Ramsey and Coquelin shine at Turf Bore

Sean Dyche before the game: ‘The red hot Gunners are here and the last thing I want is getting smashed by them. Let’s face it, we want to win but it is going to be hard. Let’s sit back and allow them no space in and around their box, and hopefully we can nick a goal from a counter or set-piece. Remember, the last thing I want is getting smashed today’.

Arsene before the game: ‘We are on a good run and need to win today. They might sit back and play on the counter so Francis needs to play disciplined in front of the back-four, and as a team we need to keep them hemmed in their own half. Start strong and focussed and get a goal as soon as possible, after that control the game and get a second, but just make sure they cannot get back into the game first and for all

That is what I image both managers said before kick-off and it was not necessary a recipe for an entertaining game: and let’s be honest it was dire at times.

We started strong and after just twelve minutes we found the net. Ramsey was incisive after consecutive missed attempts by Alexis and Mesut. Burnley fought a bit back after that but the referee booked Duff and (the impressive) Mee in quick succession which showed the home team he would not take any nonsense today. We sat back and defended with good discipline and never really got in trouble in the first half, except for a few shots that were saved routinely by Ospina.

The second half saw a couple of decent chances for Burnley to get back into the match, especially the one when Mee fooled Bellerin too easily but Boyd failed to make good contact with the former’s well-picked cross. Burnley came out a bit more and we did not really play adventurous and incisive enough to punish them on the break.

But I was impressed with Arsenal’s ability to keep the ball and not get bullied; and if and when we lost the ball we got it back really quickly, with our MOTM, Coquelin, reading the game so well and making a number of important interceptions. We were always looking for a second but in such a way that there was little chance to get surprised on the break which was really pleasing. Burnley defended really well in and around the box, it has to be said, and we could not crack them open for a second time.

But we did not need to and secured the all important three points, and have again closed the gap with the Chavs, who will play QPR tomorrow, to four points (albeit with two games in hand). That is all we needed to do and we did it. So well done the Gunners and Come on You Hoops! 🙂

By TotalArsenal.

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56 Responses to Ramsey and Coquelin shine at Turf Bore

  1. geoffchase says:

    MOTM today was team discipline … IMO, tho Coquelin will do if you’ve gotta pick one.

    Cheers — jgc

  2. Retsub says:

    Nice summary TA. It’s difficult to write a long piece on what turned out to be a hard grafted win. The Burnley team has been put together with peanuts, so they had to play to their limited strengths. Many a good side has come unstuck at Turf Moor this season. Agree with you on Mee and thought Trippier looked useful as well.

    In that type of match, Coquelin was always going to be strong candidate for MotM. Bellerin wasn’t st his best, but he is only a young lad and it will do him no harm to have an off day now and again.

    Chelsea are running out of games, so we really need them to drop points today. IMO if they can stop Hazard they have a chance

  3. Gerry says:

    HA ha TA. You had me going there with the pre-match quotes – I could almost lip read Dyche saying exactly that.

    I think you have it spot on about JM too. Chelsea will be more worried that we can grind out wins like that. More or less for the reasons I gave in the last post. When we win ‘ugly’ there is that shared team effort that gets rewarded with the win. It helps sustain that unity going forward into the next game.

    As it happens, our next game will probably have a slightly different line up. Not radically changed, but I am guessing the bench will be stacked with returnees wanting to get in on the act?

    it might be make or break time for Theo too, given he was again overlooked from the bench. I think taking off Giroud for Welbeck was more a calculated one towards the latter. Putting him through the middle to see if that improved his fortunes in front of goal. It didn’t, although he got in good positions with the Burnley defence tiring. Like you TA, he seems to just lack the sharpness in front of goal, whether that is in making the right pass, getting the necessary touch right, or even the execution of the shot, all combines to make it very hard work for him. If the TW rumours of a second striker coming in the summer, I think it will be his spot that will be under threat, not Giro’s? Mind, he (Giroud) will be a bit peeved to be denied a chance of scoring in 8 successive games, even allowing for the fact that he did not look like scoring while Burnley were defending well.

    I am sure Bellerin will be analysing the video to see where he could have done better. If he has a weakness it is probably that he stands off players a tad more than say, Debuchy? I did not think he gelled with Ramsey in this game either. Barely got a ball played in front of him which he could run on to, nor got a lot of assistance with a very speedy winger in defence. Not his best game, but he will only improve from the experience.

    The only other player who had some iffy moments was Koscielny. Gabby going down with the bug meant he played when maybe he shouldn’t have, but either side of his ‘iffy’ bits he played well, so perhaps it was more a mental thing he was worrying about?

    However, these are just fringe issues which should not take anything away from the overall control we had on the game. To which Coquelin was outstanding. Thierry Henry before the match described him as the ‘policeman’. The one, if anyone jumps the red light he is the guy who stops them. He also used a clip of him on the fringe of an attack, having played a great through ball out wide, he did not do a ‘Wilshere’ and continue into the box for the return. Instead he retreats to his defensive position.
    I found that comment amusing as I have made the point about Jack wanting to be on the end of things, which is fine if you are playing the No 10 role, but not so clever as a DM?

    Ospina deserves a mention too. I am not sure if it is an innate thing, or just gained through experience, but he does the last minute reaction saves really well. Of course being well positioned to make the saves when you don’t see the ball being struck, or the deflection that follows is probably is a combination of both? Whatever, he does exude a calmness that transmits well to the defence.

    It is also worth mentioning, given the build up to how strong Burnley were down their right, with a strong duo working that side, yet they got most joy on the other wing. I would put that down to another strong performance by Monreal, ably assisted by Alexis.
    I am guessing we will not know just why Walcott was not brought on, if only to relieve pressure on Bellerin, especially as Welbeck did not get deployed for his ‘work rate’ on our right side? Without doubt the vast expanses of Wembley should suit his game, but will he get a start after this?

    Winning ugly may not be so pleasing on the eye, but when the players but in so much effort you can only say ‘Well done Team Arsenal’.


  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Great comment, Gerry, and thanks to others as well. Just saw MOTD and realised how important Coq’s bloc was of Inge’s half-overhead kick in second half. Koz, BFG, Nacho and Coq working very well tofether there!

    Off for a swim now. Catch you all later. 🙂

  5. Hey TA, nice to have you posting again… Gerry (along with the in-match commenting) also gives a good feel for the match and proves (to retsub…) that you can write a long one after that sort of match…

    I haven’t seen it as I was in transit (and still am)… And with the reviews I wonder if I’ll muster the time/energy to look at it…

    Anyhow, it sounds like Arsenal with Le Coq as the key man are reviving a sort of negative football we might associate with our next league opponent. Were we really not aggressive on the break or more just ineffective. As our defending has improved, our effectiveness on the break should as well…Theo must be a goner (over contract issues) but a pacy forward who can really run with the ball seems like it would help. I say we go for Messi… 😀

    All for now…Hopefully some back and forth during the week, despite the good result… 😀 😦 😉

  6. James Bond says:

    nice one @ Skipper

    and just like G – I thought you had some inside information to the team pep talk before the game for both the managers ahhahahahahahahahahaahahahahhahaha

    yep, Le Coq played marvelously well but for me the MOTM was Ospina, why ?

    you see, you can make a number of mistakes in midfield or defence and get away with it, like young Bellerin did yesterday, however, if you make a mistake in net, then you get penalized and it’s a goal 9 times out of 10. Thought he kept us in the game in the first half and then had this calm and assuring presence throughout the game. They did an analysis on sky sports of Ospina and the general consensus was that he might not be the long term solution (strange verdict) but he is doing the job for now ?

    why can’t he be the long term solution is what I would have asked.

    The no.1 Jersey is Ospina’s to lose.

    I suspect they had a soft corner for Sczny which was highlighted when one of them said “to be fair, he didn’t have this much protection”.

    well, to be fair, he possibly had more protection and he was conceding goals with the oppositions first attempt at goal.

    Ospina has been left exposed at times and been on one v one but that doesn’t mean he’s conceded or has had a brain fart.

    We have the money now, we need to develop this mentality as well- Loyalty in football is beyond a joke and those who reckon JW, Sczny, Theo, Ox, e.t.c e.t.c are one of ours and hence get the favourable treatment need to start thinking. There is no such thing as one of “our” own in football, if you don’t believe me then ask Cesc, RVP and a whole lot of others who have deserted the ship.

    I reckon Sczny will jump ship if he is kept on the bench for a further 3 months next season and will be gone by January, if someone came along offering more money and promise of game time- not everyone is a Fabianski.

    what’s the point of this discussion now ? Sell him now, get Cech or Lloris and have 2 quality goal keepers.

    Why do I keep mentioning Sczny and JW a lot lately ? well, how do you think JW got a mention and linked to MAN CITY ? and then a week later, it’s out in the open – ” Arsenal are wanting to tie JW down to a £150,000 per week contract”.

    I leave you all to do the math on that one and a 2+2 = 5.

  7. Retsub says:

    17ht my comment about not writing a long review was in response to
    tA calling his piece short and sweet

  8. James Bond says:

    come on QPR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    make us Gooners and VCC proud today you hooooooooooops!

  9. James Bond says:

    And we’re off. Three players in danger of a two-game ban after today. Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas for Chelsea, and QPR’s Joey Barton, will be sitting out soon if they see yellow today.

    oh and a yellow both both Matic and Cesc will be rather perfecto ahahahahahhahaha

  10. 17highburyterrace says:

    retsub… I was just kidding… (and I should’ve given Gerry the smiley face to indicate it…) I’m sure I would’ve written at length if I’d seen the match… And maybe I’ll have to–to see if Ospina’s performance is for real…

    Speaking of, I never got my shirt down in Colombia… If we believe that we’re only in it for the money, Arsenal might make him their #1 just to sell the 10 or 20 million shirts as Real Madrid has done with James (Rodriguez)… Who, I found out, is Ospina’s brother-in-law… (and a bit better looking than her brother…) 😀

    Chelsea, still nil-nil at QPR, surely will with the Cuadrado shirts…

  11. James Bond says:

    0-0 at HT.

  12. Retsub says:

    What a good effort QPR are putting in, it ain’t sexy football but it’s giving Chelsea something to think about. Never thought I would hear myself say this, but Joey Barton is putting in a good shift

  13. James Bond says:

    now that’s just criminal @ Me Amigo

    you went to his home country and didn’t by the jersey’s or kit!!!

    how much were the kits there anyway ? just so I can compare.

    here we get them on an average of £50 to £55 (just the top) and if you want your name printed then you are looking at about £70 per top.

  14. James Bond says:

    Barton can play and talk when he wants to, he could have had a decent career with a decent team if it wasn’t for his gob @ Rets

    saying that, he is always a brain fart away from exploding, let’s hope he continue more of the same in the 2nd and doesn’t have them barton moments.

    QPR are doing well and should be ahead in my opinion.

    without Costa, remy, they look laboured as Hazard is being closed down.

  15. Retsub says:

    Isn’t it amazing, premier teams, players earning a fortune, fans paying a fortune to watch and yet in many grounds there isn’t room for a corner taker to get a half decent run up. Just watched Oscar take a corner and he virtually had to lean back in the crowd.

  16. James Bond says:

    ffs rob green, poor distribution

    88th minute goal

    cesc the traitor scores.


    start the engine time


  17. jnyc says:

    Fantastic comments today as usual. I’m very satisfied with our strength and depth at most positions. The only place where we don’t have a suitable, or like for like replacement is Coquelin. Stats don’t lie. . He is perhaps the most obvious contributing reason for this excellent run, first name on the team sheet for me, for that reason. Who do you think should be the second choice dm next year ?

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Safe journey, Seventeenho. Watch the game and you’ll see Ospina did his job well, and so did the other ten. But Ramsey hit the net for two additional points and Le Coq prevented a sure goal with a last ditch touch. 🙂

  19. 17highburyterrace says:

    007, There was no getting names printed on shirts (as in the Armoury…) and no Ospina shirts (at all, that I could find)…We bought a (generic, yellow) Colombia national shirt for my boy for $8, but maybe could’ve bargained down to $6… Basically, almost all citizens (from babies to old ladies) have the national shirt, as on any given day every 5th to 10th person is wearing one–even more on the game day (when they played Kuwait in the big money friendly)… There are also a lot of people wearing Jam-ez Real Madrid shirts (which, along with the National shirts, you can buy on the street). People also wear the kit of their local club but a lot less than the Colombia and RM shirts. I saw a very few Chelsea, Man U (most with “Falcao” on the back) and a City shirt or two… I saw a total of 3 Arsenal shirts including this one… Nice bangers, eh… 😀


  20. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oops…Maybe this will work…


  21. 17highburyterrace says:

    3rd try is the charm?…

  22. neeraj says:

    I think you are absolutely right saying that there’s no loyalty left in footballers nowadays. But there are still a few players in this team who will leave the club only if they have no other option.
    Arteta, BFG, Rosicky, Giroud, Jenko, Coq, Szczesny and Gibbs are the ones I think who belong to this category.
    They have always spoken of their love for the club and towards the fans. Its funny how only 2 of them are English.
    Wilshere would have made the list if he had not made the comment that if Wenger leaves he will leave too , last season.

    Ramsey, Ox, Kos, Chambers, Sanchez, Ozil, Monreal, Flamini, Diaby and Theo also have gratitude for the club and I believe they will not blindly accept an offer from a rival club at first sight.

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Great picture, 17! Made my day. 🙂

  24. Gerry says:

    Thanks HT, I wrote that as I had several hours to fill before concluding my sporting weekend with 5 hours of Moto GP.

    Yes, I think it is a match you watch out of duty, rather than looking for the extreme delights of the previous one. The main problem/difference seem to be in the lack of movement off the ball at times …. which makes me think the FA Cup side will need a bit of freshening up? However, once the goal went in we did drop back into a containment mode, which I am sure Geoff may comment on if/when he gets a chance to watch it … He too is travelling.

    On the other results, probably including tonight’s game, are too be expected. However, considering how poorly Chelsea played, the Man U win puts them in the driving seat in their next game. With any luck, not only will Chelsea lose that one, they could get both players booked on the 10 booking mark, and we will not have to suffer the presence of CF? The Chavs can thank that ageing git Drogba for their win. He had stood around Green when he was clearing the ball out of hand before. Partly to stop him rolling it along the ground and kicking from there. But the other reason was to stop him having a clear kick to the left of centre, as was his preference… because that was the area Austin was in. Clever boy, you just cannot buy that experience, because sure enough on the second time of trying, Green tries to go up and over Drogba … and made a mess of it. Mind the shot from Fabregas had a lot of good fortune about, and not short on sklill either. He arrived late for the cut back, struck the ball true, and like an arrow it went between defenders legs down a channel barely wider than the ball. Any deflection and the story would be different.
    The Man U result does mean that they overtake us if they beat Chelsea, but it sets up an intriguing match when we play them, if we too go on to beat Chelsea as well? They will be down to a point in front and some tricky games to follow. But the same is true of Man U, but they will need Chelsea to lose another game.

    It is going to be a fascinating run in with no room for errors …?

  25. Gerry says:

    For those who can, or are digital members of AFC, the Under 21’s are on the ‘Player tonight.
    KO 7.0pm – Prog starts at 6.45 – Full pictures, not just audio!

    Wilshere, Gnabry and Diaby all starting I believe, along with Beilik and Iwobi.
    That alone should make it worth a view?

  26. The Cockie Monster says:

    Hello Bastards !. 😀

    I watched the last two games semi live and we were well worth the points in both games, so I took it as an opportunity to scout in the Bindipper game……..( see what happens when we press….impressive ! )………and even though we played some superb stuff my eyes were drawn to the impressive Sterling, Sturridge, Can and the best of the bunch ….Coutinho !….some player there !.
    Those ( Hamez ) interested on how we are doing in the Chart of Doom….well…..we are 2 points better off than at the same stage as last season and two places higher than at the same stage as last season, but the stat that matters……yes stats matter, Professor ! 😆 ……..we are incredibly -1 point worse off !!!…..sacre fcuking bleu !!!……Wenger Out !. hahaha

    Listen knob gobblers, you can either watch the Scouse gitz tonight or be a proper Gooner and watch Arsenal U21`s for free on Arsenal Player @ 7pm…..with the likes of Wilshere, Gnabry and Zombie playing in an FA Cup rehearsal against Reading !…….No Sofa for me in this one !. 🙂

  27. The Cockie Monster says:

    Cant go without having a slight dig at Arsene !……………for quite a while now nearly every man and his dogging session has said we needed a DM Beast !……probably everyone fcuker on this site !…….but !…..Arsene Wenger has been saying for as long a time that a typical DM Beast was no longer needed in todays game of football !……well, Le Coq Blogue is a Typical DM player and we have been a different side since he came in and put some bite in midfield !…..so Bastards !…….we can either say Wenger doesn`t know what he`s doing or say that we all know what we are doing !. 😉

  28. The Cockie Monster says:

    Watch a game live live and we`re 1-0 down already !……rubbish !. 😀

  29. James Bond says:

    very nice @ Me Amigo – loved that picture

    thanks for sharing it and also explaining it. Surprised Ospina isn’t as popular as the bench warmer aka Falaco e.t.c e..t.c

    Hi Neeraj,

    well, most if not all players always end up saying the “right” things that “us” supporters would like to hear and then believe that the players saying all the right things are gooners forever and would never leave us.

    In reality, it’s the complete opposite, players are humans and humans just like you and me, are employed by clubs, companies and so on. just like we will do anything and everything to prosper and be working with the best companies, organization, employers e.t.c like putting our careers first and foremost (bank) – it’s no different for the players.

    Football is a business, Clubs companies and Players the commodities. Players like Pirlo are a very rare breed.

    I never thought there be a day that Henry would leave arsenal, Considering we were paying him £200 k per week at the tie but there you go, the man wanted to leave for ventures new and win trophies with Barca.

    it’s not wrong either, loyalty works both ways but 9 times out of 10, AW has been the victim of it and hard done by it, IMO. he deserved/deserves better from his players. (Henry’s, Viera’s, Cesc’s, Nasri’s, RVP’s, Song’s) e.t.c e.t.c

    Jack Wilshere and Diaby had a decent game for the U21’s, we still lost 1-0 , however, that polish lad Belik will need another 2 years to be decent and developed at the level required.

    disappointed by Gnabbers – should be doing much more and more efficiently now.

  30. James Bond says:

    about time you have returned you Bashtard – in time for the Game of thrones, ha

    where is our old china TMHT ?

  31. Gerry says:

    I watched the Under 21’s, and really there were a few disappointments.

    JB, you are right to say Gnabry was a few games short of a start. A case of trying to hard, but to be fair, I think that is only his second full game back.

    Willshere did look the best of the bunch, and will be better still with the quality of the first team around him. I still only see him making the bench in the Cup, unless Santi steps back.

    Iwobi looked good with his feet in tight situations but could never hope to break through such a crowded box.
    If that was a sign of how Reading intend to play, which I think they will, and it has the look of a Burnley repeat coming up? So note to the first team – ‘USE THE WIDE PLAYERS!’

    Which is something the U21’s managed to more of in the second half. Poor old B54 was virtually ignored in the first half. He too is another returning after a year off, but did provide a few useful crosses late on. It was not a perfect link up when Gnabry changed wings, as his lack of match sharpness really showed by taking the extra touch which Reading coped with really well.
    Another note to the first team – ‘READING ARE VERY GOOD AT INTERCEPTING OBVIOUS PASSES!’

    The pitch played very slow and it took a while for some to get their passing range going, and A M-Niles was particularly guilty of short passes early on. Another who struggled a bit was Dan Crowley. He played the ‘Ozil’ role to Jack’s ‘Cazorla’, but looked a lot better when, like his role model, was able to operate in the middle. Remembering he is still an under 18 player, he looks to have a good future if he gets the breaks.

    Mavididi also looked good for a first year scholar when he came on, but had the same problem as Iwobi of a crowded box. Stepping up two levels is not easy, he will get better as he grows, and he is a big guy now. The future looks bright with these athletic youngsters coming through?

    Whist on the younger ones, ‘6ft2″, eyes of blue’ Bielik showed some good long range passes in only his second start as CB, and is still only 17. So yes JB, he will look very good in a couple of seasons when he will still be young at 19! DM is where he will thrive though. Limited camera work did not show how he picked up what looked to be a thigh injury, although after the clash on the goal line it did look like he had a gash above the knee. I hope he does not miss out on all the remaining ‘reserve’ games, but I can see him getting a game or two from the bench next season.

    However, the player that impressed me the most, Jack apart, was the Bielik’s sub, Dobson. From the moment he came on he was vocal with his team mates, directing play from the back.
    He also played the best balls out of defence with a sharpness that Koscielny would be proud of. Clever in the Reading box. Fearless in the tackle too. Not that tall, and can also play DM so even if it is not with Arsenal, he has a big future ahead of him.

    However, it was more like a collection of players in the first half, rather than a ‘team’, but improved in the second. I hope the balance of the first team will not be too disrupted by the need to give players a game.
    Given we have spaces between games (.. and not playing Juve tonight for example?) I think Szcz, and contract aside, Walcott should be the maximum changes (Rosicky otherwise?), as well as Gabby being available for Kos or Per. I would have said Debuchy too, but as he did not make even the bench last night it is hard to assess his fitness? Still, Bellerin usually follows up with a good performance when he has a less good one, so no problem. Mind if Debuchy was being kept back for the Cup game, then it opens the door for Gibbs on the other side.

  32. Xavier says:

    Hey everyone… Sorry not been able to comment for a while. umm.. Moved temporarily (if you call 2 years temporary) to cyprus to do my masters. Its been a good run of games eh? Glad we could go to turf moor and get the whole 3 points. The burnley players were energetic all through. I thought they would have tired out at around the 70mins mark but I guess with the score still 1-0 then there is always hope. I wasnt really concerned about them scoring. I think they came out to counter our game rather than play theirs so if they were going to score it woulda been from a setpiece or a lucky break.
    Oh well, Hows everyone doing? Still holding the candle out for the title? For me, until it becomes mathematically impossible, I’m not losing faith. hehe.

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, settled back home again and ready to watch some football…Arsenal take on Juve in the CL…Oh, wait, it’s some other team in red and white… 😦

    Sorry, Gerry, I’m still gutted we didn’t beat Monaco. Given our squad depth, the extra matches would be just fine. We have players who really need matches, and, with City in tatters (nothing a quick half billion cannot cure…i.e., they’ll be back…) we will finish in the top 3… With the late goal at QPR, Chavs have done enough to win the league, I fear, and will stumble across the line…

    To be in with a shout in the big tournament is where we belong… IMO, of course…My hope is that the boys will be watching and a deeper hunger will be growing to do something bigger next season…

    What’s funny, I think, is that on the one hand you (still talking to Gerry…) love the kids and want them to get their chances but have enough worries about our first team to realize that the lack of midweek games means very little rotation = no chances for them. (Two big success stories from the youth ranks–Bellerin and Coquelin, is probably more than we could hope for, so maybe you’re already satisfied?…) I actually tried to sign back in to the player yesterday to watch the U-21s (and download the Burnley match) but they’re not taking my password nor sending me a new one…Even my kid (who turns 13 on Thursday and knows his ‘puter stuff…) can’t figure it out, so a phone call or e-mail is probably necessary… Cheers for the match report… Instead, I started to watch Pool-Toonies but ended up taking (a much needed) nap, the travel having finally caught up with me…

    Good to have you chime in X-man….and congrats on your perfect week in the UMF… Indeed, with the joker, you’d be right there in the mix… Cyprus must be very, er, interesting, these days…

    On this topic…Having now seen MOTD (and facing the frustrations on the dot.com) I probably never will watch the whole match. To me, it sounds like there’s a real focus on positional discipline in the team, esp. at FB and the position Coq has made his own, with wingers also charged with helping out. Giroud, esp. defending at set pieces, is also such a bonus… It’s never easy on the supporters, but the team must be coming around to the *belief* that they can defend a one goal lead–an essential element if we hope to beat the better teams. From what I could see, Burnley’s chances were all in very tight spaces (and rushed)–they might’ve gotten lucky, but they didn’t. It’s a good blueprint, even if not as entertaining as always needing more goals to secure things…again, IMO… 🙂 If only we’d had such discipline in that home leg (“defending” that nil-nil)… 😦

    Anyhow, not much more to say…(for the moment,,, hahaha)… Just sad we don’t have our hat in the ring for the final 8… (I’ll prolly be watching later if anybody wants to chat…)

  34. Gerry says:

    Nice try HT, but you haven’t quite got the full picture on my thinking.

    Taking the youngsters point for example. On the evidence of last night, not one of them is ready to step into a first 11 game, in any meaningful way at least. In fact, with Chuba out on loan (and not scoring!), that means only Gnabry would make an impact. Unfortunately I think he is still another 90 minutes away, and then he might make the bench.

    Considering I am not that keen on the older buddies muscling in on the league games either, in case it upsets the balance, it is no surprise that I am not pushing the kids in either. Had Jack not done nearly the full 90 last night when perhaps he shouldn’t, as he nearly tweaked his ankle badly and why he came off with a few minutes to go … Well then he might well have a start against Reading seniors. However, I would rather that be for Ozil, not Cazorla, as his vertical runs would do the same damage as they did for young Crowley. I do not believe when he starts pushing forward he has any thought in his head other than that. He expects players to work around him, and that will be a big problem for AW to sort out. Santi has got it sussed. He moves where Mesut isn’t, and vice versa.

    Depending how the League matches go in our absence this weekend, may sort out what opportunities are left for a few inputs in the final few games. For example, if Liverpool get beaten by Villa, there season might fall apart? As indeed ours might if we don’t play our ‘A’ game. Then if Chelsea smash United, as is distinctly likely, given they can defend and United can’t? They too might drop away. We would no longer have to dream of a title chase, but just consolidate a comfortable 2nd position. Hence, may be, room to give 20 minutes here and there, except in the Man U game.

    However, competition for those bench spots will be at a premium if we get beyond the semi final. Of those not playing regularly, you have Gabriel, Szczesney, Rosicky, and Ox, all of whom have contributed, so the other places are going to mean plenty of disappointments.
    Jack will be head the list no doubt, but does Walcott make it ahead of say, Gibbs, without a contract signed, even if he has a blinder on Saturday? Arteta and Diaby, if both are fit might be their last opportunity. So for Gnabry to get in there he will have to be at the very top of his game if he gets a chance to play? Even then, two of the 5 will miss out, so I think he will have to wait another year.

    That then, is why there is no conflict in who plays between now and the end of the season, but I am rooting for Diaby to keep his dream alive, just so he can retire fulfilled, should we retain the trophy. At this moment in time, taking part is not a given.


    p.s. If you were trying to register afresh, it may be they reject your password because ‘someone else’ has used it … that being you? Try logging via the ‘forgotten pw’ route, if you have not already done it?

  35. Gerry says:

    Ha ha .. I’ve just realised, after reading a blog under the heading of
    ‘Arsenal’s forgotten man starts’ …
    that I had indeed done that.
    Missing from my list … Debuchy!

    Also HT, I forgot the second part, where you keep bleating on about playing the best teams …

    So do I. But I want us to be fully equipped to do ourselves justice.

    It took the defeat by Monaco to gives us the jolt we needed. Now what would have happened if we had won the first leg, and just gone through the motions in the second leg? Do you think we would be on this run now?
    Even United are putting their run of form down to our win, so it is not just us.

    The CL will still be there next season if we don’t fall apart over the next few weeks.

    Something else I just read, Gnabry as Walcott’s replacement. Personally I see him more in the Ox mold, but Wellington Silva might be a different matter?

    I may watch the Juve Monaco game, where I think the latter may prove their manager right, that they were the better ‘team’, at least when we were not playing so well. Should be an interesting game anyway.

  36. James Bond says:

    try going the “forgotten password” route @ me Amigo

    and then check your spam folder for the email. 9 times out of 10, it’s their , if not in your inbox.

    agreed with you @ Gerry

    we need to sign a decent RB and a decent LB for the U21’s , I reckon.

  37. The Cockie Monster says:

    Loved watching the U21`s last night as there`s no pressure, it`s more about gaining fitness for some and gaining experience for others added with a dash of experimentation, the result is secondary !.
    Wilshere played well, but he wouldn`t get away with as many runs like last night in the real league……the oppo` were not as physically strong…..he didn`t go down as much as normal !. Diaby looked effortlessly easy on the ball and wondered why he came off early ?.
    Iwobi looked to have potential and Crowley looked a much more dangerous player once he moved into the middle once Diaby went off, he drove forward at every chance and you can see where they compare him as a right footed Wilshere !…….imo, he will be immense in a few years time when he has added some bulk !.

  38. AB says:

    Evening chaps. A word of caution from me – in the much discussed matter of whether we are still in with a shout of the league, we seem to be taking as read that we will stroll 2nd, or at worst 3rd. Looking at the fixtures, this seems anything but safe as assumptions go. City are in woeful form, but have relatively ‘easy’ fixtures from here on, and players who have contracts to perform for over the run in. Manure are starting to play effectively, and I would not discount them turning the Chavs over this weekend. Given they are only a point behind us and we have to visit them yet, we will still do well to finish the season ahead of them. In short, we should be safe for a top 4 now, barring some horrible implosion, but anything above this will still take a very strong end to the season.

  39. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, Games are on…bound to be negative, given the away goals rule…

    007, No return e-mails in any of my in-boxes…Plenty of ways to burn fat around my hugely erect penis, however…. 🙂 As much as I *should* watch Juve-Monaco, the Madrid Derby will be primary… Do any of you guys know older Atletico players? This guy was on our flight from Bogota to Mexico City (where he now plays with Cruz Azul)… http://www.footballcardsdirect.com/images/wc14sticker189.jpg

    Cockie, Diaby off early might bode well for a bench seat vs Reading? Could the guys who didn’t play (Arteta and Debuchy) actually start?

    OK Gerry, I think I’m beginning to understand your way of thinking (and agree with it)…but I remain open to corrections… 🙂

    The point I was trying to make (above) is that fans and players see and feel things very differently. Many fans are driven by the emotion surrounding results (enhanced by what they hear from the most vocal around them who are often blind drunk or the “pundits” and bloggers who–like me this time–get their info re: match of the day–or the back pages… The squad, by comparison, has to accept that margins are tight and performance and results don’t always equate. We have a lot of accumulated scar tissue and playing at home in tight matches is probably more difficult than it should be. We lost our collective heads vs Monaco (as we also did vs ManU in the league) and hopefully it will be lesson learned. Going all out in home legs is just not necessary… We’ve now done OK against big teams (including Bayern in the CL) and only now need to beat Chavs in 10 days time. If we can hold our nerve to retain the cup and edge the South Londoners it will serve us in good stead for next season–even if the Moo-man will claim it means nothing–which in many ways is all too true 😦 …

    OGAAT, of course, and I agree we will not rotate too much for the semi-final…

  40. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey AB… Just as we need to stay “in the moment” so too do ManU…Good wins over Pool and City mean they will be confident heading to Chavs…another match which surely will be played in a negative style (by the hosts)… You won’t find long odds on a Chavs 1-nil, I would guess… Chavs have got to be thinking that a pair of draws and the title is done and dusted…1 point from their next two (and then beating Leicester) is probably sufficient as well… 😦

    Credit to LvG, however (as Gerry suggest) for keeping his team together after the FA cup defeat at OT…

    Bale and Jamez testing the keeper with placed curlers (on their only good foot) but still nil-nil…same as the other match, where Evra just put one in Row Z…

  41. AB says:

    Hi 17. Yes the others have got to perform as well – except Chavs who can stumble over from here. I am less generous with LvG – given the resources available he ought to have found a way sooner IMO, and long ball to the hairy one seems a trick that managers with lesser reputations might have managed too. But they are being effective at the moment, and have quality options on the bench.

    A strictly positive view from me would want the chavs to be rocked by a good dumping of manure, leaving them shaky when they face us. The pragmatist in me feels the league is gone, and having points taken off manure would more likely help us achieve an automatic CL spot.

    Whatever the maths, I would hope we can take some points in our 2 big league games and continue the sense of progress being made in our ability to compete against the top league sides.

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    Agreed, AB, undefeated from here on in would be a really strong finish and would set us up great for the Summer… I think if QPR could’ve held out for a point, the league would’ve been a long-shot but still a chance…as it is, I just cannot see it… At least it’s still exciting at the bottom which makes the “automatic” matches (like ours at Burnley just past…) anything but…

    I guess, if Chavs lose their next two (ManU and us) and Leicester win both theirs (Swansea and at Burnley) the bottom club would have big eyes for the game in hand… But that’s the stuff of dreams–of the wet sheet variety… 😀

    City need to stop the bleeding… They play West Ham but then Villa (who are in reinvigorated form) but then finish with a couple of teams (Spurs, So’ton) who, if they go on runs of their own, might fancy a tilt at the top 4… Not gimmes if they’re already on holiday…

    Better probably to actually play the matches rather than speculate… Another reason I wish we were still in this European tournament…

    70th min in Madrid and still nil-nil…Juve have a goal vs Monaco, however…

  43. AB says:

    Yes HT. If Chavs had dropped 2 points against QPR then they would have been rattled and the press would have been all over them with speculation. But they keep grinding out the results, whether through effort or good fortune and I don’t think that a single loss now would shake them – back to back losses though would be another thing. Can I see that happening though? Not really, they would probably take a point from each game without much worry, knowing we would be dropping as many.

    A strong, top 3 finish and the FA cup and I will be more than happy with our season.

  44. The Cockie Monster says:

    Just how far do you go to help Arsenal win trophies ?.
    You know about my Soffaring, but what about my Arsenal superstitions ?.

    Driving through Truro yesterday I saw this geezer walking up the main road wearing a red boiler suit pulling an 8ft wooden cross attached to two wheels and strapped to his back !. He was waving at all the drivers passing him !…..Jesus Christ I thought, he`s going to get crucified when he passes the building site up the road !….and just thought what a fcukng nut case !.
    As time passed I thought….. is he a nut case ?…..I mean look at us !….are we not inmates of the Arsenal Asylum ?.
    I thought back to when I first moved to my current house in Cornwall and wondered are they currents or raisins ?.
    I moved here in November of 2002 ….a great year to be in the Arsenal Asylum, we were the current ( raisin two cups ) double holders !. As a few know, I do a bit of running, but few know that my running was just as much an ingredient to Arsenal winning trophies as Arsene Wenger`s management !.
    You see my fellow Gooners….I`m a superstitious Gooner and my important part in the success of our club is down to me running a 4 mile circuit around the village, but !….for us to win a trophy, I have to run this 4 mile circuit in day light without coming across a motor vehicle, either coming towards me or passing me !…..not only that, but I have to jump over 6 sets of double white lines at the end of lane junctions on the run !. Not only that, but I have to touch 2 sets of place signs at two junctions four times each whilst shouting ….”come on Arsenal each time ! “.
    This is not an easy thing to do as there is a one 1 mile stretch of this course which is quite busy !….but trophies don’t come easy so the superstition had to be a hard task otherwise we would win every single trophy every year and I would be elated to some kind of Dennis like status !.
    Now I do this run 4 times a week and thanks to me I managed to do this run without meeting an automobile once in early 2003 and we went on to win the FA Cup 1-0 against Southampton !. I wrote to Arsenal FC telling them of my part in our FA Cup glory and received a personnel letter from the clubs psychiatrist thanking me for part in our win .
    Still being quite fit I managed to do another successful run in 2004 and we ( I say we as it was my superstitious run on behalf of Arsenal FC that made me feel part of the club, although I was not paid any numeration ! ) won the league undefeated !…..and another thank you from the Quack !.
    Next up I managed to just sneak another Automobiless run in 2005….just by the skin on my teeth as I was nearly over taken by the village nutter on his mobility scooter ( more about him later ! ), I just managed to dive over into my driveway as he was about to try and overtake me !, it was close and probably why we won the 2005 FA Cup on penalties !.
    The village nutter was the son of a couple who had which was considered a unhealthy relationship during the war !..the father was a captured German pilot by the name of Adolf Schun and was made to work the fields along with the land girls to provide food for the troops, the mother was an alleged Nazi sympathiser by the name of Ada Itler who just happened to be a hairy lipped woman who wore swastika knuckle dusters as the forewoman of the grain store.
    So not enough evidence to have her arrested, any way to cut it short…… Ada and Adolf had an affair and the village idiot was the result !….a baby boy born with the rare condition of Priapism !. Now these two may have been Nazi spies but that didn’t stop them having a sense of humour and they fittingly named the child …..Ivor Eric Schun !.
    In 2006 I was trying hardest to try and do my run without being passed by a car and got to the point where I was getting worried that I would fail and we would not win a cup !. I wrote a letter to the Arsenal psychiatrist saying that the seeing as Ivor Eric Schun was on an electric mobility scooter would that count ?. Could I get away with only him passing me ?. No reply !
    I was now running 7 days a week to try and win us a trophy and had to put up with drivers calling me a nutter as I swore at cars passing me !…I was desperate !….I managed to get a run in on the day of the Champions League Final and was jumping for joy as I was about a 100M from my gate and got cocky and tried to “moon walk” the last yards only to stumble over and look up in terror as the Prince of Priapism passed me !….we lost the CL Final because of my moonwalk !. Jackson you bastard !
    2007 was a bad year as well for my superstitious runs…..Ivor Eric Schun had a new partner in crime !…Ethel !….they met on a website !…something like….Mobility Sex…just plug in and go !.
    She had …”Ethel`s Angel”…. printed on her scooter and they used to ride along side by side terrorising me in my pursuit of trophies for Arsenal.
    I managed one run where I thought I had got a “clean” run, only for them to pull out of my drive to add insult !. we lost to the Chavs in the League Cup !.
    I tried having them done for stalking me by phoning the police and asking them to take a restraining order out on them so I could carry on in peace in my pursuit of trophies for Arsenal FC !…I explained how the had lost us the CL and League Cup finals and even sent a copy of my letter from Arsenals psychiatrist !….but unbelievably the police said I would be sent for evaluation if I pestered them any more !…idiots !.
    I was getting more injuries and running less frequently and thus we had some barren years in the trophy department. Then in 2011, I heard that Ethel`s Angel and Ivor Eric Schun had passed away in a tragic mobility accident involving sex on a scooter whilst it was being charged and a freak surge in power caused them to be electrocuted !…..I attended the funeral by running past the cemetery and shouting hooray !…hooray !…hooray !…..the bastards are dead, time for some trophies !…..we love you Arsenal we do !………I was overtaken by their Hearst and we lost to Birmingham in the League Cup Final !.
    A few more barren years as I tried to get over my injures and it`s kind of ironic that we moan about our luck with injuries for not winning anything, but it`s more down to my injuries for not winning !.
    I needed to put it right, I bought a running machine and ignored my doctor telling me to give up running due to scar tissue on a calf and set about a gradual build up of muscle and taking time to heal.
    Last year I managed one run without a vehicle insight and we won the FA Cup !. This year before the Manshafter quarter final I managed another clear run, so take it from me….I have won us another trophy !….We will be 2015 FA Cup winners !.
    Now !…..if we don’t manage to win a trophy, I will have to re-evaluate my superstitions !………and probably have to go and clean the abusive graffiti off of Ivor Eric Schun and Ethel`s grave stone !.

    Anyone else as superstitious as me where Arsenal are concerned ?.
    How have you won or lost trophies for our glorious club ?.

  45. Gerry says:

    A superstition is just a prediction of a coincidence. They happen, but it is still a coincidence … unless you believe in the chaos theory? But then the same circumstances mean the same ‘chaos’ cannot happen twice …
    err, can you post those letters from the Arsenal psychiatrist for further evaluation?
    😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  46. geoffchase says:


    IT’s the belief that matters, as well as the religious rites! 🙂 😀

    cheers — jgc

  47. Gerry says:

    I just want to add this link … Geoff, you will enjoy what follows:
    Not for the article, but click the link from the first comment. Best piece of analytical stuff on the opposition, and how to play them – which is us, as it is a Reading blog – I think I have ever seen.
    No disrespect to Oz or HT intended.

  48. Retsub says:

    Thats an interesting piece of writing and your efforts in assisting the team to greatness has probably until now not been recognised. I used to write the team sheet on a piece of A4 with my pen laid pointing directly at the TV. I found this to be a very successful strategy in guiding the team to success. Unfortunately my kids found it amusing to move the pen off centre when I wasn’t looking. People say the move to the Emirates caused the barren years, but I know better. My kids also found it great fun to tell my work colleagues, which proved the beginning of the end in my efforts to spur the team on.

    Ahead of the Reading game, I was reminded of the scene in the film Fever Pitch where the young Ársenal supporter get a ticket for the Reading v Ársenal cup game and finds himself surrounded. By Reading fans. If any of the younger readers haven’t seen this Fillm or read the book I thougherly recommend them. It’s a great story on the season that we won the league at Anfield and its written by someone who understands the ups and downs of being a long term supporter. Not to be confused with the American remake festuring the Boston Red Sox

  49. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cockie. I enjoyed the piece…For some reason, whenever I pictured Lesbania, I always assumed there were no motorized vehicles…Or at least I never thought about that element… 😀

    As the “voice of reason” around these parts I try to avoid superstition, but I too have associated my own running with Arsenal results. I think it has to do more with trying to find motivation to get out on the trails, but I remember wearing my (sole) Arsenal kit on a longer than usual run before that match up at Newcastle which we needed to win in order to clinch our CL “trophy”… Today I “need” to go running (my fitness is woeful after recent travels….) so maybe it will mean victory at Wembley on Saturday…

    No, I think victory will come through harmony–or quality–or a combination of the two, or something… The team is playing very well and we seem to have finally found a better balance between attack and defense. Coquelin is a big reason, having a 3rd CB (Gabriel) who can fill in for either member of the main pair (and not having to play undersized FBs there) and some real competition at keeper is huge. Further forward, Ozil’s adjustment to English football http://www.sport-magazine.co.uk/ and outstanding efforts all over the pitch from the likes of Giroud, Alexis, Ramsey and Cazorla mean that we can do good things with and w/o the ball. We could actually probably use more games (like in the CL where we would be in with a shout, I think…) to integrate a few other players into this newer, higher level of play. Now we just have to stay out of our own way and play our best at Wembley and in the remaining league matches…

    Cheers Gerry for the links, which will help as I try and write my preview…There is no way I can do a match preview like the Reading fellow did (in the comment link) but we don’t need to dig quite so deeply to inspire hope (see the comments at the bottom)…

    Speaking of previews and superstition… 007 has noted that we are perfect in the league since I started writing them, which is fine by me… Who then wants to do the Chav match?… 😦 … My record in the cup matches is pretty good too, with only the Monaco home leg standing out… Again, as much as I like to help my team, it might be more down to them… 😀

    OK, gotta get to it…

  50. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ooops. I also forgot to mention another (stupid) thing I do in “support” of my team… Whenever I hear the word “arsenal” or even the shorter word “arson,” I reflexively shout out “Arse-nal” in the (working class) terrace style… It can strike many an unsuspecting Californian as pretty strange, and you’d be surprised how often you hear those words on the news… (“The insurgents have even added arson to their arsenal of tactics…”)


  51. Gerry says:

    Oh HT, I wasn’t thinking for a minute that your fine reviews required that depth, I just admired the fact that somebody went to so much trouble to use all the ‘stills’ in one preview. Not only that, I did not get the sense that he was writing it from his own preferred viewpoint … the way I tend to lean towards 😀
    Instead, he took what he saw in changes what Clarke was doing with the team, and followed it through. The stills were a real bonus though?
    If he is right, and Reading are going for the Monaco (home game) as a model for how thy should play, we really need to take notice. If they leave one quick guy up front to get in behind our backs with a quick out-ball from defence, we are going to have to do better, especially in the second half? Despite that, I think if Debuchy is fit, the it is a Walcott & Gibbs to provide width, at the expense of Ramsey and Monreal … ooops Stepping into your area of expertise.

    Anyway, at least I don’t have to watch the Chav’s match 😀

    Best of luck with your inspiring preview … laced with caution and common sense, no doubt.

    Just remember, if we get this win it might be down to not having played a tough match in Italy 3 days before 🙄 :;) 🙂

  52. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gerry, all agreed and you’ve read my mind with my ideas in the preview… On that note, TA, you’ve got mail… Also, I linked to the excellent article you (Gerry) highlighted above… I hope that’s OK…Cheers again for pointing it out…

    As much as any team can win any match on any day, I would suggest that we could handle a few extra midweek matches (big ones, all of them) these days. Yes, they would force a bit more rotation, but we’ve got the players-of sufficient quality and fitness–that I think we could at least give it a go… Fans might not want to admit it, but football is played with very fine margins and a couple of mistimed injuries (or bungled plays) can screw up even the best teams (see Porto 3-1 over Bayern…or, in terms of bungled plays, PSG 1-3 vs Barca…) It’s possible that the “lesson” learned from the Monaco home leg (I thought we had learned it vs ManU in the Autumn…) will serve us well if we can close out our domestic responsibilities. Still, I cannot help but think the Monaco home leg was a real chance lost and it’s (always) a long road back in that (year-long) tournament…

    Hmmm, Thursday…. Who’s left in the Europa League?…

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Seventeenho 🙂

    I wrote something but had no time to issue it yet. Maybe later today.

  54. 17highburyterrace says:

    Yes please…The blog needs more from our fearless (but busy?) leader… Mine can wait until tomorrow or even Saturday morning…

  55. Admir says:

    Hello, people! 🙂

    Speaking of Arsenal-related superstitions, back in 2012-13 I used to drive around at the beginning of the season. During the week before our game at the Anfield that we won 2:0, I had listened a song called “Gotta luv ya”. I was thinking how we’ll beat the Reds 2:0 thanks to goals from Cazorla and Podolski. In fact, Podolski’s goal was very similar to the one I had sketched in my head. It was based on his performance against Köln in our preseason. It apparently worked and that’s where it started.

    I did the same for our game against Southampton but this time my prediction (2:0) didn’t come true – we won 6:1. We came close to beat Northern Oilers but Gervinho gervinhoed our victory away with his touch. Still, we left Etihad undefeated. Then we played Chelsea and we lost after some appalling defending from Koscielny, Mannone and Vermaelen. The magic of Sean Paul disappeared. 😦

    I don’t have a current superstition.

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice one Admir.

    Mew post 🙂

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