Arsenal – Liverpool: Time for Theo or Same 11? Line-Up | Preview

Another Must-Win and a Chance to Win Back the Home Support

Early season at the Emirates is ALWAYS a testy time.  The narratives regarding the transfer window are never done and dusted if it’s August, after all.  Add in a traditional and always difficult opponent–Liverpool–unbeaten and yet to give up a goal, plus the disappointment supporters are feeling after a flat opening day performance, and it all makes for a potentially volatile situation.  All that ‘dry powder’ only needs a spark to set it ablaze.

On the other hand, rekindling the rivalry with one of England’s biggest clubs is perhaps exactly what Arsenal–and our home support–need to galvanize the Gunners–and the Gooners–to give their very best.  “You’ll Never Walk Alone” will be the song of the traveling support and a fine one to make them sing–in defiance–as they absorb a defeat at the hands of our club.

That was certainly the refrain back in April, when this fixture was last contested.  In that one, although Arsenal missed a couple of gilt-edged chances–and allowed one at the other end–once the breakthrough was made, it turned into romp.  Width was the answer, and, once we found it, the floodgates opened.  Aaron Ramsey, roaming freely from a wide-right starting berth, put in his fullback, Hector Bellerin, for the first goal.  Mesut Ozil soon doubled the advantage with a stunning free kick and Alexis Sanchez put the tie out of reach with the third goal of the half.  Liverpool supporters had to walk together just for their half-time refreshments.

Given that we don’t play until Monday night, here’s the long version…

That was a fun day out but it hasn’t always been so easy nor so definitive, of course, and we shouldn’t expect anything less than a true challenge under the Monday night lights.

In fact, it was only 4 short years ago, in another early season showdown, that Liverpool put the hurt to us.  I’m remembering the very desultory nil-2 home loss back in August of 2011, Samir Nasri’s last appearance in an Arsenal shirt, and memorable for Emmanuel Frimpong’s sending off.  Frimpong, like Carl Jenkinson and Ignasi Miquel, who had to come on when Laurent Koscielny hobbled off early in the match, were ALL making league debuts and it was a period of great transition at the club.  Soon it was overshadowed by the 8-2 drubbing at Old Trafford.  Football is a game that is always in flux.  We’ve come a long way as a club in those 4 years, yet the old wounds are never far from the surface.

Give this one a watch if you want to see the other side of the coin. The homemade quality of the vid, I think, adds to the sense of just how badly we were feeling our way through the darkness of those times…

This time around, Liverpool are the team in transition.  With two victories and two clean sheets, however, it’s ‘so far, so good’ for our opponents, making it a great test for BOTH teams.

With that mentality they should be both unpredictable and playing with little to lose.  This time, instead of Nasri off to Man City, the big move in that direction is that of Raheem Sterling.  He was likely the most dangerous player in the April match and took away our clean sheet by winning a penalty against Bellerin.  With the absurd money earned from the Sterling transfer (and saved from the departure of Steven Gerrard and his big contract), manager Brendan Rodgers has bought the big Belgian center-forward Christian Benteke from Aston Villa while also acquiring James Milner from the Northern Oilers on a free.  Those two will be at the center of the new Liverpool attack as will Brazilian Phillipe Coutinho who probably has created Pool’s best moment of the young season, scoring a late winner with a shot from distance in their opener at Stoke City.  As we’ve given up goals from outside the box and at set pieces, testing our still settling central defense and new keeper, Petr Cech, with similar shots will surely be on the cards.  We should also be on the alert for attacks down our left side from young winger Jordan Ibe and/or the fullback behind him, another new signing, Nathan Clyne, picked up from Southampton.

As such, Arsenal might need to keep our own wide players leaning just a hair towards defending our own goal before allowing their attacking instincts to take over.  On the ball, it will be important to keep the pitch spread while working hard so that we can win the battles in the center of the pitch.  This is where Liverpool might be most vulnerable as they attempt to replace the presence of their iconic leader, Gerrard.  New Captain Jordan Henderson has been given that charge but he usually requires a bit of help, often in the form of the very competent (but ever cynical), Brazilian Lucas Leiva.  Both, however, are fitness doubts going into the match, meaning Rodgers might have to re-jig and use players like Emre Can to fill in or, perhaps, Milner or Adam Lallana in a deeper than usual spot.

Given these limitations Rodgers might also opt for 3 central defenders.  Martin Skrtl and Dejan Lovren are solid defenders but could possibly use the help of Mamadou Sakho (who played ahead of our own Laurent Koscielny in France’s World Cup squad) or former Gunner, Kolo Toure.

It makes sense to me, given that our attack had periods of real menace in our 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace.  I believe Arsene Wenger will set out an unchanged 11, but, you never know, and this could be a spot where Theo Walcott gets a chance up front alone or as part of a front 3 with Alexis and Olivier Giroud.  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a starter in the opening match, is another option, wide right.  The partnership of Ramsey, starting from that spot but clearly in a free role, though with an eye to combine with Bellerin–and help him at the defensive end–doesn’t fit with many fans more rigid ideas about positions and formations, but, I think, serves our purposes best, especially in these tougher, tighter matches.  Here then is the team I believe Wenger will put out.

Bench = Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Gabriel, Arteta, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain

Of course, Wenger may have some other tricks up his sleeve and he might be keen to try out some other options just to avoid being seen as too predictable too early in the season. Could there be some changes elsewhere in the line-up?  Might Captain Mikel Arteta–who looked a calming force late on at Palace–get a start in place of Coquelin?  Could Wenger change things up in the back line or try something really off the wall?  Your guess is as good as mine, but–even if we’re not quite firing on all cylinders–I believe this line-up, which, except for Cech in as keeper–is the same as we played in April, seems unbroken enough to avoid fixing.

But, that’s just me.  What say the (other) Would-be-Wengers?  Is this a time to keep to a conservative approach (and line-up) or is it early enough in the season to give it a real go and show the players and fans that the opener was just a one-off and that we can take it to a bigger club like Liverpool?  Should the manager stick with tried and true or go younger and deeper (not to mention faster and harder… 🙂 …) from the opening kick?  Have at it… After all, somehow we have to make it through the rest of the weekend and all the way to Monday night before we see the real thing.

by 17highburyterrace

132 thoughts on “Arsenal – Liverpool: Time for Theo or Same 11? Line-Up | Preview

  • Great preview that got me totally excited for the game, 17HT. Unfortunately, it is not till tomorrow night!! What a long wait!! And I might even get a ticket for that one! 🙂

    Agreed with the line up but I hope the players don’t treat this as a must-win and get overexcited/ lose their composure. I hope to see a focussed and mature Arsenal that does the water stuff (ala Geoff) right this time. COYG! 🙂

    More later today.

  • Great read 17, really enjoyed that…

    Deeper, harder, faster, blimey mate 🙂

    Kind of agree with your XI, but as you mentioned, and with Liverpool’s lack of pace at c/b, I’m thinking Theo, come on down…
    Instead of Giroud that is…

    Do Liverpool park the bus or attack us?
    I tend to think the former, with the scars of last season’s 4-1 still fresh in their minds.

  • TA, I will prefer Theo starts wide, instead of Rambo.

    Reason being Liv defense is brittle, and we need the dynamic water to break down the Liv defense.


  • Ah, the annual Scouse trip to The Home of Football.
    Time to lock up your valuables, don’t leave any bricks lying around your cars and calm down if you are confronted by a curly haired moustachioed shell suit !.
    The Scousers start their youngsters off early by letting them suck on a crow bar instead of a dummy(pacifier) !………….. one Christmas I asked a little Scouse git if he would like to take a chocolate from an advent calendar and in true Scouse fashion instead of opening the little door on the front he used his crow bar pacifier to break in the back of the advent calendar………it`s in their genes !.
    In true Keegan style……I would love it if we beat them and sent them back on their long journey back home with them on the coach watching some porn they stole from Peter Storey whilst singing ….” You`ll never wank alone “.

  • Hypnotic isn`t it !………………and then your wallet was gone !.

  • Well I think that is enough to justify and back up my first post @ 09:42 !. hahaha

  • Actually !…….I`m not sure if my 09:59 is some top Scouse totty !……….it looks more like Jan Molby has let himself go a bit !.

  • Hey Allez !………………..would you let any of the above Scousers in your cab ?…………………..before you could even do a dodgy U-turn around Kings Cross…… your cab would be missing with you just left holding a steering wheel !. hahaha

  • Referee for this match: Michael Oliver
    (Sent off Courtois earlier in the season; Sent off di Maria last season in our FA Cup win against Man. Utd.; youngest PL referee at age 30, FIFA & PL accredited)
    PL matches in 2014/2015 involving Arsenal: Arsenal(home) 1-1 Spurs(away), Liverpool(home) 2-2 Arsenal(away), Arsenal(home) 0-0 Chelsea(away)

    4th official: Neil Swarbrick

  • Great write up 17! With the exception on Walcott replacing Giroud, I 100% concur with your predicted line up. Big match for the boys particularly after the first up loss to West Ham. Liverpool home and away, like the corresponding matches versus Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea, is not a match i expect Arsenal to win. But conversely I expected us to beat West Ham and we lost that one, so there is a bit of pressure on the boys to get the 3 points versus Pool.

    As I do at the start of each season I have a look at our fixture list and try to set my expectations for the season ahead. So far we’re 3 points behind but have a great opportunity to get back on track versus Liverpool.

    West Ham – win (3)
    Crystal Palace – win (6)
    Liverpool – loss (6)
    Newcastle – win (9)
    Stoke – win (12)
    Chelsea – loss (12)
    Leicester – win (15)
    Man Utd – loss (15)
    Watford – win (18)
    Everton – draw (19)
    Swansea – win (22)
    Tottenham – draw (23)
    West Brom – win (26)
    Norwich – win (29)
    Sunderland – win (32)
    Villa – win (35)
    Man City – loss (35)
    Southampton – win (38)
    B’mouth – win (41)
    Newcastle – win (44)
    Liverpool – loss (44)
    Stoke – win (47)
    Chelsea – loss (47)
    Southampton – win (50)
    B’mouth – win (53)
    Leicester – win (56)
    Man Utd – loss (56)
    Swansea – win (59)
    Tottenham – draw (60)
    West Brom – win (63)
    Everton – draw (64)
    Watford – win (67)
    West Ham – win (70)
    Crystal Palace – win (73)
    Sunderland – win (76)
    Norwich – win (79)
    Man City – loss (79)
    Villa – win (82)

    Based on the final standings over the last couple of seasons that projected points tally would place Arsenal around second or third. Couple of wins in those big matches, like this match versus Liverpool, and we might be a shot at the title. But Arsenal have to get the points when playing those clubs outside the ‘top 7’ to even get a ticket to the dance. COYG!!!

  • Come on Totes !…………we have no way of knowing if that was a female, they could have been man boobs !…………..but I respect your authority !. hahaha

    PS………..have you been tossing your caber yet ?…………lets hope if yes that it was in the confines of your own home and not McTesco`s !. hahaha

  • Guys, does all barca attackers play like Alexis? Pedro looks good in attack and what a let off by west brom!! Had a penalty saved. Morrison should have done better

  • 17 et al,

    We will see. If you play lack of pace, then Theo would be the call somewhere, central or wide. If yo play the red-happy ref, then Arteta or someone not Coquelin. One possibility is AR and Santi with Theo wide. A more all out attack approach but perhaps… Leave the big boy Benteke to Koz and Merts and use Santi and AR to shut off Coutinho?

    Thems my thoughts

    JK, nope, none attack like Sanchez.. they attack at Barca like Messi, Neymar and Bitey…

    cheers — jgc

  • Cocker, some of my best customers are Scousers, being a regular ranker (with an R) at Euston Station…

    But I have to admit, that I would probably drive off if a few dozen geezers with false moustaches, curly wigs and shell suits approached my cab…

    Btw, is there any truth in the rumour, that shell suits are all the rage in Cornwall?
    Just asking 😀

  • Hi all.. Nice post 17ht..
    Tomorrow’s game will be the answer if Wenger really will bring a new CF..
    I wonder why so many PSG players are link with us..?? Even Ibra.. Hehehe.. And How come Madrid sell Benzema if they don’t bring any new players yet..?? Hahaha..

    I like to see Walcott play.. But I don’t think Ramsey will bench.. I wish we back to 4-1-2-3 or 4-2-1-3 scheme.. Ozil and Cazorla are enough for a strong midfield.. We need speed.. And Walcott is SPEED.. Hahaha..

  • TA.. Life is blue without gossips.. Hahaha.. Zlantan said he will make a surprise move.. Will that mean us.. Hahaha..
    TA.. Can you give a great streaming sites..?? It’s 2 o’clock in the morning here.. Hehehe..

  • Ko Henry no gossips please.. I think we are already beyond those stuff.

    Yup for me the game is 3 am tomorrow morning local time. I could not even watch that game.. Arghhh

    Prof, something still amaze me that ex barca players play for club and start to play the footy that is direct, run at defense and close down players when they lose the ball.

    Ok. Pedro is not an energizer bunny, but I kind of like how they play. Certainly not far off our play but I somehow think we can add more barca players and win the title multiple times? I guess I am dreaming.


  • JK

    Ah, what you’re referring to is that Barca, who get little credit for this, are excellent in transition, both on attack (recognised) but especially in defence… I wrote about this some time back (see link top of page to my posts perhaps), but it’s a critical aspect for any team, and thus they are good that way thru the mids.

    Cheers — jgc

  • Absolutely, Allez !…………………Cornwall being about 30 years behind the rest of the Country, a shell suit is the only way to pull on a Fri/Saturday night and I have a fine collection !………………….. not as bad as Totals predicament now of having to wear a skirt, although, does he really have to go over the top and wear high heels as well ?. 😀

  • JK

    As Americans say… “That’s why they play the game” which is to say “we will see… ” 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  • Fri/Sat in Cornwall sounds like my kinda place Cocker…
    Being an old-fashioned chap myself…

    The image of Total, in high-heel clogs is rather disturbing I gotta say… 😀

  • I somehow missed this post at publication time – too busy watching the weather predictions for suitable dog walks
    A very thorough preview though HT, but we expect nothing less from you. Well done.

    It is difficult to argue against your line, up although I might disagree about it being the most successful one? For one thing, Arsene talking of pace being key, and combine that with your suggestion of players keeping width. With the above line up, Neither Alexis or Ramsey will keep wide, so that falls down to Bellerin and Monreal to provide the ‘width’?
    I think that is what is key to Rogers ‘plan’. They will try to get quick counter moves going by getting the ball out to Ibe, Clyne, or Benteke, backed up by their midfield, to expose our back 3 while the rest are out of position? But you have given all the pro’s and cons as to why this game will be difficult, for both sides. The one change I see as likely is Walcott to come on late against a tiring defence, and Ox starting down the right. He will do the width that side, with Bellerin staying back to cover the runs of Ibe. On the other side, Monreal will do well to do similar for the first hour, as he may have Firmino and the overlapping Clyne to deal with? How well Coquelin can do with Coutino running their midfield, given he can ‘fall over’ a lot when touched, without getting another early card, is a going to be a tester? It remains an option to play Ramsey instead of Coquelin, but AW usually wants a player to put right any ‘mistakes’ in the next game.
    If we can get our ‘pass and move’ game going from the ‘get go’, running both Ox and Alexis hard for an hour, we may get the early goal and really open them up?
    Otherwise I fear a 0-0.

    Which leads me on to this …
    It is funny you mention the 8-2 result, as it give me an opportunity to mention the ‘T’ word. Back then, lambs were sent to the slaughter, among those lambs were Coquelin and Oxlade-Chamberlain if memory serves me correctly, as a way of AW saying to the more cash strapped BoD that we needed reinforcements – ‘Find the money!’
    Now I am not saying we are in a similar position now, but this match so close to the end of the TW will surely reveal how badly, or not we do need to strengthen in certain areas?

    Personally I am with the Prof on signings. Get quality if it is available. 3 areas of need. But still be a fully committed supporter if we end up with nought a week tomorrow. However, I do think it is somewhat disingenuous for those that are happy with the squad as is, and use the grounds of it hurting our young developers. I cannot think of one person who is not happier we have signed Alexis Sanchez, rather than, say, kept Benek Afobe on the books, even if as it seems, the further consequence of his signing is the likes of Wilshere and Ramsey have been pushed to the fringes?

    I take the view that Arsenal’s young professionals, and those behind them, should be thinking first and foremost about them developing into the best ‘professional footballers’ they can be. The Club of choice as to who they would like to play for is a bonus, but a bonus earned by very few. I go back to Hector Bellerin’s words … ‘I signed for Barcelona, but I came to Arsenal to play football, because that is what I wanted to do more than anything else’.
    Yes, we will lose some very talented youngsters along the way, but it should not be the end of their careers. Moreover, any new signing that improves the squad and makes us more competitive to challenge for top honours, will mean those that make it through the ranks can be proud of their achievement, and play for a club competing at all levels.
    I think the ‘Doom Master’ had it right a couple of posts back when he said ‘ …the rest of the world hasn’t stood still since May 2015’. If we have only signed a goal keeper come September we are surely making it much harder for ourselves just to keep the status quo?

  • allezkev – Even more disturbing in an orange kilt and exposing his ginger sporran … :OOPS:

  • Hey fellas…Cheers for the compliments on the preview, but there were some glaring misses–notably no mention of (29 million pound) Firminho. The more I think about this one, the more I think Rodgers can take a nothing to lose attitude and play a very attacking line-up with the two Brazilians (Firminho and Coutinho) working off the new big fella (Benteke). So what if guys get tired? If they can get a lead they just might think they can hold it…

    I’m still pretty convinced AW will stick to his gun(ner)s and play an unchanged 11. Win the MF battle, starve the Brazilians of possession, and (hopefully) the advantage swings our way… Big pressure on all our attackers to move the ball quickly and avoid mistakes. I’m pretty sure that’s what AW means when he talks about pace (i.e., pace of the ball, not pace of the players)…

    Regardless, I think we’re looking at a very fiery start to the match and a sense of urgency from both teams. I’m very much looking forward to it–mostly to get my head away from the “wealth destruction” happening today in the financial markets. Hopefully Arsenal can avoid any carry over from this Black Monday…

    I’m very pleased that TA will be attending the match. Consider me jealous. I look forward to your takeaway and the differences that come when the cameras aren’t directing your gaze.

    Gerry, glad to see you commenting again…The T word (I’m guessing..) is transfers and I think I agree, that, regardless of the result tonight, there is a measure of pressure to buy as the end of window merry-go-round gets going. Also, you’ve got it about right regarding the youth set-up. These are subsidiary businesses (a spot to hide losses for FFP purposes) and if anybody comes through to the first team it really is a bit of a miracle. That doesn’t mean people can’t have fun scouting and speculating on the kids and where they might end up… But maybe I’m misinterpreting,,,

    Anyhow, still a bunch of hours until the match so little things to try and accomplish before kick-off.

  • We will see…

    I get to watch live again. this season we have won 100% of the games I watched live, by which I mean I was watching a tv, with the actual game on it, when it was actually being played… As opposed to my usual NZ approach of 5 am is too early…

    So, certainly, having found the game in Budapest, there must be a clear and obvious sign that …

    Or it’s all BS and actually up to the players on the field, who, until now, I thought we mostly paid to be stylish and have cool tattoos and haircuts..

    In any event, its one or the t’other..

    cheers and onto game time soon enough.. We will see… 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  • Gerry

    good to see you back..

    I sorta expect 1, hope for the DM side more than not, but Coq could restore my faith tonite! 🙂

    If we get 2 I would be happy. Three SQs or top younger talents, and I would be sad, as I would have to wake up soon! 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  • Hi Geoff, I did enjoy your ‘water’ post. I think that sometimes the team can have the odd lock gate of their own making, that can stem the free flowing stuff, particularly of the downhill nature?

    I hope your ‘live’ viewing counters my negative feeling on this one. I just have this thought we might just play the game they want us to?
    Are you anywhere near Moscow Square? I always fancied staying in the ’round’ hotel that stands overlooking the small park not far from there. That was my nearest station when I stayed there.

    As for the ‘T’ unmentionables, i am holding out for the winger … JD

    I think a draw tonight is not the end of the world, if we can get 3 points in the return fixture?


  • Gerry,

    I often have that tingle when we play top teams. That never know how it’s gonna go feeling. Will we get composed Jekyll or out of control and hammered Hyde? I am hopeful and get to watch “live” so infrequently that… And my colleague owes me at least one large glass of Villanyi wine so… I will be a little happy regardless…

    I think we can do this if we come out composed, play to plan and are patient for the breakthrough. If we dont play enough composed time then …. we could get punished

    As for Moscow Square just under the Castle district, now called Széll Kálmán tér or Szell Kalman Square. I run through there or just above it on the hills regularly … Through on way to Danube and/or Palaces, and just above when wandering along the ridges at one or another height on the hills. Lovely place and part of the city.

    cheers — jgc

  • Yes HT, I think that midfield pair will cause Coquelin plenty of trouble tonight, especially if they dispatch too many upfield in attack?

    First goal will help of course … to whichever side gets it unfortunately.

  • Per and Koz are injured .

    Petr Čech; Héctor Bellerín, Calum Chambers, Gabriel Paulista, Nacho Monreal; Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Özil, Alexis Sánchez; Olivier Giroud

    Substitutes: David Ospina, Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott

  • Then again, it might be three at the back, three in midifeld, Ozil behind the front pair?

    Strange time to try something new though?

  • Add to that, it is a defence heavy bench? If this was the Europa League I would say he wants out quick.
    I’ll go back to the first post … Get your wallet out Stan!

  • This is going to be mighty interesting – our 2 reserve CBs against Benteke……. COYG!!!!

  • Hey AB, I’ve got my personalities all mixed up tonight… Does the (luck) of off the bar equate for the terrible offside call?…

    Offense is probably our best defense tonight…

  • Hi there HT. Yes, overall we can’t complain I guess. But this could go anywhere from what we have seen so far. We could really do with scoring first and drawing them out. They will defend like nothing until then. But if they come out to us then we could murder them. Oops, another close call

  • Shakiness at the back means we’ve yet to really put a stamp on this match… In truth both teams look better going forward than defending… Le Coq, I think, got away with one right on the 18yd

  • Wow! Cech earned his pay there… So many mistakes playing out of the back…Another good save! Pool are looking the more likely to score, but only because we’re inviting them in…

  • This is a harsh lesson for Chambers. Difficult for him – he should be learning alongside an established top CB, and preferably against a lesser opponent.

  • Geezus…Coutinho hits post again…Cech got a finger to it?…

    Nil-nil seems OK for the HT break…

  • We can’t complain about the score at this point – we are lucky not to be a couple down! Not sure what we can do about the CB situation – Monreal to move in for Chambers?

  • I hate to say it but Chambers looks like he’s never played at anything faster than a light practice pace… Pump it up to Giroud,when in doubt. Worse, the failure with basic possession play seems to be contagious and beginning to affect the more experienced players.

    I don’t see AW yanking CC21, that’s a Moo (Mourinho) style move… Personally, I’d love to see Arteta in there somewhere. We look like we could use some leadership and calm out there…

    MOTM performance thus far from Cech, on the plus side…

  • A kick up the arse administered, now time to show the pool that we can play (and defend)!

  • Chambers is only, what 20, he’s still learning his trade…

    I wonder if Gabriel can speak English yet?

  • This is a good deal better…Pool warned about time-wasting…

    THAT was good chance…Alexis wide…

  • We’re dominating here so I can see the reluctance to use some subs… Still…

    Here comes Theo…

  • Is this going to work? Space for Theo?? And it isolates our midfielders to boot? Hope I’m proved wrong swiftly!

  • I dunno AB, it looks less iffy than this kid Pool are sending on… Theo hasn’t gotten a touch right as of yet, however…

  • Tired looking play from Le Coq leads to consecutive corners…

    More subs needed, I think…

  • The old Ox-Coq switch…

    Cech stood up well to the Coutinho left footer…

  • Very close to an own goal… Ox run almost gets the ball to Theo…

    Oooh Ox half volley wide…

  • Full time…Amazing that there were no goals in such an open match. Disappointing that we cannot seem to get our offense untracked on our home pitch…

  • Grief! I’m wrung out from that! I can’t fault the team or the effort. We were hugely unsettled by the loss of both CBs, and that cost us the chance to assert ourselves in the first half. Arsene will for sure complain about the disallowed goal, but thats just one of those things. Its a shame we could not score with all the opportunities in the second half – ever a worry when teams park the bus. Either side could have won it today and I can’t begrudge the point. Shame though – I think we would have won this, possibly quite comfortably, if we had not been robbed of key players at the last minute.

  • 5 games with Ramsey, Caz and Mesut as a supporting cast for Giroud at the Ems and no goals for BHF.

    But, it’s not like anyone has ever pointed out at that here.

  • On a positive note, Mr Reactive might actually go out to find a world-class striker.

    And, maybe Gooners outside Bosnia start noticing how redundant Cazorla is in this line-up.

    And, Cech is such a great purchase. Too bad he is THE purchase.

    And, Giroud is simpls not good enough to win matches like this one. Wenger should have realized by now that Kanu wouldn’t have won him the league if Henry hadn’t been there.

  • Admir, they actually scored a goal (Cazorla to Ramsey…) but it was called back… I know, I know, Santi = root of all troubles… If only I was Bosnian I could see it?…

    IMO, the disappointing player was Alexis… Still not sharp and only moving hard after giveaways (and lucky we didn’t get punished on that last one)… Theo was completely ineffective unless you count the one that Skrtl had to put out for a corner. People will like the directness of the Ox, but alas those wide shots take time off the clock at the end of the match…

    Too bad about Benzema not wanting to join the club given that we only had 2 attacking subs today… Who is this world class striker you talk of, Admir…

    We need to get back into the goal scoring, esp. in front of the home support. Does that mean a complete re-shaping of the squad? Not in my opinion, but opinions, they say, are just like arse-holes…everybody has one… 😀

  • That was a roller-coaster folks, but not a game/result that should have people wailing and gnashing their teeth. I can understand the grumbles around Giroud – I don’t share them, but I can see why people look at him and wish for TH14. But I simply don’t get anyone with a downer on Santi after the season he has had; but hey, each to their own. We should have scored, there’s no question of that (and of course we did in a sense); but then they can equally argue that they should have scored against us – perhaps even more so? What’s a real shame is that Ramsey seems to get into goal scoring habits, so a goal today would have boded well for the coming weeks.

    Insert our normal CBs and we win that game I feel sure. But in the circumstances a point is respectable. And I would prefer to dwell on how Gabby is coming on than how rusty Chambers looks in terms of our CB cover.

    Let’s not do the usual tear ourselves apart, but remember where we are in the season, and reflect on players who are coming back to fitness and form and will, I am sure, click very effectively some time very soon. And then a side is going to be on the end of a big beating.

  • Guys, I caught the second half. Should we get a new striker? We looked like we have problems scoring last night. Alexis and Cech looks really good but misplaced passes at the crucial moment let us down.

    Or should I say tonight. Its 8am here though.

  • Our defense looked shaky with Cc21 but with Gabriel deputising for Kos he looked like a rock. Good to see him covering for Chambers.

    And I had thought to myself that we have to keep on pressing till the final second. We almost scored.

  • Arsenal vs Liverpool (0-0) : When we cannot win, we better not lose. The league is long.

    Given the circumstance (2 starting CBs out of commission), this draw is a fair result.

  • The biggest challenge we have is Wenger reluctance to remove Ozil from the first eleven. If Ozil can not win us tgese matches then he must not be in the team. Ramsey is much better because he is always looking for a goal. I can’t blame the defence for they didn’t concede despite the shacky start. Giroud is not good enough.

  • Well I think JM had it spot on. A draw in the circumstances, whilst still being a disappointment, is not a disaster.
    But if that was Liverpool being ‘brilliant’, I would hate to watch them when they were poor. Any other aspiring top team would have won that game in the first half?
    More worryingly, how long does it take to get over a bad back? A couple of days, or a couple of months? The other worry is Alexis. Is he going through the same problem that BFG and Ozil had after the World Cup? Perhaps for now he should be given the Walcott role where he doesn’t have to waste energy tracking back? Along with a move inside, closer to Giroud, could just be the answer ….. but we would need someone on the left wing? :D:

  • Simba, I recommend this as a good read if you want to understand more about the ‘team game’:

    Pointing out that Ramsey always tries to score without mentioning the other ingredients that give him the opportunities, is like describing a beefburger by its sauce. Time and again last night, when Ozil had the ball there was little movement from the others. That is until they had their wake up call at half time. Ramsey’s ‘off-side’ goal was created long before he received the ball, and that includes the space he ran into. It is a team game, and that requires everyone to play their part.

  • Gerry,

    I saw the highlight and it was in-line. arghhh we would have won the match.
    It certainly felt like the Hamsters match on the opening day. Lots of chances but no goals.
    If we start Theo it would have been a different story altogether?


  • Hey guys,

    I watched a fabulous game last night and plenty to write about. Yes we did not win and that made me feel a bit down as well, but it was a tactical feast of football and we played against a very good team. So plenty to analyse and I will deal with some of the clichés that came out on here post the match as well.

    Have a great day and enjoy the moment. 😛

  • Three matches, two at home and Oilers of Arabia already have five-point advantage over us despite playing away games at Pulis and Everton.

    We might go out of title race as early as August. You don’t win Premier League with Kanus and Wiltords only.

    My take on Cazorla – I just think he is redundant unless he plays in the place of Ozil. Coquelin has acres of space to cover and it will remain that way as long as Caz is his partner. In a way, Welbeck’s absence turns out to be a major blow- he would provide extra pressure on the opponents’ back-line, pace that Giroud doesn’t have and an option for Ozil to play with.

    So, it should be one of the following:

    1) bench Cazorla, pull Ramsey back to the middle and release The Ox,

    2) bench Ozil, move Cazorla to his place, Ramsey next to Le Coq and Ox on the wing,

    3) bench Giroud, start Walcott,

    4) bench Ramsey, start Ox or Walcott,

    5) sign a winger or a striker of a world-class level or

    6) resign and let someone else do the right thing.

  • Admir – I think you are slightly over reacting. There were circumstances that made the game more difficult than it was already. I was predicting a 0-0 draw even with our best pairing of CB’s, as I was not confident we would score with our line up. So I think they did really well in the cold light of day.

    i could go on and point out some of the flaws in your list of ‘things that need to be done’, but I’ll let TA have first ‘dibs’ at that. But after just 3 games I think No 6 is a bit harsh?

  • Gerry,

    I am not too sure but aadmir is probably too harsh for numbers 1 to 6..

    I chose 3 because it is the least damning of them all.. but after such a promising preseason we went back down to earth, collecting 4 points from a maximum 9 points.. that’s less than half the points on offer.

    I would stop short of saying that’s a failure grade, but at least to the Gunners get the swagger back and dig in to ensure we get maximum points for as long as we can.


  • And we are away the Newcastle before travelling to the team that plays rugby.. we need to sort out our play quick before it really gets worse.

  • Gerry I stick to my point that Ozil is not worth the 42.5 we paid. He must be our Zidane, Rivaldo, CR7, Messi, Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, Lungberg, Bergkamp and win us the key matches. I do not need to read anything all I need is to watch football and analyze matches. This is his third season and can you point out the key games he has won us? His performance yesterday did not get us the three points and it has been like that since he came. Compare him to Gerrard and you could see that he is not worth the money and all the hype. Even when Liverpool was struggling you could see that Gerrard was their hope and match winner in many key battles.

  • Simba,
    Ozil is a very different player to Steven Gerrard and many players you compared him too.
    That said he does need to but in some stronger performances and i do agree that he has not put in enough match winning pereformances or even enough MOTM performance’s that said i think it very harsh to single him out.
    In main imo it was Liverpool’s performance that made life very hard for us last night, so credit to them sadly lol.
    I was also a very sloppy first half.
    But lets not forget that we should have won the first half and match with Ramsey goal.

    After last night is was clear to see that we need to buy a couple of players.
    It’s funny Wenger was saying the TW should be shut before the season starts, but it is him that has got the advantage now of seeing what we are missing and have a chance to buy.
    Also his point pre match that video tech should be intruduced on goals, should they or should they not be given!
    We should have won.
    The 2 best CB pairing missing was MASSIVE so on reflection a drew is not so bad.
    Though very disappointing

  • The question is , Who?
    Will there clubs sell.?
    We all know Wenger won’t just buy a player that does not improve us.

    When does the TW shut? Is it the 1st?
    Treat yourself and us fans and the club to a SQ signing

  • I am sorry Simba, I thought your point was he should be dropped, because he was the individual that did not win the game for us. Not that he carries a £42.5m price tag.
    You do realise that most of those names above would cost a whole lot more …well at their peak they would. I do not see Rooney doing a lot for Man Utd at the moment, but that is nether here nor there really. Like I said earlier, it is a team game. To pick out one individual for the team failure, no matter what price tag they carry around is just too simplistic.
    But if that is the way your mind works then fine, why not go through the whole team one by one until you only have Cech left, who saved us a point? I mean, lets damn Alexis for making fewer tackles than Ozil, gave the ball away more than anyone else, and of course, he has a £35m price? Or Chambers for being young and inexperienced – £16m wasted. Giroud for not beating off all comers in the box. And so on.

    The team is what it is. Last night they had to deal with a late change in personnel which would have thrown most teams. Not what any Arsenal fan was hoping for. At least you are in ‘good’ company, Garry Neville agrees with you, if that makes you any happier?

    That in itself, turns my stomach …

  • Well said Gerry.
    It was a very tough night for our team.
    I actually thought Ozil had a good game and got stuck in a lot more then usual.
    Enough on Ozil for me, last night was tough in so many ways really, yet we should have won 1-0 all but for a poor flagging.
    I am just watching Sol Campbell on sky sports, i must say i would really like us to sign a player of that phyisical presence ,
    I am sure Wenger sign someone or probably 2 after all so many have gone this TW
    I think he will surprise us , i really hope he does and treats himself.

  • I have just seen that John Stones has handed in a transfer request at Everton.
    Should we be thinking about signing him and keeping him away from Chelsea possible hands???
    Worth considering for sure

  • Also Victor Wanyamma is said to want to leave Southampton.
    TA and myself and many others wanted him 2 or 3 seasons ago.
    He is a very good player and totally fits the bill for what many of us are calling for in a DM.
    I say buy him. he is better then Le Coq as well and as great as he has been.
    I say bid for Victor

  • Okay then PG. That’s 1 Druissi, 1 Wanyama, and a Berahino on the Saido, and a hot Stones to follow. How will you pay for that, cash or credit card? Oh Cash, call it a round £90m then.

  • We have £200M under Arsene`s mattress anyone other than Messi and Ronaldo is buyable, just flash the cash !.
    Arsene always falls back onto the….” If a player is not for sale, we cant buy him !”…..crap. Every player ever sold was because someone paid the going rate !. We made an offer of a £ over £40M for Suarez as it was believed it was his release clause, we should have paid the proper going rate at which he was eventually sold at ……£70M ish…….we had the money, but not the manager to go that bit further .

    As for last night.
    When I saw Per and Kos out last night I expected the worst and to crawl out from behind the Sofa and find we gained a point was acceptable even from this Doomer !. hahaha
    Talking of which !……………………3 games played and we are already 5 points adrift in like for like games compared to last season !. 😆

  • Cockie,
    Just been reading your scouse comments lol
    Funny as
    Apart from in truth we robbed last night on the Rambo goal
    Dodgy scouse mob probably paid the lineman or threatened to nick his car

  • I also have to agree Wenger should splash out I want him to win
    That is what money is for. Spending
    I believe in our players and in Wenger
    But it would give our lads a lift a big lift and that’s what they we need

  • Gerry team effort is very important but in a team you need require players who win games on thier own when the going gets tough. Chambers played poorly in the first half but was ok in second. Ozil so far has been average. Just imagine we buy Benzema and ge scores 12 goals. That will be failure by any standards. The players I mentioned were match winners just lije Ozil should be. Are you saying when we bought him you expected him to be just a team player. If he cant be leys bench him and buy someone else or play someone like the OX who is more interested in scoring than just passing the ball around. How can someone like him spend the whole game without testing the keeper’s gloves. What Gary is true to some extent only that its coming from a former Utd player.

    We need a proper number 9 and another DM to help Coquelin. Wenger just also play Iwobi and be ruthless like Mourinho and sell players who are not worth their prices. Ramsey abt 5m Ozil 42.5 thats a big injustice to the fans and club

  • I like Giroud and I do believe in him.
    But just imagine we had rvp now in the peak years up front and you just wonder how good we would be right now.
    An aguro would be awesome
    Wenger will, il just have to be patient just a week left and will know what we have

  • Guys,

    I believe Le Prof’s reluctance to splash more cash left us a little light. Ok the lads have on and off days, but if everyone has off days together we are screwed.

    Any barca players available out there?

  • Guys, all the Ozil whacking is too harsh. He makes play but if your forward does not do his job you cannot blame the person who provides.

    JM, I agree that he can be compared to Juan. He is a perfect eye for a goal.

    Rumours has it that we are trying to sign forwards from Russia. I am quietly positive.


  • I came across this commentary on espnfc..

    I do not agree with everything he said. We need both stability in attack and defense. He helps us in being stable in protecting the back 4. We need someone capable of scoring.

    Is he Rambo? No I do not think so. For the past few games he has been wasteful in front of goal. So what’s the issue with playing both Theo and Giroud up front?

    Theo uses his brain more than his feet compared to Ox. So why do you AW keep playing Ox?

    Let us start Theo and Giroud together this wkend and we will see fireworks.


  • Simba @20:22 – I don’t disagree with your TW target needs, but what find difficult to accept that you can pick out a single player to win or lose any game.
    If the squad, and therefore the team sent out, has quality throughout, then yes, one player may be able to lift the others to raise their game enough to change the course of a game, particularly if they are a striker, and so may be even the result. If you accept that, then the reverse(of sorts) is also true. If the same good player relies on others to produce results from what he provides, then it is a near impossible task if they continue to fail?
    For a bit of additional info I picked up after I closed down last night, just look at the figures in the left column?:
    Not that I am claiming that Coutinho is the best in the world, but Ozil’s figures do show what he is very good at, particularly in the key areas of what a world class CREATIVE midfielder should be good at. That is where your perception of the player goes astray, imo. He was bought at the market value as being one of the top 3 or 4 creative midfielders operating in European football.
    He has not dropped his ability to produce key passes, even if the team around, for whatever reason, has not always been able to capitalise on.
    But I am not shifting the blame for failure onto another individual, namely Giroud, because he too needs the support of team mates around, either to make use of his knock downs, or draw defenders away to give him that fraction more space he requires.
    Rather than the above suggestion by PG, of a Giroud/Walcott double act, I would prefer Alexis line up behind Giroud(4-4-1-1) and have the freedom to roam the width of the box where he is most dangerous? Walcott is probably better running into space, but that is little help to Giroud?

    However, if the TW gossip is to believed(fill in your own expletive here), then help may be on the way?
    BTW, I am only continuing this discussion while awaiting the NP signal?

  • Gerry,

    Given either ozil or Alexis in the central behind Giroud everyone else must do their job..

    I am not sure about PG, but for me why I put Theo there is because he finds spaces to run into and that makes a lot of difference for those who are trying to find bodies to pass to.

    And Gerry, yes, I need to believe that we need someone coming in to help us.


  • JK – Interesting link, but the key flaw in the piece, imo, comes in the the middle. Where it says that ‘Ramsey having to play out wide …’ He doesn’t.
    He has no automatic selection to say he has to play. It is AW’s decision to play him out wide. I think the balance would not be badly affected if Ox took that wide right role permanently. Well at least as long as he can fully utilise his skills out there, and perfect the role.

    However, when the article does finally get around to talking about Coquelin’s role, which the headline might have suggested was the theme. In reality, it is more of how best to fit Ramsey into the side? But as I said, when they finally get around to it, they have a point. One which 17HT, I think?(it might have been the Prof, or both?) has made before, and that the problem of Coquelin’s inclusion causes, is that it requires two players in the DM role. That then reduces number of strikers/attacking midfielders your can have, than say in the 4-1-4-1 or 4-1-3-2 line ups. We have seen this frequently late on, that the gamble to take off Coquelin for a more attacking threat, is I suspect more to do with the above that Coquelin tiring?

    Now whether the answer is to get a Presence!(@the Prof) so you can start with a more aggressive attack, via a midfielder, winger, or striker and It is an attractive idea, but not without its own questions?
    Yes, you could play Ramsey in his best role, make full use of his energy running from deep positions, and you could keep Cazorla as the deeper lying creative mid. You would however more likely lose him(Santi) in those late changes for a more goal scoring threat, or indeed, if that was the new starting line up?
    Rotation would be key, and something we have hardly been in a position to do as a positive change, rather than a reactive change(hence all the comments about Chambers looking ill prepared?), since the WHA debacle. That, may I remind you, possibly came about because of the imbalance caused by AW trying to ‘fit in’ the best players, rather than the best team regards to balance … ie, the one that went well in pre-season?

    Once again it does show how advance our ‘Prof’ is ahead of Arsenal’s ‘Le Prof’, as, along with his ‘water’ theme, his top two acquisitions in this TW would be a DM and a striker/winger?

    Let’s hope that Arsene can catch up?

  • Sorry JK, I should have scrolled up to check I was quoting the right person.

    I know what you are saying about Theo, and I agree. The point I was making that it does not really help Giroud. Having Alexis in close attendance, and moving away from Giroud would take defenders with him. Theo more or less make Giroud redundant, as you want another quick footed player to find space in the middle. Alexis perhaps, but not as the target man in the way we use Giroud.
    I think we are still looking for the right combination up front that will change according to how the opposition are expected to play? That too applies to the midfield of course.

    Can I just clear up one point on Zelalem on the previous post that you made.

    I think he has made great strides in the last 6 months, but his biggest battle is with himself. To my mind he is at his best when he knows he is the one the team needs to deliver. Now he has to convince himself that that is the case, no matter who else he is playing alongside, and not just pass to them because they want him to. HE has to choose the best option because HE is the better player. If he can do that he will be fine. But I still think the timing sucks 😀

    The good news on that, is that it is not a season long loan. Rangers can apply for an extension, but it depends on his game time. The other is that their manager was the brains behind the NextGen series for the Under 19’s, so he should know how to develop young players one would think?
    Cheers, I am off dog walking now ..

  • Gerry,

    Yes. I agree. However in those games where we need tall players in the box to put in crosses rather than short passes, we need Giroud.

    The problem is not that crosses are not coming in. They are, but Giroud being the tallest player gets crowded out by defenders. With shorter players like Theo up front can you hoof the ball to him? Nope unfortunately. We need more passes to find spaces to shorter players forward. That is unproductive.

    For us we need to pray that Welbeck suddenly gets his legs healed and starts acting like Alexis. Within a few days he gets up to speed and starts up front in place of Giroud. He scores a hat trick, and keeps his place up front for the rest of the season. I am dreaming again but yes we need Welbeck.


  • New Post, New Post…

    Unfortunately, TA is a very busy boy these days so no match report. Hopefully he’ll have a little time to write up his thoughts after he attends the Newcastle match on Saturday.

    I’m under the weather myself and stressed…Alas, Black Monday morphed into Turn Around (And Down) Tuesday. Now we’ve got We’ll See Wednesday…

    So, sorry about the place-holding post, but there you go…

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