Welbeck and Theo on ‘wings’, Ozil in hole, Giroud central: Preview and Line-up

Arsenal – West Ham United — Match Preview

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Back to Business

How does Arsenal follow up on the tasty 2-1 victory over Manchester United in the FA Cup Quarter-finals at Old Trafford?   Will there be a let down after that emotional win–our first in almost a decade up there–or will it serve to galvanize our focus and get players and team fully motivated for what can be accomplished in the competitions ahead? 

It’s only March, so the battle for places in the league is still on and anything can happen as maybe that team leading in the standings can attest.  For once the sky is NOT falling in North London.  On the South side, however, between racist chants and conspiracies that ALL are out to get them, the horizon has dropped a notch.  For Chelsea, playing with an extra man and an away goal for an hour was simply not enough. Even when they got their (soft) penalty in extra time, they couldn’t close the deal.   The “best” team in England already out of the Champions League has led to many with long faces.  Not mine…

Before Gooners get too happy, however, we should note that crashes of this variety happen in our sport all the time.  We should also register that they had to feel confident going into the return match with Paris St. Germain after grinding out a 1-nil victory in East London against our next opponent, West Ham United.   Were they perhaps overconfident?  Who knows?  All I know is that Arsenal must avoid a similar complacency.  Instead, we must use the confidence gained from winning at Old Trafford but take what was witnessed at Stamford Bridge in midweek to redouble our focus for this next one and use it to our advantage.  Yes, Chelsea still have a 9 point lead (and a game in hand) and Manchester City still a 4 point gap over us for the top two places in the league, but now, more than ever, is a time to keep the pressure on.

We really must, because if we look below us in the table, our hold on 3rd place (the final Champions league spot not requiring an August playoff) is by only the narrowest of margins–a single point.  The club we just beat sits 4th (and out of all other competitions), local rivals Tottenham sit just one behind them and will have a similarly cleared schedule, while Liverpool, the current form club in the league, is only one more back.  Cock up against the Hammers and all the fun this week has provided goes right out the window.

Another reason a lapse cannot be afforded is because of the enormity of the task facing us in the midweek ahead.  Somehow Arsenal have to reverse a 3-1 deficit when they travel to Monaco next Tuesday.  We can only play the matches one at a time, of course, but a composed performance vs the Hammers–yet one which hones our multiple weapons in attack–would be just what the doctor (not to mention the priests, shamans, poets and philosophers) might order to create a sense of belief that something good might be possible down on the Cote d’Azur.

West Ham cannot, however, be taken too lightly.  They are having a fine season under manager Sam Allardyce and have proven themselves a very dangerous team to look past.   In particular they are no pushovers against the (so-called) top clubs.  They took full points from Manchester City in the Autumn and in more recent weeks have shared points in matches with Southampton, Manchester United and Tottenham.  As mentioned above, they pushed Chelsea for ninety plus minutes, only losing by the single goal.  Although they may feel very comfortable in 10th position–with no danger of dropping off the first page of the table this weekend being 4 points clear of Newcastle–Big Sam has made his reputation scrapping for every available point.

He’s certainly not everybody’s cup of tea and not a few East End bubble blowers are tiring of Allardyce’s pragmatism, even if it has been a particularly effective technique for exposing the soft underbelly in Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal teams over the years.  We saw plenty of floated balls to big targets when we played them at Upton Park in Late December and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Route One football on Saturday.   The Hammers, however, will be without big men Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole for this one, so Allardyce may be forced into a slightly less aerially oriented game even if his approach will likely still rely upon power and speed and using the full width of our pitch.  Even that approach will be hampered by not being able to use our own loanee, Carl Jenkinson, at right back.  As much as Wenger believes the loan rules are just another way the richer clubs are favoured, Jenks has been having a strong enough season with the Hammers that the manager will happily accept the advantage.

Wenger has no such power over another ex-Gunner, Alex Song, on loan from Barcelona.  The acquisition of Song was considered one of the best moves of the Summer and many Gooners, given our weakness at the rear of midfield–and the fact that we were looking up at West Ham in the table–during much of the Autumn, thought Wenger might have done well to have taken the Cameroonian back himself.  Song’s form in the new year has been hampered by a knee problem and he didn’t feature in the derby vs Chelsea, but Allardyce was coy on whether he’d be available to play against his old club.  Still, just as Wenger made a late decision to use Danny Welbeck against his former club in the match at Man United, Allardyce may try to use similar motivation with Song against us.  If he does, will we see the smiling Song who often was a little too friendly with opponents for the tastes of many supporters, or will he play with a chip on his shoulder, knowing a big performance against his former club will be noticed by the many who were dismayed by his quick exit from the club two summers ago?

Like our last league opponent, Queens Park Rangers, West Ham, already eliminated from the FA Cup and having a full 10 days between matches, have just returned from a training camp in Dubai. New tactics and partnerships may be the order of the day, some of which will be forced due to injury.  My hunch is that, like QPR, they will have drilled more on defending and will not be easy to break down, even if, in addition to Jenkinson at RB, they will also be missing center back Winston Reid who will not quite be recovered in time for this one.  Spanish Keeper Adrian, although perhaps not playing to the level of his countryman David De Gea (who kept the scoreline close up at Man U) is a fine shot stopper and a big reason for the Hammers success this year.  Arsenal will have to make quality chances and better shots to beat him.

In attack, with Carroll out as a focal point, Diafra Sakho and Stuart Downing are the biggest concerns.  Enner Valencia is a player who is unafraid to run with the ball and brings enough pace and trickery to hurt us.  Aaron Cresswell, a free running left back, in addition to Downing, can supply the crosses.  Cheik Kouyate, Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble add graft to the craft.  Even if they’re without their biggest guys, these players bring a good mix of skill, determination and physicality and should not be discounted.  We should be especially aware at set pieces.

That’s what got us in the reverse fixture, after all.  In that one, Arsenal, as we’ve done several times this season, scored two first half goals in quick succession (Santi Cazorla, from the spot after winning a penalty, and Danny Welbeck bundling in a rocketed low cross from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain) but then conceded from a corner (eventually scored by Kouyate after an initial header from James Tompkins) to set up a nervous finish.

There will be changes from that one and from the emotional Cup victory at ManU.  Wojciech Szczesny, even though his height might be a real weapon if West Ham revert to the lofted balls, will likely return to the bench in favor of David Ospina.  Wenger, I think, might compensate by using fullbacks–Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal–who have done time at center back, rather than pacier options, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Gibbs.  Francis Coquelin, our revelation at defensive mid, surely anchors the rearguard, and will play ahead of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, our only fit CBs.

The more difficult choices revolve around what Wenger will do up front and in attacking midfield.  This might be a spot for Theo Walcott to finally get a start as his explosive pace might help keep the Hammers honest and worried about committing too many men forward.  Does Olivier Giroud come back at Center Forward or does Danny Welbeck get a reward for the great solo effort for the game winner he pounced upon at Old Trafford?  Additionally, does Wenger believe he can rest any (or all) of the outstanding threesome at the heart of our team: Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil?  Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky have been playing well themselves and it would not be a drop in quality if either of them started.  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will certainly miss this one, even if a scan on the injured hamstring which forced him off early in the ManU match suggests he’ll be back soon.  Even Mathieu Flamini could feature as he’s been passed fit.  Jack Wilshere probably won’t be ready after minor surgery.  Here then is my best guess for the starting 11, but I feel far from confident putting it out there.

ars v west ham March 15

(Subs: Szczesny, Gibbs, Bellerin, Flamini, Rosicky, Ramsey, Alexis) 

Other would-be-managers might see (very) different line-ups.  What would be yours?  Is this a chance to rotate and rest ahead of the immense challenge we face at Monaco?  Should we consider that one a dead rubber and just stay focused on our (delicately poised) position in the league?  Will West Ham return from their long layoff and their exercises down in Dubai with determination and drive or does their comfortable spot in the table mean that they’ll not be too worried about trying to take points in another tough London derby?   In other words, what say you, the babbling (and barking) boys of the Bergkampesque blogosphere?…

The pressure relief from the win at Manchester United has been nice, but it’s time to get back to it…Gunners and Gooners alike.   Go on, then…

By 17highburyterrace

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170 Responses to Welbeck and Theo on ‘wings’, Ozil in hole, Giroud central: Preview and Line-up

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers 17, that was another fantastic read. Very well written and informative till the end.

    Music to my ears that they have defensive challenges and let’s hope we will profit from it. I like your line up and agreed it is difficult to predict the line up for this one. GK and back four agreed. Midfield agreed although Rambo may start, up-front looks good too. Would be good to give Alexis a break and Giroud, Danny and Theo up-front is a strong attacking line up. Still, I feel more comfortable if we play Alexis tomorrow. He is the embodiment of this season’s spirit and he has got his taste for goals back…. But we need him fresh against the tax avoiders…. Hard one to call. Back in a bit. 🙂

  2. James Bond says:

    nice one me amigo – what a mouth watering starting 11 you have predicted !

    Enner Valencia is out for the game !

    I would bench Santiago for Ramsey being my only change .

  3. Mpakania Sowex says:

    Ozil,theo,sanchez&Giroud Should Play The Hammers,what I Know about the hammers is that they are good at phisical game&using wings.Defecivily we need.Monreal,kosc,chambers,Berellin,conquelin,cazorla&then The Above Mentioned 4players-it Will Be Awin For Us If Wenger Does That.

  4. steve says:

    Great preview HT as usual perfect read with a cuppa (late night one this time which is unusual), like you i wouldn’t want to call the line up for this one and yours is as good as any and logically argued for.
    I will try and give another option (though more radical);

    My first instinct is to rest all the players who are on blinding form (sounds insane as i write that lol) for the colossal midweek challenge we have ahead.
    So if i could i would like to guarantee no injures to (i.e rest) Cazorla, Sanchez, OX, Coquelin and Monreal. Whether we have enough quality in the like for like replacements to win us the game against the Hammers is a gamble but if Wenger sees any drastic weaknesses developing at least he knows now he wont get struck with lighting if he actually makes an early substitution to rectify a bad situation.

    So my stand-ins would be;
    Ramsey for Cazorla
    Akpom for Sanchez
    Walcott for OX (who is injured anyway)
    Flamini for Coquelin (god help us if this kid picks up an injury)
    Gibbs for Monreal

    That should leave our collection of players who are hitting particularly high form atm nicely rested and injury free for the crazy game midweek – and hopefully still be enough to beat a weakened Hammers team at home.

    Basically just a robust and hardworking defense and midfield with Ozil up ahead passing to one of three blisteringly fast runners in behind the opposition defense – that’s the plan anyway lol

    —————————Ospina————————
    Chambers——–BFG——–Kos————Gibbs
    ——————-Flamini——-Ramsey————–
    —————————–Ozil————————–
    Walcott—————-Welbeck————–Akpom

    (big guns on the bench just in case)
    Subs: Szczesny, Monreal, Bellerin, Coquelin, Cazorla, Giroud, Alexis

    Very unlikely i am well aware, but the boss has been full of surprises lately so who knows 🙂

  5. James Bond says:

    that’s a good team there @ stevie wonder

    i would swap Akpom for Rosicky though.

  6. steve says:

    shit forgot about Rossa, good call JB!

  7. James Bond says:

    it was still a good team selection .

    REason I want Rosicky for Akpom is very simple – pressing from the front with Welbeck in pairs .

    you need at least 2 pressers at all times when playing the pressing game and pressing high .

    Theo can do the same on the RW .

  8. steve says:

    agreed JB although from what i have seen Akpom does press, but i would expect Rossa to be more disciplined and experienced about the task.

  9. AB says:

    Evening chaps. Great line up HT. I’d go with yours, but swap (rest) Cazorla for Rosicky. Rambo still needs to be eased back – though Wenger usually plugs him straight in if available. Ballerina should get a rest – he is only 19 and we need him to stay fresh. I think we will need the Coq for the physical side of the game – but he could be an early sub if we get a (hopefully) secure lead. This game feels like a proverbial waiting banana skin – we need the lads fired up and at them from the off; not feeling like flash harry’s after their win at the toilet.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed AB, OGAAT! Play it like it’s our last game ever.

  11. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. great post 17ht..
    I want to start by saying that not every striker can do hreat at CL..
    Costa was a very good sample.. He did great at PL but not even score one at CL..
    And it’s not only with Chelsea.. but before with ATM also the same..
    What I want to say that.. our handsome man Giroud may also have the same faith with most great strikers around.. hehehe..
    So.. I hope Giroud will replace with Welbeck in CL.. that means play him against Westham and rest Welbeck instead.. hehe..

    I agree Sanchez will need rest.. and also did Cazorla and Ozil.. I think Ramsey, Rosicky and Flamini are strong enough to handle Westham midfielders..
    But we still need one of them.. hehehe..
    Ospina.. I don’t know why Wenger left him in FA.. maybe some injured..?? And if that was the reason.. then keeping him rest is a better choice..
    Monreal is more mature than gibbs and so do Chamber.. so both of them rest for CL..

    So my team will be:
    Szczesney
    Bellerin – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Gibbs
    Flamini – Ramsey
    Walcott – Cazorla – Rosicky
    Giroud

  12. geoffchase says:

    All

    Realistically, I’d go strong here and rest mid week. I am as hopeful as the rest but Monaco is one of the best defensive teams in Europe by goals against. At home as well? As 17 notes is is a week where we could gain points, and cannot lose any with no buffer.

    So, I’d go with a beat 11, where there are still several choices, and then rest those needing it Tuesday. Heresy, I kniw, but miracles come from the desperate (to start), and I recall a similar (almost) miracle a few years back at Bayern with a “lesser” squad..

    Just my 2p — jgc

  13. Gerry says:

    Just a quick note from me. Great post HT. I do appreciate your considered thinking into all aspects of these previews.
    However, I am with Geoff on this one. The changes will come mid week.

    This game is about managing the ‘fatigue factor’ but at the same time keeping the best possible team shape that can continue to get results. For that I think there will be no complacency. They will want to ride high on the glow of the Man U win. So I think there will be minimum changes.
    Yes Ospina back. Yes Nacho stays. Yes Bellerin keeps the RB slot. Yes to Coquelin. Yes to Santi Yes to Ozil. Yes to Alexis.Yes To Giro. No to Walcott … I have a sneaky feeling he may play Ramsey on that right side to allow the Bells to plunder forward, just to keep it tighter at the back. Rosicky is the alternative.

    That is OGAAT.
    But in OGA mode, expect big changes.
    Cheers

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Henry, I like your line up a lot. That could work Arteta aka a treat. 🙂

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    The world will be watching and the players will be up for it on Tuesday, so Wenger will play his very best team, no doubt about it; he always does in a meaningful CL match. He will also pick his best team, or there about, against the Hammers, which is reflected in 17’s starting eleven.

    Rosicky and Ramsey are great to have back and surely will play a key role in one or both matches. Some very fine football days ahead, and I am with the Bond that we will slay the tax avoiders dans la sud de la France. Allez les Gunners! 🙂

  16. VCC says:

    Fine pre match Seventeenho……….With Enner Valencia also injured ( cutting his foot on a broken tea cup) it gives us no excuse to get all three points. BUT, as Arsenal supporters, we all know, never to take the opposition too lightly.

    With Carroll and Cole out, they don’t have the advantage with aerial superiority, which always causes us problems.

    COYG

  17. Admir says:

    17 gives us a great preview, as usual: 🙂

    Let’s hope our boys are going to keep their standard – we’ve won four in a row in the league and five out of six in this weird seven-games-in-London-streak that ends today.

    I agree with the warning about mind-distracting Champions’ League game and maybe that’s the reason we should go out with a few fresh players today. We have looked much better recently (compare that 2:1 victory against QPR to the one with the same score-line against Crystal Palace) so there might not be any need for changing something if it ain’t broken.

    However, I’d like to see:

    Ospina-Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs-Coquelin-Rosicky, Ramsey-Walcott, Welbeck-Giroud.

    That way we would give a rest to three most important players for our attack – Cazorla, Özil and Alexis.

    Now, I don’t see Wenger going out without all three of them on the bench. So, it’s more likely that we’ll see Rosicky for either Özil or Cazorla while Alexis will start in the game we have to win in order to keep our Top Four place and stretch our lead to Saints and either/both United or/and Spuds. Something tells me Liverpool will shred Swans to pieces again and City will beat Burnley. Chavs will while Maureen won’t let another disappointment at Stamford Bridge.

    Arsenal – West Ham 2:0 (The Hot Chilli, Dorian Gray)
    Manure – Spuds 2:2 (The Gran-Shagger x2 (1 from penalty) – The Future Citizen Kane x2)
    Burnley – Shitty 0:3 (The Bosnian Diamond x2, The Used-To-Be-Maradona-Daughters-Shagger)
    Swans – Bindippers 0:3 (The-Youngest-Grandfather-To-Be, The Annoying Dancer x2)

  18. James Bond says:

    007 reporting for duty .

    hopefully, me amigo’s very fine preview brings us continued luck and joy – it’s 5 in 5 so far, if memory serves !!!

    anyone else around and about ?

  19. James Bond says:

    Kane – possibly will go to Man utd .He will do well there in my opinion . @ Admir

    it’s a no brainer for man utd to put in a £50 million bid for him in the summer and try to get him at old toilet .

    he is a complete striker , something we’ve not had since the days of Alan Shearer .

    I do have a soft spot for him since like Bale he was also a gooner, ha

  20. James Bond says:

    ARSENAL SUBS: Szczesny, Gibbs, Bellerin, Flamini, Cazorla, Welbeck, Akpom

    ARSENAL XI: Ospina; Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Ramsey; Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud

  21. James Bond says:

    I had it spot on with the santiago and Ramsey swap 🙂

    that’s a mouth watering starting 11 .

    don’t think Ozil has started many times with both Theo and Alexis before .

  22. James Bond says:

    9 out of 11 for me Amigo , sweet

    60th minute, when we are 2-0 up, should be looking to bring Welbeck for Alexis

    I believe, that both Welbeck and Santiago will start in Monte Carlo

    let’s hope we don’t get any injuries today.

    also, let’s not kid ourselves with Monaco having the strongest defences in Europe – stats can be deceiving sometimes, had it been our day, we could have and should have won 5-3 easy at the emirates .

  23. James Bond says:

    Team News

    Arsenal v West Ham (15:00 GMT)
    Posted at
    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger makes five changes to the side that beat Manchester United in the FA Cup on Monday night. Olivier Giroud is among those returning in place of Danny Welbeck in attack.
    West Ham, without a win in seven games, make four changes. Among those left out are on-loan Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson, who is unable to face his parent club, and striker Enner Valencia who is out with a toe he cut standing on a tea cup.
    Arsenal XI: Ospina, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud. Subs: Szczesny, Gibbs, Cazorla, Flamini, Welbeck, Akpom, Bellerin.
    West Ham XI: Adrian, O’Brien, Collins, Kouyate, Cresswell, Song, Noble, Nolan (c), Jarvis, Downing, Sakho. Subs: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Onariase, Poyet, Cullen, Amalfitano, Nene.

    where is Rosicky ?

  24. James Bond says:

    GOAL

    Crystal Palace 3-1 QPR – Matt Phillips
    Posted at 82 mins
    Wow. QPR might be on their way to another defeat but Matt Phillips has just scored one of the goals of the season. He picks up the ball inside his own half, takes two or three touches and lets fly. Julian Speroni is back-pedalling but the ball sails over the Palace keeper’s head and into the net. Sensational.

    since no one be around – am gonna do a runner for now.

  25. Admir says:

    @JB – Rosa has been ill, apparently.

  26. Admir says:

    @JB – actually, Kane has been a die-hard Spud from his childhood. I’ve read some piece about him and it would make one really feel sorry for the Spuds worldwide. Kane’s most wonderful memory from the childhood was meeting Jermain Defoe. Yes, Jermain Defoe. I mean, really… It could’ve been beaten only if he had had a man-crush on Roman Pavlyuchenko or that his goal is to repeat the glorious days of Serhiy Rebrov.

    England have a lot of attacking options. Sturridge, Rooney, Welbeck, Sterling, Walcott, even Chamberlain… The problem of England lies at the back – no world-class goalkeeper for over a decade and defenders who lose the games due to tactical naivety.

  27. James Bond says:

    those problems you outline are more or less the same problems we have had at Arsenal @ Admir 😉

    are you sure you were thinking about the English football teams problems and not Arsenal’s ? 😀

    predictions time ?

    4-0 Arsenal .

  28. James Bond says:

    OSpina!!! my man

  29. James Bond says:

    a clear cut penalty not given for theo but he should have pulled the trigger much soon, IMO

  30. Admir says:

    Chambers is letting Jarvis behind his back too often.

  31. James Bond says:

    Chambers is not better than Jenks at RB – that’s for sure.

  32. James Bond says:

    saying that he nearly provides an assist for Ramsey, phew

  33. geoffchase says:

    Watching live for once… In belgium..

    Song active, seems to want it.. We are adapting tho.

    Give Sam the credit, that’s a disciplined but aggressive bus parked there.

    Nice cross from chambers..

    — jgc

  34. Admir says:

    @007 – nope, those are English issues. 😉 Plus, England don’t have a midfielder like Cazorla. 😉

  35. geoffchase says:

    007

    Nope, that’s Theo leaving him too open a few steps too long..!

    — jgc

  36. geoffchase says:

    OG

    Looks

    Sluggish

    .. Not chasing balls or closing down as muc…

  37. geoffchase says:

    Argh

    Right at keeper!!

    Saying that, OG picked up there..

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    What are drinking, Geoff? Hoegaarden? 🙂

  39. geoffchase says:

    Karmaliet Triple, TA ….

  40. geoffchase says:

    Theo!?!?

  41. geoffchase says:

    Ozil

    Brilliant run and shot..

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    How much percent alcohol – don’t know that one.

  43. geoffchase says:

    And finally!

  44. geoffchase says:

    Ozil to AR who leaves to OG..

    8.4% TA .. Number one belgian several years running…

  45. James Bond says:

    Giiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrooooooooooooooooooooooooooud

    1-0

    beautiful pre-assist ozil and Ramsey onto Giroud

    well deserved!

    HT

  46. James Bond says:

    England have Jack wilshere – Spain are envious ahahahahahhahahahahahahahaha

    Hello to the JGC-Damus – been ages since our paths last crossed during a GDC .

    nah, nothing to do with Theo, he has been rather slow in recovering and without the ball he does look like the 2nd coming of Carlos Santos does Chambers .

  47. geoffchase says:

    TA

    See also my other favorites, all mostly lesser known

    Westmalle Triple – 9%
    La Chouffe -8%
    Rochefort 10 – 10.5%

    All blondes but the last! Westmalle and Rochefort are Trappist beers also, as Karmaliet is Abbey style (Trappist manufacture but no monks involved). La Chouffe is from a Brasserie in the Ardennes until bought by In-Bev last year….

    Chimay is of course also nice… White label blonde is best tho! 🙂

    — jgc

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    All sound great, Geoff.its been decades since I drank Belgian beers. Don’t smoke any pod with them though, it’s lethal apparently 🙂

  49. geoffchase says:

    So this TAs

    The ** eternal ** question.. Blondes or brunettes?? Talking beer of course! 😉

    — jgc

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Have not seen anything of the game as pc keeps playing up. Really happy we got one just before half time. COYG

  51. geoffchase says:

    Who needs weed
    When one has the Amber liquid from the houblon seed?

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Brunettes in both cases 🍺

  53. James Bond says:

    redheads rock ; )

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    You like a Kriek in the summer then?

  55. Admir says:

    Wonderful goal from Giroud. It was Batistuta-sque strike. 🙂

    Ramsey looks lively and more like he was at the very beginning of the season.

    Let’s kill off the game in the second half.

  56. geoffchase says:

    TA

    We’ve had 4 good opps. Ozil and AR forced some Magic from the WHU keeper, Theo was wasteful twice, once open net on rebound from Ozil shot went closer to upper deck than goal. :/

    We have dominated possession. They got one good opp early but thats all so far… So far… We should have two but …

    God to get one just before half. Now we need the sealer.. WHU playing very disciplined and aggressive bus, but looked to be running a touch short of puff towards the end of half. Song was agressive and notable early but has disappeared in the last 15-20 of the half..

    Cheers — my summary — jgc

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    Where is our tiger from Tahoe, the fab author of today’s preview?

  58. geoffchase says:

    TA and JB

    Blondes both cases, barring my occasional Rochefort dalliances in the one case only… 🙂

    Jb, redheads..!?!? Kriek maybe, too sweet for me in answer to TA, but otherwise very American of you! Beer wise. We were talking about beer right?!?! 😀

    Cheers — jgc

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Great summary, cheers jgc. Have picture now 🙂

  60. geoffchase says:

    Admir

    Agreed on AR. Theos form is still not there tho..

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    It’s a summer beer, and yes very sweet. Not my favourite either, I like em dark and mysterious…

  62. geoffchase says:

    No card for Sahko on that?! Interesting as Ospina was ther well early..

  63. geoffchase says:

    Rochefort or the MacChouffe for you then!!

  64. James Bond says:

    Chambers really is the 2nd coming of Andre Santos and that’s me being kind.

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    Now those are beer names! 🙂

  66. James Bond says:

    Koc the rock !!!

    we need to sub Alexis PRONTO – already on a yellow hence.

  67. James Bond says:

    it must be our lucky day .

    first we don’t get a clear cut penalty

    andn now the ref is injured and guess who is coming on ?

    Anthony taylor

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Sluggish start of second half

  69. geoffchase says:

    Sluggish like first half.. But I disagree with JB.. You think… ?? I think Theo is leaving him exposed between two olayers too long and.. That forces him off the player… And … Bad stuff..

  70. geoffchase says:

    They are spending lots of effort to isolate Nacho for some reason… So far so good.. Nice cross by chambers there too!

  71. geoffchase says:

    JB

    Text delay to AW..? Welbeck on for Sanchez

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    Getting closer now

  73. geoffchase says:

    65th min.. Must be AWs lucky number?! 🙂

  74. geoffchase says:

    We are sitting too much and not holding or attacking.. We did in half one to better effect.. Sigh!!

  75. Admir says:

    Come on, lads, let’s wrap this one up!

  76. geoffchase says:

    AR gives theo set up of gold or close…. Nuttin..

  77. Admir says:

    Why Özil avoid shooting?!

  78. geoffchase says:

    That Was AR!

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    The commentators are having Ozil bias once more, bunch of dicks

  80. geoffchase says:

    Welbz puts entire team offside.. We are not in synch…

  81. geoffchase says:

    Santi forTheo… Not been Theos day IMO..

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    I feel Theowill be important in Monaco, so good work out.

  83. geoffchase says:

    We’ve let this degenerate into a fat Sam game.. We are playing their game and not ours.. :/

  84. geoffchase says:

    Perhaps we had to expect some let down from they MU game?

  85. TotalArsenal says:

    Dirty Santi hahaha

  86. geoffchase says:

    THIS is better stuff!,

  87. James Bond says:

    The hammers have tired

    we can score 3 goals in the last 10

  88. geoffchase says:

    AR!!!

    Almost and then there!!!!!

  89. James Bond says:

    make that 2 more in the 10

    2 nil Arsenal

    ramseyyyyyyyyyyyy

  90. geoffchase says:

    That should, should… Do it..

  91. TotalArsenal says:

    And that’s why our players are instructed not to shoot at every opportunity… Excellent lay off by Girouffe

  92. geoffchase says:

    Flamini for Ozil to lock it down… Ozil had, I think, first pass to OG to AR on the goal?

  93. Admir says:

    FANTASTIC GOAL! 🙂

  94. geoffchase says:

    and 3!! Flaminis?!?!?!?!!!

  95. James Bond says:

    3-0

    one more to go.

  96. geoffchase says:

    She’s done I reckon!!

  97. Admir says:

    AND AGAIN!

  98. TotalArsenal says:

    The Flame is back, lovely work by the team, great vision by dirty Santi 🙂

  99. James Bond says:

    start the engine time , I reckon .

  100. TotalArsenal says:

    Three big points that will put pressure on our competitors

  101. TotalArsenal says:

    Engine has been on for a while, Jibbers 🙂

  102. geoffchase says:

    JB et al

    For all that in the score, I reckon if I had a criticism its that we were not too sharp or precise today, lacked some energy in key times too. Result still counts tho!! 🙂

  103. geoffchase says:

    And it’s done… Still have some beer tho!, 🙂

  104. James Bond says:

    3-0

    an exact same scoreline on tuesday be perfecto

    PS: please do the match preview for the one in monte carlo @ me Amigo !!!

  105. geoffchase says:

    IMO JB *** MUST *** do previews until proven otherwise!!! 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  106. geoffchase says:

    Sorry, HE MUST …n

  107. James Bond says:

    agreed with both skipper & the professor

    the most important thing for me was the clean sheet and no injuries .

    both Welbeck and Santiago are fresh as is Alexis to an extent .

    Won’t be surprised if we played a 4-4-2 on tuesday with both Welbeck and Giroud playing .

    as usual, been a pleasure folks – be well and be safe .

    until next time, it’s Adios .

  108. James Bond says:

    phew @ 16:53 🙂

  109. geoffchase says:

    JB, sorry there.. 🙂

  110. henrychan says:

    I saw a very arsenal ways tonight.. hehe.. We WIN with style..
    I just sorry for walcott.. after missed so many chances.. he may be bench on Tuesday game..
    Cazorla make everything so easier to do.. even for Flamini.. hehehe.. what a smile.. hehehe.. I really think Wenger must deeply consider to play him instead of Ozil at ?Montecarlo..
    Coquelin and Kosielny did their job very well… very solid and disipline.. with Gabriele.. we have a very ultra solid defenders.. and it will make all our forward play more confident .

  111. henrychan says:

    Bond.. Kane will not go to MU but Madrid.. hehe.. Madrid tend to buy Spurs man every year.. hahaha..
    A very ‘fly emirates’ connection.. in order to weaken our nearest neighbour.. hahaha..

  112. TotalArsenal says:

    very ultra solid, I like it Henry 🙂

    Enjoy your evening guys 🙂

    Does anybody fancy writing about the game?

  113. proudgooner says:

    if City match stays goaless and Chelsea get beat by Southampton we are back in the title race.
    Even more so when you think we have to play Chelsea at home in April
    🙂
    OGAAT
    COYG
    Well done to the lads today
    2nd is on the cards and just maybe we can get lucky and unsettle Chelsea, i would love that.

  114. proudgooner says:

    yeeesssssssssssssssssssssss
    1-0 burnley ha ha ha ha ha

  115. TotalArsenal says:

    ‘I would love that’ lol, we would all fecking love it, PG. It would be one of the best things ever… But the gap is just too big. It needs a mighty slip up. The Chavs games are not easy with games against us, Manure and Liverpool still to come, and Crystal Palace could do them as well, but it still requires a big miracle. 🙂

  116. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice one PG, look behind you Northern Oilers, or just smell, cause the mighty Arse is breathing on you!

  117. proudgooner says:

    Lol love it TA,
    It would be a really nice positive phycaolgically to finish above City and set us up nicely for next season.
    If we finished above Chelsea it would trump the 2-0 win v Liverpool on the last match of the season in the 80’s
    it is something we should be going for either way.
    COYG

  118. TotalArsenal says:

    All we can do is win as many games as possible and put pressure on them, PG, the cry-babies might wobble… 😛

  119. jnyc says:

    United win or draw tmrw best in my estimation. .. knock spurs down a bit.., united schedule is a killer for the run in.., they had the easiest early fixtures, and their luck is due to run out. It could be another good weekend, because we took care of our business first.. now attack Monaco.. im curious to see how Arsene lines us up for this one, subs bench and all..

  120. proudgooner says:

    TA,
    Jovetic and Sagna are so wasted at City

  121. TotalArsenal says:

    Especially Sagna, what a waste of experience and quality…

  122. James Bond says:

    disagreed @ Jnyc 🙂

    United losing be the best result for us .

    gives us a 4 point cushion which is a game and a half (draw)

  123. James Bond says:

    Evening PG , Skipper and the lad from the big apple 🙂

    great result that man city one for us – things are looking great .

    we need one big push on tuesday, all being well and with a bit of luck, am confident we can do that and then one more game (newcastle) before a well timed 2 week break ?

    so the way am looking at this is that we have a semi-final on tuesday and then a final – both games are must win before we get a little breather ?

    sure, one game at a time and all that but really – let’s set ourselves up for a massive next 6 days .

    we have the squad for it, we have the team for it and of course, by the grace and powers of the footballing gods, now we have the keeper for it 😉

    PS: OZ come out and play matey

  124. TotalArsenal says:

    All agreed, Jibbers 🙂

    The cannon is aiming at Monaco first. 🙂

  125. James Bond says:

    The cannon is aiming at Monaco first !!!

    love it love it love it !!! nice one

    come on lads, come out and play – this place should be buzzing – stop hiding behind and sitting(h)behind the sofa already @ Glics

  126. TotalArsenal says:

    I am missing the Ozzies, and a bit worried about Alex. Emailed him but he didn’t get back which is unlike him.

  127. James Bond says:

    might be busy with baby Bella .

    Give us a shout all you 3 Aussies – Oz, Prince and Alex

    also the young gooners in Dylan, AFC and MILO – where art thou

  128. TotalArsenal says:

    And Cockie has been quiet….. licking his Maureen wounds… tactical genius muhahahhahahahaahaha 😛

  129. James Bond says:

    ahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahaahhaahhahaahhahahahahaahh

  130. oz gunner says:

    Morning gents.

    Another fine display. Giroud…keeps getting better and better in my opinion…that strike nearly snapped the post in half. Not sure why ozil isn’t having a ping currently. He has such good technique and its wasted when he passes.

    @ BJ

    Disagree with you comment suggesting chambers is santos. Chambers will be a star in the future.

    What does everyone think of Arsene’s comments about walcott’s contract talks? I think it’s funny that he’s called him out. Quite annoying when he’s been payed to sit on the injury table for so long…repay the faith you sod. If the money was good I would be tempted to cash in on him to be honest. He can never stay fit.

    Monreal!!!! Best LB in the league at the moment. He pocketed downing with ease.

  131. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Oz, good to have you commenting again. I will be back in a bit. 🙂

  132. James Bond says:

    oh no doubt about that @ Aussie

    he will be a star in the future but not at RB, IMO not his forte .

    good to have you back, thought we had lost you and was beginning to get slightly worried !

    Aus vs Pak in the Qf’s – how you feeling about that one ?

  133. oz gunner says:

    Yeah definitely not at right back. His attacking ability will make him a dangerous CB.
    Interesting to see what happens to Jenks now with bellerin playing great football.

    Nah not lost. This is the only football blog I’ll ever come to. Just limited time unfortunately.

    To be honest I haven’t been keeping up with it. It’s been Arsenal and Aussie rules at the moment.

  134. James Bond says:

    I had CM in mind, unless you want him to be a david luiz at CB then sure :Evil:

    Debuchy is doing well and may well be available for the Liverpool game or the semis of the FA cup –

    that’s a decision to make for AW , re Jenks – I suspect he will do a Vela on Jenks .

    fair enough .

  135. oz gunner says:

    Good, I can’t wait to see Debuchy get an extended run.

    Agreed. A shame because he loves arsenal so much.

  136. The Cockie Monster says:

    He may be……..The Special Needs One !.

    but he will be manager of the EPL Champs this year that’s for sure !. 😀

  137. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes Oz, Giroud is worth his weight in gold. He is the total attacker at the moment, both in finishing as well as creating and supporting. Just love him.

  138. The Cockie Monster says:

    Oz may be a down under “Quincy ” !, but like me he liked the sight of Le Coq years ago !. hahaha

  139. TotalArsenal says:

    Nothing is for sure, you behind the coucher! 😉

  140. The Cockie Monster says:

    I was thinking of watching the Monaco game live in front of the Sofa because we have no chance !……., trouble is, if we go 2-0 up early, I will start bricking it and dive back behind the Sofa !………best I record the game and play safe !. hahaha

  141. oz gunner says:

    haha nearly ran down the street in the nude when le coq re-signed cockie. Arsene probably battled me in Fifa and thought “who is this crazy fecker playing le coq as our DM?” Next thing you know he’s recalled from loan.

    Arsene owes me for scouting Giroud and keeping the faith (le coq).

    @ TA

    agreed. I think his link up play is very underrated too. Long live the handsome french bastard

  142. The Cockie Monster says:

    It takes crazy guys to see the wood through the trees, Oz !…………I remember Totes saying I was crazy predicting Henry would come back to Arsenal on loan !………I was right and he was right !…..a good outcome !. hahaha

  143. James Bond says:

    am going to be controversial now .

    we shouldn’t start Santiago on tuesday . Keep him on the bench and start with Ramsey . keep the same starting 10 as today + Bellerin = sorted .

  144. henrychan says:

    Wake up in the morning and City lost.. hahaha..
    What a beautiful Sunday..
    And seeing Chelsea.. Soton.. MU and Spurs all lose points will make this Sunday a perfect day.. hehehehe..
    Back to sleep again.. hope to get some nice dream.. hehehehe..

  145. Admir says:

    @oz – 21:44

    I disagree regarding Theo.

    In a way, our position in these contract talks is much better than it was two years ago. We hadn’t had Alexis, Welbeck, even Campbell and Akpom could be added to the list. Theo used to be The One With Pace, now he is just One Of Those With Pace.

    On the other hand, I wrote a while ago (I think in that article about the expectations for 2015) that I expect Theo to make a real come-back in 2015-16, not before that. He didn’t go through pre-season, he is visibly rusty and his final touch is too heavy. I expect him to be on fire next summer though.

  146. The Cockie Monster says:

    A happy Mothers Day from all my children to your wives and girlfriends !. 😀

    8th EPL home win on the trot !……best since Nov` 2005, so that makes it a record at The Em`s !………not bad considering we`ve been shit on more than a few occasions !. hahaha

    As for Theo !………I liked all the positions he got into !…..the goals will come !.
    Maybe he should have shot on one occasion, but it was a definite pen` !.

  147. Xavier says:

    JB i think i agree with you. Ramsey in Midfield brings one helluve balance to the team. When he’s ticking of course. I might keep alexis on the bench for cazorla though. Sucks that Chambo wont be available. Monaco would be a good game to start him. I’m enjoying wengers headaches. I hope we can snatch a win+Qualification in monaco though. That would make this month one of the best in recent arsenal history. Looking forward to the game. I’m mad nervous as well. *sigh* Cockie I may join you at the back of the sofa for this one. Make space. 😀

  148. James Bond says:

    Hi Xavier

    how you doing mate ?

    well, that was part of my reason for playing ramsey and dropping Santiago but I also like how Ozil plays and connects with Ramsey in the absence of Santiago . it sort of gives him more of a freedom and he can orchestrate more effectively as well as efficiently – note all those chances he created or the moves he started which ended up with Theo on his bike and so on , as well as the lovely triangles with Ramsey .

    I am convinced that Santiago can be much more effective in Monte Carlo, if he was to come off the bench on the 65th minute mark when he has tired bodies and more space to play with ?

  149. James Bond says:

    1-1 saints

  150. Admir says:

    May I say something?

    Southampton are the best organized team in the league.

  151. James Bond says:

    agreed .

  152. James Bond says:

    and with one of the better keepers in the league .

  153. geoffchase says:

    JB

    Agreed about AR and Santi. Ozil was also involved in starting all three goals, and ran a defender out of one. Was unlucky, or their goal keeper was great more likely, on once chance.

    I see all but Theo from this game starting. Id like to see TR replace him for Monaco, or Santi to go full circle…

    IMO, BTW, Chambers did very well. Theo left him uncovered too often for his experience level. THAT is the difference between Sagna / Debuchy and Chambers in many ways.

    Cheers — jgc

  154. geoffchase says:

    Henry

    That’s how. I do my UMF picking rivals to win as well as Arsenal. I can only have a bad weekend in one of them, and sometimes, like last week, it was good in both! Risk minimization!! 🙂

  155. The Cockie Monster says:

    Southampton are very organised and considering the amount of players they lost pre-season ( Chambers, Shaw, Lovren, Lambert, Lallana )……almost half a team !…..I ask you why are they so organised and disciplined ?.
    Easy really !……….. they have a manager who was an excellent player with the “Dutch” knowledge !. ( and I don’t mean Drugs and Porn ! )
    Makes you wonder what he could have achieved at Arsenal with the talent we possess !.

  156. James Bond says:

    1-1 it ends 🙂

    good result for us !

    I would still like Theo to be playing in Monte Carlo @ JGC- DAMUS

    regardless of his finishing, he runs at and beyond defenders, something Ozil spots rather well .

    he can also get one of their defenders booked early on with his pace and direct running, so you see – he must play .

    Chambers was good offensively but regardless of Theo giving him a helping hand, he was still woeful in marking his man or letting them (Jarvis) get away rather easily . with time he will get better or you hope he does but Bellerin and Chambers are both offensive type RB’s IMO, we need to plug the gaps a tad more and choose our moments .

  157. James Bond says:

    man utd vs spuds next .

    a spuds win be rather nice (ewwwww) .

  158. The Cockie Monster says:

    A draw would be better !…….then you could use both hands for a wank !.

  159. geoffchase says:

    JB

    I agree about theo Tuesday, and disagree all at once. I think TR could do similar, and finish
    Ozils passes. Tho not with same pace. I agree he could dominate, but worry we need ALL the goals Tuesday… We will see..

    Re Chambers, I like him wide on long ball games. My take was Jarvis got by some because Theo didn’t allow early lock down and left young .calum floating too long. Again, we will see. Agree Bellerin has been better there, but vs a long balling fat Sam team?

    Re spuds MU… I went with draw as best possible in my UMF so … :/

  160. Admir says:

    MFHT (Marijuana Fellatio Hairy Transvestite) scored the opener. Van Girl threw the Dutch football craziness at Pocahontas as MFHT plays as some sort of a second striker next to The Granny-Shagger!

  161. Admir says:

    Speaking of Monaco game, I’d like to see the same approach we had against Bayern two years ago. We should be calm and divide the game in three 30-minute-periods so we can win each one of them with a single goal. No need to rush and try “to score the third goal before the first one”. Make a bigger pressure between 25th and 30th minute. Repeat the trick around the hour-mark. In the last ten minutes, if needed, throw everything on them.

    Ospina-Bellerina, Mertesackerina, Koscielnyna, Monrealina-Coquelina-Ramseyina, Cazorlina-Walcottina, Alexisina-Giroudina. Nice line-upina!

  162. James Bond says:

    no Ozilina ? @ Admir

    since you are the professor, who am I to argue @ JGC 🙂 AGREED !

  163. Admir says:

    @007 – I’d use Özilina in the second half or around the hour-mark to deliver a final blow to the tax-evaders as well as Welbeckina. Ramseyina, Cazorlina and Coquelina all have the battling spirit to match the one of the hosts.

    Now, this is how some media would report on Tuesday night:

    “MONACO-ARSENAL 0:1 (Walcott 19)

    19′ – Ramsey did a lovely one-two with Giroud just outside the area before releasing Walcott. Walcott fired a low diagonal shot into the net. The game is on!”

    “MONACO-ARSENAL 0:2 (Alexis 44)

    44′ – ARE WE GOING TO SEE A MIRACLE?! Cazorla twinkle-toed his way to the edge of the area before clipping the ball over Abdennour’s leg to Alexis. The Chilean darted into the box and placed the ball over Subašić. Gunners need just one more goal to progress to the quarterfinals!”

    “MONACO-ARSENAL 0:3 (Ramsey 89)

    89′ – WHAT A COME-BACK! Özil has been magnificent ever since he came in and now he gave the killer pass to break the hearts of the hosts. Welbeck did an excellent job by taking the ball of Toulalan and immediately passed it to Özil. The German made a few of his gazelle-steps before sending a ball behind the defenders to find Ramsey. The Welshman received the ball and put it home. Subašić has his head in hands, Jardim stands there like he can’t believe what he’s witnessing and Arsene Wenger is absolutely thrilled with the goal.”

    “Police just arrested a lad who has been waving with a “No Pole on the goal = Arsenal win!”-banner behind the Arsenal bench. Apparently, it wasn’t a banner, it was a tattooed intimate part that he was waving with!”

  164. James Bond says:

    ahahhahahahaahahhahahahaaahahahaha

    I like it, I like it but it’s a bitch too twitchy for me, why 89th minutes and not the 79th minute 😀

    but that was a good one !

  165. Admir says:

    Because it’s Arsenal and we don’t do it without nail-biting. 😉

    Coloccini out for the next week as Martin Atkinson gave him a red card.

  166. Admir says:

    Spuds did their usual “choke-on-anything”-routine as they are currently three goals down at the Old Toilet. Champions’ League battle could be over for them.

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