10 things that “matter”: Liverpool 1 – Arsenal 4


The following are my thoughts or perhaps 8 things, from the match, after watching it and reading all the follow-on (primarily) dross in the various web news pages.

  1. Style Matters: If you look good, you feel good, or so it was said on SNL in my youth!

We played 2 games or styles in this one. We opened pressing slightly – not heavily as was often said – in more of what I would call a “contain” approach. The second, in the second half particularly, was sitting back and more of a relaxed countering approach mixed with our usual ball control when / where possible.

This matters a lot. First, because it shows we are getting all our top teams and players together well enough to: a) play different tactics for different teams and situations; and b) able to do 2 in one game. Second, because it shows we can attack to get the result and then switch to close the game out – oh to have had this ability in game 1 vs Liverpool, where despite a less than spectacular performance, we were set for all 3 points and snatched 1 from its jaws.

  1. Pressure Matters: All the pressure was on Liverpool. Win and “perhaps in”, lose and “swim with the poos” if you can’t make the Europa league. No question that this hurts Liverpool’s hopes a lot, but that’s not the pressure I am on about.

No, we didn’t press heaps. It always looks like it when you look at Alexis. Instead, we contained their defenders attempting to pass out of the back (as one should try to do!), and left them only poor options for passes. They gratefully (?) took them and then passed badly as well. We did not press and take the ball too much, instead simply upping the interception count for our players.

To me that is mild pressure or containment and the interceptions led to many opportunities and first half dominance, and much; but not all of our goals came off the resulting defensive pressure we put them under.

Overall, let’s avoid discussion of pressing and taking the ball to revert to the subtler ideas around applying pressure, both with and without the ball.

  1. Speed and Position Matters: Because all that pressure came in part from two things. One, getting to the player in a flash and shutting down passing angles quickly when the ball turned over. OG, Alexis and Ozil were all good at this. Second, and equally, how you do it, and the position you take, matters.

The second is more important, IMO. The position to intercept matters a lot. The position to close out angles matters even more, and, finally, the position to keep team shape and not over chase  the ball (into pressing and disruptive football) matters most when you do get the ball. You have got to have all three of these latter things all together to make it work. Ozil in particular did this really, really well, and it led to his apparent greater impact defensively.

  1. Ozil Matters: This type of game suits him to a “T”. His positioning and off the ball running are his major strengths defensively. This approach in the first half made him look all the more a hero defensively, when, to my eye he did little different than other games.

It especially allowed the first all important goal, where Ozil dropped back, some cutting off a pass, took a quick outlet form the poor longer ball, swept it to AR and the rest was easy enough. Lazy isn’t lazy when it leaves you in the right position with the passing skills to make that beauty cross field ball. Is it?

The team playing well in all the positioning allowed Ozil to shine and show that he can matter a lot. He also created the second goal, and scored it when he took the free kick…

  1. Coquelin Matters: Everyone here knows, I like Ozil and I like distributors even more, see above; but, Coquelin was positioned and running everywhere perfectly to break up so many Liverpool adventures forward. Sliding to deflect passes, interceptions, forcing balls wide from positioning that would have preferred to be straighter to better utilise their speed up front. With and without the ball, he was a force. A very fit AR or Schneiderlin besides him is a very intriguing rock to posit against teams next season (or later this one!)

Coaching / Arsene Matters: I say this with one example, or two. Beyond all the tactical bits and changes, of a team coming healthy and together, has anyone noticed how good and solid Monreal has become, especially going forward? I think that is a result of great coaching and the self-belief of a great coach to stick with players and develop them.

I think it bodes very well for the future when one considers Gabriel, Bellerin, Gnabry and Chambers… Think on that!!

7. Thinking Matters: Where this is about keepers. Ospina starts and Szcz isn’t on the bench. Ospina is not the stronger keeper physically or in pure natural skills. But, generally, he is thinking. Equally, when we talk of Szcz, and we know some here are rather not his fans (JB!? 🙂 we don’t talk about a lack of physical skills and promise.

However, when one sees that choice vs Liverpool, you know that AW is saying, “I may lose if Ospina isn’t good enough (eg the almost save on the penalty), but I know that I wont get beat when I don’t deserve to be because of ‘brain farts’ from the keeper”.

This raises very interesting questions that will matter after the season!

  1. Selection, and not Money, Matters: Not just in the game but in the TW, as noted just above. Look at Spurs and Liverpool just now. Both had 80-100M paydays for player sales. Critical losses yes, but spent on what? Of all Liverpool’s purchases, only Mignolet paid off yesterday, and he was just not enough. Balotelli wasn’t even there, and onward. Same for Spurs on a day when they were not looking flash (the day after this game), all their purchases with their Bale Windfall, have not replaced Bale…

In contrast, Ospina, Alexis, Ozil, added to OG, Gabriel, and Chambers (tho not in this game). All our major purchases of recent times see game time and see good outcomes. Only Podolski seems destined to not make it. Selection matters! … And not money as we did not spend nearly so much over those many years, or per year, to get them…

Revenge and/or Closure Matters: It matters because we can cleanse the demons of last year’s games vs top teams. It matters, because strikers are form and confidence players, and Alexis scoring shows that he and OG might hit form together with Ozil and others in a solidifying team. These are all critical things.

Especially, as think about how Arsenal are heading towards Man United and Chelsea down the road in a final seven games, as well as critical FA Cup games.

Even more when you consider we are now a solid 2nd …. Even if 1st is likely a bridge too far, one can always remember that…

10. Miracles Matter: even if one shouldn’t expect them, they occasionally matter, and we can always hope going forward for the type that would bring Chelsea back to us!

So, that’s my take. What matters to you??


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35 Responses to 10 things that “matter”: Liverpool 1 – Arsenal 4

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    I know you are above the Atlantic as we publish your post, professor, so will not be able to read the comments for a while, but well done for writing a very analytical and upbeat post about our team’s current key aspects. Agreed with them all. 🙂

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    What also matters is momentum and resilience to bounce back after a shock wave. Spuds beat us, but we got back up and never looked back. Pool got beaten by Manure and then get smashed by us.

    What also matter is size and location. Ashburton Grove holds sixty thousand and is situated in swinging London. Manchester and Liverpool are wet and villages compared to London and the best players want to be where the action is.

    ‘Multi-discipliness’ matters – Wenger selects versatile players with an appetite to work rather than specialists; and Theo, Pod and Flamini (Bendtner, Vermaelen, etc) are the victims.

  3. allezkev says:

    Wilshere and Gnabry played 90 mins in the U21’s 4-1 win over Stoke RFC

  4. allezkev says:

    Bielik played centre-half and apparently had a very good game…

    Arteta played the best part of an hour and Diaby played 72 mins and was the best player on the field…

    Could Shad Forsyth possibly work a bit of a miracle with Abou?

    Great post Kiwi, btw

  5. geoffchase says:

    In an airport lounge briefly enough to note for Kev

    Miracles matter, and as an American who grew u with football and baseball, I know the 69 Mets are the ultimate miracle (arguable but hey!)…

    But, Diaby!?? That’s a god created the world in 7 days miracle. We would all love to see it first hand but… well … wow!!

    cheers — jgc

  6. geoffchase says:


    Before shutting down to get into line.. Pacific ocean first TA… sigh, long way to go!

    cheers — jgc

  7. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    JGC.. a very nice post..
    I add some in my view..

    Selfishless matter..
    Our players all are great player.. in their own position..
    But they left their ego behind to make this team be a bery solid.
    Cazorla can give his best position to Ozil..
    Welbeck give his best position to Giroud..
    Sanchez also easily move to the left and right..

    Faith matter.. hahaha..
    I never ever expect Coquelin to become our best DM.. one or two season ago.. I think we must let him go.. and also this season.. but not with Wenger.. and maybe TA.. hahaha.. He never lost his faith on his players.. that’s a rare thing you can expect from nowaday manager.. Wenger such so special.. hehehe..
    He prove it with Ramsey.. Walcott.. Wilshere.. Oziel.. Giroud.. and now with Coquelin.. I just hope Diaby also.. hehehehe.. nice to get some great improve of Diaby..

  8. Gerry says:

    Let me see, you have travelled east, so depending where in the States you are landing at it is more early hours morning, rather than NZ evening …
    So a very good morning to you. A fine professorial post indeed. Great stuff.
    Overall I agree with how you have brought out the detail behind the play, and conclusions you have made.
    I do have a niggle here and there though …

    Style matters? Yes and No.
    Whilst you can feel great in victory, and may be satisfied if you played well in defeat, I think the REWARD for winning is a much stronger motive to repeat the effort next time. Winning ‘ugly’ as the phrase goes, keeps momentum, whilst stylish wins can boost the egos, and have more inner satisfaction … but what happens next game when they score first (as might have happened here?).. Come the Burnley game, I am of the view that the gritty, backs to the wall, difficult wins may have more value?

    2 styles in one game? You make it sound like it was a conscious choice. The truth is we did not, nor could not, continue to throw 3 players at a defender in their half for 90 minutes. Indeed it was far less than that. What made the second half more comfortable was the 3 goal cushion.
    That, I think will be the difference going forward, despite sky high confidence gained from this win. Them scoring did wake us up to the fact they needed to defend, and had not Koscielny come off, I am pretty sure Gabriel would have come on sooner or later, probably for Ramsey.
    Had their goal reduced the lead to one, our nerves would have kicked in and hoofed clearances would have been the first instinct?
    So yes, we did drop back with confidence and played well in the second half, but that third goal was key. Hopefully, the style we have shown going forwards means it will be replicated more often in the future?
    No argument with your next two points. In fact I would just like to add that Ozil, before he changed into Ozil Mk 2? he was always positioning himself well, if not diving into tackles, both in defence and attack. Now the players around him are ‘flying high’ on confidence, having been rewarded by victories, they are able to bring their ‘A’ games to the table. That is a two way street. He gives, they look better, he looks better, they all look better.

    Coquelin? I have to admit I was pretty sure he had blown it here, following his downward spiral on loans. Between him and Yennaris, he was the ‘stylish’ one. The one that looked certain to make the grade. His superior passing, and vision for the pass was what made him look to have such great potential … yet in those post teenage years he seemed to have lost it?
    History shows though, if you do the simple things right first, you will have an opportunity to express those unfulfilled talents. Long may it continue.
    But you are right, with a compatible partner to assist, he need have no fears about missing out in the post transfer window.

    Ospina debate? Most of that can be left until the end of the season. If Szczezzer is over his rib injury he will have a chance to showcase his skills in the FA Cup semi? I would like to think he will put away the short term thinking of his position in the Polish squad, and concentrate on being a better keeper. It cannot help having a dad chipping away in your ear off field, but he needs to assert himself both on and off field. He may have to spend a couple of season’s vying for the number spot here, and hopefully develop into the best ‘keeper in the league. Or he could blow it by rushing for the transfer which might see him in a similar position in a couple of years, only older, elsewhere? I believe most of his problems are in his head, and that will not change with a move?

    Again, agreed of the future and the past, regards transfers. But that talk is for the the summer. Too many want a quick fix, and when it doesn’t work out …?

    Revenge/Closure? I am not sure that can be truly put to bed until the Chelsea game? The AW v JM battle. The good thing is we have forward momentum now, whilst Chelsea will be happy to tread H2O – (does that arbitration still happen?) – until the title is won. Expect plenty of mind games prior to that one. Although the ultimate revenge would be the who is the ‘expert in failure’ should Chelsea lose the league title from such a strong position 😀 😀 😀

    But that falls into miracle endings …best not dwell on that. Just concentrate on Burnley, eh?

    Well that is my racing time blown pre-Aintree, so I’ll have less to say here on, but always a pleasure to read your contributions jgc.

  9. VCC says:

    Nice post jgc…….

    BACKBONE matters………we seem to have acquired some steel in the last few months. Would that be a coincidence that Coquelin has come back to the home of football?

    We need to show some spunk when we run out onto the pitch against the Chavs.

  10. Very nice post, Prof-Geoff… And I’m agreed on all counts…Indeed those first 15-20 mins of the 2nd half, when we allowed them a bit of (very tame) possession, were the most satisfying for me. As I said in match, somebody needs to do some statistical analysis of how many times we’ve quickly struck for a 2nd goal this season. The ruthless streak and the professionalism to take advantage of the “emotion” following a goal (often the lack of discipline shown by the other team to try and get one right back) is critical…That would be the only big item I think you might’ve missed…

    The post match back and forth on players like Ozil (and Sterling) is something I still don’t understand. Seems to me like English Football (+Pints, maybe?…) means somebody’s always looking for a fight. Another reason I really appreciate this post…and the nods to watch (and write) with a measure of subtlety… (like noting the difference between “lazy” and “efficient,” for example…)

    Would we see Le Coq in a different light if the missed pass from Santi had given Pool the first goal? Probably not–Santi would’ve taken the blame. Still, the gesture Santi gave was that he expected Coquelin to take the flat pass, not jog forward with his head looking further up-field, expecting Santi (and others) to carry it forward. This is where Arteta (or Diaby or Wilshere…) can really help. Holding mid is as much about simple possession play as much as intercepting balls and plugging holes in the back line. It’s nothing Le Coq cannot learn of course, but experience counts… For all the dominance we saw with his positioning and intercepting in the first 10 mins, we were (fortunately) spared the “experience” of Pool getting an early (very soft) goal, one which would have made the match very (very) different.

    On such margins many things hinge, so you never know. Still, I’m quite sure Chelsea will grind out the title and may even manage to frustrate us on our home pitch in a couple of weeks. I’d like our boys to stay focused and take all the easy points so that we don’t need them on the return trip to Old Trafford for the nice (but meaningless) honor of finishing runners up. (United, if they can beat City and Chavs these next two weeks, give themselves as much hope of the title as we would have… Like I say, I don’t see it happening…) We haven’t played a draw in the ENTIRE new year, but I wouldn’t mind (at all) seeing us go undefeated from here on in (which, of course, would mean retaining the Cup, but also means I’d take draws against the bigger clubs.) Count me amongst those who wish we still had some CL matches. With nearly the entire team back fit, some odd opportunities to rest and rotate might’ve availed themselves…And being the best English team in Europe would’ve been a nice prize too… Those players who get frozen out (Theo, Jack, Chambers, Gibbs–note a commonality in my list…though of course some–like Szcz–may be non-English, too…) will be subject to ENDLESS speculation, all the stupider as the same papers give column space to new (and deeper) “home-grown” restrictions which would somehow transform the national team…

    Anyhow, those are my early morning thoughts from the balcony above the streets of the walled city (Cartegena)… Again, nice post…fancy a match preview?… (I may be able to still take care of my duties, but I have to see about the wireless where we’re headed…) Cheers!

  11. geoffchase says:


    Thanks for the kind words. I agree that Arsenal and AW have cultivated a team first culture that is stronger there than at most other top teams. I think lots of mid table and lower teams have it too, but it isn’t commented on. But on top teams with many stars… Harder

    It’s one reason that Ozil and others often tout. We get that “type” and perhaps that makes us less selfish and “softer” which is another oft heard criticism sometimes.

    As for Diaby, that’s a greater miracle, but I’m always hopeful

    Cheers — jgc

  12. geoffchase says:


    For two people JB thinks are the same we are always a touch off sync…

    Two styles – concious choice once up and we would have done it with a two goal lead I suspect. I was more pleased by our ability to change and change successfully with confidence. No way anyone really has the energy to contain or press all game.

    BTW, my watching was showing one at the ball, two off blocking passing lanes or outlets that were direct, so it was less the all out pursuit of 2+ after the ball that seems quite in style these days. What I call disruptive as you sacrifice attack with lost energy and poor position on the turnover and transition ball. All IMO of course.

    As for Scz and others. Just my thought on the game. Ospina is definitely not wildly gifted physically. Combined with Scz not on the bench and … I agree tho it’s for summer.

    Equally my Schneiderlin ref was just some tactical thinking out loud..

    Regarding revenge and closure. Well, aren’t you one of the OGAAT fans?? Same for this, one revenge and closure at a time!! 🙂

    As for a Chelsea miracle… Well, one can hope but… With game in hand it means that if we win all the rest of our games, including Chelsea. Then they have to lose 7 of 21 points (loss and 2 draws) plus lose to us (ie 14 of 24 remaining for them). Seems a long ask… But, still dreaming here!

    Cheers — jgc

  13. geoffchase says:


    Agreed.. Will be “interesting” on the day and perhaps depend on whether Chelsea have closed it out yet perhaps.

    But, yes, backbone matters too…

    Cheers — jgc

  14. geoffchase says:

    17 and Gerry

    Not sure on match preview. I am currently, to notify Gerry, on an airplane using in plane wifi to delete my email (there are times the Internet sucks, email is always one of them)… I envy you Cartagena, I have western Virginia… :/

    BTW, the winning mojo only works when you do it, so, no pressure or anything…. 🙂

    Thanks then, moving to your actual comments, for the kind words on the post.

    Regarding quick scores. I think you would find in football in general that the first 5-7 minutes after a goal, often sees another. Often. Statistically more so than any other periods or general distribution. One team is very up, another down, it’s easy to either get down and allow a second, or equally, to ease off and allow the equalizer of that first goal. Both happen a lot. It’s a mentality thing that you’d think professionals could minimize but… At high stakes…

    That btw is where Coquelin has improved the most. Very controlled and not too rattled. Even from first games back. You are right tho that he doesn’t do much more than cycle the ball going forward. For now, that’s fine as he is a huge disruption in midfield when the other side comes forward. I think it will come but for now, like most, I’m pleased and hence my words on him. He was my MoTM in many ways for th simple reason that Liverpool rarely got forward motion at speed, often because of his efforts…

    Regarding a Chelsea miracle. See above, I think they won’t drop the points. After that I am not fussed over 2nd or 3rd, but want to avoid 4th. I’m not fussed as I would very much prefer 2nd in general but not at any cost to FA Cup hopes or injury etc.. IE nice but not worth a real cost.

    Well first responses earlier were from Sydney and now we prepare to land in SF, near your place when you aren’t vacationing,.. Gotta sign off here I think…

    Cheers all — jgc

  15. steve says:

    Great post jgc,

    Completeness matters;

    Producing players of the invincible era where every single player in the front six could make beautiful passes, dribble to beat a player or two and also score when the opportunity arose but at the same time pressed hard, got stuck in and did the hard work – the beautiful and the ugly all in one, all over the pitch.
    I’ve seen it develop all over the pitch this season, Cazorla who started off with post titles like “has Cazorla been found out” due to being beaten off the ball time and time again and loosing possession in the early stages now fights for everything, battles much harder and has even taken top spot in the deeper lying midfield position because of it.

    The defensive midfield position which didn’t really exist at Arsenal in the early stages of the season because of the mobility hindered and aging candidates we had in Flamini and Arteta is now rejuvenated with fast paced, action packed and hard working Coquelin, fine midfield play and passes forward coupled with broken noses and face masks, perfection.

    Monreal, surely the wimpiest left back i have seen for a long while was a complete liability last season and various times at the start of the season but after a spell at CB and with some beefing up he can now mix it with the best of them, gets stuck in and has excelled to first choice because of it.

    Ozil, unlike a few it seems who cannot see any difference in Ozil’s game recently to what it has always been, i for one have never seen him loose the ball get back up track back the player, press and win the ball back like he’s been doing recently. Closing players down (yep that’s right players not space lol) and actually getting physically involved in a game with some hard graft. It’s a pleasure to see from an Ozil critic who’s been crying out for that type of performance for the longest time and it looks to be paying dividends, this i feel is what AW always wanted him to add to his game and probably drove the necessity to beef him up for this season.
    Of course this part of his game was always there lol, bullshit 🙂

    Its telling to me that the only two left over from the invincible time frame are Diaby and Rosicky both of whom have this completeness to their game, they can make a run, make a pass, make a tackle, play defensively or attack and both can stick the ball in the back of the net. In the same way the introduction of Sanchez who was a revelation to most was a simple breath of fresh air and a reminder of the good old days for me, back when even out and out attackers were hard working, tracking back defenders when the situation called for it – and highly effective at it also.

    In stark comparison to the anti English dribble above (btw Wilshere frozen out? he’s injured you pleb) i think the newest crop of players coming through the ranks (not all English btw) show the potential to have this completeness in spades. Wilshere, OX, Bellerin, Gnabry, Coquelin (still only 23), Chambers etc all show they have every part necessary for a total footballer – the future is bright 🙂

    I for one can’t wait until we go up against Chelsea, a team that has always had this balance pretty well ingrained in their teams. With the likes of Willian and Oscar adding hardworking defensiveness to their game as well as being admiral going forward it will be a great battle and test to see how far this quality has developed in our own side.

    No more “some players do the hard work so the other can express themselves”, everyone puts a shift in and all have every facet of the game in their locker – we’re getting there 🙂

    Oh and i couldn’t leave without a formation lol,
    with the walking dead now returning to the squad this atm is our RESERVE team lol – simply awesome!! 🙂


    (Bellerin still gets his chance ahead of Debuchy for the time being)

    ????? – a decision between;
    the old – Rosicky
    the new – Gnabry
    the out of favor – Walcott

  16. St. Henry says:

    Great summary and perspective Geoff! You hit upon several terrific points. 🙂 You know reading the posts and comments here gives me hope and belief that there is sanity and reason in this world especially after hearing some of the ridiculous things that is spouted on TV (exhibit 1: Michael Owen). is there a requirement that ex-footballers must be brain dead when they take up life as a commentator?

    Especially loved the point you made about coaching and Arsene (and his staff). His long term vision, the ability to keep the quality of play on tight budget, and improve players consistently will be recognized only after he leaves.
    Not to place a dampener on the positives and great team performance, but I can’t help but think that we were aided by some dreadful defending and goalkeeping. Yes, Mignolet made some decent saves early, but wonder if DeGea / Coutois would have allowed goals 1 and 2. If you take into account the open goal miss, we might have been under severe pressure. But no complaints as we have been on the other side before! Certainly hope that the resilience, belief, and cohesiveness helps us win the title next year (if not this year! 😉 )

    Steve – the reserve line-up was just classy! 🙂

  17. geoffchase says:


    Thanks for the kind words. I have to quibble if only to respond.

    A. I think when it comes to the invincibles you view them all through golden trophy tinted glasses. Yes, they wer a great team but they have their more expressive and more aggressive players. I have never, for example heard Vieira described for his expressive passing…

    B. RE .. Ozil, he did these things before. Is there a shift. Perhaps some. I think less so than you and some others, there has been little radical transform I think for him besides settling in. Last year we had variable stickers and he had just developed good feel for Theo when he left injured in the Spurs game. This year was Sanchez who is awesom but a whole different type of player, and then Ozil was hurt, just now is it coming together.

    More succinctly, as I wathched the game I saw lots I liked from him, but equally the usual amount of, and I actually think this watching, “wow, I bet Steve is pissed right now…” Moments too.

    We’ve always considered you U changeable and immutable Steve. Perhaps it’s you who have changed???? 😛 … Or to quote the movies “you’ve CHANGED, man!!!”

    Just my other points. Tho I do consider Diaby unlikely… Much as I would like it.

    Cheers — jgc

  18. geoffchase says:


    There is an interesting question in there regarding, did the defense play bad or were we good. I lean more towards the latter, if only because every team that has played three at the back against us has fallen badly for giving that much space there. Good passing can beat that clogged middle if you are willing to go backwards a bit now and again to stretch it out.

    That said, their defenders were not full strength. Equally tho, to quote Steve in a way, they had 5 freakin midfielders, none of whom seemed willing to just clog the midfield. So, they got what they earned. But it’s with much the same squad that had been going well.

    I am in agreement but will give a little more nod to tactics and AW

    All agreed on AW having faith paying off…

    Oh, and like you and Steve, I am keen on the Chelsea match, but will watch from the safety of the back of a couch. Mandated if only by the time zone differences unless I am travelling.

    Cheers — jgc

  19. Gerry says:

    On terre firma I trust Geoff?

    I’ll answer your final point on the winning over style. I think losing is bad for both types. The lack of reward for effort is key. However the ‘togetherness’ in battling hard is more likely to stick, than the free flowing football that can fragment at any time when only one or two players are off key?
    Let’s face it we have seen it all this season. But it is a sport, not a ballet. It is the winners that get the plaudits, and they thrive on it. Too many get criticised, unfairly, even when they play a very good game, but lose.
    But that is in the eye of the beholder … as per the other discussion. Playing great football and losing seems to open up a need to blame someone, no matter how hard they tried?

    But we are not far apart in the overall view of things, I’m happy to say.

  20. steve says:

    haha jgc i saw this and thought of you buddy:


    And I’m always open to change but in this instance i think it is Ozil who has added the extra bit of steel in his recent performances and not me changing my stance on how i evaluate players and performances. It is the main reason i constantly underrate him (compared to you guys) and still hold out on Cazorla or Wilshere taking up that role, i think the hard work and fight is more ingrained in those two – happy to see Ozil develop this side of his play though don’t get me wrong and as i said am looking forward to Chelsea trying to deal with our team now with have this battling ethic running throughout our whole team – bring it on you cheating scummers 🙂

  21. Retsub says:

    Very well wri then JGC I think most will agree on the majority of your points. Just to add a few comments.

    I think your summarisation of the keeper situation is spot on. I don’t like to be too critical of SZS. A few years back when we had a keeper meltdown, a young Szs came to our rescue. However he has undoubtably become a victim of the well coined brain fart. Ospina has done really well, personally I think we need a top tier keeper (Cech maybe) if we want to move up a level.

    Coquelin has been immense , he was always a very brave player and he had added much needed steel to the team.. It’s no coincidence that his inclusion in the team, started this run of form.

    Ramsey is also key. If he can hit the type of form he did at the beginning of last season, he makes s huge difference. He does seem to spend a lot of time threatening to hit top form without quite getting there.

    Just a quick word on Ozil. I have been critical of him before, but he has undoubtably upped his game. If he can put in a shift in the Chelsea game I may be a convert.

    Interestingly whilst it was undoubtably Alexis who carried the team at the beginning of the season, since the team has begun to hit form, his form has dipped a little. Not a problem, he still puts in a huge effort, just an observation.

  22. steve says:

    should put a smile on your face;

  23. James Bond says:

    that was thoroughly enjoyable and agreeable @ JGC-Damus

    thank you!

    “However, when one sees that choice vs Liverpool, you know that AW is saying, “I may lose if Ospina isn’t good enough (eg the almost save on the penalty), but I know that I wont get beat when I don’t deserve to be because of ‘brain farts’ from the keeper”.

    This raises very interesting questions that will matter after the season!”

    truer words have never been spoken before 🙂

    Ospina in Goal matters,

    Ramsey ahead of JW in the starting 11 matters,

    Welbeck ahead of Theo for now matters,

    4-1-4-1 matters,

    beating Jose in 2 weeks time, matters!!!

    oh last but not least,

    Sexy football matters,

  24. geoffchase says:

    Hi JB and Steve and Retsub and Gerry

    Brief break here so I can reply

    Gerry/Retsub – all agreed, thanks for the kind words! The has Ozil stepped up more than fitting in better is hard to win the argument either way… myself, not sure either way but then, don’t care too much either.. Better is better! 🙂

    Steve – 🙂 .. now back to work 😦 …

    JB – thanks for the kind words. All agreed that many things matter. I Am sure TA disagrees on at least 1, perhaps only 1.. 🙂 … That’s a hard one, and we will see how things evolve. Both AR and JW are still relatively quite young.

    Jose might matter most at the moment and Costa out might matter a little too!

    cheers — jgc

  25. marc says:

    Nice post. My two cents…

    Wenger really didn’t bother himself with the thought of Man City popping in to pick up Jack Wilshere.

    He didn’t have to for three very good reasons.

    First, there is no question of Arsenal not being able to compete in terms of salaries and transfers. If Arsenal want to keep a player, they can afford to keep him. Of course we can’t compete with Real Mad and Barcelona because they are special cases in terms of deals with local authorities, tax breaks, rule breaking in terms of young players etc. But for clubs without that sort of messing with the books, yes we can compete.

    Second, players don’t want to leave. Because of the “4th isn’t a trophy” scenario players know they will be playing in the Champions League, and they know we will be challenging even the clubs with infinite sums of money, and all the clever tricks like pull like getting the state to subsidise the stadium, co-owning clubs all over the world, and taking the loan system to breaking point.

    Third, because Arsenal has stability, as witness by the successful seeing off of the challenge of those who demanded Wenger out. Had the aaa won, then we would be seen as a club of instability, a bit like Man City, but instead our reputation is intact.

    Which is in part why Jack Wilshere isn’t going anywhere. For even the silliest of footballers can look at the list of players that Manchester City has taken from Arsenal, and think, hang on, what happened to their careers?

    Here’s the list in case you have forgotten: Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Touré, Samir Nasri, Gaël Clichy and Bacary Sagna. Throughout there is a feeling that careers that could have been extended and glowing have faded faster than might have been expected.

    So this summer Arsenal might sell or give away one or two players to whom they are no longer able to offer regular game time. But that will be on Arsenal’s terms.

    Instead we will primarily be looking to buy. But who? Here are ten in no particular order…

    But before that consider this. Who are we going to edge out to make way for these players? This season the idea has been that we need

    a) A goalkeeper, but Ospina has proven himself to be rather good.

    b) Central defenders, but we have three, with the option of bringing in any one of three of the full backs if two of them get injured.

    c) Full backs, but by my calculation we have five and can only play two at once. Plus Jenkinson on loan.

    d) Defensive midfielder. We have Coquelin and Arteta, with Flamini as extra backup, and there is talk of the Ox playing there.

    e) Midfield. There’s so many we would have to re-organise quite a lot. Those who claimed that Ozil was rubbish will just have to accept that most of us don’t agree.

    f) Forward. Same again with Giroud. The man so berated, while Untold was “embarrassing” with its endless comparisons between the number of goals Giroud scored against the number Henry scored, but what is the point of bringing someone in ahead of Giroud at this moment?

    And don’t forget the promise of Welbeck, the brilliance of Alexis, and the fact that Theo might get himself back together.

  26. jozefos2013 says:

    I know what doesn’t matter – the Spuds.

    Reading this article from August 2013 made me laugh, although at the time it seemed anything but…


  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marc and welcome. That is a fine comment and all agreed. 🙂

  28. steve says:

    HT’s previews matter!!

    Speaking of……. 🙂

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Patience matters. 🙂

  30. steve says:


    Nice!!! 🙂

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    How’s it hanging, Steve?

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    geoff, well done for writing such a stimulating post, with lots of excellent comments. 🙂

  33. steve says:

    to the right and slightly shrivelled (its a little chilly atm)

    How’s you mon frère?

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha 🙂

    All hanging well here, Steve. 🙂

    Knackered but content and looking fwd to the game tomorrow.

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

    Seventeenho has done the honours again. 🙂

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