Arsenal – Liverpool: A Defining Moment in the Progression of Two Big Clubs?

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Finally this break for international football is ending and we can get back to real football–Arsenal football–and the final 8 matches of the Premier League season.  Not only that, but we do so with a highly anticipated match in our home stadium.  Liverpool, on exquisite form–at least until their most recent match vs Manchester United–were looking a real threat to grab a coveted top 4 position and try and do a bit better with another go-round in the Champions League.  With that 2-nil defeat at home, and the loss of two real leaders in Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtl to red card suspensions, they find themselves very much on the outside, looking in.  Five points is not an insurmountable number but failing to get a result against either of their two nearest rivals (ManU and now us) could prove a psychological hurdle.

As such, I expect Pool, despite their depletions, to bring full commitment to the task and a nothing-to-lose attitude.  After an even worse early season than our own, with many calling for changes in management, Liverpool regrouped around defensive solidity.  Their matches haven’t been easy on the eyes and their fall out of Europe was rather spectacular (they failed to make it out of their CL group and lost over two legs to Besiktas of Istanbul), but they have also risen steadily up the English table.  Their away form has been particularly impressive and this match will represent an attempt to add to their amazing total of six consecutive away clean sheets.  If they could do that–and perhaps nick something in the other direction–they could be right back in the fray.

Arsenal, however, should be ready for this one.  Our squad is deeper, we haven’t suffered too badly over the international break, and we even have additional players returning to full fitness for the run in.  Competition for places has not been stronger at the club in recent memory and several players are hitting top form as the season comes to its climax.  This match could move us further towards a return to CL football, and set the stage for our next, even more massive, home match, two weeks hence, against Chelsea.

Of course, anything can happen on the day, so, as always, focus and patience will be watchwords.  I believe Arsenal have the quality to win this one, but commitment to overcoming whatever the opponent–and fate–have on offer will  be the true task.

Unlike our match at Anfield, which finished with a very disappointing draw from an injury time Skrtl header, I don’t believe Arsenal will set out to defend.  In that one, Liverpool had 73% of the possession in the first 15 minutes and had the better chances as the half wore on, but it was not until a Phillipe Coutinho effort in the 45th minute that they took the lead.  Arsenal responded instantly to equalize from a scrambled set piece, with Mathieu Debuchy getting the final touch.  In the 2nd half, still playing on the break, Arsenal took the advantage with a well executed counterattack: Olivier Giroud finished the goal through keeper Brad Jones’ legs after a calm 1-2 with Santi Cazorla and good work from Kieran Gibbs to spring the play forward.  Arsenal defended stoutly and Liverpool were further weakened when substitute, Fabio Borini took two yellow cards and reduced the home team to ten men.  It appeared we would escape with all the points, until a late corner was conceded and defenders missed their assignments and Skrtl powered home the demoralizing equalizer.

It should be noted, however, that Liverpool are a changed and much improved side since that match which served to open the festive period.  Simon Mingolet has been outstanding since returning to the #1 position.  Coutinho, in addition to some spectacular goals, has learned the value of a pass.  Raheem Sterling, mooted in the press as a future Arsenal player (or perhaps swapped with our own Theo Walcott) might be keen to impress.  Even Mario Balotelli has added beyond the presence of his physicality (and reputation).  Jordan Henderson has been given the armband by manager Brendan Rodgers and improved his play substantially, which will make the loss of Gerrard less damaging.  Adam Llalana might also play in a deeper mid-field role if he can recover from a groin injury.  Skrtl may be harder to replace but Kolo Toure, who might be given the job, will be keen to show Arsenal fans that he’s still a solid defender.  Rodgers may also opt for a central back 3 with wingbacks.  Players like Emre Can, Lazar Markovic and Alberto Moreno can get forward quickly and still be dangerous from these deeper positions.  Given the way the other match ended, set pieces will always present a problem.

I doubt Arsenal will sit back as they did at Anfield and will rather try and take the game to Liverpool.  Alexis Sanchez, a man who only can play at full effort, needs to recover quickly from disappointing international displays with the Chilean National team.  If it had only been the 1-nil defeat to Brazil (at our own stadium) I would not be concerned.  Losing 2-nil to Iran, however, along with his struggling for form since the new year is more worrying.  Still, I think this is too big a match to rest him.  On the other hand, Mesut Ozil has been talking big about winning a future Balon d’Or, and perhaps paces himself better for the long haul.  He’ll be keen to back up such a bold claim with assists or goals.  Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey will also want to return strong.  Olivier Giroud, who continued his run of goals on duty with France, has stated a goal to finish ahead of Alexis as high scorer at the club this season.  In other words, despite Alexis’ difficulties and the fact that Danny Welbeck took a knock on duty with England, confidence in attack should be strong.

Defence may present some selection issues.  There’s no reason to drop David Ospina between the sticks, but Arsene Wenger may have a decision to make at center back.  Laurent Koscielny will surely play, but, Per Mertesacker, to many, is too slow and represents our past, while Brazilian Gabriel Paulista, fresh off his debut with the Selecao, will likely represent the future.  Mathieu Debuchy has recovered from his second major injury of the season but likely will wait at least a match before slotting back in at right back, having played in a mid-week Under 21 match.  This means Hector Bellerin likely plays in that position.  Fellow Spaniard Nacho Monreal seems to have made the left back position his, but Kieran Gibbs, having played and practiced with the large Liverpool contingent on the English National team, might also get the call.  Ahead of the back line, Francis Coquelin seems un-droppable.  It’s amazing to think that it was his late appearance as a sub in the reverse fixture which served as his first in Arsenal colours since his return from a loan spell at Charlton.

Here then is my call for the starting 11:

 

arsenal v pool April 15

Subs: Szczesny, Chambers, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Flamini, Rosicky, Walcott

What do fellow Gooners think?  Might Wenger try and go a bit deeper into the squad or, like me, will he want his absolute strongest group out there?  In addition to the ever-present need to get a result and perform well in front of the always nervous home support, beating Liverpool would also bode well for our chances in the FA Cup.  They still have a replay in the quarterfinals (and a semi-final to win if they get through) but they are by far the highest rated opponent we could face at Wembley.  All in all, it’s a great chance for the team to make a real statement against another big club.

Go on then…

 

By: 17highburyterrace

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144 Responses to Arsenal – Liverpool: A Defining Moment in the Progression of Two Big Clubs?

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent match preview which totally gets us back into meaningful football. And you have done our opponent justice with a detailed analysis of their play and key players and your praise for the way they turned things round. No argument from me re your line up, but I reckon Per will play. I would be tempted to play Theo in this one as he has something to prove and we would have more balance with Ozil in the middle (and Rambo and Coqbo behind him).

    Really looking fwd to this one. COYG! 🙂

  2. James Bond says:

    many thanks for writing such a fine preview, considering you have been away on a holiday makes it even more difficult – you have as usual written a mighty fine piece.

    agreed, with everything you say and also that we may well see the roles reversed from the first game – won’t be surprised to see liverFOOL defend, much like they did against Swansea away and got very lucky with that Henderson goal at the end.

    they are coming to the Emirates for a draw, let’s make sure to finish them off good and proper.

    man for man, we have a better team than them and none of their players could even make our squad at the moment – yes, you can quote me on that.

    not sure what Rodgers is sniffing these days with comments like “Arsenal are a great club but aren’t liverFOOL” – well, LiverFOOL have never won the premier league, so come back once you have actually won the Premier League to make such statements.

    nuff said, put this game to bed in the first half lads.

    3-0 .

  3. James Bond says:

    with skipper on the BFG – he will play and must play ? he has played the most games for us this season, however, he has enjoyed a 2 or 3 week break now as he didn’t play against Newcastle away.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Not sure they will come for a draw, JB. Only a win will give them a chance to still finish in the top-four as the gap needs closing. They might be tight and hope to play us on the corner, for which we have to be very careful of course.

    Still will be a difficult game for us, and any lack of concentration will cost us, I fear.

  5. geoffchase says:

    Hi

    Thanks for the post! I’m mostly in agreement. To perhaps quibble, I’d add that Pool are weak in defenders just now, and thus may come with a 3-4-3. In which case, Theo for Santi, a chance to show his stuff and he and Alexis burning into the open spaces in the back areas for Ozils thru balls…. That kind of space could be confidence building for Alexis, so I’m hoping Rodgers goes that way…

    Could be tempting. I’d then have AR back a touch more but still B2B. Defensively, it’ll be the BFG, and Bellerin and Coq adding pace to cover and AR and Coq screening the center backs.. Should do…

    I’m thinking 2-0, 3-1 to the good guys….

    Cheers — jgc

  6. geoffchase says:

    TR on that wing has also been a thought.

    Equally, if Alexis needs rest tho I don’t see that last one

    — jgc

  7. proudgooner says:

    17,
    Very good pre-match mate, a good read and i all.
    I would like to see Doubchy start, yes he is just back from a long lay off. But it was a shoulder injury so his legs should be fine and well rested. He is still by far our best right back.
    I would be tempted to go for Le Coq and Cazorla as DM’s.
    Ozil as number 10. Theo and Alexis on each wing and big Giroud up top.
    COYG
    3-1 to the Gunners.

  8. proudgooner says:

    All agreed lol

  9. proudgooner says:

    Or could the Ox get a look in on the right wing.
    Only 1 man truely knows who is bang in form and best suited for this game. I trust him to get it right.
    It is a really need to win, for the FA cup match and a must not lose.
    3-0 or 3-1

  10. James Bond says:

    how are you and the family doing @ Skipper – hope all is well and work has calmed down a bit.

    JGC – they have been playing a 3-4-3 for the majority of the season and that is exactly how they will line up against us. It has served them well and it’s something he will continue to stick with it.

    so, how do we negate their 3-4-3 ? it’s a very easy one that.

    4-3-3 = Le Coq ————Ramsey———–Santiago

    ========Theo ————-Ozil—————–Alexis

    that would mean no Giroud , however, to play that system or something similar, we will need to swap Theo with Giroud and then Ramsey and Alexis make those runs off Giroud and allow Ozil to demonstrate his mighty fine range.

    PG – Ox is injured, another 2 weeks away , however, Welbeck is FIT and might even be in the starting 11, believe it or not.

    agreed on Debuchy – but again, we might not see him before the FA cup game vs Reading.

    you can bet your bottom dollar that the likes of Diaby, Debuchy, Wilshere, Arteta, Flamini will have a strong case to play against Reading at Wembley with an extremely strong bench on the day but for now it’s OGAAT.

    let’s get the 3 points tomorrow as our next 3 games are very winnable before we play the title decider 😉

  11. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. Happy Easter..
    @17ht.. great job bro.. I love your team with CROCS (Coquelin Ramsey Oziel Cazorla and Sanchez) but as we already discussed it before.. it would hardly will come true..

    With so many choices.. I wonder what barometer did Wenger make to pick his team..
    If International games is his first priority than Sanchez must drop.. and Welbeck must in.. More fair for any players.. unless he was still injured.
    And I never saw Oziel play as a RW..??? Hehehe..
    It will be a very hard day for Wenger to choose.. because Debuchy.. Arteta.. are also fit..

  12. geoffchase says:

    JB

    I guess I’d go with 4-2-3-1 with AR and Coq screening. And for attack a holding OG with a thru balling Ozil setting up speed/energy out wide in Alexis and TR/Theo.

    That said, yours isn’t bad either but I don’t see a no OG day unless he has what 17 calls a Wengury…

    I have liked that against 3 at the back we have found lots of space forward in past and done well against such teams…

    We will see soon enough! Or you will, I have to go to sleep way down here. As long as we play like NZ cricket in the semi-final, and not like the final, all will go well!! 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  13. Gerry says:

    Hi HT, your post deserves a longer and more in depth reply than I can give – that is the problem even with the delayed early KO plus shopping and dog walking to fit in.

    However, I think you have you have the basics covered, so not a lot to disagree with … apart from the graphics board not allowing the line up as you see it, either a 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-2-3?
    That would keep the Ozil Cazorla pairing from appearing on the same horizontal plane. Of course they do frequently end up parallel to each other, as one or other advances into space, but is how that space is created that is key to their play. I have no doubt that Cazorla’s scintillating form this season is largely down to the presence of Ozil. If the opposition use three players to close down Ozil’s passing at source, how many can they use to press the ‘twisty, turney’ little Spaniard?

    Team selection is apparently down to AW’s intuition, so second guessing that is nigh on impossible. This is not the game to gamble on changes for the sake of it, much as I would like to see Gabby alongside Coquelin at some stage this season. Just perhaps, if BFG starts, then GP5 will be the shut up shop sub in that very role?

    If Welbeck is fit then I think he will get the nod over Theo, to start purely for his energy and defensive support. But it would be good if Alexis stayed up field. On the other hand, he may be given a ‘sicky’ by having a touch of the mythical ‘tangerines’ (ie slightly ‘off colour’) put down to his air miles clocked up on Inter’ duty? In which case, both Theo and Welbs could play?
    But like others have said, perhaps not in this game? Especially as Theo has been ‘damaged’ playing for England? Again, as PG argues that Debuchy could start, it could open up the potential for Hector B to play the ‘Theo’ role but offering better defensive cover?

    But there I go again, playing the gambler’s card 😀

    I think the biggest test will come in one of two ways: If they score first, can we break them down without leaving ourselves open to a killer second goal. Or if we get ahead, will AW be decisive enough to know when to shut up shop, short of grabbing that that all important 3 goal cushion?

    Theory has it that we should win, but that theory will be tested to the full if we don’t gel from the start. Injury talk has to be look at a bit sceptically. Our chief is well known for surprising us with inclusions of players who have seemingly been diverted from A & E in notices to the press beforehand. Just how many of Rodger’s men would be risked in any other game is anyone’s guess, if they make it to the pitch at all?

    It all adds up to a must watch game, whilst us armchair supporters will have to suffer whichever ‘anti Ozil’ punter is present to air their views … C’est la vie!

    Keep the faith ….

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    All is good, JB, but still very busy. Off to Scotland for a few days now.

    Hope you and Jane are fine too?

  15. steve says:

    Great preview HT, I’m dashing about today trying to get stuff done that i couldn’t yesterday (good Friday) but had to give this fine piece a read before i bugger off again and try and make it back for the match.
    Any suggestions i could make are all injured, coming back from injury or like Gerry says mentally damaged from international lol so that line up looks quite likely, although the Bellerin on the wing with Debuchy at RB was a good shout by Gerry (if he’s match fit).

    Pool are one of those high tempo, pressing teams i keep harping on about, the ones we don’t like very much according to my theory lol so call me nervous about this one.

    So fingers crossed (all of them) and COYG!!!

    Right, back in time for a bit of pre match banter i hope
    toodle roos

  16. James Bond says:

    Arsenal

    David Ospina; Hector Bellerin, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal; Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil; Olivier Giroud

    Substitutes:

    Olivier Giroud leads the line once again for the hosts having scored in each of his last five Premier League games.

    Liverpool

    Simon Mignolet; Emre Can, Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho; Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen, Lucas, Alberto Moreno; Lazar Markovic, Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho

  17. James Bond says:

    all is well @ Skipper.

    oh yes, was going to ask about Scotland as you do visit there once or twice every year, don’t you ? the weather hasn’t been the best lately though (up north!

    no Sturidge for liverFOOL or a striker

    they are playing a 3-6-1 one it appears with Sterling as the striker ?

    our 4-1-4-1 will do nicely against this starting 11.

  18. James Bond says:

    they have come to the emirates to park the bus (midfield of Hendo/Joe Allen and Lucas).

    if we are struggling to break them down then Rosicky be the answer.

  19. James Bond says:

    Welbeck is on the bench.

  20. James Bond says:

    this is our subs bench – what do you notice when you look at it ?

    Substitutes: Macey, Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini, Rosicky, Walcott, Welbeck

    I will give you a hint. (our 2nd keeper ? ? ?

  21. Testing, testing…

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hola, Que Tal Amigos….

    OK, I found a place to watch the match….a restaurant on the ground floor of a medical building…Our hotel television did not have the extra telly channels…

    Well, my one punt (Gabby for BFG) didn’t come off, so 10 of 11… Subs ARE surprising, at keeper and that Welbs is fit… Szcz must have a Wengury to protect our Portero Colombiano, Ospina, just in case he lets something by him…

    Anyhow…Very excited for this one and I think we can really take it to them. Just gotta watch ourselves and keep the back-line from pushing too far forward….

  23. James Bond says:

    Aloha me Amigo

    how goes in the land of Colombia ?

    so good of you to join us !

    as long as it stays 11 v 11 – I expect us to deliver the goods

  24. 17highburyterrace says:

    The restaurant is not open quite yet (kick off = 6:45 am here…) but they are still gonna prepare a cafecito (espresso) and un Tamal (a “tamale,” here they come in banana leaves…) for me…

    All is good (for me at least…) as the players come onto the pitch…

  25. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bien, bien…Jam-ez, cero-cero-siete…

    Very pleased to have found a place to watch the match on TV and the timing is good as my people sleep…Glad to hear that Jane is well (above)…

    Supremely defensive line-up from Rodgers…

    Kick-off… Early effort from Alexis = wide…

  26. James Bond says:

    scintillating start, we should have been 2-0 ahead already . their keeper to the rescue

  27. 17highburyterrace says:

    And Kolo…(saving our early chance)…

    They finally get it out of their half (Le Coq everywhere, keeping it in…) and win a corner… Comes to nothing but we should’ve been able to break better… Ozil looking the worst whiffing the long ball…

  28. Admir says:

    I’m so nervous.

  29. 17highburyterrace says:

    C’mon boys..Make them pay!

    Too many bouncy balls given we have such a short team out there…

    Is that Anthony Taylor reffing?

    Best Pool attack but no chances given…

    This Tamal is massive…filled with potatoes, peas and pork ribs…

    Oooh, let off there even if it maybe should’ve been offside?…

  30. Admir says:

    It wasn’t offside, if Sterling had scored it would have been given.

    We look a bit off at the moment.

  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    Just need to settle down…but Pool are coming into the match… Coutinho 25 yarder is their first shot and Ospina had it well covered…

  32. James Bond says:

    Santiago is having a bit of a shocker ?

  33. Admir says:

    Walcott/Welbeck/Rosicky for Cazorla?

  34. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sterling’s doing well with first touches and Le Coq looks good intercepting things but not so much as part of our attack…Ozil and Santi ares starting to work things but Ramsey out wide is having a struggle…

    Just gotta keep at it and get the first goal here…

    How you doing, Admir?

  35. James Bond says:

    we need Welbeck – take off Santiago, bring Welbeck on on the LW – move Alexis on the RW

    play a proper 4-3-3 = sorted.

  36. James Bond says:

    Welbeck @ Admir – he is a manchester lad , so will be fired up against the bin dippers

    move ramsey back to the center after taking off santiago

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    You guys are nuts… They’re clogging the middle…Just need better play from wide guys (Alexis and Ramsey)…Ozil finally did something better but he might drift wide and let Alexis come inside…

    BELLERIN!!

  38. James Bond says:

    Majestic Bellerin

    1-0

    beautiful

  39. Admir says:

    HHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. 17highburyterrace says:

    Calm as a man twice his age…and not so bad for a RB…Theo’s replacement?… 😀

  41. James Bond says:

    that is it me amigo, they are clogging the middle hence WIDTH and runners needed on the wings.

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    Like I said, we just needed better play from out wide… 😀

    Aren’t right backs not supposed to have left feet?… 😀

  43. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil!!!!! From the free kick!!!

  44. Admir says:

    In my match preview I pointed out at left Liverpool side of the defence. Well read, Arsene! 🙂

  45. 17highburyterrace says:

    Golazo!!!!

  46. Admir says:

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW! MEEEEEEEEEEESUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT ÖZIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

  47. James Bond says:

    that was orgasmic from Ozil

    2-0.

    5 more to get lads,

    come on!!!!

  48. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alexis!!!!

  49. allezkev says:

    Yeah, pay back….

    Let’s stick 5 past them…

  50. 17highburyterrace says:

    That should do it…. but I can still hope for more in the 2nd period, no?

    😀

    Statement being made here today…

  51. James Bond says:

    Alexiiiiiiiiiiiiiis sanchez babyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
    Aleeeeeeeeeeeexis Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanchez Wahooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    3-0

    start the engine time!!!

  52. 17highburyterrace says:

    Admir…A research project (for one of us…and I’m busy atm) would be to see how many times Arsenal have scored a quick second goal this season… It *seems* like several times to me…Maybe we’re developing a bit of a ruthless streak…

    Pool will have to come with Sturridge… As long as we keep the pitch spread we can attack them from anywhere…

    That Alexis finish was past Mingo before he could react…Pace over placement can work too, but how about the placement on the first two?…

  53. Retsub says:

    Wow that was great. Would just love it if we could smash them in the 2nd half. If nothing else it would shut Michael Owen up.

  54. James Bond says:

    champions in elect, no doubt about it – a repeat of this against Chelsea would seal the deal 😉

    this is all your doing me Amigo – thank you for your match previews ahahahahahahhahaahhahahah

    oh this is so good, so goooooooooooood, I got

  55. 17highburyterrace says:

    Me Siento Bien…Tambien…007…as they might say here….

    Who got the intercept (Bells or Rambo) and then who got the assist (Bells or Rambo) for the 3rd…

    Estoy Confundido… (confused)…

    Bells doing it on D as well…

  56. 17highburyterrace says:

    Uh oh…Kos out, Gabby on…

    What’s the word on that…Did he take a knock or just to save him for Burnley?… 😀

  57. henrychan says:

    Who give assist to Sanchez goal?

  58. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow…Giroud just saved after irresistible pass from Ozil… Arsenal looking good…

  59. James Bond says:

    Ooooooooooooooooospina – great save !

  60. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good save from the Colombian… Might’ve hit his near post?…

  61. AB says:

    anyone left for Wenger out?

  62. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ramsey off… He got the assist on the 3rd (and first) goal(s), Henry…According to the reports… I thought it was Bells…

  63. oz gunner says:

    this is brilliant!!!

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey, AB…That’s what I asked Admir (a while back) and now he won’t greet me during the match day chats… 😦 😀

  65. James Bond says:

    Koc = Groin injury

    Ramsey = Precaution

  66. AB says:

    Rambo injured? Or just taking care with him?

  67. AB says:

    Hi HT! If we look at our team and bench we are a league above the pool. But we don’t always play that way sadly. But credit has to go where its due – we are here through quality youth purchase, brilliant coaching, and a couple of top quality buys. Quite a contrast with a few others, and all down to Wenger, whatever people may think of him. He’s not lost it in my book for sure!

  68. henrychan says:

    The game is getting harder.. i mean more physical.. I think its time for Rosicky to come for Ozil..

  69. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hopefully both subs were more precautionary than bad…groin injuries can be bad…

    Sterling dive is not what we need at Arsenal…Give Theo 15 minutes to do better, eh…

    Of course, AB, I’m a big AW supporter…Long term vision is underrated (in the extreme) by most supporters, sadly…

  70. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oooooh….Alexis had Ozil (running hard on his left) but got caught from behind…

    Bells doing very well at both ends today…

    Wells getting ready as our last sub….

  71. henrychan says:

    Welbeck ok also.. we need a fast counter attack

  72. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oops…spoke too soon… Pen to Liverpool….

  73. AB says:

    bugger

  74. James Bond says:

    Ospina should have saved that one.

    never mind, 3-1

  75. oz gunner says:

    ospina wouldn’t be happy with that. he did all the hard work and guessed the right way

  76. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ospina guessed right, but it got through…(should’ve done better?)…

    Bells tackle was pretty bad…

  77. James Bond says:

    this ref is a wanke*

  78. henrychan says:

    No problem Bond.. We win two last games with this referee.. hehe..

  79. 17highburyterrace says:

    Welbs might’ve passes there, I thought…

  80. oz gunner says:

    fuck off you only stop it if it’s a head injury. blouse

  81. oz gunner says:

    that’s a leg breaker

  82. 17highburyterrace says:

    Looks like BFG and Gabby are “communicating” pretty strongly with one another… 😀

    Taylor, a real “play on” ref…is having trouble as the match gets more cynical…

    Bells pen seemed pretty stonewall, however… The kind we would want if it was our guy…

    Hahahaha…spoke too soon again…Straight red for Emre is spot on!…

  83. allezkev says:

    If/when Arsenal reach the FACup Final.

    If everyone is fit…

    Does Theo Walcott make the 18..???

  84. 17highburyterrace says:

    Should’ve been 4!! Santi (from Nacho…) hits the post…

  85. 17highburyterrace says:

    Only if he has signed a contract, I would guess, allezkev…

    GIROUD!!!

  86. henrychan says:

    This game is on us.. Now let’s see our 4th.. oh yes Giroud

  87. oz gunner says:

    player of the month GIROUD!!! He’s officially world class

  88. AB says:

    Quality performance – and result! Manure and Chelski be warned!

  89. 17highburyterrace says:

    4-1… Probably not good enough for most Gooners, but I will take it…

    Welbs wide, might’ve given us the scoreline needed….

  90. allezkev says:

    4-1….

    I’ll take that…

    Up to 2nd…

    Good point 17…

  91. Admir says:

    All in all, it was a really good performance and excellent result. 🙂

    Hopefully Kos and Aaron are fine.

  92. James Bond says:

    Giroud is officially world class aahhahahahahahahahahahahhahahaha

    lovin it lovin it am lovin it !

    that’s how you press then @ Steve

    when you can’t beat them join them (or out press them !

    a repeat of this vs Chelsea will be perfecto ! about time we break the hodooo of that moron.

  93. epps says:

    Wow! We look strong! I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting that!

  94. James Bond says:

    that’s a good question @ Allez

    Welz certainly makes things happens, no ? and is technically better as well as all-round compared to Theo

  95. allezkev says:

    That’s it Bondy, and when you bring AOC, Arteta, Debuchy and Wilshere into the equation, AW could have a selection problem….

    And a very nice problem to have mate.., 😉

  96. oz gunner says:

    He’s lifted another level BJ and when he has help (in the shape of Welbeck, sanchez, santi, ozil) he’s flourished.

  97. 17highburyterrace says:

    Resettled in the hotel…ManU was struggling to get a foothold vs Villa, but Herrera gets the goal late in the half… 😦

    Liverpool, I thought, did well to force our game to the outside, where Alexis and Ramsey looked less than happy… And there were some mix ups in our central defense and MF play which gave them a couple of chances… As soon as Rambo hooked up with Bellerin for the first goal, we had them…

    I actually thought it was a tougher match for Giroud. He really should’ve scored early in the 2nd with the header from Ozil and he struggled to present a good target before the goals came… He’s getting fitter and the late goal shows the hard work paying off. Alexis also had a bit of a struggle and a better keeper might’ve gotten a hand to his blast. I would’ve loved him to find Ozil on that one break…Ozil *needs* more chances in front of goal to prove he’s not a Hleb… 😀

    A lot of folks are very big on Welbeck but he seems to take the safe play a little too often for my liking…Shooting from those difficult angles can put pressure on the keeper, but trying to find a teammate can work as well… Consider me very worried about Theo (and his contract) if he cannot get into a match like this one…

    Kos injury is a worry but Gabby and BFG seemed to be working it out as the match went on. Sterling got the pen but it was more just Bells missing a ball he should’ve cleared…Personally I’d keep Theo (or look elsewhere for a winger/forward)… If Ospina had kept that pen out it would be an even finer day to be in Medellin… After my shower here, we hit the town and look for a kit with his name on it… Maybe I can negotiate a lower price since he didn’t save it… 😀

    Enjoy the weekend!!!

  98. James Bond says:

    what a goal that was from charlie Adam!!!!! Charlie you lil beauty

    1-1 chelsea

  99. Retsub says:

    Anyone not watching the Chelsea v Stoke game, Charlie Adam just equalised for Stoke. You don’t want to miss this goal its a cracker

  100. James Bond says:

    Costa is down and out for the rest of the season, I reckon.

    it’s Hazard that is winning them games, not Costa.

    but am not complaining 😉

  101. James Bond says:

    cut Welbeck some slack @ Me amigo – he has only been here what 8 months ? we have people who have been here 8 years, who are more wasteful than Welbeck (theo) – let him develop his skills and be on the same wave length as his team mates, he will still comfortably score 15 goals by the end of his first season (am hopeful). Allow him to have a full pre-season with the lads and then see how he squares them all up for an easy tap in.

    he is still a better all-round option to have than Ox , theo, Sterling with only theo being slightly more quicker than Welbeck.

    I’m a huge fan of his workrate and it’s got nothing to do with him being british either, the lad is level headed and an absolute team player. Big Tick from me but yes, the finishing does leave a lot to be desired as you have pointed out quite correctly but I have given you the mitigating factors to take into consideration.

    what really worries me and bother me is that german lazy player aka OZIL (Big winky).

    now what’s going on with him ehhhh absolute shambles.

    Steve, thoughts ?

  102. TotalArsenal says:

    Great result today and looking fwd to MOTD. Could only listen to the game whilst crossing the Penines, but those eight minutes of cannon blitz were just fantastic! 🙂

    Gerry was right: Theo’s biggest threat is Bellarina. How much has this boy grown this season? Next season it’s Debuchy-Bellarina on the right.

  103. James Bond says:

    don’t forget Gnabry @ Gerry and Skipper

    I rate Gnabry really highly.

  104. TotalArsenal says:

    Good point, JB, and there is Ox too of course…

  105. James Bond says:

    it’s like Allezkev mentions earlier – Theo stop playing hardball.

    AW – we have opened negotiations with him as we know how long it takes with him

    TW- what contract talks ? nothing has been started yet.

    I choose to believe AW on this one.

    get your act together @ Theo and sign da ting or else you could be playing in a mid-table team very soon and some may argue that you will be well suited there.

    am very pleased with the OX @ skipper, I know you expect more from him but he is still learning and can do a mighty fine job anywhere across the pitch. his versatility and technical abilities are on the up every season. This season has been the first season where he has got this much game time and he’s done ok (can do better of course.

    MOTD is still 10 minutes away, yikes

  106. steve says:

    Evening all, i got dragged into a bit of a session with the lads while i was out so only just finished watching the game a few minutes ago.
    What a cracking match!! If ever there was a time for Pool to simply not turn up i am very glad it was today 🙂
    They were slow on the ball, disorganized, didn’t press at all and looked nervous all over the pitch – loved it 🙂
    We were excellent all over the pitch (maybe not Ramsey) and actually gave them a master class in pressing although their slow clumsiness on the ball made it all that much easier.
    Top marks to Coquelin who literally stopped every move they tried to get out from the back and Bellerin who showed exactly why a few of us keep giving him a shout for the right wing position.
    Its really great to see two young, non star names making such big impressions on games.
    Everyone else put in their usual top performances as well.

    JB, its so funny atm you are one of many who keeps saying to me “look, now can you see how good Ozil is” as if some vale has been lifted from my eyes revealing something i never saw before lol.
    The guy has simply started to do exactly what i’ve been pleading for him to do for the last two seasons – actually get involved in a bloody match lol. Today (and recently) he was dribbling, closing down, tracking back, pressing, even tackling – Just like you have to do no matter who you are, then the skills can come into play after. If you think thats what i haven’t been able to see for the last two seasons then actually you are bang on, because it wasn’t bloody there lol, now at last he is putting a shift in and its hilarious to hear so many plaudits coming from the die hard Ozil supporters for providing the very performances the Ozil haters have been slating him for not providing all these years lol, you can’t have your cake and eat it too lol
    You can keep your elusive mystical unicorn ninja version of Ozil who is invisible for most of the game before stepping out of the land of space and shadows he has masterfully created for himself to quickly give an assist before dissolving back into transparency – Like you already know i never have and never will understand that version.
    I’ll stick with this new, oh shit look at Sanchez i better pull my socks up and get stuck in a bit, hey i can do this, look at me i won the ball and i have made some space for the pass, woo hoo version of Ozil, i understand and more importantly value this versions performances.
    Long live Ozil version 2.0 🙂
    Although i still have to say When it comes to all that action stuff (that i value so highly) added to a great passing ability all wrapped up in a nice neat package then Cazorla and Wilshere are still ahead of Ozil imo, so pick the bones out of that if you will lol 🙂

    Its a shame OX was injured for this one, him in Ramsey’s position today would have been great.

  107. Gerry says:

    That is their best performance from a midday KO, and throw in the Inter break where we are usually counting the walking wounded, it is even more pleasing.

    Although when the first goal went in I screamed … ‘That’s my boy!
    I have even checked the highlights to make sure Hector score it with his left foot, which he did. As I said in my comment beforehand, I don’t think he will be out of work long when Debuchy is fit.
    The only blot was the penalty. He was lucky on two counts with that too. Just missing the ball by a fraction, and thus not being a cynical tackle, probably saved him a second yellow, but also, when he checked with the ref he accepted it without argument. Probably justice in there somewhere, as his first yellow was for a bit of fifty fifty arm grappling, to which Sterling managed to escape from, only for Flamini to barge him over, but Bells got the card. Well that is my highly biased take on it.
    The BT commentator said Ozil spent a lot of time working on striking the ball into the very same area that he scored the free kick from. Word had clearly come down that the Ming -er has not got a right arm, as evident from the saves and goals conceded? I predict that any other Manager watching will note that for their strikers? Even if Blackburn don’t target his ride side, others in those ‘winnable games’ most certainly will. I predict a continuing slide for ‘Pool over the coming weeks, and getting to the Cup final with missing players will be difficult?

    I would not get too carried away with the result though. It was a great win, but, and I mean BUT, Liverpool were not playing like a top four side. Against United and Chelsea I don’t think we can play the high line, pushing both Ramsey and Coquelin into attack, without getting punished on the counter?

    However, the speed of passing and movement off the ball will always win games if we put our chances away.

    All in all, the TEAM played very well. Ramsey was a just tad like his worst self when not totally confident. but as with all, for each mistake, they had a chance to make up for it. Giroud certainly deserved the space he got for his goal, as for the first 80 minutes it was very crowded in ‘his’ area.

    Now we also have the full benefit of 7 days before our next game, and another 7 before our FA Cup semi. ‘Pool have just 3 days before they play Blackburn with an even more weakened side?
    You see, here are big plusses form our ‘honourable’ exit from the CL?

    Onwards and upwards …

  108. James Bond says:

    love him or hate him but you can’t deny it – The guy is a passionate gooner and does know how to put some people in their rightful place

  109. James Bond says:

    Afternoon lads and a very happy easter to everyone.

    Stevie Wonders,

    exactly, we should Sell ozil and get Raheem sterling instead 🙄

  110. steve says:

    No need JB, we’ve got Cazorla, Wilshere and OX – all better imo 🙂

  111. James Bond says:

    Michael Owen is a bit of a cun*, no ?

    Wilshere does have the x factor but sadly he is doing his ankles no favours.

    Ramsey even though had an off day yesterday, is still miles ahead and better of Jack Wilshere atm. Saying that, he still provided 2 assists yesterday @ Stevie Wonders ?

    personally, I felt that Santiago had a game to forget yesterday.

  112. Admir says:

    @JB – Owen is not a bit of a cun*, cun* is a bit of a Michael Owen.

  113. steve says:

    Wilshere is head and shoulders above Ramsey for me JB but each to his own i suppose 🙂

    Btw all that dribbling, tricks, runs, tackles and pressing stuff aside if we get down to the nitty gritty of what an Ozil type player should contribute (the things you guys look for) goals and assists then according to whoscored:
    Ozil, 6 assists 6 goals
    Sterling 7 assists 8 goals
    It seems Sterling is actually the better player atm, its a good job i fucking despise stats and as is often the case i disagree with these ones also. You guys are the stats people, what do you think of those key stats regarding the two players?

    And yes Owen is and always will be a mega cnt 🙂

  114. Admir says:

    @steve – Sterling has played 29 games in the league this season, Özil 15.

  115. steve says:

    haha Admir your proving my point as to why i hate blind statistics so much, i agree mate they mean nothing when taking out of the huge context you have to take into account.
    just to be clear i don’t agree with those stats seemingly showing Sterling as the better player, i was just stating them.
    You could look at that and say Sterling gets injured less so this is another bonus for him lol – its all crazy
    I know what i see on the pitch and thats how i call my opinions 🙂

  116. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    Spurs draw.. hahaha.. I get 3 points..
    Hope tomorrow will get another three.. hehehe..

  117. henrychan says:

    I think Liverpool.. Spurs and Soton out of big four race..
    And one of them must out from European league also.. hehehe

  118. allezkev says:

    Some interesting points above concerning favourites, but I’m just glad we’ve got all of them tbh.
    This squad is showing signs of developing into a really tasty fcuk off group of players who could seriously challenge the Petro-dollar clubs next season…
    Le Coq and Hector have been hugely encouraging, whilst Gabriel affords Wenger a level of flexibility at the back we haven’t had for ages.

    Two or three thoughtful signings in the summer whilst retaining Arteta, Rosicky and Walcott and we’ll ready to rock n roll in the next campaign…

    Szczesny out with a rib injury?
    Or has he been naughty again?
    Just saying….

  119. James Bond says:

    Wilshere is head and shoulders above Ramsey ? would you mind substantiating that – you say that based on what ?

    sometimes the stuff you come out with really does make me feel extremely concerned.

    are we still on “drugs” or have we fully recovered @ Stevie wonders ?

    you really seem to be losing it. if you are going to be comparing a world class player then least have the audacity to do it justice by comparing him to another world class player ? Ozil vs Cesc is fine but Ozil vs a one season wonder thanks to Suarez be taking the mick now, seriously Ozil vs Sterling ? ? ? ? ?

    🙄 🙄 🙄 consider me very concerned about your current state.

    Hi Allez,

    Personally, I would love to sell Sczny to Brentford or any other club that offers us £10 million plus for him and get a proper keeper.

    am just grateful we have a keeper who least guesses the penalties the right way and gets close to saving them. Sczny can’t even guess a penalty the right way and to make matters even worse, he does the same when against RUGBY players.

  120. James Bond says:

    Hi Henry

    yeah, seems like it but I still want liverFOOL to finish 5th and enter the Europa league

  121. James Bond says:

    goody goodness, Stevie wonders writes

    “You could look at that and say Sterling gets injured less so this is another bonus for him lol – its all crazy”

    are you having a bubble or are you having a fcuking bubble ?

    Sterling gets injured less ? ? ?

    in the last 5 years, Ozil has had only one a couple lengthy injuries and both were at ARSENAL.

    Sterling on the other hand, has always had niggles and injuries.

    OZIL is the king of Europe, assist maker and so on. World cup winner and so forth.

    look at the last 5 years and then maybe tell us who gets injured less, ozil or sterling.

    is this you steve or has michael owen hacked into your account ?

  122. VCC says:

    JB 12:24…….What a cock that Michael Owen is. Whenever he is on I turn the sound down.

  123. steve says:

    JB please fucking read my comments again you muppet,
    I DIDN’T COMPARE STERLING AND OZIL, you were the fucking one who brought that shit up mate.
    I NEVER SAID HE WAS BETTER THAN OZIL, i showed the stats for this season suggested it.
    I THEN REPEATED THAT I DISAGREE WITH STATS AND OBVIOUSLY THESE STATS ALSO.
    I then said !!AS A JOKE!! you could look at that games played stat and say Sterling gets less injured, BUT THEN REPEATED HOW CRAZY A NOTION THIS WOULD BE BY ACTUALLY USING THE FUCKING WORDS “ITS ALL CRAZY”

    i know its sunday but wakey wakey son jesus fucking christ, you brought up a point to discuss, i did so and agreed with you, then found stats that contradict us both for this season, then went on to say how i never agree with stats – what more do you fucking want helmet??? i’m literally agreeing with you the whole way lol.
    I would love to argue with you, its sunday and i’m pretty bored as it happens and a good argument would waste some time but in this instance i am actually agreeing with you and can’t honestly find an area that we disagree on (i’m not hugely found of Sterling to be quite honest and if i would compare him to anyone it would be in that Walcott or OX role)

    The only thing i can do is repeat my comment about Wilshere being better than Ramsey and hope that spawns a descent enough argument between us to keep me going for a bit.

  124. James Bond says:

    🙂

    then do us all a favour and get us the stats for Cesc and let’s compare them with Ozil, ha ha

    Hi VCC – I don’t blame you for doing that, he’s a clown alright.

  125. henrychan says:

    Yes Bond.. Liverpool only will face Chelsea as their big rock.. Spurs and Soton must face City.. and face each other.. hehehehe..
    But I believe you never want Liverpool to be too strong.. because they maybe our final FA Cup team.. hahahaha
    And I believe we can beat City for second place.. If they survive tonight in Palace home.. they won’t next week in MU.. hehehehe..

  126. James Bond says:

    Ahahahahaha ahahahahahahahaha ahahahahaha

  127. Admir says:

    City have been doing an Arsenal from the previous seasons. Pellegrini won the title in the first season but he didn’t bring anything Roberto Mancini hadn’t brought during his spell.

  128. James Bond says:

    how rude of you to say that @ Admir

    Pellegrini brought Sagna and his lovely mrs to man city on a free to warm the bench, no ?

    🙂

    oh and fat franks!

    2-0 Palace.

  129. James Bond says:

    not to forget Bony for £30 million and Mangala for £42 million 👿

  130. James Bond says:

    I do miss Mancini know, was a bit of a character

    also miss our own Terry Mancini – guess he’s too busy chilling with the ghosts of the 30’s (his time).

    and Glics, where art thou

  131. Admir says:

    Glic is hiding behind the sofa tonight! He wants to protect our second place. Sofa so good!

    Mancini was one of my favourite players. His goals were something special but my first memory of him was from the Cup Winners’ Cup Final 1990 against Anderlecht when he was doing his best impression of Danny Welbeck – he would do everything well aside from finishing. Gianluca Vialli’s brace saved the day for the Italians.

    There was a story about why Mancini had to accept offer from Lazio back then. He wasted all his life-saving on some gold-mines (or something like that) in South America so he didn’t have a choice when Cragnotti offered him a heavy paycheck to leave Sampdoria.

  132. James Bond says:

    yes, have heard a similar story re- gold mine and so on.

    2-1 to Crystal palace

    2nd place is ours.

    next weekend, a draw between the 2 mancs will do perfecto.

    we also need Chelsea to start dropping points, least a draw before we play them will get things very interesting, indeed.

  133. Admir says:

    They have two games before the one against us. If we don’t screw things up at Burnley, we’ll have 66 points before the clash against Chavs. They play Crystal Palace in the next match (mind you, Pardew has already beaten Mourinho twice since the big-mouthed ass returned to Chelsea) and then against Manchester United at home.

    Personally, I’d take second place and FA Cup victory in a heart-beat. It would close the circle between our first and, hopefully, last season without the league title (both time second place with FA Cup victory).

  134. James Bond says:

    I would take first and the FA cup with the Charity shield in the summer (cherry on top)

    thank you very much and start the engine time !

    so 2 games for chavs ? 2 draws or one defeat be perfecto for us as we will inflict the 2nd defeat.

    we need to start scoring our goals though, more than 3’s or 5’s or 7’s – against Burnley we need to get our GD ratio higher , maybe +5 be perfecto.

  135. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    No bond.. Burnley won’t give us an easy game.. hehe.. They will totally defend and look for a counter attack.. not like Liverpool who think they are better than us and play openly.. hahaha.. Two goals will ne great..

    I just hope after unlucky game against Monaco.. Wenger already have a big plan against such club who parking their bus.. hehe..
    But watching Ozil’s goal and Giroud’s goal against Newcastle.. We do better for deadball..
    But most of them.. We must show our fellow neighbour how to handle Burnley.. hahaha

  136. Gerry says:

    Glad to see you all coming around to what I said prior to the Monaco second leg? Slow, but you are getting there.
    Two things that can derail our second place: One, it is not Burnley, but our Man U game. For once our collective need for points and seeing the players efforts rewarded will override any complacency that might have crept in prior season’s to playing a’ bottom half of the table’ club. We have both the belief and the know how to win this sort of game, barring some monumental cock up in team selection. However the resurgence of Man U is a different matter. To go into that game thinking we are world beaters because we have just beaten a poor Liverpool side is another matter. I hope that City beat United comprehensively. I want that cocky edge they are showing now is still very fragile, so by the time that game comes up, they are well and truly out of the picture?
    The other is Chelsea. Whilst they keep chipping away the points they need they will remain confident that they simply don’t have to lose against us and the title is theirs.
    However, because they have played a long campaign with the same small group of players, fatigue and injuries are now beginning to set in. Despite having one of the strongest set of players in their youth rank, very few have been given game time. That may come back to haunt M in the end.
    Just think if we had kept on dragging in our seniors who were fit to fill gaps out of position, and not had the likes of Bellerin, Chambers, and Coquelin to emerge, where would we be now? Even now, at this late stage, Gnabry, or even Isaac Hayden, may yet fill vital roles before the season’s out, as well as a fighting fit AOC!
    Second place is currently in our own hands, so not only OGAAT is important, but so is changing our way of playing as each of the 7 remaining games throw up different challenges.
    For example, Burnley. We need to be more solid at the back than we were against ‘Pool, so whoever plays alongside Coquelin needs to be switched on for defending over and above glory seeking in the box. With less defending to do, just maybe Alexis can concentrate on his challenge against Giro. that should keep both on at their sharpest up front?

    It is going to be a collective effort from here on in, and ‘supporters’ can play their part by looking at the positive things that players bring, and leave the negative stuff that the media like to highlight to them. It is not a ‘rose tinted’ view, just looking at the contribution over all, not picky moments here and there.

    Keep the faith …

  137. geoffchase says:

    TA

    you have mail!

    Some after match thoughts on what “matters” … 10 of them to be exact

    before I fly off to the USofA in 12 hours..

    cheers — jgc

  138. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Geoff, very much appreciated. I hope to issue it tonight.

    Steve, your use and view of stats is hilarious. 🙂

    Gerry, not going through in the CL is still a real shame and has made no difference to our current successes in the PL imho. The team needs big tests to come off age, so I can see no benefits other than possible fatigue, which, with this squad, is unlikely to happen any way now… 🙂

    Catch you in the evening.

  139. Gerry says:

    My point exactly TA … fatigue is unlikely to happen NOW.

    Even if you are thinking that returning players will help, they may change 4 or 5 slots at most. that leaves the bulk of the squad to carry the extra load.

    I am happy the way it is because we simply did not have the squad to take it any further in the CL.
    Next season is something else however …

  140. TotalArsenal says:

    Makes no sense to me, Gerry. Those additional CL games is what plYers live for.

  141. James Bond says:

    agreed.

  142. Admir says:

    IMO, we have been doing better after going out in Champions’ League for the last four seasons. The team from 2010-11 was the last one to suffer a complete melt-down following the CL-exit.

  143. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post. JGC tells us what really matters! 🙂

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