing them previews !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I will go to wembley for the final, hopefully @ PG – if it’s liverFOOL vs Arsenal 😉

  • See you guys later.
    Good night, proud of the lads and manager for getting it right tonight.
    C O Y G

  • We certainly grew some cojones tonight. Fantastic display from the good guys. On a display like that I hate to pick out one player but have to say Coquelin was IMMENSE. He took an early knock from the elbow man and still soldiered on.

    Best refereeing I have seen at the Toilet for many years.


  • agreed @ VCC

    I did say that we would win, don’t know when I was this calm before a game against the mancs . I knew we had enough quality to do them good and proper .

    shame Van Pu$$Y wasn’t on the pitch.

    loved how all our lads got right in their faces and didn’t buckle down.

    how the hell Fellaini kept getting away with his serial fouling is beyond me though .

  • Yes, great win. I have one worry about the next round, and it is this. So far we have played all our games when most , if not all the results were in. We play the first game at Wembley.

    Two things I said when the team sheet was out .. I was glad Ox was playing, and Bellerin needed to be careful around Young. How’s that for foresight?

    Fully agree with Coquelin’s MOTM award. He was immense. There will be plenty of life for him in the team even if we do get a DM in the summer. He is getting his passing game going, and can make a telling input when he gets forward.
    Ox I fear, has done his groin again. Pity, he looked tremendous in the first half. Mind it did solve the ‘when to sub him’ moment. Ramsey looked more assured than he has done on the back of an injury, which is encouraging too. The other two subs were timely as well. Glad you read the blog AW.

    I’ll stop there before I tick all of TA’s 8 positives 😀

    Big racing week this week, so comments will be brief.

  • Re the referee, or refereeing …. Could the ‘Fergie effect’ finally be over?

    I heard them say, if we get beyond the next game, that Clattenburg if the likely one for the final?
    I’d settle for that.

  • A top top performance….

    Superb by the players.

    Wenger got his team/tactics/substitutions spot on…

    And Michael Oliver, a brave and honest referee….
    Great credit to him…

    The Press must be gutted… 😀

  • That was a long, long time coming.. Soak it up everyone, we deserve it! Thank you Dennis!

  • Well everyone has cleared off and i’m pretty hammered but had to come on here and give a quick shout out before i crash out.

    It wasn’t one for you guys who like the cultured pretty stuff but i fucking loved it!! 🙂
    Work horses all over the pitch, closing down and hurrying every player constantly, we really battled tonight it was great to see. Coquelin wasn’t giving a fucking inch, he even got bored and tackled Chambers just for fun at one point 🙂 Sanchez likewise was all over the place, Welbeck up top gave his usual tireless performance but this time got a goal to go along with it – what poetic justice that was!! OX had a crown on and was ruling that right side like a fucking king before he got injured and also did a messi-esque dribble and pass to set up Monreal perfectly. Ozil version 2.0 was on the scene, getting into players, loosing possession at one point but then got straight back into the player and won it back!! when the fuck have you ever said that about Ozil, great performance, again not what many want to see but what i have been wishing to see from him for ages. Cazorla, what can you say, battled and danced, sometimes even at the same time lol awesome. Bellerin, what a fucking hero!! start of the game, yeah that’s right Young just letting you know i’m here and your my bitch for the night lol, took him right out love that shit. Monreal, i literally don’t think he put a foot wrong all night and he scored that excellent goal what fucking more do you want. And the guys in the center were solid as a rock – that goal was just a perfectly flighted ball from De Maria, nothing Kos could have done.
    Even the substitutes were spot on by Wenger, perfect choices to continue the battling game we were playing, done at the right time and all did well when they came on.
    And for once we had a fair and impartial referee – wtf is going on!! love it!! 🙂
    The only guy who didn’t look quite with it was good old brain fart but even he pulled of some good saves.

    Feels good to beat those bunch of diving, cheating, lucky scum, cnuts!! 🙂

    There you go, expert analysis of a match as seen through six pints and two shots (for the goals) eyes, i will await TA’s much more eloquent version tomorrow while nursing a sore head.

    Btw, you cannot believe how fucking useful automatic spell checker becomes when your pissed 🙂

    Night all


    Piers – DAD!!

  • Our (lesser feted) 3 players who got the decisive touches for both goals (The Ox – assisted to Nacho’s goal; Welbeck’s harassing & intercepting a backpass to score):

    “The Ox” (picture from s2012-2013)
    Skill: The Second Attack Switch

    Nacho (picture from s2012-2013)
    Skill: Deadly Vision and Link Attacks

    Welbeck (picture from s2012-2013, his last time in M.United’s colours, and now he is ours.)
    Skill: Unrelenting Chasing Down

  • Cheers Steve 🙂

    I have landed a new assignment and will be working long days for a while. So posts will be less, possibly just during weekends. Bare with me though. Positives are in place!

    Have a great day mega cup fighters! 🙂

  • Uh oh…Steve is pissed and TA is busy…talk about your vacuums which need filling… 😀 Moreover, Arsenal have failed to disappoint…This place could go completely dead… Again, 😀

    I’m actually fairly busy myself, but I’m loving last night’s result enough that I have to say something… I’ll agree with F11ngers that it wasn’t very pretty. but it was gooooood….

    I’d almost go so far as to say that I think it says less about Arsenal than about ManU. They seem in real trouble and now they’ve got a bunch of tough matches, which, if they don’t buck up their ideas, could see them on the outside of the CL positions and looking in…It’d be interesting (and nice…) if we went back up there for our league match (on the 2nd to last match day, I think…) and neither club had anything to play for… Overall, it just hasn’t come off for them and woe be unto them if De Gea fecks off for Spain. A strategy of diving, paying huge money for attackers who don’t play and lumping it up to Frolaini just doesn’t seem so strong. Were there injuries or was Van Gaal trying to hang on to the 1-1 with the double switch he made at half time?… The Ox rather put (half fit?) Luke Shaw on toast, so maybe starting him was LvG’s biggest mistake on a night which saw several?…

    As much fun as it is to mock United, I guess I’m just most pleased that we seemed to show a tenacity to get the job done which I think might’ve been there even if circumstances had gone against us. Welbeck starting, after the fact, looks brilliant, but I was worried about set pieces and corners w/o Giroud in there. And, except for the goal (where Ozil played a big role, finding Ox with the cross pitch pass and then drawing a raft of defenders to him which left Nacho open…) our front line never looked quite like it was totally on the same wavelength. Nice then, that Work-beck was there to pounce on the bad backpass and seal the deal…

    If I were to quibble, it would be about our attacking fluidity and our inability to hold the ball just a bit more after the sending off, but, on the other hand, we were only kept off a 3rd goal by De Gea. Like others have pointed out, our two very young RBs got the job done against the divy-est of their divers, as did our DMs Coq and Sant against all that hair in their MF and attack (Fellaini and Rooney). I thought Ramsey did well helping to settle things but I bet Rosicky could’ve done likewise. We’re not as completely dominant in every position as some Gooners would like, but there seems a real togetherness and the depth in the squad (competition for places) is making me feel like we’re just not as fragile as we’ve been in years past. If one player gets a knock or is under pressure, two seem ready to come in and shore things up. Speaking of, things seem tough on Theo who was maybe gonna come on for the eventual game winner before Ox got hurt?…

    I dunno, the result seems the big thing and very nice that we can get back to business in the league (West Ham, Saturday at home) before trying to do the big reversal down in Monaco… OGAAT, of course, but you never know, winning might become a bit of a habit… 🙂

  • I`m ecstatically shocked at the result ! ( why shouldn`t I be ?….one point there in the previous ten games ! ).
    Glad to see ( I watched the game after I knew we had won, so it was a late night ! ) the player who only me and Oz felt needed a decent run in the team at DM was awesome !……donations will be gratefully accepted for our visionary expertise !…….remember, if you want to know what player is a must, then ask me or Oz baby !. hahaha
    I can also take credit for The Ox !, as I had reports about him before we bought him ! ( from a Soton nutter ! )…..imo he should be one of the first on the sheet !……don’t listen to Total !. hahaha
    Plenty of rest time for the Wham game and hope we play our strongest available team and not a weakened one ahead of the Monaco game !.

    Huge Fat Penis Sperm Organ ( Piers Stefan Pughe Morgan ) survives another day !.

  • wow we really don’t like chatting about the good times do we lol
    Only four comments since my late one last night on the day after we just beat Man U, away, in the FA cup quarter finals? – looks like you were right HT

    Cocker, how fucking good was that result baby!!! 🙂
    You really need to get out from behind that sofa, its much more fun even during the bad times to watch it live 🙂

  • Yes it was fcuking great and beating Manshafter is only bettered by beating The Spuds !……….VCC will feel like I do when we beat The Spuds as he hates m Manshafter more !……he is somewhat deranged, but I will let him have his day !. hahaha

    Funny thing when I watched the game in my 2 hour delay mode ( not knowing score ) was when Ozil went through and I was screaming for him to shoot and cursed him when he passed to The Ox and then The Ox went on a mazy run and passed to Nacho to score !. hahaha

  • yep loved that whole move and everyone of those guys played their roles to a T in that build up, its such a shame OX is now bloody injured 👿

  • suppose that’s one area where we can afford our injuries – with Ox being injured, we have Theo, Gnabry, Welbeck available .

    even Rosicky can play on the RW , if AW wishes to play a 4-5-1 .

  • Hahahah Steve, Its not that theres nothing to comment on, its that the euphoria just continued today. I’ve been all smiles and just lost in wonder sometimes. loool. It was a good game and I think it helps that a ‘mental block’ has now been pulled down against the manchester team. If we can do it against those other blue bastards then this season is progress.

  • correction.

    The manchester TEAMS

    unbeaten vs man city this season, no ?

    played them 3 times and are undefeated 😀

  • What a day! Not much got done at work today – only disc on the game 🙂 btw how good is 17’s timing? He writes a post on disruption and we’re all wondering if Arsenal can ever play a pressing game…well I would say yesterday was a good demonstration that we can. Right? 🙂

  • What’s the deal with Theo? Is his lack of game time a performance requirement issue or something to do with contract negotiations?

  • your guess is as good as ours @ AG

    I fully expect Theo to start on saturday against West ham .

  • what a fucking match that was!!! 🙂

    Chelsea’s normal cheating scum tactics and slowing the game down to an almost nothing event backfired completely – fucking love it!!! 😆

    btw how shit was Cavani though, terrible touches and hold up play

  • what are you on about ? Cavani is class

    did you look at the amount of times he was defending, being at RB , CB and so on ? he worked his socks off and had that one chance where he rounded the keeper and hit the post .

    the guy is in the Alexis bracket, never stops running or working hard for the team – utter class and great work ethic !

  • he was shitey poo!! 😆
    attacks always broke down with him, maybe he should re-position himself as a defender 😆

  • But, Steve…

    I thoughts you liked guys who ran a lot and defended?? 😀

    No hard feelings — jgc

  • Hi jgc, did you get my massive apology on the previous post mate? sorry again for that massive cock up on my part, misread the whole post lol.

    Yeah i do like work horses you are correct and i’m sure in this Cavani was putting a shift in as JB said but on the attacking moves they had he was always the one that messed it up, quite a lot of the times under no pressure whatsoever. I guess i was judging him by his astronomical price tag, and tbh from what i saw tonight i certainly wouldn’t pay it lol.

    Did you watch the match bud? It was very satisfying to watch those cheating bastards get thrown out of the CL 🙂

  • Hi Steve

    Yes, no hard feelings, I am not one like that really. In this we are similar. Gotta wonder about S. American strikers. They are either sublime or gone. When they trade clubs it rarely or less frequently seems to follow.

    Suarez at Liverpool unstoppable, and at Barca, much more mortal

    Falcao before Monaco and then Monaco and now, a definite downward trend

    Our Suarez, up, then restricted or down at Barca, now unstoppable and don’t want to know about other clubs

    It’s true of all players that they often leave for club that end up less well suited to them for whatever reasons. It is more true of strikers who require just the right setting. But, S. American strikers seem to offer the most variability. Hence, we could get Cavani, if we wanted too perhaps, but which one would be here???

    IMO, we don’t need that type of striker that badly at the prices offered or put forward in the clearly true press…

    Speaking of which, quote of the week and equally applicable to football fans and newspapers talking transfer BS:

    Emma Watson on whether she’s dating Prince Harry: “Remember that little talk we had about not believing everything written in the media?!”

    Cheerw — jgc

  • PS: taped the match and then had to run off to Europe so will likely see on the player when I land in Belgium sometime before the weekend….

    Trials of the traveling worker — jgc

  • Hey guys… Not much in the way of comments around here…I guess we’re still enjoying the ManU win and nobody wants to complain too much about anything… Add in the misery in Moo-land and it’s not the worst week to be an Arsenal supporter…Maybe?…

    Soon enough, I’ll be sending some mail your way, TA… After all, we’re back at it on Saturday vs West Ham…

    Scanning the comments, I must mention to St. Henry that it was the professor, JGC, aka geoffchase (not me), who wrote the article about disruption vs pressing. I guess we got the winning goal with a bit of that sort of action. Overall, Man U were pretty sorry with all that Route 1 play up to Fro-laini, I thought… Could we have done more to pressure their big kickers on the front end? I kinda thought so, but maybe that’s a waste of energy and playing the 2nd ball nearer or in our box is the better tactic. They are definitely not very strong playing it out of the back these days but I’m not sure if they sought to bypass that kind of build up because we were defending well from the front or just because they’re poor. LvG made several interesting choices, but I was surprised they didn’t start with Carrick from the outset and that they subbed off Hererra at half-time to get him on. I guess, he felt he needed the wide play of DiMaria and Young Divey in addition to the target guy up front… Seems to me that he’d really prefer to play 3 at the back, but that popular sentiment won’t allow it…

    Anyhow, that’s their problem… 🙂 Surely, soon enough, we’ll have some of our own…with more traffic here to match it… :/

  • hey JB need your help mofo.
    If you could pick one goalkeeper who you would replace Szczesny with who would it be? (and it must be a feasible move, i.e not a very unlikely De Gea move etc).

    I’m just pissing about doing a summer wish list but get stuck on goalkeepers because i know f*ck all about them tbh but i know this is your area of expertise 🙂

  • 1: Hugo Lloris ( he will leave spuds at the end of the season, was confirmed a long time ago to me by the sauce ).

    3: Petr Cech – ( you should know all about him, the lesser said the better )

    5: Samir Handanovic ( Plays for Milan – is a mature keeper , 30 or 31 – Slovenian – highly rated and I normally prefer keepers playing in the Serie A , as a preference )

    7: Asmir Bagovic (you should know about him the same as Petr Cech)

    9:Diego Lopez (plays for Milan, is a mature and tall keeper, I like him and he is spanish ) he be the one who Jose.Moron used at Real Madrid and the one who kept Casillas on bench .

    all 5 are available and up for grabs, I expect 3 out of the 5 to move clubs in the summer .

    the most expensive one out of the lot be the French captain, no less than 20-25 Mills in my opinion .

    the rest vary from £3 to £15 million, depending .

  • Rene Adler is another one that I rate and wouldn’t mind him at Arsenal in the summer. (plays for hamburg in the bundesliga and has to compete with the best goalie in the world for a place in the national team ) yes, he is German .

  • Cheers bud, much appreciated!!! 🙂

    I can’t see Wenger dropping that much on a goalkeeper so i reckon Lloris will be out of the running (for us at least) and can’t imagine Moo letting Cech come to us so i’m going to go for Asmir Bagovic i think.
    I know a little bit about him (as i see him play in the PL) and at 27 he’s at a good age to be steady and mature but still young in goal keeper years.

    Thanks again JB, that was a great help mate

  • hello youtube vids of Rene Adler for the next 10 mins 😆
    never heard of him so thats the best i can do im afraid 🙂

  • the vids don’t show distribution, organisation and general play etc but just from shot stopping, handling of balls into the box and closing down of one-on-one runs into the box he looks pretty solid mate! 🙂
    It must sicken you knowing all these potential goalies out there and then seeing brain fart between the sticks at our place lol – glad i have no such knowledge 😆

  • we can afford all the aforementioned keepers easily, if we sell Sczny which I reckon, might end up being the case .

    he gets paid more than £100 k every week and has a long term contract which means that we can offload him for a good price – that in turn, we get to offset against a better goalie .

    balancing the books on the keeper shouldn’t be a problem as such .

    his distribution and kicking has not improved much in the last 5/6 years and does worry me a lot .

    you can see the difference when Ospina plays in goal, cool – calm and splendid distribution . what he lacks in height more than makes up for with his distribution .

    you are welcome .

  • something about his demeanor atm makes me think that a move could be well on the cards like you say, i just hope if AW is going to make such a move he does it sooner rather than later so we can really kick on next season with a fully fit and top quality squad.

  • Hello, people. 🙂

    Let’s check this goalkeepers’ list of 007:

    “1: Hugo Lloris ( he will leave spuds at the end of the season, was confirmed a long time ago to me by the sauce ).”

    Well, I think that ship has sailed once Lloris had been at Lyon. I can’t see Spuds selling their most important asset to us.

    “3: Petr Cech – ( you should know all about him, the lesser said the better )”

    It won’t happen. Čech is over 30, his price-tag would be huge (take a look at all Moron’s sales since his return to Chavs) and there is a realistic chance that Moron wouldn’t want to sell Čech to us. Remember, he didn’t want to send Demba Ba on loan to Arsenal.

    “5: Samir Handanovic ( Plays for Milan – is a mature keeper , 30 or 31 – Slovenian – highly rated and I normally prefer keepers playing in the Serie A , as a preference )”

    Good call. The only thing is, Inter have been planning a big return among the big boys (purchase of Shaqiri suggests that) and selling their first-choice goalkeeper is hardly an option for Roberto Mancini.

    “7: Asmir Bagovic (you should know about him the same as Petr Cech)”

    It’s BEgović. 🙂 Now, my compatriot would be a delightful purchase for me. He is tall, he reminds me a lot of Lehmann physically (except Asmir is not a crazy SOB), controls the penalty box (which is the most important thing for me) and has ability to make a brilliant save to protect a point or three.

    Now, he has weaknesses. He is rather prone to goals from the outside of the box. Free-kicks seem to be a painful spot for him.

    “9:Diego Lopez (plays for Milan, is a mature and tall keeper, I like him and he is spanish ) he be the one who Jose.Moron used at Real Madrid and the one who kept Casillas on bench.”

    Ancelotti also used Lopez in the league with Casillas keeping the goal in the Champions’ League. Real won CL and failed to win the league. You do the math. And, our Alexis scored that magnificent lob against him last season.

  • Begovic was the guy i chose Admir – seemed the most likely and one of the best GK in the league so it just makes sense to me. That Rene Adler JB mentioned also looks top class but i don’t know how available he would be.

    Remember Admir this is all hypothetical btw lol and JB was just doing me a real solid favor by listing some options for GK’s because i don’t know many tbh.

  • Admir,

    you can’t rule anything out in Football – If Cesc can join Chelsea and jose.Moron then anything is possible .

    you have ruled 2 out of 5 leaving us with 3 realistic options , however, I don’t rule anything out .

    truth be told then we did lose out on Fraser Foster and Lloris – that being said, if the player puts in a request himself or buys himself out of the contract then who knows ?

    Petr Cech – again, Demba ba was a loan move and maybe he didn’t want it enough – Cech on the other hand has earned enough to go where he wants in my opinion – but it does come down to whether he would want to come to Arsenal at what we offer him or look for a bigger pay cheque else where .

    Re- Samir – well, they have been planning and can plan all they want but the fact of the matter is that they are still not anywhere near being contenders for champions league or even europa league for now – so why he would want to spend another year at Milan waiting for it to happen, making it 2 years long before he plays in europe as opposed to him playing in europe as early as next season – provided a big club offers him the escape route ?

    like I said – impossible is nothing

  • yep should have signed Forster when we had the chance along with Dijk also from Celtic 🙂

  • (1) Llori could go to Man. Utd, esp. if/when De Gea went to Real Madrid. Likewise, Juventus (eventually to take over from Buffon), A.Madrid (looking out for top quality 1st choice international GK) and Valencia (with more cash inflow from new owner and rebuilding their status in La Liga) are in the lookout.

    (2) Čech has won everything in England with Chelsea, and should he move, is likely to newer pastures in: (a) Germany (with Dortmund/Schalke etc), (b) Italy (with Juventus/Milan/Roma/Napoli etc), (c) France (with PSG etc), (d) Spain (with Valencia/A. Madrid etc).

    (3) Handanovič is a viable option, though Man. United, Juventus (him to remain in Italy and finally win & have a realistic Serie A title shot) and a few German teams (Dortmund/Schalke etc) would be looking in as well.

    (4) Begović is another viable option, while he could also make a return to Germany (where he had lived in younger days).

    (5) Diego López would remain with Milan, since Abbiati is almost getting on.

    So, at most it is 2/5 possibilities for me, if ever Arsene even wanted a new GK. (and he could get another lesser known but quality GK just like he did with Gabriel).
    Matt Macey could also make his promotion from our reserves should any of Ospina/Szczęsny/Emiliano move on.

  • Hey guys… I’m not sure what’s going on, but maybe we need a check in from our fearless leader (TA)… I sent in the match preview about 20 hours ago…

    Anyhow, I hope all is well…

  • I think that new project he’s got is probably killing his time atm, no worries i’m sure he’ll get the preview out with plenty of time to spare, speaking of which – new HT preview on the way awesomeo!! looking forward to it bud 🙂

  • Evening FFGs 🙂

    Apologies for the lack of posts and comments. Working and commuting takes about 13 hours a day and family comes first. Once I get settled I will try and get the midweek posts going again. I can tell you I have been travelling to London with a big smile twice this week, as I am sure all of you have been having a fab week. The Manure win was just great and then Maureen gets humiliated in front of the home crowd once again. Fecking priceless.

    17, I will issue your post now. Thanks as always for your support to the site and thanks to others for keeping the comments going this week. 🙂

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