Arsenal v Chelsea Starting 11 and Preview: Destroying or Advertising the Beautiful Game?


Symbolic or Real–It’s Always a Big One

Le shove
Le shove

Sunday at 4pm the two top teams in the English Premier League face each other in a late season showdown.  Unfortunately–and in spite of 8 Arsenal league wins on the trot–a series of recent 1-nil wins from our South London rivals means that the gap in points between the two teams (10) is too large.  No matter what happens in this match, Chelsea will win the league.  In fact, if they can beat us in this one, Chelsea could actually seal the league title at Leicester City on Wednesday.

Still, much feels at stake, especially for Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger.  It’s been a(nother) difficult season, but the team has finally found continuity and form.  A win against Chelsea would represent–in front of our never fully convinced home fans–that these qualities are real and that Arsenal have (finally) built a squad which might pose true problems for the richer clubs–the “Oiler-Garchs,” as I like to call them–at least in seasons ahead.

Jose Mourinho, now in the 2nd season of his 2nd stint as manager at Chelsea, has shown what he brings to the task.  Relentless cynicism and negativity masked in a cult of personality are the hallmarks of the self-proclaimed “Special One.”  Such qualities provide a measure of side-show entertainment but otherwise tend to crush the life out of football.  When combined with a team assembled with owner Roman Abramovich’s seemingly endless supply of money, they do win football matches and, especially if you can appreciate defensive control of matches, they must be respected.  It can be a bit much, however.  Between the preening manager and the cynicism of players who go to ground with amazing ease–but pop back up to join the crowd of teammates surrounding referees–and then still cannot beat 10 man Paris St. Germain–it’s not the best advert for the English game.   Nonetheless, Mourinho will add to his (all important) trophy tally.  The league title (and the league cup) is special but the return of Mourinho’s dour brand of football and put-the-spotlight-on-me approach to media-relations appears even less glossy (if that is possible) than in his first time around.  It’s funny, but even though he is winning, it seems only a matter of time before his owner–and other “supporters” of the South London club–tire of him again.

This is why this match has great symbolic meaning.  Much has been made of the fact that a Wenger team has never beaten a Mourinho coached Chelsea squad.  This match, Wenger’s 13th attempt, is a chance to end that narrative, and, ideally, begin a new one.  Many put Mourinho’s dominance down to tactics (or Wenger’s lack of them) and I would suspect a tight (and fairly negative) match from both managers, with a draw being far from a bad outcome for either.  Still, winning it with a measure of attacking style might lay the groundwork for a real divide between London’s best teams.

I may be overstating things, or at least looking at this match through red (and white) tinted glasses, but I believe that Arsenal are the better club, with the better manager and the better (less cynical, more positive) approach to what could be the “beautiful game,” you know, that thing call football, at least when it’s not being played by a Mourinho managed team.  Good vs evil then, and the path forward to rekindling a potentially great rivalry in the immediate future of English football, is (perhaps) what’s really at stake.

That’s probably taking things just a bit too far.  Even more ironic is that much of the recent solidity at Arsenal has emerged through a more defensive approach and, I suspect, most Gooners would be happy with similar tactics vs Chelsea in this one.   Still, given that it’s a 10 point gap (and a 9 point gap looking over our shoulder worrying about our Champions League top 4 position) there could be a little leeway to go for the win and use our (nearly) fully fit squad with a measure of attacking swagger.  Let’s play stingy at the back, but let’s also give a bit of leash to guys like Alexis, Giroud, Ozil, Santi and Ramsey (or Theo and Welbs) and give it a go.

With the talent they bring, stopping Chelsea–even if they’re mostly hoping to hit us in transition–is never easy.  Arsene’s Arsenal have always been replete with attackers of our own, but this season, with a few tweaks at the back, we’ve also found real stopping power.  Although he hasn’t convinced everybody, since taking over as our #1 keeper, Colombian David Ospina has played 15 matches and won 13 of them, keeping 8 clean sheets.   This exceptional run of form has been aided by a fully fit Laurent Koscielny and the emergence of a truly defensive-minded midfielder in Francis Coquelin.  The January purchase of Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista has also meant that we don’t need to fret so much over Koscielny’s tender Achilles tendons or worry about playing full-backs Nacho Monreal or Mathieu Debuchy in central positions if Kos or Per Mertesacker take a knock.  Nacho’s matches at CB, while very nervy for Gooners, have helped him become a more complete defender which, in turn, seems to have allowed his offence to flourish.  When we look back on this season, I think the penalty he won at Manchester City and the goal he scored at Manchester United will be real highlights.   Meanwhile, at the other fullback position, young Hector Bellerin, in for Debuchy after the shoulder injury suffered vs Stoke City, has been equally impressive and a real credit to Arsenal’s youth recruitment and development.  We might not have expected these players to be so critical to our defensive resurgence, but depth in the squad and (real) competition for places has yielded pleasant surprises.

Even if our recent fine form is based on this defensive platform, I fully expect this match to be won in midfield, especially given that Chelsea forwards Diego Costa and Didier Drogba are both doubts due to fitness concerns while third choice Loic Remy is definitely out.  These injuries will surely allow Mourinho to put all pressure on Arsenal.  If these guys don’t play how can Chelsea be expected to win?  If they do play, they will be playing hurt.   It’s also an excuse for ceding possession and playing for a nil-nil.  I won’t be surprised if the Moo-man sets out defensive minded players like both Nemanja Matic and Ramires (or even John Obi Mikel).  Wenger will counter by keeping Coquelin in intercepting positions and simplifying his passing responsibilities and also continue with Santi Cazorla as his ball controlling counterpart in a deeper lying role, more or less alongside Le Coq.  If goals are to be had then, the real battle will likely be amongst the more creative types: Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez working off the imposing presence of center forward Olivier Giroud for Arsenal, and Oscar (or Willian), Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas doing likewise for Chelsea–alongside whichever CF bravely trots out for his manager–cue the heraldic music and salutes from whichever tougher-than-nails British pundit is doing the commentary…

Cue also the endless discussion of Fabregas’ return to the Emirates and the greeting he receives from the home support.  On this subject, Wenger, as always, has chosen his words very carefully.  While calling for Arsenal supporters to show Cesc the respect he deserves, Wenger has also hinted that the media-driven transfer saga last summer was much more of a done deal than many believed.  At that time, media outlets (including angry bloggers) were keen to portray Wenger as “rejecting” Cesc’s return given that Arsenal had, quite cannily, placed a buy-back (or sell-on) clause in his transfer agreement when our Captain had been sold to Barcelona.  So much is clouded in hearsay and innuendo (dependent on who the observer likes more: Cesc or Wenger) so we may never know the exact details of how Cesc’s transfer to Chelsea (or the earlier move to Barca) actually went down.  Wenger is at least hinting at the heart of the matter–that Arsenal were never prepared to transfer whatever monies might have been made (or saved) in the deal directly into Cesc’s bank account.  The rationale about already having Ozil, whose form had not overwhelmed in his first season, along with the likes of Cazorla and Ramsey – and younger guys like Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain- as central midfielders, severely irked many a Gooner aching for Cesc’s return.  The real reason Arsenal didn’t “fight” harder (instigate a bidding war with Chelsea) is, however, more likely to be found in the 5 year, 33 million Euro contract Chelsea gave the soon to be 28 year old, which would have been amongst the largest at the club.  Players move on, and indeed Cesc has.  So, I would have to agree with Wenger: let’s give Cesc the respect he deserves as he returns to the club that made him.  Please insert the emoticon of your choice; smile, wink or frown as necessary.

Instead of buying Cesc from Barca (and putting him on top money) Arsenal did just that with Alexis Sanchez.  With 14 goals and 8 assists it’s hard to argue that it was not the better choice.  In fact, many are stumping for Alexis to win PFA player of the year given that he more or less carried Arsenal through the autumn as we missed all those players through injury.  Instead that award will likely go to Eden Hazard (on very similar stats, 13 goals and 8 assists in the league) and their match-up will be another one the pundits will pore over in dissecting the match.  But for the gap in points between their respective clubs, it is tempting to give the nod to Alexis as his totals might be even higher if he were the offense-only player Hazard appears to be.  In fact, his relentless work rate, including tracking back and helping with defending and possession play, in addition to making him a real crowd favorite, has been a key element in the Arsenal resurgence in 2015.  Now that his goal scoring touch is back, he’s showing the full range of his talents and may be especially keen to show why he is the choice of many as the outstanding player in the league.   Still, just as it would be unwise for our defenders to focus only on Hazard, Chelsea would be well warned against doing likewise with Alexis.

Which leads us to the predicted team.  With the exception of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who may be done for the season with a groin injury, and Per Mertesacker, who had to be subbed out of the FA Cup semifinal with an ankle knock and hasn’t been in training, this Arsenal team is nearing full fitness up and down the squad.  Some players who are coming back from long term injuries, namely, Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby, are probably not ready for a match of this sort.  A big question will be who starts at right back.  Mathieu Debuchy looked completely spent (and not at his best) against Reading, but he did survive the full 120 minutes.  Hector Bellerin was dropped for that one on rumors of an ankle injury.  My hunch is that he will only make the bench in favor of the more experienced Frenchman or may be left out entirely in favour of the more versatile Calum Chambers.  Debuchy’s experience could be the deciding factor if Mertesacker cannot play.  Gabriel may be faster than the big German, and he’s shown a willingness to give a smart foul when trailing a play, but his inexperience will surely be targeted by whichever Chelsea attacker gets the start up top.  Otherwise, I think, the team picks itself, reverting to the group which dismantled Liverpool and won the more cautious battle at Burnley.

ars v chavs

(Subs: Szczesny, Gibbs, Chambers, Flamini, Wilshere, Walcott, Welbeck)

Wow, it seems incredible that my 18 is leaving out players who have contributed as much as Bellerin or have as much experience and quality as Rosicky, Mertesacker and Arteta.  As always, what (TF) do I know?  The manager may well have other ideas up his sleeve, as surely other Gooners must.

No matter who starts (and who makes the bench and comes in as a sub), I believe Arsenal have the talent and quality to beat Chelsea in this match.  We will not win the league title this year, but beating the champions–as they stumble and grind their way towards it–would be a very nice marker to lay down for next year’s race.  If we can beat Aston Villa in the FA cup final, we would also have another chance to face Mou and his Money-Men in the Community Shield in early August in our final preseason match.   It may be more symbolic than truly meaningful, but this is a(nother) pressure laden situation and a fine opportunity for this Arsenal team to show that progress has been made and better things lay upon our doorstep.

Go on then…

By 17highburyterrace

198 thoughts on “Arsenal v Chelsea Starting 11 and Preview: Destroying or Advertising the Beautiful Game?

  • Superb preview, Seventeenho. This is indeed not for the title but for pride; the Mancs let us down for the former last week. It is also about tactics and not allowing us to fall into the Maureen trap. Us playing the beautiful footie but getting ticked off on the counter needs to be avoided at all cost. Let the champions to be make the game for once… The world will be watching. Only then will we beat them. But I expect a chess game.

  • I am happy Gabrile is playing. I have faith in him . The law of averages is
    overdue for an Arsenal win. This is the 13th game and hopefully Wenger
    will finally lay to rest his hoodoo team.
    Once upon a time Drogba was scoring goals for fun. Why not?With the millions of acres and time,he was able to score 13 goals in 14 games,quite remarkable.Same for the ugly Bristish bulldog and Ronaldo.
    I believe Wenger has wised up and I believe Gabrile and Coqulan will keep the defence in shape.

  • Well done HT. You have all the boxes ticked with this one. The history, the essence of why it matters, and the game itself … and how it should be played.

    Top that with the probable starting 11, and you have a clean sweep. Mind I was right to think that Chelsea’s injuries would be a mask. I looked down the list of players injured on the FFL last night, and guess what … Drogba is clear to play. No 75% chance, or late fitness tests He is fit to play. Which is why I don’t think they will risk Costa as he is a 50% on playing. out with a hamstring, so he will only be risked from the bench.
    They are running on empty, and the PSG game was where it really began to show. However, because they too haven’t had any midweek matches (until next week v Leicester) they can restore their players a little better.
    On ‘form’ we appear to have the better chance, but that can be misleading. I think what we do have is a greater unity when things go wrong, and despite JT’s urgings, I can see them getting a little techty and ragged in the final 20 minutes if they are not leading. The trouble is, that is when we tire too, so I hope the likes of Bellerin and Rosicky will make the bench, if not start in the position Steve advocated for the Bells on the previous post.

    The only thing that I see where the Chavs may have an advantage is in their ability to change and adapt to whatever is in front of them, with the primary aim of not losing. Not only do we take longer to see what the opposition are doing, 20-30 minutes usually, but can also get carried away with the new assessment. Whether that be too attacking, or dropping too deep defending.

    The real key to winning this game will be our belief that we are going to win, and I think, this time, that will be stronger than their fear or need not too lose.
    In a blink of an eye it could all change. if Leicester get 6 points from their next two games … and they will move out of the bottom 3. I’ll leave you to work out the other possibility?
    That is why they will be on edge.

    Keep the faith ….

  • Yes, very well written 17 HT. I think you have covered just about everything. I pretty much agree although I would like to see Theo starting. Any other week I would put Bellerin ahead of Debuchy, but Chelsea carry a lot of threat in the air, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic etc, so the more big guys we put out the better.

    I understand your feelings towards Mourinho and would agree with most of what you say, but the reality is they have scored just as many goals as we have. They are certainly more disciplined and once they get ahead it’s often game over.

    I have and will always be a Cesc fan. Maybe it’s because he went home, but I can’t despise him the same way I do Van Pursestring, Cashley and the Chinless one (.Nasri )

    I do still hold out a glimmer of hope for the title. If we beat them tomorrow and Leicester put on a show midweek you never know? Unlikely I know but there is no doubt that chelsea are limping over the line..

    In the past we have thrown the kitchen sink at them and the copped a sucker punch. A big difference is this time we have Coquelin. As I have said many times before I am a big Wenger fan, but everyone and his dog knew that the team was crying out for a quality defensive midfielder.
    Wenger can’t ha be expected Le Coq to do so well, but imagine if we had got ourselves a player of that ilk at the star of the season.

    2. 1 Ársenal theo to make Terry look stupid and get the winner

  • fantastic match preview @ me Amigo

    yep, all agreed.

    Cesc the traitor had already sold his soul to the russian and portoguese. My respect for AW went up a notch as he has always been honest and up front – where as Cesc the traitor still tried to play it on the media, painting Arsenal as the one’s not wanting to tango.

    anyway – lucky number 13th ? Yes, I would certainly put Steve’s house on the line for this one.

    speaking of which, where is PG these days ?

    re- your starting 11.

    the only change i would make is for Giroud to come off the bench and play Theo as a striker instead. He scores against big teams and has scored quite a few against Chelsea – Giroud on the other hand has never scored and Chelsea are comfortable with him in the line up- let’s out do them and surprise them with some pace down the middle, which then allows Giroud to come in later and score a hat-trick.

    3-1 Arsenal.

  • Evening HT. Great preview and lots to agree with in there. One thought, though it sticks a bit saying it, is that we should not take too much comfort in the concept of the ‘poor football’ played by the Chavs. I know that maureen is essentially cautious and often negative, but he has a squad of players who like to really play the game – and we would (or have) welcomed in our side too. Their team has a fantastic spine, when all fit; and their attacking flair players are in many respects similar to our own. This is the irony of these two teams/managers – they often covet the same type of players, if their tactical deployment is different; whereas Wenger and Fergusson often went for basically different types of player.

    On to the selection, the only questions for me with your 11 are at RB and CB. I agree that a fully match fit Debuchy makes sense over Bellerin – what are the odds on a Hazard penalty in this game? And for much the same reason I’m still expecting Per to start tomorrow if he is vaguely fit – I’m writing this not having scoured the internet, so for all I know he may have been ruled out already. But if he’s fit I’m sure he starts ahead of Gab.

    On the bench some interesting choices to be made too. Do we really not include Rosicky so that Jack can have a seat? Not in this game for me.

    I had a strange feeling that we would turn over City earlier this year (and posted this on BK); I wish I had the same optimism for tomorrow, but sadly I don’t. This would be a decent point for us to take, and the first priority for me is for us to end in the top 3, so we offer CL certainty to any prospective signing come the summer. As with any gooner though, I live in perennial hope, and I would love nothing more than to see Wenger able to offer maureen a handshake whilst sporting a big smirk! COYG!!!

  • Great review 17! Looking forward eagerly to a happy ending and your prediction coming true 🙂 If Shad Forsythe can keep our injury rate down I have no doubt that the stupid record (Wenger v Mourinho) being played on endless loop will be erased over and over again.

    I agree with your line-up. Terrible time for Ox to be absent. Just wonder if Wenger might choose Welbeck/Theo over Ramsey for the width & pace or go with the best XI on form. Suspect it will be the latter. While Bellerin has been brilliant, I am a bit nervous about him having to take on Hazard this early in his career. Having said that, he might be the only one with the speed to match Hazard if he is fit. Of the three, Chambers would be the choice I hope we never have to make! Form, playing consistency, etc. might make for a nerve-wracking afternoon, I fear, if neither Debuchy nor Bellerin were available.

  • What I meant to say re the RB position was that I thought Deb looked way off fit last week. He will need to have showed something more in training this week to warrant a start tomorrow in my book – clearly his start last weekend was designed to help him back as fast as possible. But a risk on a pacy match fit youngster v one on an unfit experienced pro – my money would be Wenger placing faith in youth. If Debuchy starts tomorrow, this means (to my mind) that he really has looked fully sharp this week. Here’s hoping….

  • to be fair to Debuchy, Ramsey wasn’t providing much in terms of running with him to the by-line or hugging it @ AB

    he was not only the RB, but also the RWB.

    Debuchy over young Bellerin for tomorrow – big match, big player and he is a fighter. will do a better job on Hazard defensively.

    Bellerin’s defensive game still leaves a lot to be desired.

    Therefore, even if he isn’t as match fit offensively – his defensive skills still outside everyone else’s at RB – Chambers included.

  • No argument over Chambers JB. I think Chambers is firmly in the developing CB space – and why I’m not sure we will be after another CB in the summer given the 4 we already have. But there’s no space for an unfit RB when facing Hazard. Bellerin has risen to the asks this season, and there is no reason to drop him until Debuchy is properly fit and ready, Don’t get me wrong, a fit Debuchy is to be hoped for; but I’m not sure after watching last week, it is fair to expect it.

  • I hear you loud and clear but do bear in mind that even Bellerin has had his injury troubles and a dodgy ankle hence the most important game of the season was played by not a fully fit Debuchy.

    he’ll get better and stronger, I feel.

    in Debuchy we must learn to trust!

    we have had a full 7 days to rest and recover and then train together,

    am not against the idea of benching Ramsey for one of our speed merchants on the RW. this also nullifies their full backs bombing forward.

  • JB. Yes the balance of the team might be better with either of the more orthodox wide men. But back to philosophies again, I think Wenger has Ramsey as a big match player and one who is at the heart of our future. I can’t see him either doubting Ramsey’s capacity to deliver or willing to instil any doubts in his mind over his position in the squad. Barring injury therefore I see Ramsey as being as much a given in our 11 tomorrow as Ozil – though where exactly he plays him is always harder to predict!

    I’d love to know what the team have been working on this past week and how they have prepared to play this game. It will be fascinating. There are three distinct milestones for Wenger’s Arsenal to strive for 1) true parity with the very best of the Premier league, 2) the Prem League title, and 3) the CL. A victory tomorrow would mean stage one has been delivered this season with effective performances against the top sides. Whilst I genuinely believe we already have a squad that can compete for 2, we look perhaps 4 top players short of being able to match up with the very best in Europe. A win tomorrow, a proper crack at the league next season, and two summers’ further TW investments at the high end of the market……, and who knows. Its nice to dream anyhow!

  • if one is going to dream then let us dream big 😉

    you might be right, but the way I see this is that we drop one of our big players aka Ramsey or Santiago to surprise jose.Moron and kill 2 birds with one stone.

    I have no doubt in my mind that he will play Zuma, Ramires, Matic and Mikel in a midfield of 5 – 4 out of the 5 anyway.

    all those vs our midfield be boys vs men (presence vice). we need runners and people with presence running the show to an extent.

    hence people like Welbeck and Theo will do nicely tomorrow. considering we are at home, it will make for a fascinating starting 11.

    I would personally play a 4-6 meaning no Giroud.

    I fear, there’s a red card in this game tomorrow or a penalty.

  • Hi

    Great preview. Thanks also for settling my UMF with VCC too! 🙂

    Main comments:

    A. Like lineup.

    B. Agree with JB about Debuchy if Bellerin injured. Savvy vs Savvy against Hazard.

    C. However, I think we COULD be more defensive in same group morphing into almost a 4-3-1-2. Let OG and Alexis run wild supported by Ozil. cow back and also Santi deep lying AND AR holding back to double hazard out of the game.

    I figure Chelsea’s number 4 striker will be solid but it’s fall to their mids to score or make it happen. Thus, he’ll go defensive and we should match with it, with our three going all out forward better than their three of Cesc, Hazard and ???

    I’ve we should sit too, and gradually strangle the game. 2-0 Arsenal to one OG goal and one Sanchez goal, each assisted by Ozil. One around 30 mins and one late…

    D. Same logic favors Gabriel vs ??? Up front. Perhaps less challenging than Costa? 🙂 …

    Thems my main thoughts

    E. Oh, and TR over JW on the bench

    Cheers — jgc

  • I spotted this blog on a newsnow feed awhile back and have come back from time to time but not posted. I’ve decided to stop lurking and acknowledge 17’s excellent match preview. Keep up the good work 17, and others who have contributed fine pieces of writing. Hopefully I’ll find the time to check in again tomorrow.

  • Hello, people! 🙂

    17 made another thrilling preview. I completely agree with the line-up except I would leave a few more options that most certainly won’t happen 🙂 :

    a) Welbeck to start in order to man-mark either Hazard or Fabregas out of the game – it worked for United when they played Real, Dat Guy managed to “arrest” Xabi Alonso,

    b) Welbeck to start on the left wing so that Alexis take over at the right flank; that way he’d attack Azpilicueta and neutralize Hazard completely.

  • “the only change i would make is for Giroud to come off the bench and play Theo as a striker instead. He scores against big teams and has scored quite a few against Chelsea – Giroud on the other hand has never scored and Chelsea are comfortable with him in the line up- let’s out do them and surprise them with some pace down the middle, which then allows Giroud to come in later and score a hat-trick.”

    @James Bond – if this had taken place in 2014, I’d have agreed with you completely. Back then Giroud hadn’t scored against none of Manchester United and Manchester City with just one goal against Liverpool (a header in 2:2 draw at home) on his account in big matches. This season Giroud has scored in both matches against Everton, scored in both matches against Liverpool, scored a consolation goal against United and sealed our victories against City in both Community Shield and Premiership. In fact, only big match in which he didn’t score was the one against United in FA Cup and only because our BFPM (Big French Penetrating Machine) didn’t have enough time to score.

    Theo, on the other hand, looks rusty, the fact he missed our preseason and the first half of the season didn’t do him well. He looks pretty much like Sagna in 2012-13 after his return – there is a lot of rust to shake off. Yes, Theo has a rather decent record against Chavs as he has been key in two of our victories (in 2010-11 and 2011-12) but those were matches against Ancelotti’s and Villas-Boas’ Chelsea. This time I’d pick Danny over him.

  • Morning FFGs! 🙂

    Don’t be fooled by mourinho’s tactics and player purchases. The chavs still play the same as ever and suck the life out of each top game. Even against the smaller teams it’s been piss poor. He relies on individual moments of class but cannot do team beauty on a regular basis. Wenger will always be ahead of him. The self adoring one is,however, better at consistency and defending and that is a better guarantee for silverware, even if the process/journey is unexciting and will not be remembered in the long term. JM is a sponge, a parasite who adds titles but not beauty to the game, as he leaves the latter to others. Wenger, once again, must not oblige. Let them come, soak up and beat them at their own game. The best way to get rid of JM is to expose his negative impact on the beautiful game. The PL would be better off without him.

  • Admir, fully agreedre OG. But more importantly, without him we have no focus up front. It’s like driving a car with a plank as our windscreen.

    I reckon Seventeenhos line up is perfect for today’s game. Solid defence everywhere but also good threat from everywhere.

  • Welcome ArsenalNorth 🙂

    We always like new bloggers joining us so happy to see you come out and play 🙂

    What are your thoughts on the game? Can we win it?

  • And agreed with Retsub re Cesc. Wenger made a big mistake letting him go to the Chavs and I don’t blame our former captain at all. Pride should be easier to swallow when you are in your sixties than in your twenties….

  • agreed @ JGC-Damus – where be the predictions though 😯

    you might be right @ Admir – but Theo’s rust won’t go away by being lubricated sat on the bench though. he has had ample training sessions with the first team now. class is permanent form is temporary. Theo still is class for me.

    if I Was JT and GC – who would I much rather defend against ? Giroud or Theo ? there lies your answer.

    we don’t play long balls, and I suspect we won’t start doing that today either. A Holding striker for this one is a no no for me. I wouldn’t mind Welbeck starting either as opposed to Giroud – Theo/Welbeck both pretty much make the runs which Giroud doesn’t. He be mighty effective coming off the bench but that’s just my opinion.

    we are not going to dominate them in midfield, so don’t really see much of a point playing a 4-5-1 with an extra midfielder in either Ramsey or Santiago – one of them needs to be benched, unless we are wanting to play for a 0-0 draw and secure 2nd place, then fair enough.

  • HiAll

    Welcome ArsenalNorth, hereafter AN for me! Keep commenting!

    JB those WERE my thoughts. 2-0 or 2-1 to Arsenal. Can’t own Hazard all day can we? Mou will play for 0-0 or happy 1-0 his way, or even 1-1…

    TA, I’m not so upset about Cesc. So a good article that noted the money for Cesc would’ve lost us Sanchez perhaps. Given Ozil and our mids, and Alexis, I’ve gotta say better choice. Overall tho, per other stories out there, I doubt it’s all the story..

    Of course, if Cesc rips us apart… However, I think Sanchez > Cesc in blogger short form. And Ozil + Sanchez > Cesc + Hazard. But, we will see shortly…

    Or you will. I’m off to bed..

    Cheers — jgc

  • Ha ha Admir, nice try to ‘suade the zero zero sept, but you missed the best bit in his earlier piece …and I quote;
    ‘…. and Giroud to come on late and score a hat trick.
    3-1 Arsenal’

    So JB, were are 1-nil down when Giro comes on late …. to score his hat trick …..errr, so what exactly did Theo do in that first hour?????

  • my bad – I didn’t realize you were gunning for a 2-0 to the gunners, I can live with that @ JGC- Damus – 2-0 will do rather nicely, ha

    ahahahhahahahahahahahahhaha @ Gerry – that was well disguised, you shouldn’t have highlighted it

    I never said we be 1-0 down for him to come and rescue us – could have been nil-nil when Theo makes way for Giroud 🙂

    Theo kept the Chelsea defences on their toes and got one of them red carded.


  • afternoon you sexy fuckers!
    I’m beginning the build up right now with the Everton match, should be nicely toasted by the time our lads take the field 🙂

    hahaha JB you leave my bloody house alone lol, i see you are so confident in the result you are only willing to bet other peoples shit lol.
    I think we have a much stronger spine now than ever before but i see this being much closer than many on here do 0-0 maybe and if history is anything to go by then a loss is even more likely.

    I just hope we can do HT’s excellent preview the justice it deserves and come away with a win, that would be fecking aaawsome O!

    No back and forth about who i prefer today, just simple unadulterated support for the lads on the pitch and hope for the win.


  • am so bloody confident because me Amigo’s preview’s so far in the EPL have been a 100% success.

    don’t worry, you won’t be homeless at 18:00, if the bailiff’s do knock on the door then that be down to your lack of belief – you non-believer, ha

    for now am an Everton Fan – come on Everton, come on!!!!

  • Fair response JB . However, as you were making out him (Theo) to be the superior goal scorer, even 0-0 leaves it as a bit of an own goal??

    If we have the balance right in the team, and we play like we did against Man City. That is, with quick passing and plenty of movement off the ball, we should be strong enough up front. That puts a lot of responsibility on Coquelin and Cazorla to get the ball forwards, and even more responsibility on Ramsey AND Alexis not to give it away with loose touches or poor passing. I cannot say I am totally convinced with Ramsey’s play at the moment, but like Welbeck, he does compensate with his work rate. However, wide right is not his thing. Partly because he does less defending (as a member of the strike force), and partly because he does not provide width out there …. because he is worse than Theo for turning inside. The other thing where the balance goes a little is he is not as versatile as Theo or Danny, as both those can play wide left?

    Formations mean little when there is fluidity in the team, but it does require them to respect the space of their team mates. The Ozil -Cazorla pair are working very well on that level, so on paper they may appear to be on a north south axis, but they do interchange. So for example, when Mesut goes from the left side to the right side you will see Santi going the opposite way but avoiding the collision point. Likewise when Ramsey, at his best, when deployed in midfield his runs forwards are into space, and not where someone else is going to go into.

    This brings me to Geoff’s set up, only slightly modified. So instead of his 4-3-1-2, it would be more like a pair of inverted triangles, like this
    >>>>>>>>>>> BACK 5 <<<<<<<<<<<<>>>> Ramsey………. Coquelin<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>> Cazorla <<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>> Ozil <<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>Giroud ………. Alexis <<<<<<<<<

    Key differences from a 4-2-2-2 is that Ozil operates on the higher plane, left and right, and Cazorla starts from deeper, and moves forwards to where Ozil isn't. Ramsey defends first, but takes opportunities to make late runs into and around their box on either side. Width again will be supplied the full backs, preferably one at a time. The hour mark could see Bellerin, if fit, come on for Ramsey to add pace down the right, but also double up with Debuchy on the defensive side, and hopefully that will mean Alexis will not spend more time defending than he does attacking?

    Over to you AW for your ideas?.

  • Good reply @ Gerry

    for the man city one, we did have the OX though. Welbeck and OX can deliver the goods in more or less the same way.

    Formations in this one will matter because unlike Man city, Moron’s team will foul and will foul again and again to break our attacks or counter attacks. hence setting the team up just right is rather paramount.

    but let’s see what AW has up his sleeve.

    I Can already predict Chelsea’s starting 11.

    usual back 5.



  • hahaha non believer – i like it 🙂
    looks like you have had the rose tinted glasses on during this past week of sunshine lol
    I will stick with my realistic approach 🙂

    Come on Everton!! 1-0 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Everton one up and undoubtably trying to get Fellaini sent off. He has been booked already and every time he gets near the ball they crunch him. Not the beautiful game, but fascinating to watch. I very much doubt Fellaini will last 90mins either an early bath or subbed

  • 2-0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    come on Everton!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    hahahaha 🙂

  • Hey guys… Up early today…I guess I must be excited for this one…even if it already feels like the game could use a goal… 😀 Everton-ManU isn’t the worst as a warm up match–and one which already has its goal…For some reason yesterday I just couldn’t get excited about all those relegation (and mid-table) 6 pointers even if it’s the best battle at the bottom I can remember for several seasons…

    Thanks for the kind words all around re: the previews and welcome to A.N.

    Until they announce otherwise, I’m sticking with my line-up, though it appears the BFG trained with the squad so he could be back in the frame. Although he’s asleep, I have to agree with the professor (JGC/Geoff Chase) about Ramsey and us playing a bit of a 4-3-1-2. Giving Ramsey and Santi that freedom to move forward and fill spaces out wide (and central) seems a key element, esp. as our best chances may come from reacting to their counters… This could be a match where both teams will be most thinking about attack when the other team is actually in possession(!) As much as the idea of runs in behind from the likes of Theo or Welbs might be a shout, I’m with TA (and others) who think we need the strength and shape and hold-up play Giroud provides and I like the notes Admir makes about his improved contributions recently against the tougher teams. Shielding the ball as he does allows tighter action near the top and center of the box and may be our best way through what surely will be a packed Chavs rearguard. Let’s be clear. They will be playing for a point–a result that would see them at least 9 points ahead of all rivals (and then only if United come back to win in this early match)…

    Finally, as stated in the preview, I cannot agree with TA about the return of Cesc… Sorry 😦 … AW surely values loyalty (or felt burned by Cesc’s original move to Barca…) but the real issue (I think) had to be money and there would have been only one winner in a bidding war between Abramovich and Kroenke. (Not true…Cesc also would’ve been a winner with an even bigger contract at Chavs…) As he’s suggested it was probably a done deal from the get-go… We might have prolonged the ordeal (on the back pages, at least), but better to get it behind us and onto bringing Alexis into the club, I think… A defender and/or DM might also have been better uses for our (more limited) resources last summer…

    But that’s hindsight. Looking forward… This match today is a chance to suggest a real challenge next time around–and get the home support more fully behind the project. Not easy, and surely the Moo-man will do all he can to deflect/deflate that narrative. Still, it’s something I’d love to see…

    2-nil Everton… 😀

  • morning HT, put a brew on and enjoy the Everton build up, its turning out to be quite a frenetic game 🙂

  • Of course we can win it. Recent improvements in the big games indicate we may finally be learning from past mistakes. Only concern is that Mou’s defensive tactics force another 0-0, but if we dont make any major defensive errors victory is there for the taking as we undoubtedly play the better football. Hoping for another big performance from ozil and alexis to help is lay down a marker for next season.

  • On your advice F11ngers, I now have my 2nd espresso of the morning in front of me… 😀 And just in time to see Tim Howard make a fine save from the wide ear fellow with the hairplugs…

    Even with Falcao in that’s still a lot of money on the bench between Di Maria and RvP…

  • Re Cesc. I am sure you are correct 17 about money being a big factor, but at the end of the dayCesc left us for his home team, not nice but maybe understandable. No doubt Bellerin will do the same at some time in the future.

    Some players just leave a really nasty taste ( Nasri, Cashley, rvp, Adaybayor etc. I didn’t get that same hatred when Henry,Vieira, Petit etc left

    Guess it’s all down to personal opinions, but I would like to think that Cesc will look at the Emirates today and regret choosing grotty old Stamford Bridge and Mayreen

    I am starting to get a good feeling about today and it certainly helps seeing United get stuffed Shame Fellaini got subbed at half time. Me and 40000 Toffes were enjoying that

  • Nothing wrong with a bit of lurking, ArsenalNorth !….I find it educational for my love of horticulture !…….I get up close and personnel in researching some fantastic shrubs as I watch the woman next door sunbathe topless in the award winning Cornish sunshine !.
    Another fine post 17highburyterrorist !…….although, if I was being pedantic I could have pointed out that we are not currently in the top two and the Chavs are not a south London club, they are on the north side of the river !….yes, they have an “SW” post code, but they are west London imo !. 😀
    I`m currently dying…..yes, I have some sort of Man Flu and cant speak as there are tree fellers in my throat with rusty chainsaw`s !.
    Spoke to a few Scummy bastards recently……( they probably think of me as a friend, but Spuds are all scum, they are dead to me and it`s like speaking to ghost`s in that I will only speak to them through a spiritualist ! )…….anyway, they all for some reason dont want Arsenal to win the FA Cup even if it means it help`s them get in the Europa League !…..not one of the Spud Spectre`s want to be in the EL !…they all said that they would have a much better chance of CL without the burden of the EL !……ungrateful bastards !.
    Am I the only one ?…….or does anyone else think Total has a slight dislike for Mmmmmourinho !. hahaha

  • hahaha you caffeine junkie 😆

    They could use all their over paid flops and they would still be shit 🙂

    Keep it up Everton!! 🙂

  • I forgot it in the preview (but mentioned it at the bottom of the last thread)… The ref today is Michael Oliver… He gave us very little as we struggled–despite 2 first half goals–vs Leicester City in the league, but he also was big help in the FA Cup at ManU when he (correctly) gave out some yellows to their players for diving (and sent off Di Maria for an ensuing push in the back). My hope is that he similarly punishes Moo’s men for any similar time-wasting or simulations. I’m please that (by and large) we tend to stay away from such “tactics.”

    A.N… How far North? — i.e., from where do you hail?…

    Retsub…We can never know the full story about these various transfer sagas so I say “follow the money.” It seemed to me that Cesc’s transfer was announced almost as soon as RvP headed that ball past Casillas at the WC…

    Wenger keeps his job by using Arsenal’s money wisely and his results on a net-spend and total salary basis (I’m pretty sure) outstrip all other “big-club” managers… Incredible, for example, that this ManU team with their collective salary aren’t 20 points better…

    In truth, I’ve got nothing against Cesc (nor others) who pursue their best financial interests…It will not buy you love (of Gooners), of course, but staying doesn’t necessarily do it for you either… Certain owners (and their managers), I think, however, don’t mind paying over the odds for a player who might help the team…or hurt an opponent…

    3-nil Everton…

  • No Stev11e babes !……………unless we are playing a meaningless game it`s always behind the Sofa !….it`s the footballing equivalent of safe sex !.

  • starting 11

    bellerin – koc- bfg-nacho

    coq- santi



  • Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud

    Subs: Szczesny, Debuchy, Gibbs, Wilshere, Walcott, Flamini, Welbeck

    Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta, Matic, Fabregas, Ramires, Oscar, Willian, Hazard

    Subs: Cech, Filipe Luis, Zouma, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek, Cuadrado, Drogba.

    chelsea – no striker,

  • Hey Cockster… I know the geography of Chavs…It’s just another dig I like to toss in there… Sort of like calling Spuds the team from Middlesex (rather than North London)…

    I hope you feel better shortly…A nice match today, more Cornwall sunshine and a quick return to your rigorous personal fitness and hygiene regime should do the trick… 😀

    Maybe you should try this one from the front of the sofa as the result is maybe less important than what it might suggest for the future of the two teams going forward…

    More Smileys…

  • Exact same line-up as in previous league matches…I shoulda known better…

  • Chelsea playing a 4-6, very interesting.

    I fancied playing that formation myself against them.

  • this is AW favorite XI i think and today we get to see how they get on against a proper test, can’t wait, looking forward to this

  • Gabriel met and fell in love with Terry, and they have eloped! 🙂 It was the name you know – and Terry is insatiable.

  • 17 🙂

    Happy to agree to disagree on Cesc, but this is how it went: Cesc wanted to come home, Arsene said no I have plenty of your type in the team, Chavs came knocking on the door, Cesc wants to live in London with his girlfriend…. He then negotiates the best deal. Had Wenger wanted him, today we would be fielding Ozil,Cesc and Ramsey or le Coq in the middle, let’s not doubt that any minute.

  • or Cesc through his agent went to Chelsea first and then went to Arsenal to see what “were” the options for Cesc, if he was to come back and then said, Chelsea are offering us this, what can you offer us @ Arsenal.


    Like AW says, the answer is in between the lines. The deal may have been negotiated well before it was made public.

    all comes down to who you choose to believe, Cesc the Traitor or Cesc, I will never ever play for another team ever again – Barca and Arsenal being the only other 2.

    someone forgot to mention the money and Chelsea!

  • maybe this will make for a fascinating discussion and post –

    who is better ?

    Ozil or Cesc ?

    or maybe we find out today why we have Ozil and not Cesc.

    come on Ozil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Why not have both when you can?

    I trust Cesc 100% and his statement when he joined was unequivocal. Wenger did not want him back, simples!

  • I wouldn’t want him back when he’s going on a window shopping spree through his agent, testing the waters with not only Chelsea but also flirting with MAN UTD at the same time

    why have him when we have something special going on with Ozil, Alexis, Ramsey, JW = all below 27.

    Cesc was the past – all those are the future !

    Ozil and Alexis will show why we didn’t take the traitor back!

  • So no Chav out and out striker !……can only mean one thing !.

  • Cheers, 007 for agreeing to disagree with me… 😀 The statements to the press can be read all sorts of ways depending on who you favor (favour…) In the end, money talks loudest and Mourin-yo-bitch, know a winnable PR situation when they see one… Compare to Kroenke and his hair-piece if you must… 😦 Maybe the bigger story is why AW (more or less) hand-picked Kroenke to take the team forward instead of courting a Prince/Emir or Oligarch (or even a more sporting sports owner like John Henry at Liverpool)…

    Money matters aside… Let’s win this just to liven things a bit for the close season…

    Kick off…

  • Whoa…nice ball there from Cesc…Ospina cracks heads with Oscar and Bells pace clears the goal-bound ball…

    That’s a pen and a red card…if you’re Szcz?…

    Arsenal had been looking the better team before that point but too easily lured for the counter?…

  • Cesc called for diving!! Perhaps if Oscar hadn’t done likewise earlier, Oliver might’ve given the pen and red card for Ospina’s head on head…

    Lotsa pressure on the ref…and Chelsea pretty impressive on the counter… First goal is everything and the game plenty a lot more open then expected…

  • Agreed on both counts… Ramires probably should’ve done better…

    Ref could’ve calmed the game early when Oscar did the first dive…As it is both teams are really going for that first goal which is a surprise (to me at least)…and both are working hard to get the calls… Unfortunately we cannot seem to make a real chance…(yet)

    Get to half time, think it through (settle down) and make the possession count…

  • Good pressure there at the end but Ozil chocolate foot straight to keeper…

    More pressure still too many bodies in there?…

    Sort it out…

  • So far Maureen outsmarting Wenger. We can’t make a clear-cut chance.

    Cazorla out, Welbeck/Walcott in, put Ramsey in the middle.

  • not a bad first half. ref has done a decent job, although he should have booked Ivanovic.

    we need to string together one good move and it will end up in the back of the net, I reckon.

    Chelsea are there to be taken today.

    if I Was to ring in the changes then I would take off Santiago for Welbeck get some width going by moving Ramsey through the middle.

    how much has Santiago been involved in the game ? can’t seem to remember much other than that Cesc dive.

    OSpina has done well by taking out Oscar and rattling him earlier 😀 was well chuffed with that one ahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

  • we need more men in the box supporting Giroud.

    Welbeck and Giroud could do well playing together – make it happen in the 2nd half @ AW

  • Bondie, James, Jimmy, 007,

    I am not a great Cazzorla fan when he plays in the big teams — he is bundled over too easily, gives short passes straight to the Chavs, and is slower than Mert – oh, and cannot tackle — what’s not to like? 🙂

  • US commentary is talking about the Oscar play and how he should’ve been removed due to concussion…

    Can’t agree with you guys calling for Santi off…Le Coq is the one on a yellow…

    Also cannot agree about the reffing…That’s a red and a pen when Ospina misses the ball and clatters Oscar… Probably not given because he (Oscar) tripped himself (early moments) diving for a pen before that and no ref wants to be fooled twice… Cahill handball would never be given after so many others (including the Cesc call where there was contact–even if the masked man caused it himself and Santi did well to pull out of the challenge at the last second)…

    Overall, you can see why this Chavs team is 10 points clear and have more than half the PFA first team… Strong at all positions, I fear, even w/o a real striker in there today… I think we need to pull Le Coq and keep the FBs back (who are only clogging the works, I fear) and go for broke with Theo or Welbs…

  • And there he is in the tunnel palling it up with Mou, RA… 😦 …

    Santi to score the winner, I say… 😀

  • Be serious, 17H,

    Theo?? When there are big bad boys to tackle him, and a lot of defending needed to support the FB? 🙂

  • Good to see that your ire is not reserved just for wee Santi, RA… 😀

    Bring in Flamini and hold out for the draw then?…

  • Giroud offside so Nacho goes audacious?… Ospina now down with some Teatro Colombiano? (I hope)…

  • Ozil a bit lady-like on a couple of occasions but (fortunately) Hazard goes Row Z… 2nd half a bit quieter than the 1st…so far at least…

  • No, 17H, I have plenty of ire to go round. 🙂

    Hate the sight of Drogba — and none of our guys mark him – weird.

  • Hector has been the MOTM so far for me.
    He has been awesome and delt with hazard and all the chav so well
    3 points please

  • I like to see some more shots coming from around the 18 yard line
    Have a go

  • Always good to have you pop round, RA… I think TA could use a post from a guy like you given his current work-load… and ire is always in fashion… 😀

    Ramsey, given license to roam the entire pitch might need to buck up his ideas–with final balls at least…

    Both teams looking a lot leggier since the tea break…

  • C’mon BFG… Argh!!! Slightly better spell, but still cannot make a clear chance… Ozil showing plenty of frustration…

  • OK, we’ve got all these guys on yellows…time to turn them and make them pay…

    Drogba wins a corner but Kos clears it… C’mon Boys!

  • Oooooh…not good from Santi after nice work from Kos…

    Coq out, Welbs in…

  • There’s your longer shot from Rambo…Well saved by the stomach of Giroud, however…

    Chavs doing their frustrating best… 😦

    Nice flick from Ozil but a corner is all Welbs can get from it…

  • AB, 10 points or 11 points back…Does it really matter… The win would feel so good… As such, Theo gets his 10 minutes…

    Over the top vs Cortois…I’m not sure is the way to get him his goal…

  • And the fans choose…Cesc (mostly…)

    4 mins…

    OOOOOHHHHH…Nacho pull-back = best chance of the match…defender got a toe in?…

  • Theo and Welbs..not quite the aerial threat…

    Replay shows toe in, but Ozil might’ve adjusted and scored it…

  • Full time… Well done to the champions, I guess… 😦

    Sorry to dominate the comments here… Very frustrating afternoon…

    Could Ospina get a retroactive red for the Oscar collision?…

    Anyhow, have at it…

  • wrong team selection cost us.

    There are games that Giroud should start and then there are games that he shouldn’t.

    let’s not look at the numbers. numbers can flatter at times, especially after the amount of chances the players behind you create.

    we really could have won today, but the lack of a proper RW’er cost us. Theo or Welbeck could have and should have been much more effective against this Chelsea back line.

    a point will do in securing 2nd place but we could have done more, I feel. we had it all in the tanker even early subs would have sufficed.

    not a happy bunny and I did call it a 0-0 earlier on, if we played a 4-5-1 (which we did!

    boring boring Chelsea but they have done a job on us, AGAIN.

  • Welbeck should have scored anyway. Unfortunately, for all his overall quality, he is by far the worst finisher I’ve seen in Arsenal shirt since Kaba Diawara.

    All-in-all, Maureen outsmarted Wenger in a way he got the result he wanted. Perhaps we should try the Roy Evans-Gerard Houllier team-up of our own with Klopp being assigned just for the matches against Maureen?

    On the positive note, Spuds might even help us next week in our fight for second place by beating Oilers. 🙂

  • why would he get a red card ? it was a natural collision, OScar had already had taken the shot and Ospina was coming full throttle – nothing in there for the retroactive punishment to kick in.

    shouldn’t anyway.

  • Welbeck would have scored if Ozil hadn’t deflected it or got in the way @ Admir.

    Admir was the one with the first touch who should have buried it or left it for Welz.

  • Really? I should have done it? 🙂

    Welbz had better angle. Even if Özil had swept the ball, Courtois could have saved it. Hopefully Welbz will commit himself to learn how to bloody finish over summer. His conversion rate is well below 10 percent – that is disgraceful for someone who is considered to be a striker.

  • Thank you Wenger for making look Maureen like he really is. Brilliant tactics and we almost got there. The only mistake was taken Ollie off as he would have scored the Ozil/Welbeck miss. Agreed that Santi should have been sacrificed but he cannot do anything wrong for Arsene. But great team performance and well done Coq and Bellerina: you became men today.

  • hahaha welcome back to reality guys 😆
    how predictable was that result then, like i said 0 – 0 or a loss, which it would have been if Ospina was sent off (like he should have been im afraid).
    I couldn’t see any other result tbh, one of the best teams at defending, set up to sit deep and us playing with four of the slowest build up players we have (Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Giroud), i actually laughed at one point when we had the chance to break at how slow it was – the Chelsea players were all back chilling out and relaxing in their bus by the time we got to the half way line lol.
    I think the only time we got behind at pace and afforded ourselves some space to pick a descent ball across the box was from Monreal and Koscielny (both had outstanding games btw).
    Chelsea wanted us slow moving, congested and in the middle doing a thousand little passes a second but going nowhere and thats exactly what we gave them, 0 – 0 all day.
    It looked a better set up against that type of tactic when we had Sanchez——Welbeck——-Walcott but it was far too late to make a difference.

    btw Admir maybe Ozil should take some of those lessons as well mate since he completely fluffed his lines before Welbeck (who was under pressure) did lol

    My biggest positives were five fold;

    All of whom, apart from being excellent on the ball (which we expect), showed they have the fight to stand up to high pressure battle from a Moo team – a much better situation than in previous years.
    I’m happy COYG!!

  • not really defending Welbeck here TA but Giroud also looked pretty fucking useless out there against a top defense for 80 odd minutes no?

  • Steve, you would have us tackling with speed and losing our shape, which we did so many times before. This was the only way to do it, and Ozil was great by the way. 😉

  • @steve – let’s not compare Özil with Welbz, please. 🙂 In terms of finishing, at least. Danny is a lovable lad but he has scored just once in 2015. Even if that one goal might turn out to be the most important one for our trophy cabinet if we manage to defend FA Cup against Villa, it’s just below any standard for a striker. His conversion rate means he needs over ten shots to score one goal.


    “Agreed that Santi should have been sacrificed but he cannot do anything wrong for Arsene. But great team performance and well done Coq and Bellerina: you became men today.”

    Totally agree on this one. I think Coquelin’s substitution proved how much we need Schneiderlin next summer.

    Oh, I had one of the worst streams ever. Who missed the tackle before Ramires got the ball for one-on-one with Ospina?

  • OG was great, a colossal up front. MotM by a mile. He was badly supported in the box but he did everything right. Not surprised you and Jibbers cannot see that, though, with your coloured specs on hahaha

  • no “breaking” at speed TA (think the other way lol)

    I thought Ozil was easily nullified today and by the end reverted to his usual loosing the ball while trying to dribble in some kind of lethargic fashion – i know, i know, i don’t understand what he does etc etc, just saying that’s what i thought, i can’t remember him creating bugger all today tbh.

  • Giroud?? what are you talking about TA lol, he didn’t trouble that chelsea defense once today did he?

    Admir, lets not compare the two at finishing? well today i am aren’t I lol, cause they both fucking missed lol – both crap finishing today and fluffed their chances lol

  • I’ve seen a few people (STEVE) commenting on Mesut Ozil’s performance again so it’s worth pointing out that Ozil had the most touches (107) and created the most chances (four) in this game.

    2ndly – Skipper, during the game, I felt we should have taken off Santiago (who also missed a fabulous chance and went comfortably wide) and played Welbeck alongside Giroud. hence you are correct there.

    however, my point was in terms of playing him as a lone Striker – really, as well as he did, he didn’t have anyone near him supporting him – he doesn’t suit the system against teams who park the bus.

    before the game, if as a defender, I know am going to be defending against Giroud – am not going to be particularly bothered as you get exactly what’s written on the tin with Giroud.

    thrust in Theo, Welbeck – now that’s a defenders nightmare.

    anyway, A point it is.

    still unbeaten and the only thing that would now put a smile on me face be us thrashing man utd at old toilet 😀

  • JB, hahahaha, got to love them touches lol
    He touched the ball the most 😆 😆 😆

    And what chances did he create? we only had one shot on target all game?

  • let’s all sodomize Ozil, because our team failed to capitalize on the CHANCES HE CREATED for them and instead they were wasteful, therefore got only one on target.

    let us all collective sodomize OZIL.

    actually let’s not as Glics might take this literally 😀

  • I’m gonna have to watch this shit back again now lol, just to see all these brilliant chances Ozil made lol

  • I bet you think the Ospina take down was also a well crafted tactical piece of genius rather than a Szczesny-esque brain fart incident – hahahaha i bet you do don’t you? 😆 😆 love it JB

  • hang on.

    Ospina was one on one – Oscar had already taken the shot – ref , played the advantage – you can not have 2 bites of the cherry.

    either give the penalty and red or play the advantage waiting for the ball to drop- the ref decided to play the advantage.

    mind you – he couldn’t pull of it, it was a 50/50.

    it wasn’t a brain fart – he tried to do the best he could in a win less situation and ended up hurrying oscar into chipping that one (genius) and after that made sure Oscar knew not to do that again(as in be on a 1 v 1 with him) class 👿

    at the end of the day, that’s 7 clean sheets in 13 games (is this a new record of sorts ?

    haters be haters, but the guy is class – he was also one v one against Ramires and made the important save.

  • With bulging eyes like that, I`d be surprised if Ozil is not sodomized at least twice per day !.

  • that’s right- I called him “Class” – look how calm and assured he looked when Ramires had all the time int he world to hurt us, given the shot could have been better but his composure and calming influence was a thing of beauty – similar to how it was when that ONE shot on TARGET from OZIL aimed at courtois. 😉

  • Oh the guy is class and his record since he’s been in between the sticks speaks for itself but thats not what’s in question here though is it JB. The ref is well within his rights to bring it back for the foul once the advantage was not gained (ie when the ball didn’t go in the net) – as happens all over the pitch, week in week out and i’m sure even in an exact situation as today (but i can’t remember the game).

    Ospina is class JB, but today Oscar did him with a chip and Ospina took him right out in a blatant foul absolutely Szczesny-esque style – thems the facts JB, sorry buddy.
    Love that the single minded hatred of Szczesny spills over into blind defense of Ospina though lol – as i new it would lol, classic JB, love it 🙂

  • Ospina is a top-drawer goalkeeper. Hopefully he’ll be selected for the final against Villa.

  • actually does that mean that effort was our only effort on target?? that shitty shot?? bloody hell i thought we had a better chance than that? must have been imagining it lol

  • JB you can keep calling Ospina class all you want buddy, problem is i agree with you but your dancing round the fact that today that was a Szczesny-esque type red card take down mate lol, your gonna have to admit it some time lol.

  • Ospina ran into Oscar (accidentally) in a rugby style tackle, in his own box after the chip.

    Sczny on the other hand trips them or comes out to take the man not the ball.

    am not sure what you are trying to establish here or prove here, but let’s cut through the chase and simplify it for all the readers.

    do you think that Sczny is a better keeper than Ospina – yes or no ?

  • Sounds like it was a fair result, but you have to give credit to Mmmmrinho, as if the boot was on the other foot, we would be saying what a great result it was to go to our biggest threat to winning the title and securing the point for yet another inevitable trophy !.
    Whether we win the FA Cup or not…..( competing is about getting to finals, not so much winning them as any thing can happen in a one off game ! )……….. I will consider this to be an improvement on last season and with some new additions to keep up with the inevitable additions of the “Big 3”, we should be competitive next season .
    Le Cog Bloque is what we all wanted even though Wenger thought his kind of player was redundant in today`s technical game !…..the masses knew best !…………………………………especially me and Oz !. hahaha

  • pretty harsh on Welbeck some of you are being imo.
    I agree with some of your points on though, but he will improve!
    Look at Giroud when he arrived he was not as good as he is now.
    Or even better. Think back about 2 seasons ago when Rambo could not hit the back of the net from 2 yards all season.
    With Wenger teaching him and givd the rightr mind set and practice he became excellent.
    I would be willing to bet many of you next season Welbeck will score alot of goals.

  • that’s the point though – Ospina didn’t get a red card and the stats have him down as another assured and well kept clean sheet against his name.

    I really fail to see what you are trying to prove here – are you implying he had a brain fart when Oscar had loads of space and time ? what else was he suppose to do ? shake his booty and come running down with both feet, taking him out good and proper like Sczny ? he made himself big and couldn’t slam on the ABS brakes to avoid contact. it happens in a 50/50 😉

    I already agreed with you on the Giroud bit but am sorry, I don’t re- Ospina having a brain fart moment. if anything, the guy has a cool and calm influence on the entire team and his distribution is top notch, period.

  • Welbeck is super quick and very skilful.
    He goals % can not be disputed though but i think he will do very very well for us the coming seasons.
    He had 1 hard chamce that even his super fast reactions could not cope with, no shame in that imo.

  • hahahaha JB that’s exactly what you are trying to make this – a “who is better” discussion lol
    I keep saying and have said for ages that Ospina is miles better but its not a who is better discussion, no matter how much you want it to be to mask the fact that we are actually talking about Ospina having his first Szczesny-esque brain fart for the club lol.

    He came out, missed the ball entirely, clattered into the player, completely took him out and it should have been a penalty and red card all day long. If that was Szczesny then we would all be saying “fucking typical Szczesny brain fart, get rid of that fucker” but since it was Ospina i just really wanted to see how you were going to defend such an action as anything other than what it really was lol.

    You did a g job to be fair (trying to make it a “who is better discussion”) but i think only Admir got drawn into that lol.

    So Ospina had his first brain fart lol, welcome to the Arsenal goal keeping club young man lol

  • Ospina has been awesome this season and is better then Szsc all day long.
    It was not a brain fart ,it was prbably the best chance of the game if he gave Oscar any more time we would have lost the match probably.
    He had a similar 1 when he nearly injured himself with Kosh.
    Brave goal keeping imo

  • I’ve heard many a Szczesny supporter say these exact same words in the past after he’s just taken out a player (again) lol:

    what else was he suppose to do ? shake his booty and come running down with both feet, taking him out good and proper like Sczny ? he made himself big and couldn’t slam on the ABS brakes to avoid contact. it happens in a 50/50 😉

    I’m just rattling your cage JB, you love me really lol 🙂

  • to be fair Steve 11 has got a good point.
    Ospina was lucky not to get a red . Oscar is in hospital shame he did not put Cesc there too lol

  • Cesc flipping dived in the box from a spanish team mates leg retaract. At the Emirates 😦

  • now that was a dive PG, agreed mate – lucky though cause i have seen them given frequently, very good refereeing imo

  • Checking in, there’s a little of the finger pointing at peoples’ usual suspects, but I guess it could be worse… (Well, now it seems to be hotting up between those with all the fingers and his buddies… :D)

    007, My take on the Ospina-Oscar play, is that it would be a retroactive red card (and 3-match ban) for reckless play…i.e, in retrospect a ban might get given… Ospina wasn’t the last man back (i,e,, doesn’t deserve a Red and a one-match ban) because Bellerin saved the goal…I think we agree here…

    Can’t talk to F11ngers about Ozil and the whiff late on will not help…Alas, observers (I think) might want to look at Alexis’ performance rather than just giving him carte blanch because he puts his head down and dribbles with such “commitment” or is relentlessly predictable coming inside on his right foot… I love both of them, but can also see some, er, issues…

    Regardless, we’d all be in a better mood if we’d stolen the points late on when Alexis put in his full-back (finally) for another excellent Nacho pull-back but (it appears…) both Ozil (far worse) and Welbeck (who might’ve been put off by the slightest of tugs and a touch on the ball by Terry) did not convert… Ah well… The best chance of the match probably was Ramires’ which was just a nice ball splitting Kos and BFG with maybe Le Coq out of position because Giroud was chasing back hard… (Description there for Admir…) and a good calm save from Ospina.

    Regardless (again)…it would’ve been a nice symbolic victory but we must acknowledge it would have been symbolic only–There is no way we would pull back 8 points with 5 matches to play or 7 and work the gap (of 8) in Goal difference… As long as we get another go in the Community Shield (i.e., beat Villa in the Cup) I’ll be happy… Next Season Moo will be under pressure to play with a little more verve while we’re still so hungry for points (winning) so that (maybe) we can work on continuing our progress towards solidity and pragmatism. You know turn a few losses into draws and a draw into a win, here and there and get a bit closer here at the business end, maybe…

    The way I look at it…the gap between the clubs–whether 7 or 10 is a structural issue. It’s tempting to blame it on something changeable whether that be Giroud, Santi, Ozil, Welbeck, Szcz or…of course, Wenger. The only finger to really point is towards the owners’ box where, notably, only Abramovich made a showing today. They spend the money and get the players (and make the FFP rules go away by financing the sale of a guy like David Luiz for 50 mil or greasing a pocket or 3…) Just look at the “supporting” players they’ve got out there: Matic and Ramires, not to mention Zouma and Obi Mikel (even if Ramires spurned his chance to win the match much as little Santi did the lone time he got forward…) are at a whole other level than Le Coq and (tiny, old and out of position) Santi (or other options like Wilshere, Arteta, Flamini and Diaby–if you can consider them options…) Moo’s Spanish fullbacks are fully mature players rather than fresh from the youth team (Bellerin) or a surprise veteran like Nacho–and they play behind Ivanovic… And if those guys don’t come good you pick from your 2 dozen or so out on loan (i.e., Cortois, who made Cech sits on the bench!!) Spending big on a Hazard or Costa (or Cesc) or an Alexis or Ozil is always a gamble but they also drop 20 million on Willian (not a regular starter) while we sell RvP and Buy Ollie and Lulu. 16 million on Cahill (rather than 6 on Per) is another example and I could likely go on and on… The manager has to motivate and get the right combos and tactics so props to the Moo-man (but no discredit to AW, IMO, at least). In other words, we’re doing pretty well to be just 10 points back and we’ll need to overachieve in the transfer market and next season to maintain such a gap… 😦 Of course, come opening day, Arsenal (first alphabetically) and Watford (last) will both be on level footing, (someone will surely tell me)… 😀

    Again, ah well, and I can’t be too down on the team… Hull City away next… Gotta avenge that really poor draw (we barely got up for on the nice Alexis to Welbs move…) from the Autumn…

  • Many of the fans who cheered him off when he got subbed clearly forgot that moment or actually would not have seen the reply in the stadium so were not to know. But that should end the Cesc respect , it has for me.

  • brave goal keeping, now that’s the word I was looking for @ PG – cheers 🙂

    now then, Stevie wonders if you call that a brain fart then that’s 1 in 15 or 20 games ? much rather have 1 in 20 , if it means we don’t end up losing. Took one for the team and am proud of it.

    if we are going to be critical of the ref, then it was also a penalty when Bells took down Oscar and not a booking for Cesc.

    Did we get lucky with some of the decisions, YES – but was it a brain fart ? NO.

    just because I proved you wrong on Ozil with the stats, don’t mean you have to bite back now matey. it happens, we are all frustrated here but really, let’s not Sodomize OSpina now for keeping us in the game.

    I fear, we may end up selling Theo in the summer.

  • Sorry PG, nobody in the hospital for me… 😦 The match would’ve been different (and tamer/better) if the ref had (properly) given the yellow for diving earlier to Oscar when he tripped himself with Bellerin nearby…

    Sorry, it’s not the beautiful game (for me at least) when players get (badly) hurt or supporters wish for such things…

  • that’s a fair comment @ the voice of reason aka me amigo – Agreed.

    what you are trying to say is that we should be the ones running the show at the Emirates. Do you have Stan’s direct line then ? 🙂

  • Well I’m not surprised by the nil-nil. I feel we at least played with more confidence and composure this time around. I think we dodged a bullet with the penalty call though. Some nice touches from Ramsey today but he’s not a winger..too much drifting inside and far too predictable when he actually is out wide.
    @17 im located in Canada not too far from Toronto

  • Lots of different opinions, so here is my pennyeorth
    Ospina had a good game, but was lucky to stay on the pitch. If it had been SZS he would have been slated… But that is because of his previous. Well done to Bellerin for saving the day

    Thought the defence played pretty well, not many teams stop Chelsea scoring

    Loved the way Coquelin got stuck in. He made it clear early on he was going to give as good as he got.

    Ozil had a decent first half, but faded in the second half. I think the style of his play means he will always dived opinion. Thierry Henry compared him unfavourably with Cesc after the game

    Giroud worked his socks off, but he was always going to be the loser against a big Chelsea defence. Should have tried Theo earlier, I don’t have great faith in Wellbeck.

    I don’t think we can blame Cesc for going down there was certainly contact.

    At the end of the day they didn’t beat us, they didn’t bully us and they didn’t outplay us. All in all not a bad result.

  • 17,
    it was a joke i did not really mean it
    I am an Arsenal fan i have seen plenty of bad injuries in our team

  • Retbub,
    I am not so sure you would be saying that about Cesc dive if the ref had given the penalty and we lost the game.
    For me Cesc Arsenal legend status is gone. Add to that the pass to Barcelona in the CL quater final then the move there and now this Chelsea business its done for me.

  • Barcelona sold him twice as well so you wonder a bit about Cesc
    It is a shame he was a perfect Arsenal style player.
    It worked for both him and the club.
    I think Jose is slipping back to his old ways and that won’t suit Cesc . Watch this space.

  • The positives, the fact we are all disappointed with a draw v Chelsea shows how far we have come.
    The fact that we were really chashing the win and did not conceade show how much our defence has improved and we are less gun-ho and nieve. Big plus.
    So basically we had a really good go with out losing or conceading v a very good team.

  • I didn’t have a problem with cesc wanting to go back to barca but I felt he left too soon. Now is when he should’ve gone back since Xavi seems to be winding down.

  • JB, my point is that against parked busses there is no better CF than OG, but Ozil, Alexis and Santi did not use the space and chances he created well enough. Alexis is clearly tired, which is understandable after the season he has had.

  • Proudtgooner that’s fine, we all have different opinions. Whether it was a penalty or not is debatable, but if we had won it, we would all be cheering. Cesc will always be a legend to me, as will Henry and Vieira.

  • Sorry PG… No worries on the hospital jokes… I’ve gotten concussed myself playing sports which is why I can’t write anything short and to the point… 😀

    Cheers 007 on the voice of reason bit… If we can take 2nd ahead of the Manc teams (and get a result in gameweek 37 up there) I’ll be very pleased… My hunch is that between Falcao, Rooney, RvP, Mata and Di Maria you could pay our total wage bill and now they need to sign a keeper (or give De Gea the big money)… LvG will surely outspend AW in the transfer market (again) this Summer… Every year, given the orders management gets from ownership, we should be in a dog-fight for 4th with Pool… Anything better than that is gravy…

    That said we can always do better and I think we do need to buck up our ideas relative to playing against the parked buses and it got awfully predictable today. II used to love seeing Theo and Gervinho switch sides. Obviously Ramsey was all over the pitch but why did Alexis only pop up on the right once? (That I can recall, at least…Tired is probably just about right, TA…) I don’t doubt the commitment of either of them so I see plenty of room for improvement as communication gets better–something to look for as we play our final matches in the league. I don’t think the trouble is really with the wing play but more in how we might get the FBs or the deeper mids into the offense in a way that is both effective AND safe (in case of a turnover). Too often we were both clogged in central areas AND over-committed with the FBs and at least one of Santi and Coq too far forward. Same as vs Monaco, IMO…

    We want max points as we play out the season but I’m also hopeful we see some meaningful rotation esp. in the next couple (before the return trip to the Red half of Manchester)… It could be tougher with the relegation picture as muddled as it is and Hull needing points next weekend… As many (I think) are lamenting, there was really no plan B and Chelsea only got more comfortable defending as the match wore on… Wilshere, Rosicky, Arteta and maybe even Diaby should be given some meaningful pitch-time sooner rather than later. So too should Theo, but I would tend to agree with 007 that at the very least, unless he signs a contract very quickly, his face will be on the back pages all summer… In fact, these next six matches will tell A LOT about where AW thinks the team needs tweaking…

    Finally, and back to the headline of the thread… Nil-nil was inneresting enough (for me) today and with the reffing as it was it had to be exciting for the folks who like a rougher game… In the end, you’ve got to hand it to the pragmatism and cynicism of the (soon-to-be) champions, I guess, but I’m not sure what the neutrals would think… A clasico, I think, it was not…

  • Retsub,
    I respect your thoughts on it.
    Perhaps i am just looking for a unicorn like Steven Gerrard a player who loves the club and plays his whole career there.
    It is clear though from what Wenger said this week that it was Cesc and not him this time round as well.

  • 17,
    Oh sorry to hear that, it really was tougne in cheek, i dont hate Cesc at all
    You are right he was just a young man.
    It must have been really hard for Wenger in them years moulding a player and richer clubs just snapping up his hard work for a coin.
    Thank Wenger them days are over, it is easy to forget how we have not sold our best player (s) for a few seasons now while adding worldies. On wards and upwards

  • I was joking too…PG…I think the long posts are due to other mental troubles… 😀

    Also, I don’t think we’re quite out of the woods when it comes to keeping all our best players… We’re definitely better off than in past years but every player will have his price. Of course, the spending cannot go on and on and on–for most teams at least and when coaches do well at selling clubs (Simeone at Atletico, Koeman at So’ton, or even Martinez at Everton, after today at least…for example, etc., etc….) they will be sought out to do likewise at bigger clubs… There will, however, always be managers to fill spots at places like City, Chavs, United (or RM/Barca/Bayern) but what happens when they fail to win their league (or the CL)?… It’s on to the next guy…and another round of buying and selling…

    AW’s got some big decisions to make this summer… Theo and Jack would be good pick ups for a team like ManCity or LIverpool–i.e., clubs whose (new?) manager must buy to show ambition… Do we offer these players top money (100+k/week, over 4 or 5 seasons) to play for us given their performance/injury records? Personally, I think Arsenal might have to do a pretty major re-think on the whole Brit-core concept. In today’s match the only English players who started were Terry and Cahill. Theo and DW came on as late subs while Ramsey (of course) is Welsh… IMO (which is exactly as good as anybody else’s, i.e., not very good…) you might get more bang for your buck cashing in and looking beyond the Isles…

    Finally, I would agree that our match today was encouraging…although very frustrating. We didn’t celebrate the draw as Chavs did, but that’s because a draw was exactly what they needed, while, in truth, it does feck all for us… This season we’ve beaten the Manc clubs at their places but lost and drawn to them at home. (And lets not talk about CL matches or matches against the Totts, please…) We are stingier at the back but still struggle when the better teams play to stop us… Overall, progress is (undeniably) being made, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement…

  • Why does a draw feck all for us, Seventeenho? We all want to beat the Chavs and we bossed them but failed to get one in. However, we didn’t concede and controlled their attack almost totally. It was important to show the world how defensive and boring the Chavs are, and we did. Hooray! 🙂

  • Speaking of progress, I think the best sign of the progress is this:

    three-and-half years ago, Yossi Benayoun was a real reinforcement.

    Nowadays, only players of Alexis’ and Özil’s caliber are good enough to come to Arsenal. More importantly, they want to come to Arsenal and we can buy them. 🙂

    BTW, if we end up second, it will be another proof of Arsene Wenger’s mathematical genius. Look at this:

    2, 4, 4, 3, 4, 3, 4, 3, 4, 4, 2.

  • 17HT,
    “In today’s match the only English players who started were Terry and Cahill”

    lol yep probably why we failed to produce against a big club yet again and why Chelsea got exactly what they wanted lol.
    Don’t worry Hull next week and we can get back into our winning run of beating bottom of the table teams that any other big team could beat and heaping on the plaudits to the Ozil, Ramsey and Giroud crew once they give them all the time and space in the world to play 🙂

    Give me the Wilshere and OX duo any day 🙂

    Could definitely see Walcott moving on in the summer though especially with Silva hopefully coming back next season.

    I know you hate the English lads HT but they’ll prove you wrong buddy 🙂

    My question is that was Wengers best XI, with everyone fit and not an Englishman on the pitch to blame but we couldn’t put anymore than one shot on target against a rival level team who simply came to sit deep for 90 mins and who played with no striker threat up top for most of the game – where do we make changes in the team to improve on that performance next season?
    summer purchases?

  • “Don’t worry Hull next week and we can get back into our winning run of beating bottom of the table teams that any other big team could beat and heaping on the plaudits to the Ozil, Ramsey and Giroud crew once they give them all the time and space in the world to play :)”

    Except we didn’t beat Hull in the reverse fixture when Giroud was out, when Özil was out and when Ramsey came in when the score-line was 1:2. But we had Gibbs, Wilshere, Chamberlain and Welbeck for that game. Wilshere came out at 1:2. 🙂

    “My question is that was Wengers best XI, with everyone fit and not an Englishman on the pitch to blame but we couldn’t put anymore than one shot on target against a rival level team who simply came to sit deep for 90 mins and who played with no striker threat up top for most of the game – where do we make changes in the team to improve on that performance next season?”

    That’s easy – teach our English striker to score, our English full-back to take a few pages out of his Spanish team-mates’ book, our English golden midfielder to ask his Welsh team-mate for advice and our English winger to go through preseason to shake off the rust. 🙂

  • hahaha just watched that game on arsenal player, that group of players you mention played some great football and stuck away two goals against quite a resolute packed defense, the problem back then was a fucking left back in central defense and a liability in DM. In fact Diame ran through both those guys like they weren’t their to score their first goal. Its no wonder Coquelin’s been such a revelation at Arsenal, saving the attackers from having to score more than two or three goals a game to actually fucking come away with the win lol, what a difference having a defensive side makes in a team lol.
    But fair enough can’t argue, they didn’t win, your correct. midfield creativity and scoring wasn’t really the problem back then but the result was the result.
    like i said you should be happy, with that terrible defensive part of our game now for the most part sorted then the first XI should be able to strut their stuff grab a couple of goals and unlike before when that didn’t mean shit, now it should mean a win – bring on the plaudits for the usual suspects (until we come up against another top level team) 😉

    Teach our English striker to score – yep i’m with you on that one, would love to see Danny come good, he brings the kind of pace i want to see up front.

    I really hope Gibbs doesn’t take any pages out of his Spanish team-mates book lol, i want to see Gibbs picked for first choice not sit on the bench and then look shit and weak when he comes on for the next two seasons like Monreal has done since he fucking joined us, up until very recently lol

    hahaha please for fuck sake lets hope Wilshere stays clear of any advice from the hugely under par flick master Ramsey lol

    And if you mean Walcott, i doubt he’ll be here next season mate.

    Glad to see you think the answer to improvement in the team is focusing on developing the huge potential of the English players though Admir, i am right there with you on that one bud 🙂

  • Without going over too much of the ground covered in the above posts, I see more positives, and only one negative … that is we did not score. Had we have done so, M might have found the boot was on the other foot, as we don’t do a bad job at parking the bus these days.
    Personally, I’ll take the draw. Now, barring an almighty collapse, it is a straight fight between us and City for second place. Whilst we have United to come, City play the Totts next week. That is a close call imo, as they let Villa get close yesterday, and the reverse fixture was the beginning of the of the end for the previous Champions?

    Opportunities were scarce, and both sides missed what chances there were.
    Thought the ref did well for one big decision. No, none of the pen nonsense. For the talk he had much earlier, when he could have booked Ivanovich for a nasty tackle on Alexis. Instead, he called Terry over, shooed everyone else away, and he gestured three other tackles not that Ivanovic made, but was clearly making a point that ‘serial’ fouling was not going to be missed.
    That might have saved us another injury pile up, as there were very few cynical tackles like that one thereafter.
    Pundits on the TV team were divided on the pens. I go with HT on the Bellerin one. Oscar was already going down before Bellerin made contact. I go with JB on the Ospina one, in that the ‘keeper came out at speed to block any attempt at a shot by Ospina … what is that they say from the attacker’s point of view … ‘He was brave to take that on because he knew there would be contact coming’? What ‘saved’ Ospina may have been that knowing he couldn’t stop or avoid the collision, and the replays don’t really show if he was still on full power when the ball went over him, but he did avoid any head bangs, both his own and Oscar’s. By dropping low and turning away, it did look like a rugby tackle, but at least that only winded Oscar? Yes,there is a strong argument that if he did not get the ball and went through the man a foul/pen could have been called, but if there was time to pull out from genuine challenge, then it would have been called. But neither of the O’s had a chance to move out of the way … again, something the commentator said on one of the earlier pen claims …’ Just because there is contact doesn’t mean it is always a penalty’?
    Which still leaves me wondering, and I have not had a second look to see if Oscar hit his head on the deck … because when he did sit up he was definitely rubbing his chest, not his head … so where did the ‘concussion’ story come from? More M mischief I think?

    But for our team I thought it was a good try to win the game in the first half, but both sides probably had the message ‘Don’t lose it now!’ after the break. Therefore fewer risks were taken in the second half. I worry about this repeat of ‘going for it late on’ by taking Le Coq off and putting on an attacker, as one day it will come unstuck?

    Whilst nobody had a bad game, I think Steve’s list of 5 who played well is almost right.

    My immense belief in Bellerin’s ability to come back from a ‘not so good’ game to a brilliant one always make me want to put him at the top of the list. Bold decision by AW to go back to him, but those 120 minutes that Debuchy played can really hurt after a log lay off.
    But hat’s off to Hector … ‘That’s my boy!
    Koscielny was immense throughout. He wanted this win. Great stuff.
    Ospina too. Whilst he did have that collision with Oscar, he did not fluster when on the receiving end from Kos and Fabregas. Sharp keeping when needed.
    There isn’t a game goes by that Coquelin does not get a favourable mention, but had the ref started booking early, he may not have survived. May be AW was saving him from a second booking, as he does tire, mentally as much as physically, so his anticipation goes, and that’s when ‘misjudgements’ can be made? But another great team game from him.

    Alexis? It hard to say he had a bad game for the sheer effort he put in. But as AN(from Canada) said, he was predictable coming inside, and why he had no meaningful shots on goal. Well marshalled would be a good description.
    I actually think Cazorla had a good game. Mainly because somebody had to be back there helping Coquelin out, and it was him. Time and again be bought time for our players to get forward whilst bringing it from deep in defence, and his outlet ball was ..
    Monreal more often than not. He has to be included in those that played well in difficult circumstances.
    Of the others, like I said earlier, they all worked hard as we had no room for passengers.

    Yes, back on the OGAAT trail in a week’s time …

  • Total, 22.07
    If we can’t beat the Chavs, then at least don’t bloody lose…

    I’d take two 0-0 EPL draws now from next season against them.

    And beating them on pens in the Charity Shield.

    Some tweaking of the squad in the summer.
    And I think we’ll be right in Chelsea’s face all next season.

  • where do we make changes in the team to improve on that performance next season?
    summer purchases?

    in a nutshell – do you want this ? do you really really want my answer ?

    ok, since I like you and know you’re a wind up merchant.

    the answer is pretty simple.

    we sell Theo, We sell Poldi, We sell Joel Campbell and in return we get KUN AGUERO from Man City – break the bank if need be.

    you go from being title contenders to being champions, with that one signing.


    Agreed with you @ Gerry – Stevie wonders – hear hear.

    disagreed @ Skipper – Giroud just isn’t good enough to be the top top level lone striker for Arsenal and in our system. he’s the weak link – although he has done well and works his socks off, but he’s abilities as a striker are extremely one dimensional and limited. and this isn’t a consequence of the game yesterday – my views of him have remained pretty consistent throughout. Both me and HH have been on the same page -re Giroud. and it’s not his fault to be fair to him either, the lad works his socks off for the team. I would love to play him against lower league teams or mid-table teams but not against top top teams or decent teams. He’s cost us the CL QF already this season.

    He’s like a Felliani playing as a striker. Brilliant hold up play and strength but just like Welbeck, he needs plenty of chances before he can score, even though he has improved on that front but he is still a long way from being considered a class striker.

  • and too right that Bellerin did the mopping up – after all, it was him who was playing Oscar onside.


    but the lad did well, was my man of the match – kept Hazard quiet and was very disciplined minus being on the wrong side of Oscar.

  • JB, when you say things like that about Giroud with the facts sitting right on top of your face, my estimation of you sinks further. But I know you don’t care, so neither do I. One thing is clear, OGwill be our main man next season again. Fact. 🙂

  • Agreed Allezkev, Wenger knows how to play Maureen now, and if we had just a bit more form or sharpness we could have beaten them. Next year maybe, or two more nil nils. Boring boring Oilers
    , 🙂

  • Hey guys… I guess we’re waiting on Nik’s post (to which I AM looking forward)… A man at the match report, I hope…Where you can get a different (and informative) view… I (personally) gotta respect Mr. Nik as I just can’t seem to get past him (for any stretch of time…) in the BK FF league… 😀 Hopefully, it will soon bury whatever I write below…

    Amongst the television watchers (and back page dreamers…) ideas can get solidified a bit too easily (maybe?…) so there’s really no point in trying to convince F11ngers that we need more Ozils, Cazorlas and Girouds on the team when he’s gonna stump for a group of Niles-Maitlands, Campbells and Akpoms all with the (so-called…) Alexis workrate… I guess I need to watch the match again, but I didn’t see much running from our player of the season except when he got the ball…and then it was all too predictable (for the Chav CBs) and scariest (for Gooners) when it was deeper in our own territory… You cannot fault the effort, of course, but it needs to be combined with a plan that works better with his teammates, I think…

    Thanks for trying, Admir… It appears that the Hull home match should be our blueprint going forward… 😀

    Meanwhile, mi amigo, 007 (and Thierry Henry, maybe…) agrees (with at least part of the narrative) and says ditch our big guy and buy el Kun? Why exactly is Prince Mansour gonna let him go (to a league rival)? If we (or someone in the press?…) offer to put him on 3 or 4 times Alexis’ money (which ain’t never gonna happen…) he might agitate for the move. I guess…but then the Prince just gives him Yaya’s money (on top of his own…), buys up our Schneiderlin (or Kondogbia or Pogba…) and all is good again for the baby blues… What we really need is to find the next Henry–a guy with great talent laboring in obscurity–or Italy… if Higuain can now be had (and put on Feo’s money, maybe)… grab him up, I say… C’mon Superspy (my friend), let’s keep it real–like a good accountant should… Or check in with the sauce and get me some (real, plausible, or at least within the realm …) names…

    TA, you’re right, a nil-nil isn’t so bad but it was also (all too) predictable and a better script for Chavs than (us) chasers. As comfortable as they looked getting it, it only deepens all the story-lines. Yes we can play them even…if that’s all they’re playing for… So, onto the next match (I’ll try and scout Hull as they play Pool tonight…) or onto the summer and next season… Or… (better yet) Nik’s post…


  • Sorry, but I refused to get involved in transfer spec at the moment. Apart from the stupidity of every other headline suggesting we are close to this that or ‘tother signing, even when it is at least the third one for the same position … and a position we may not need/or fill. It is also not very respectful to the guys who are here to play out the season to get the best position they can for us.
    Yes, we do need a stronger squad, and yes, there does look like there are some talented players who might be available, at a price, and who would improve our squad, or more especially, improve the starting 11. But it isn’t going to change who we pick from next Monday.

    I will always be interested if we get to know a player has already made a pre-agreement, but that is also unlikely? So I’ll suffer in silence ..

  • Hey Gerry…While we wait for Nik’s post… I agree… And (if you read my more immediate post-match thoughts…) I think these ready-made solutions suggested by the press (including bloggers…) do not acknowledge the structural issue at play. In general, money talks (and BS walks, as we say over here)… All things being equal the teams who spend the most on salaries and transfers should win. We have overachieved this season despite the injury troubles in the first half and credit should go to the manager and the players–and a bit to the supporters, who, as you say, kept the faith. 😀 You’re right, we’re not done yet. If we can win out (or at least get a draw up at OT…) we will finish with another FA Cup and 2nd in the league… which would make me say… “Wow!” Easier said than done, of course, and if we take these matches for granted (like the one which might’ve seen us go another round or two in the CL…) we may get burnt…

    In the wake of Sunday’s match, however, it does seem natural for people to ask how we might bridge the (big) gap to the champions (who, in truth, looked pretty good getting the result they needed)… We’re getting there and our new pragmatism and solidity (which helped us keep Chavs at nil…) seems promising. Patience and some slight tweaks for breaking down the PTB teams would seem the way forward… Again, (much) easier said than done… 😦


  • Wenger knows how to play Mmmmmourinho now !…….I should put up a billion haha`s ! 😀

    In two games this season, guess how many shots on target we have had against the Chavs ?……………….drum roll………….a fantastic amount of………..ONE !.
    Guess how long it has been since we last scored against the Chavs ?…………………………………….8 hours 2 minutes !………..I can see where you`re coming from Totes…….Mmmmmourinho is all but finished !. hahaha

  • Regards that last line … I think Klopp would be a very good fit at the Bridge?

  • Not gonna troll with the Cockster, nor indulge in his love of the self-absorbed one, but I have to (kind of) agree… In their matches against their rivals they did what they had to do… except maybe against PSG and that Sideshow Bob fellow…

    They’ll tire of the man in the mirror soon enough (again) at the Abramo-Bridge, but on Sunday you gotta salute how the Moo-man was able to get his cows to chew their cuds (and ours…) for 90 minutes plus and earn their fist-pumps… We need to do better in the other matches so that WE can celebrate the nil-nils looking down at them in the table…

    We’re getting better at doing likewise (defending, keeping clean sheets) but breaking down a well parked bus does seem a lot harder than, say, loving on the manager of the league leaders, even if (ostensibly…) they aren’t the team you support….

    Regardless, Crow on, Cock(ie Monster)… 😀

  • not sure what imaginary fact you find yourself agreeing with- or did you mean to make a prediction and got it mixed up with the fact which goes something like this – Giroud never scored against Chelsea ? and struggles to score against big teams ?

    now that indeed, be a FACT!

    so, yeah, If I say such facts then it’s only based on actual facts and stats not future predictions, mistaken for facts.

    me amigooooooooooooooooooooo- you give them Jack Wilshere and they give us Kun Aguero – more like, the player himself wants to come to Arsenal then that makes it more do-able. where there’s a will – there’s a way. we have the financial muscle to get the top top players and believe you me – Kun Aguero is still the best striker in England even with his injury troubles.

    to be fair, Steve has also said the same about Giroud in the past.

    Realism is boring- if you are going to dream, then why dream of Kun’s compatriot and settle for the 2nd best? gone are the days when we would settle for the 2nd best or make the next Henry’s, Anelka’s, Van Pussy’s and so on.

    we now buy them ready made.

    we can fork out £50 million easy for Kun + JW. it’s a fair trade. if you want to keep JW.

    Sell Theo, Poldi, Joel.Campbell and finance the remaining from the surplus sat in the bank (am sure, Glics will tell you that they be in the excess of £170 million).

    and that’s not me dreaming that’s me making all your dreams – REAL.

  • Giroud could play another 20 games and not score against Chelsea, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t doing a good job. On Sunday he was more or less on his own against Terry and Cahill and I guess the plan was for him to lay off the ball for the likes of Alexis, Ozil etc. I am sure if you looked at goals conceded by Chelsea this season, very few will have been scored by big centre forwards out muscling the Chelsea defence. It still needs someone of his ilk to keep defenders occupied. Hasn’t Giroud scored almost a goal a game in the last 9 games or so? Pretty good return in my book. If he hadn’t been injured at the start of the season, he might well have been up there with the leading scorers.

    I also think Theo is a pretty good goal scorer. When he first arrived he was awful, but once he gets a few games under his belt he is as good as most people in front of goal.

    Let’s not forget we are on a great run and it pretty much coincides with the introduction of Ospina and Le Coq. If as many people had suggested, Wenger had got a defensive midfielder at the beginning of the season and bought in a world class keeper ( not that Ospina hasn’t done very well) things might have been very different this season

    Those two changes introduced earlier may well have allowed us to pick up the points to be at the top of the pile. If we had started Sunday’s game on similar points as Chelsea we might have seen a very different game.

  • 17, why was it a better script for Chavs than us? Did you still believe we could overtake them?

    One day you will see that the only way to beat the Chavs, and not walk into their boring, predictable knives, is to play the way we did. Wenger now knows how to play Maureen and how to embarrass him, as the boring boring Chelsea chants are music to his ears. And soon he will be gone.

  • exactly my point @ Retsub

    you don’t need holding strikers or big strikers against the Chelsea defence – you need strikers who can run past defenders and keep defenders on their heels not toes (pardon the pun).

    I never said he hasn’t done well, however, a world class striker could have done much better playing for this Arsenal team and with the midfield we have.

    I am not against playing Theo on the LW and moving Sanchez to the strikers role, either.

    I wouldn’t have mind Theo starting as a striker in place of Giroud against Chelsea. Giroud is a good player, can be a great super sub for us but I don’t really fancy him being our no.1 for much longer.

    not when we are able to afford almost anyone and everyone in the world.

  • TA… Beating them–even it’s at the death on the lovely Nacho run and pull-back which Ozil should’ve buried—means nothing in the standings but it re-sets the narrative (“Wenger finally beats Moo…) and gives our fans a real shot in the arm. It would still be symbolic, as per the title of the post (I’m sad we cannot get Nik’s out sooner than later as I’m guessing it’s got some fine–and different–views)…

    The team should hold their heads high but popular opinion swings on such fine margins and the sideshow (Moo vs AW) will have all the same numbers and we’ll still be looking for the definitive moment again next year–even if the nil-nil (and split points) might work more to our advantage…

    Side note on Chavs and the hoarding of players… In Colombia I asked a couple of people about their players in the English league…Ospina was by far the most exciting for the them–because he plays. Falcao at United pleased very few and they don’t think he’s lesionado (injured) as he played in the Int’l friendlies in the UAE… Cuadrado to Chavs is also a sad one as their ESPN only shows a couple of English games and just as many (if not more) of the Italian matches. One guy even mentioned Sanchez at Villa–as he actually has been playing (and scored a beauty which should’ve earned a point at City)…

    My bigger point is that we’re all searching (dreaming up…) ways Arsenal might find equal footing with Chelsea. Cuadrado, IMO, would be an upgrade at RW (over the likes of Theo, Welbs, Ox) and it would be tougher for AW to shoehorn Rambo into the line-up in that spot if we had him. LIke Petr Cech, his talent languishes on the bench…

    That’s just an opinion, of course (and surely some will stick up for the English lads…) but it also might help illustrate the structural problem we have in trying to beat them…

    The dreaming up bit is for 007… (I love the optimism, of course…) Agreed with Retsub and others that strikers, including Giroud, can do a lot besides scoring. IMO, our problem on the day was lack of intelligent movement off the ball, primarily from our player of the year… On the day (agreeing with you here, Superspy…) we maybe needed to move him (Alexis) to CF in that last 14 or 20 and push Santi into a more central #10 spot or move Rambo (who was playing there a lot as it was,,,) into a similar area. A bit of Summer rest (or playing for Chile in the Copa America, so he can appreciate his better mates at Arsenal), plus improved communication amongst those same teammates and we can work it out. I think… Not as simple as buying el Kun, but actually possible…Maybe?…

  • Cockie, no surprise you defend your fellow narcissist… 🙂

    We created enough chances but lacked accuracy…. Not something Wenger is responsible for…

  • Fair enough, 17, it’s not my view but can see where you are coming from. Maureen’s Chelsea is a virus in football and we will not easily overcome them, but Wenger knows how it should be done. Shame Alexis, Santi and Mesut did not finish off their half chances… Next time better.

    Re the English boys I reckon you are too harsh and it is clear that Wenger selects on performance and capability rather than passports anyway.

  • Hull a goal up vs Pool at the hour mark… Hmmmm….

    I probably am a little harsh on the English boys…and trust me, I want them to come good… I just wonder if maybe we could get Higuain to compete with Giroud–much as he did with Benzema at RM… To me that’s mouth watering…

    If guys like Sterling (and Theo) can write their own (massive) ticket in England you have to think that English talent just might be over-valued. We’ve also argued (too much) about the Ox and (not so) young Jack… We all know that 007 is in dreamland about a Jack for Kun switch… The Prince might be more keen on us taking Yaya (and his 300K/week contract) for Jack (AND Theo)…and personally I think that’s a trade we shouldn’t countenance…

  • I meant Prince Mansour (of course)… not our Prince… Where ARE those Aussies…PPP, Alex, Ozzie, give us a shout to let us know there’ve been no nail-gun accidents, etc, etc….

    But, speaking of English talent…Here come Llalana and Lambert… Pool need to do something and quick or the top 4 will be settled very soon… Sturridge hurt again (or still hurt), I guess…

  • Hull City 1 – Liverpool 0…

    More intrigue at the bottom…And for the Europa League places, which, according to Pochettino, nobody wants…


  • Seventeen, I reckon you have a point that we need to strengthen on the right ‘wing’. Ox and Theo are weapons with potential but another Alexis on the right feeding of OG is likely to be added this summer. Jack is our best football player together with Ozil and Alexis and no way are we going to let him go anytime is an issue though but we know Wenger is patient and so should we be as he is the best young midfielder in Europe Imo.

  • you are watching the wrong game.

    should be watching BM vs Dortmund

    you still have time, 2nd half of AET – then penalties.

    tune in.

  • We have lots of agreement, TA, but to be the best you actually have to play… Just ask Abou Diaby for example. 😦 Injury has been a real problem for not just Jack but also Theo and the Ox, too, As such, Welbeck is probably our best contributor amongst those who play for the 3 lions? Or maybe Chambers?…

    Given that record I (fully) agree that Jack is going nowhere–unless he makes the call and goes for a silly money pay-day elsewhere. My guess is that even that sort of scenario would be Summer 2016 rather than this one… Longer term I definitely believe we will not have all of our current English boys (Theo, Welbs, Ox, Jack, Chambers and Gibbs) playing significant roles at the club given that none of them are first 11 automatic picks…at the moment, that is… No need to ship them out, of course, as they’re all still pretty young…some moreso than others…

    We’ll see who gets game time these final 6 matches for more clues to summer action… 🙂

  • Good to see Jon Toral get a 12 month contract extension…

    Hope that he gets a few opportunities in the League Cup.
    Then who knows?

  • Hey all,
    The Chelsea game was a little disappointment. We could have won it or lost it but eventually drew it.

    On a different topic.
    There’s going to be 2 arsenal greats vs man u greats matches in early June in India.
    I just might see Henry play for the last time in his life. Can’t wait for it. Hope it goes on as planned.

  • Hey Neeraj… Where you been?

    Nobody’s participating here but there’s some good writing on the Interweb regarding the tag-line on this thread and the boring, boring chants… IMO, no matter how many trophies AW did (or didn’t) win in his years at Arsenal, his biggest contribution will be the entertainment element he (supposedly) has brought to the English game. It’s always overstated (again, my opinion only) and many a Gooner would trade all that entertainment for a few trophies, but it still seems true… This article puts it better than I ever could… There’s also a Jonathan Wilson article in the Guardian and I tend to read his stuff as well…

    Otherwise not much happening but for the silly interpretations of Theo’s comments. Watching some other European football, we do seem better than Napoli, who are losing 3-1 at Empoli with Higuain cutting a very frustrated figure… He’s probably too old now and looks to have the kind of body which might not take well to the English diet (i.e., who ate all the pizza pies?…) but he could compete well with Giroud (and play alongside, I think…) if we’re going to persist with a single focal point up top…

    Anybody got any football thoughts?… No Arsenal until Monday, so too early to work on the preview… 😦

  • Hi 17 🙂

    If nobody wants to entertain then the game will become boring quickly. We only have to look at the Italian league with very low attendance and shit atmosphere as a result. JM does not contribute but parasites on others. The bad thing is that to win the league, teams have to play v defensive too as long as JM is around…. Which is not benefitting the beautiful game, is it?

  • Hi 17,
    I’ve been giving a few exams and doing some fitness stuff as I’m in pretty bad shape because of my sit and study schedule in the last year.
    I turned 18 in March so finally I’m an adult ! 😛
    So I’m gonna have all the fun that I have missed during my intensely boring last year. (Fun for Indian 18y old’s is not same as the American and Europians as the society still considers us as innocent kids)
    But we never know what our generation is capable of 😛 .

  • Hey, I agree…Over here we have various constraints to make sure the money doesn’t all end up at the top… We also change the rules if teams aren’t scoring enough…

    Football’s exciting because it’s the wild west, in terms of money. Still, if you’re gonna hoard the best players (and keep the rest out on loan) AND play for those nil-nils it’s not so much fun…Or all the more fun (for the neutrals and the underdogs) when we beat that sort of play…Or even when the curly headed guy they “sold” for 50 million pounds beats them… Preview of the preview–teams trying to stay up also play very defensive… Better bring your bus keys, boys…

    That said, nobody complained when we played that way at Man City…A bit more when we tried likewise at Liverpool and Spurs (and only came away with a point). For the supporter, winning doesn’t get old…

    Happy Thursday…

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