Chelsea – Arsenal: Match Preview, Predicted Line-up. Early Season Showdown and a Chance for

London’s Biggest Clubs to Get Their Seasons Going.

Instead of shoving one another, maybe you guys need to give your teams a shove…

Chelsea, the defending league champions, have not exactly gotten off on the best foot in the new season.  Played 5, Won 1, Lost 3, and Drawn 1, 4 points total.  Arsenal have done better and sit on 10 points in the league but still have failed to convince.  In our first mid-week match, with manager Arsene Wenger attempting to rotate deeper into his squad, Arsenal fell at the first hurdle, losing 2-1 in their Champions League opener at Dinamo Zagreb.  Chelsea won their midweek CL match 4-nil at their home stadium vs Maccabi Tel Aviv and will be feeling that little bit of momentum Arsenal were hoping to gain on their travels.  Regardless, both teams have yet to hit a convincing winning stride, making this match a real opportunity for both to get their seasons back on the right track.

Who will take that chance and how will Wenger and Mourinho approach the match?

Chelsea are having less trouble getting goals than keeping them out of their own net, having conceded a whopping 12 goals in their first five league matches.  A couple of stalwart defenders, notably John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic, appear shadows of their former dominant selves.  Additionally, an early season suspension to goalkeeper Thibaut Cortois was followed by an injury which will likely keep him out until the new year.  Asmir Begovic, his replacement, gave up three a week ago at Everton, making the off-season transfer of Petr Cech our way loom all the larger.

Cech, making his first appearance at Stamford Bridge since the transfer, is on a run of three clean sheets in the league.  Those couple of mistakes in the home opener vs West Ham United have almost been forgotten.  How sweet would another clean sheet be?   Against his former club, it would be that much tastier.

Chelsea will be missing a couple of their paciest players, Willian and new acquisition Pedro, through injury.  Eden Hazard and Diego Costa have yet to find the scoring form of the title winning season but surely will lead the Chelsea attack with Oscar and former Gunner, Cesc Fabregas, tucked in just behind.  These players, while perhaps not bringing the pace of the injured pair still have tremendous experience including a high degree of cynicism.  Arsenal will need to be on full alert for all their tricks.  We’ll counter with our Spanish fullbacks, Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin, both rested in midweek and Francis Coquelin who only came on as a sub.  The real question is whether Per Mertesacker, sidelined with for several matches with a virus, will come back in for Gabriel and partner Laurent Koscielny?  I think he might.

Further forward, Arsenal’s biggest issue thus far this season is taking goals from the myriad chances we have created.  Olivier Giroud has scored two in the league as has another guy with the same initials named “own goal.”  Theo Walcott, who scored a very well taken goal in midweek, also got one in our last match vs Stoke.  That’s it, however, and five goals in five matches, only three taken by our own players, means we really haven’t gotten our shooting boots on straight.  Wenger’s call for more goals from midfield has, thus far at least, gone unanswered.

So, Arsenal’s stuttering offense vs Chelsea’s porous rearguard?  Is that the shape of this one?  I rather think it isn’t.  Yes, Arsenal might do well trying to keep the ball away from Chelsea’s midfield, while always staying alert for their counterattacks, but, given the points totals of both teams in the early league race, a draw is clearly a much better result for us than for Chelsea.  It’s not really in our DNA to try and play for a nil-nil but my bet is that if the score is level late on, we will not be pushing too hard for a winner.

So, back to basics, back to our most proven group.  As such, here’s the starting 11 I think will take the pitch at the Bridge.

Bench: Ospina, Gabriel, Gibbs, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud, Campbell

But, what do I know?  It’s just a guess, really, and I think there are cases to be made for the inclusion of certain players, notably Giroud–who might have learned a lesson in midweek about just playing on and ignoring the referee.  (Mike Dean will have the whistle for this one.)  Giroud is also a very welcome presence as the focal point for our attack and as a big impediment for the opponent at set pieces.  Likewise, it seems harsh on Gabriel to put our Big F**king German back into the line-up given how well the Brazilian has played.  Still, with the Chelsea attack bound to be on the less pacy side, and with the cynicism of Diego Costa (and other divey types like Hazard, Oscar, and–I hate to say it–Cesc…) I worry about Gabby’s combative tendencies luring him into trouble against such ‘tactics.’  The experience (and size) of Mertesacker shades it for me.

So, there you go.  It’s a tough task, made even tougher by the fact that a Wenger team has never won against a Mourinho side (in the regular season at least) and that the Chavs will know that a win against us could get their season back on track.  To counter this we’ll need full commitment, and a performance which expresses our ample quality combined with complete professionalism.  A little bit of luck wouldn’t hurt, either.

What say you, fellow Gooners?  Give us your thoughts and feelings heading into this one.  How big a match is it?  Who would you play? Do you fancy our chances across town at Stamford Bridge?

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

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63 Responses to Chelsea – Arsenal: Match Preview, Predicted Line-up. Early Season Showdown and a Chance for

  1. allezkev says:

    Good post 17…

    Agree with the team, except that I don’t think BFG will be ready for this one and I’d guess the visit to the Spuds will be his return, imo…

    So Gabriel to start…

    If you gave me a draw now, I’d take it…
    And that’s what I think it’ll be…

  2. AB says:

    Evening HT – excellent scene setter. I fully agree with your selection, subject to whether the BFG is fit – though I think Debuchy on the bench (prob instead of Campbell) would be the more prudent/likely backup. We need leadership on the pitch, every ounce we can muster, and Mert provides some of this – when on form. Cech, Coq and Rambo will also bring some steel. Everything about this game from seasons past would suggest a disappointing day tomorrow. I can’t say I have any feel ‘in my waters’ on the outcome, but I genuinely feel that our 11 is a proper match for theirs. How we deal with the pressure of the legacy of failure against the Chavs will be the interesting part; can we show a mature and controlled performance, or will our desire to win lead to the habitual naive attacking which costs us on the break? Bellerin apart, our team should have the experience to rise above this, but…….

    Its easy to always look at the next game as though its the most important in the whole season. In truth, this is probably the league game I would most prize a win from. But like AK, I’d settle for a draw right now if offered. Its going to be a nervous morning for me tomorrow.

  3. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey AK & AB, Thanks for reading… It looks like my punt on the BFG isn’t going to pan out as the most recent report says he’s not quite ready to start a match… Ah well, Gabriel has been playing well, I’m just a little concerned about a guy like Costa luring him into something which Mike Dean might censure…

    Yeah, a draw suits us fine, but Chavs have really been out of sorts so I say let’s grab all the points… 😀

    No nervous morning for me as kickoff is 4:45 am out here… :O

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for another fine preview, Seventeenho. 🙂

    This is quite a game for us. It will be a test of our bouncebackability, of the size and firmness of our team bollocks. Tomorrow we will find out whether the loss against Zagreb was a blessing in disguise or the first blow that led to reduced confidence, which in turn leads to giving the Chavs an easy victory.
    The midweek game has given us another good indication that we are not good at rotation more than one or two players. It is hard to keep momentum going with so many changes, even with the size and experience of our squad. But tomorrow Wenger will put out his strongest team and I don’t think he needs to do a lot to get them focussed or motivated.
    The Chavs had an easy game on Wednesday and were able to get a few PL misfiring stars on the scoresheet. So they will be confident and Maureen will be desperate to use this game to get momentum and get one over Wenger once more.
    We need to make sure we are not too over eager tomorrow. Key is to remain solid and not attack them with too many players at once. The starting point has to be that we don’t want to lose, that a draw is enough, and just see whether we can take one or two of our chances when they come our way. I have a feeling, or is that hope, that our Chilean Bruce Lee will get in some good positions tomorrow and might finally get on the scoresheet. Furthermore, our fearless Theo might also put one away. But, before we get carried away, let’s not forget that we need a solid defensive performance from the whole team. Conceding first would be a big blow, so let’s avoid this at any cost.
    My first eleven for this game is Cech, Bellerin, Monreal, Koz and BFG (if fit), otherwise Gabriel, with Coq and Rambo in midfield and Ozil, Sanchez and Theo in front of them and OG as our CF. But I reckon, Arsene will keep Theo or OG on the bench, so he has a good alternative ready if necessary.
    I don’t have BT Vision, so it will be hard to get to watch the game live. This is not one of those games I look forward to watching any way, as there is a decent chance we end up on the losing side. I am hoping for a win, but even more than that, I am hoping for a mature team performance on which we can build further.

  5. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. 17ht another great post..
    First.. I must say that Wenger is change.. He surprised me with his team against Zagreb.. He bench at least 5 first team players not included Walcott.. Something that we never ever seen before.. Although the result isn’t so good..but we can still believe that we will through from that CL group as usual.. Hehehe..
    He put tonight game more important than Championship qualification.. And I agree 100%.. Beating Chelsea in Stamford Bridge is the biggest dream of all Gunners.. And we will make that dream come true.. Hohohoho..

    Second.. Gabriel will play as long as he keep give us his best effort.. Even if Mertesacker back.. And I think Koscielny can find his best perform because Gabriel was as good as him to cover our back.. Koscielny will scores a lot of goals this season..

    Giroud.. I said before.. And I still believed in what I though.. That he just can’t shine in CL.. Not because he’s bad.. Some players just don’t have their luck in CL..
    But I believe that this season.. In PL.. Giroud will score more goal than last season.. More than 20 goals.. Hehehe.

    Finally.. Let’s face our brighter future.. Starting from tonight.. We will bring back our victory.. To be the number one.. Believe it friends.. It will happen.. VCC..

  6. FL08 says:

    Great preview (as always) 17!

    Should be an interesting match. I’ve set my expectations low for these big matches so I won’t feel too disappointed if we suffer a loss but after the earlier season loss to West Ham, 3 points would get Arsenal back on track.

    If Per is fit to play (which I understand is still questionable), I would like to see him start alongside Koscielny. Though I’m not too concerns about Arsenal defensively as Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Moreal and Coquelin have been fantastic thus far.

    In attack I am hoping Walcott gets the nod over Giroud. I think Walcott’s extra mobility creates the potential for greater interchanging of positions between Sanchez and Walcott and Walcott and Ramsey throughout the match which makes Arsenal a more threatening prospect than when Giroud occupies the centre forward role.

    As I have mentioned previously, I’ve been somewhat underwhelmed by Ramsey, Ozil and Alexis’ contributions thus far and I’m hoping to see some more: lateral interchanging of positions between Sanchez and Walcott and Walcott and Ramsey; vertical interchanging of positions between Ozil and Walcott, Ozil and Ramsey and Ozil and Sanchez; off the ball runs behind the opposition’s defence; as well as some more risk taking with Arsenal final pass.

    If we can do that I think we can really cause Chelsea problems and secure the 3 points.

  7. JM says:

    Match referee: Mike Dean
    PL matches in 2014/2015 involving Arsenal: Arsenal(home) 1-2 Man. Utd.(away), Man. City(home) 0-2 Arsenal(away), Burnley(home) 0-1 Arsenal(away), Man.Utd(home) 1-1 Arsenal(away)

    4th official: Michael Oliver

    ====

    My starting team:

    Bench:
    Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Arteta, The Ox, Giroud

  8. Gerry says:

    Good morning HT, I think you will have your 11 from 11, despite the leaked misgivings. You have also hit the key points that will affect outcome, and spot on with the tone in the preview.
    Great stuff.
    Do I think we will win with the team selected? Well that depends …

    Here is my briefest look back to the midweek game for a clue. There was an instant that sticks in my mind in the first half against Dinamo …. The ball gets played to Ozil just inside our half. He is ahead of Gibbs, but with 5 or 6 Arsenal players ahead of him. For 4, 5, 6 seconds, nobody moved.
    Finally, one made a dart towards their box, but by which time Ozil had given up and played it inside, because not one of the others had moved!

    If they go into this game with the attitude of … ‘Oh, good, Ozil’s got the ball, now some thing will happen’ … but it doesn’t include them to do anything? Then frankly, we will get stuffed and deservedly so.
    No ‘P’ and ‘A’ here TA, I just disagree with you on rotation. The rotation was necessary long term. We cannot go through the next few months with midweek games without it. The players that came in were more than capable. How they played, particularly in the first half wasn’t. Perhaps one can forgive Giroud for thinking that he had been dropped into the reserve team, except he too, was part of the problem.

    That said, the danger is they will over-compensate this lunchtime. So picking up on HT’s point on Mertersacker v Gabriel, and the pair v Costa., and the onlooker with the whistle being Mike Dean, I think the ‘safest’ choice is Per. He rarely upsets referees, whereas Costa does. That is half the battle. What we will miss is Gabby’s pace. But the idea that either Costa or Gabby will back down from the physical battle over 90 minutes, and neither getting booked and/or sent off is playing with fire, imo.
    That does affect the team in a big way unfortunately. Bellerin will have far more defending to do, covering for Per’s lack of pace. Therefore the team will have no width down the right side?
    I like JM’s tweak on positioning with the same 11, by having Ramsey helping out Coquelin more with the deeper position. It sends a message to him that the ‘free’ role is not for today, rather more selective runs from deep, which, imo, is where he does better with his links with Ozil. Santi will still be Coquelin’s release ball, and in this game his priority will be ‘defence first’. If he goes marauding upfield like he did in the last league game, against this stronger opposition (going forwards) then Cech will be very busy indeed.
    The bonus of Le Coq staying back should mean a bit more freedom for Monreal to get forwards and link with the pace up front. However the pace up front has got to be used sensibly. They neither are battering rams that can get through a crowded middle. Being ready to strike when we get a turnover ball in our half is the way to go. Either played up with sharp passing and good movement, or the delicate ball over the top for variety. Patience will be key, from players and fans alike. No stupid passing direct to the opposition. No gung ho, everybody forward at a drop of a hat. No leaving it to a team mate to do it. Be responsible!
    Discipline from back to front will win the day, and why Per gets my vote this time. Gabby against Spurs? Probably.
    Will we win? How will they play? …. We will know before the 3 o’clock kick offs.
    Cheers

  9. FL08 says:

    Sensational stuff Gerry! 100% agree. As much as I think Ramsey is a natural goal scorer and off the ball runner, maybe he is better suited to that deeper central midfield role and making selective runs from deep. Certainly a central midfield trio of Coquelin, Ramsey and Cazorla would seem to have all attributes covered.

    JM, I love that line up. I’m just imagining Ozil drifting across from the right wing and into the No.10 spot to feed Walcott or Sanchez when we counter attacking.

  10. shrillex says:

    I have a feeling AW might tuck Ramsey into a midfield trio like he did against M.City last season. If so, it would be interesting to see how the front 3 ends up. Will Ozil play on the right wing with Alexis and Walcott completing the front 3, or will Wenger change to a 4312 formation to accommodate Ozil. Or will he start Chambo instead of Ozil on the right. Whatever it is, it’s going to be an entertaining match, with London being painted red by the end of it. COYG!

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry,

    I am not saying it was wrong to make so many changes; I am saying we are rubbish at it.

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Shrilley 🙂

    How are you doing?

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Where does this idea that Gabriel is easier to provoke come from? Last week’s self defence against the Orcs? In my view, he has a fab balance between aggression and discipline and hope he’ll play today. He will turn Costa into a decaf skinny latte! 🙂

  14. shrillex says:

    How’s it going TA? I’m all fine and dandy. Been busy for the past few months and it was a shame I couldn’t comment here more often, though I’ve still been reading the posts.

    Loving Gabriel at the moment. Shows promise and I love his aggression, and I agree, he shows the prefect balance between aggression and discipline. Can’t say I didn’t enjoy his elbow against Arnoutovic

  15. Admir says:

    Excellent preview, 17. I agree that a point az SB wouldn’t be such a bad thing even if the momentum is hardly on Chavs’ side.

    Begovic – despite some brilliant saves he has delivered- is not a world-class keeper in the bracket of Cech and Courtois. He tends to concede goals from the outside of the box (De Bruyne’s goal for Belgium against Bosnia and Naismith’s for Everton last week are good examples) and he usually leaves his near post free (Kompany’s goal is the most recent example) which might be a chance for Koscielny to open his account.

    Ivanovic is going through Maicon-like decline. Montero destroyed him in the first league match of the season in a similar fashion he had done it to Chambers last season. His compatriot Kolarov made number of overlaps to create chances for Aguero. Pacey wingers of Crystal Palace roasted him for fun too. That’s where we might miss Welbeck today. Alexis can roast Ivanovic but he prefers to cut inside unlike Montero who uses width of the pitch. Perhaps Monreal – who had created the best chance for us in that 0:0 draw in the last league match between the sides – might exploit Ivanovic’s presence. Of course, Mourinho might decide to avoid that by switching Azpilicueta – who was hard done by The Ox in CS- to his natural position and play Rahman on the left.

    Terry still learns how to communicate with Begovic and that’s where his lack of pace gets exposed. Cahill also looks like a shadow of himself from the last season. Zouma is pacey and might be Mourinho’s solution for Theo.

    Matic goes through a rather poor season as well, mostly because he is forced to share the midfield with Cesc The Invisible Pussy Fabregas.

    Their right side of the attack is puzzling. Willian works a lot without the final product. Pedro is an excellent player with a bad personality which is why he is perfect for Maureen. Neither is likely to play today. Ramires is the one who likes to play against us which is well-known to Le Coq..

    Oscar is an enigma. He can be the worst on the pitch and the best one during the same game.

    Hazard – he is one of the best in the world. Extremely quick-thinking, he knows how to draw foula without getting injured despite playing almost every bloody minute under Maureen. Bellerin will have to be at his best, as well as our right winger.

    Diego Costa is a scoundrel. We have to cut the supply-line to him. Kos must play much better than he did in Zagreb.

    A 1:0 victory for us with a goal from, say, Rambo would return us in the battle for the title.

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to hear it, Shrill. When is the big sister taking you to London for a shopping spree again, so you can watch the Gunners once more? 🙂

  17. JM says:

    Starting team (Arsenal):
    Cech; Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey; Ozil, Alexis, Walcott.

    Bench:
    Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Chambers, Arteta, The Ox, Giroud.
    (Mertesacker absent)

    Starting team (Chelsea):
    Begovic; Ivanovic, Zouma, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Hazard, Oscar, Pedro; Costa.

    Bench:
    Blackman, Terry, Mikel, Ramires, Loftus-Creek, Remy, Falcao.
    (Pedro passed fitness and starts)

  18. Admir says:

    Nobody watching this?

    We have been somewhat sloppy in possession so far and our first touch hasn’t been the best either. On the other hand, I have a feeling we might make something in the attack. Our defenders do their job well.

    Santi already has a yellow card and should be replaced by The Ox. The Spaniard can’t afford himself a foul anymore – he let Hazard fly by him in order not to receive a second yellow card.

  19. 17highburyterrace says:

    Almost as predicted… 😦

    Gonna be a long 2nd half, I fear…

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Well played Diego Costa… But a real shame that we’ve given the match away so stupidly… Not sure how AW can reconfigure to try and keep the nil-nil but getting Per and Giroud in seems key…

    Very, very disappointing. We were defending pretty well. Going forward only Ozil and maybe Coquelin seemed to be playing well. I realize Admir blames Santi for everything but I thought he was doing OK in his spot… Now we probably must sacrifice him to get Mert in, so maybe all will be right in the universe…

    This sucks…

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Announcers saying it’s a 3 match ban?

    And now, to top things off, Le Coq is off (injured) and BFG was just window dressing as Chambers comes on?…

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    1 nil on the set piece… Surely it’s Santi’s fault for not being tall enough… 😦

    An improvement if we keep it under 6-nil?…

    Also, please pardon me for posting as TA above…Computer troubles in this very early, very disappointing morning…

  23. Admir says:

    Mertesacker is not in the squad.

    And, I don’t blame Cazorla for everything. I just think he is a luxury when we are on our back foot.

    Dean and Costa deserve each other.

  24. AB says:

    Like a car crash re-run in slow motion. Horrible.

  25. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oooh Alexis whiffs from very close on a bouncer… At some point people might start to recognize just how poorly he’s been playing…Maybe?…

    Sorry, I find this all very discouraging…Will try to buck up my ideas at some point I’m sure…

  26. AB says:

    We are still trying. More likely to ship a second on the break I fear. But there is some spirit still which is as it should be

  27. 17highburyterrace says:

    Pardon me, Admir…Very early morning here and I thought I saw his (BFG’s) name amongst the subs…

    On the other hand, consider me on board with those who believe we might’ve bought a decently experienced CM/CB in the window to challenge the likes of Chambers and Arteta/Flamini… Kos, with back troubles, needs a rest too…

    Announcers are saying the red was a straight red not a second yellow, hence the 3 match ban…

  28. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not too shabby that they can bring in Ramires…

    Santi did nicely leading the break there…Theo just couldn’t slide the ball to Rambo whose run had zero angle…

  29. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chambers in the book…Not quite the level of indiscipline Gabby showed and it least it was in the flow of the match… He needs to play clean the rest of the way as he’ll be a starter vs Totts and who knows how many more…

  30. 17highburyterrace says:

    If Dean doesn’t give that penalty isn’t it a dive? A 2nd yellow would seem deserved for Mr. Costa…

    Ox and Giroud on for Ozil and Alexis… Interesting, I think… Gonna try to nick an equalizer I guess…

    Corner coming…

  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    …To nothing…

    Man oh man, if Theo could dribble, he’d be ok…

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    Santi legs too short, but well sold by Cesc… Down to 9…

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well done Ox not to fall for more Costa afters… Ridiculous that Dean has made his calls all in one direction… Costa pulled off…Moo-man makes a good call there… This Chavs team re-inventing cynicism…but they needed the points, I guess… Desperate times and all that…

  34. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow…Good stomp by Kos on Hazard…No card?…

  35. 17highburyterrace says:

    AB, Admir, where’ve you guys gone…I would’ve posted in the first half (back when it was a match) but my ‘puter had gone sensitive on the keyboard….Every stroke was a yellow or something…

    2-nil,on the deflection… This one’s done but for the handshake…Sacrificial squad in midweek but Leicester away is a tough one too…

  36. 17highburyterrace says:

    Rambo could’ve used that goal…Begovic stood up well…. Hazard credited at the other end…

    Alright…fun times coming to Goonersville… 😦

  37. AB says:

    glad its done

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    This is football, I guess, but consider me extremely unimpressed. Mike Dean gets this match because he’s considered one of the best…As bad as Gabriel gets his ego hooked by his (former) countryman, Dean got his hooked by his own massive ego… Really, really poor… The Santi double yellow was just as capricious… A double sending off at the end of the half would’ve been a LOT more enjoyable (not to mention a version of ‘right’…)

    Now we’re really up against it until the Int’l break and–beyond the CoC match, which, of course, will still get the North London ‘ard nuts plenny riled, we need to get all available points. Given the narratives coming out of the TW–and the possible injury to Le Coq (in addition to surgery for Wilshere, Welbeck and Rosicky) it’s a very big ask…

    Regardless, my advice is to (try and) enjoy your weekend…

  39. allezkev says:

    Never mind Diego Costa, Jose Mourinhos key player was Mike Dean.
    And he didn’t disappoint…

  40. FL08 says:

    Disappointing result versus Chelsea and whilst Mike Dean had a horrible match from a referring point of view, I’m more disappointed with the lack of discipline/intelligence of some players (i.e. Cazorla and Gabriel). Everyone knows Costa is a grub and a persistent niggler. Gabriel though needed to better control himself in the situation and focus on football. Similarly Cazorla needed to be a smarter in his tussle with Fabregas, given he was already on a yellow card.

    Its hard to assess how Arsenal actually played as Gabriel’s sending off really changed the match. That said, the defending for Zouma’s goal was pretty amateurish.

    Yes the results versus Zagreb and Chelsea have been disappointing and yes the refereeing in both matches has been similarly underwhelming but Arsenal need to move on and focus on the next match against Spurs.

    I would love the see team JM suggested and in that configuration versus Spurs. Maybe with Ox replacing Ramsey (who looks total out of form) in the centre of midfield.

    Will Cazorla and Gabriel be suspended for the Spurs match (i.e. do suspensions in the Premier League apply in the League Cup)?

  41. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey FLO…

    I’m pretty sure the CoC matches count…meaning Santi will be available at Leicester. Gabby’s (incredibly) was a straight red, but we should be able to appeal that one. To me, however, if the BFG is still alive (he’ll be needed at Spurs, Kos looks knackered–and very poor at the 1st goal….) he’ll get his place back as a starter… Gabby’s level of indiscipline will be punished by the manager, I think… That extra shove as he was ushering the attack out of play (earlier) didn’t help his cause…

    If we’re gonna criticize Rambo for lack of form, I think the spotlight must also shine on Alexis. I know fans love his hustle, but, my Dennis, Alexis has become soooo predictable AND he whiffed a chance that would have people calling for Giroud’s head had it been the bigger man. Like Theo would say, at least he was in position to miss it…

    Between the suspensions and the action in the TW–this time I mean all the younger players out on loan–we’ll be seeing rotation but not towards younger players. Ospina, Debuchy, Chambers (BFG,if alive) and Gibbs… Big question is whether Le Coq injury sub was just a precaution… Arteta and Flamini might both have to play (!)… So, average age of 30 amongst the rearguard? It’s not quite that extreme as Ospina only looks old…

    Leicester already down two goals so–unless they can make another 3 goal comeback–they’ll be looking for some points back on their home ground next weekend…

  42. njk84sg says:

    Guys,

    That was why i said if BFG is ready he should play instead of Gabby.

    I feel that Le Prof has lost it. No more the master tactician.

    Your feel guys?

    Cheers,
    JK

  43. 17highburyterrace says:

    JK, Mertesacker was not on the bench, so, not ready… You’re ready to put Gabriel out to pasture after this one, Chambers after the Liverpool match and Wenger should be gone, too… (Or maybe he’s just “lost it” but you’d keep him?…)

    Good luck with all that…

    Seems easier just to pick a new team to support… (Hint, ManCity are playing West Ham here in a moment…)

    Cheers,
    17

  44. 17highburyterrace says:

    I realize that perspective is not an easy thing to maintain, but we should remember that we’re still ahead of Chavs in the table…

    Like I said above, lots of pressure in these upcoming matches but so it goes. A certain (very vocal) section of the support believes we should win all matches at a canter regardless of the bounce of the ball or the (absurd) blow of the whistle… Leicester was able to come back (again, from 2 goals down) for a draw today (at Stoke) and play at home on Tuesday in the CoC while we have “derby drama” on Wednesday (and precious few bodies for real rotation)… It will take a good performance–over the full 90–to take full points up there…

    FLO8 is correct… Bad refereeing happens–and Arsenal have been well victimized by it in these last couple of matches. That said, both Giroud on Weds and Gabirel today had large roles in their own downfalls…

    The thing about being a ref is that it takes a very odd type of person to go into that line of work. Ideally they should be firm and fair but they should NEVER let their egos take over…Wenger (post-match) is right that Dean should be ashamed of himself… (Or is that another sign that he has ‘lost’ it… I can’t really comment to Wednesday’s ref in Croatia but a straight red for a half-hearted flamingo kick seems really poor…

    That said, Arsenal have a leadership issue. Where is the (more experienced) player to step in and guide Gabriel to the half-time whistle? Coquelin (on a gimpy knee) tried, but where was Alexis…He’s played enough South American football to get a few words of Portuguese in to try and keep Gabby’s head from exploding…

  45. AB says:

    Hi again 17; sorry to be in and out on the site – joys of small children mean precious little time clear at the weekend. Very frustrating day – on another occasion we would be saying its just one of those days. But to happen at the chavs just makes it worse – we can’t always have one of those days there……

    Gabby will learn from this. And I hope coq is not damaged beyond the second half. Those are pretty much my only thoughts form here. Onwards and put the crap behind us. It wasn’t 6 nil, and we played with some pride and zero luck. I will enjoy a glass tonight, but it won’t ruin my weekend.

  46. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nice AB… 😀

    Yeah, I could use a little (intelligent) chat… On that note, apologies to JK. I shouldn’t sink to the level of telling people to support other clubs. Further apologies for pointing towards Citeh as they’re a goal down to West Ham early on. Pellegrini must not know his tactics and (perhaps) has lost it?…

    Just as the Prince didn’t sack him last year when they fell way (way) off the title chase, I think he’s unlikely to knee jerk him for giving up that first goal of the season…

    My point… Again… a little (real world) perspective might be something to try…

  47. Admir says:

    So, Wenger has told us that Coquelin has a little knee injury. Knowing how it turned out to be with Welbeck, expect Le Coq out for six months and terrible results with either Arteta or Flamini in front of our back four. That’s what you get when you think that you are smarter than anyone else. We should have signed a proper cover for Le Coq but we didn’t. Mr Arrogance has bitten his own ass with his desire to play economics during the transfer window instead of adding players.

    BTW, Sajid Huseinovic – who had played with Oezil at Werder – said that Mesut had told him before the game against Dinamo Zagreb that he hadn’t known who Arsenal would play against in the Champions’ League. Is there anyone in our bloody club that knows how to work their job? Wenger who isn’t capable of finding a single outfield player to sign. Medical staff who cripples our players. Scouts that don’t do their job properly. Attacking line that needs 20 shots per one goal. Defence that concedes goals on a regular basis. Owner that doesn’t give a damn about the club.

    All that being said, I don’t blame Wenger a little bit for today’s defeat. Today was all about that professional killer with the whistle named Mike Dean who was 12th Chelsea player today and Diego Costa’s bodyguard. Chelsea would have never scored a goal if Gabriel hadn’t been sent off. 11 on 11 they created nothing, they were toothless and poor. Even when they were gifted undeserved advantage in numbers they didn’t create too much, most of their attacks were broken just outside the box. They are such a crappy team with a crappy manager and crappy and creepy leading striker.

    If there is a single silver lining, it’s that even Wenger can’t field Cazorla regardless of whether Santi deserves to play or not. He is a luxury player when Coquelin is not out there to do the physical part of the game. I’m afraid that as soon as Santi returns we will see that terrible axis Arteta-Santi that was outplayed at Maksimir against Dinamo and that our results will be similar to the ones from the last season.

  48. 17highburyterrace says:

    Admir… I sense a little frustration… 😀 I’ve got plenty myself, too…

    I’d argue with some of the individual points but I’m keeping an eye on the City-WHU match, poised on a knifes edge… As much as this match might be an advert for the English game, ours was most certainly not…

    This is my theory: AW is an optimist and a bit of a paternal type, whereas many a supporter see things through a prism of pessimism and a (natural) distance from the players themselves. Some managers put an arm around the player–as AW will surely do with Gabby and as he did by sending Chambers back out in the 2nd period vs Liverpool…Others, like our friend JK, above, would have them euthanized even if we are between transfer windows…

    I don’t think we ought to lump Jack and Danny and Le Coq together quite yet in the physio room but maybe that puts me into the irrational optimist group…Also, I think it’s not the worst sign (about the physio team) that guys made a point to give them hugs in our FA cup romp last spring. That said, I’m on record as believing it wouldn’t have been too difficult to beef up our rear of midfield/front of defense personnel during the TW. I would tend to believe that the news about Jack’s injury wasn’t quite so dire at the time. But maybe that makes me a gullible one… Additionally, it should be noted, fans would have been none too pleased if we’d bought another Chambers or Arteta type (at inflated prices) as the window closed. That fellow at Sevilla (or another in that higher price bracket…) would have needed a guarantee for immediate first team action, of course, which might’ve been a disservice to Le Coq…

    I’m pleased you place today’s blame where it belongs and note just how crap (and inherenly evil) Moo and his main striker are. I also think it’s good you note the bottom-line focus of our owner. He was brought in by the board (who listened to AW in selecting him) but our situation as the stadium was completed (and the real estate bubble popped) was quite dire. Kroenke didn’t saddle the team with debt but he also is clearly risk averse when it comes to big money spending and more focused on building up his number than winning things. Inappropriate in sports ownership, but not in the Capitalist game, I fear.

    So, frustration = fine by me; Ability to note some real elements of the situation = even better…

    🙂

  49. Admir says:

    I don’t blame Wenger so much for being human to Arteta. I love Mikel and I believe there is some justice in the fact we have started winning trophies again once he – humble person who has taken a lot of sacrificies during his time at Arsenal – has taken the armband. Same goes for Chambers. The kid has had one bad game but that shouldn’t chalk off all that potential he has already shown.

    What I don’t get is lack of desire to change. The Polish lad from Sevilla was never a realistic target (he has stated that in the same manner as Benzema) but Schneiderlin was a perfect addition. He would have given us a lot of options – either as Coquelin’s partner or his cover. But that ship has sailed.

    Then, there is a story about strikers. We have created around 100 chances in Premiership and scored five goals. I agree with you that Alexis shouldn’t be immune to criticism either. He should have reacted better with that chance that could have saved us a point (even if I think Dean would have invented a penalty for Chavs due to Chambers’ heavy breathing down The Skunk’s neck). But no, Arsene sticks to his compatriot and eternal talent Theo.

    Personally, I don’t give a damn about the game against Spuds in COC. Yes, it would be great to win it but games against Leicester and Manure are much more important. I would like to see players like Campbell and Reine-Adelaide from the start though.

  50. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well, that was something… West Ham do it again… 3 wins, all on the road, at Arsenal, Liverpool and now ManCity. Apologies again to JK, best to watch as a neutral, maybe…

    So we lose no points to the league leaders and are still 3 up on the disgusting, cynical Chavs…

    That said, Man City, though frustrated on the day (‘it happens’ could be the lesson here…) are unbelievably deep and will only get better the longer their players (including the new ones) play together. Even a slew of injuries would hardly dent them… It’s really only a minor set-back and the Pellegrini out folks probably won’t get much traction if they couldn’t do so after what happened last season… Hell, even lowly Arsenal, Santi and all, beat them up there during their title-losing swoon period…

    Another plus is that we can put paid to the only remaining ‘Invincible’ team in the league (Leicester City) next weekend… Unfortunately we kinda have to… 😦

    OK, lots of sunshine here with the remainder of my weekend…(try and) enjoy yours…

    L8RZ…

  51. Admir says:

    West Ham won, our record remains for another season. 🙂 Two home defeats for Manchester Oilers in the same week. A bit of silver lining for us, eh?

    Speaking of Pellegrini… He reminds me a bit of those drivers who can’t drive stick or can drive only when the weather is sunny. If there is a single drop of the rain on the road, he becomes shaky and insecure. WIth the team he has in his hands and unlimited budget on disposal (never mind his willingness to spend the money), he should have done much more with City.

  52. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oops didn’t see your comment there Admir… Also, as suggested, LC are still unbeaten…

    Pretty much all agreed with both your comments… Imagine if Giroud brought Costa’s, er, attitude…you have a complete arsehole who actually was a pretty good player, and certainly one who the manager wouldn’t have to “protect” (i.e., worry about his bruised ego, etc.) Costa’s antics, I think, go a long way towards masking that he’s not a very good CF… Of course, Wenger wouldn’t stand for such cynicism while the Moo-man positively relishes it… Dif’rent strokes, I guess, but winning at any and all cost is not for me…

    Yeah, the stories re: the Schneiderlin transfer don’t look good in hindsight. At the time, however, AW was trying to make playing time for all of Ramsey, Santi, Le Coq, and Jack…Schneiderlin (who LvG doesn’t seem all that convinced by) would’ve had to shoulder them out to get game time… Santi only started the season (at left-sided attack) because Alexis was just back from his beach time…

    But, perhaps the *real* hindsight is that 50 million he could’ve banked selling a crocked Jack the lad up to City shadow squad… With Theo’s new contract his price should be back up there as well…

    Good times… 😦

    OK, really out now, but appreciate the balance in there with the pure frustration…

  53. Admir says:

    I disagree regarding Wilshere. To quote Mourinho’s idol in being disgusting: “I wouldn’t sell a virus to them.” Jack is the child of Arsenal, an extremely talented player who is yet to learn a few things. Not to mention that I don’t believe Pellegrini had made any bid for Jack. 🙂

    I think there is (not completely though) agreement regarding Wenger and Mourinho. I think that the biggest difference between the two is, whilst Wenger has shown he can be lenient towards players like Vieira, Lauren, Keown and Adams – players who most certainly knew how to kick their opponents – he would have never instructed his players to act like skunks. Mourinho is a different story.

    Schneiderlin was my shout from the very beginning. He is basically Arteta with legs – an intelligent player with ability to read the game, with passing range and he is Coquelin’s compatriot (so further understanding between the two could have been built).

    Leicester are not going to stay undefeated for 38 weeks. They will lose next week to us. 🙂 Enjoy your weekend.

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey guys 🙂

    Wasn’t able to watch the game but listened on the radio. Really disappointed that we let them do this to us. No doubt Costa was a disgrace but we should have been better prepared for it. Did Gabriel get any coaching from the captain or his defensive colleagues before he did the walk back onto the fecker’s foot?

    Of course Dean mismanaged the situation badly and this does not come as a surprise. This game was killed just before half time by the referee and when Arsenal started to press for a winner he sent another one off…. Draw your own conclusions.

    A game, a week to forget….except…. we were saved by the Hammers. This is the real bonus of this weekend: that we are still within 5 points of the Oilers, and yet we played some tough away games already. Still three points ahead of the Chavs and they have to come to us. So nothing lost this weekend really. Let’s beat LC next week to start a PL run… and the midweek game is a good opportunity to get the smiles back on our faces again. 🙂

  55. allezkev says:

    Not sure of the validity of the rumours, but we could be without Coquelin for a few weeks. Please God it’s BS…

    We lose Gabriel for 3 games, no sign of BFG being fit to return yet, so it’s Chambers and Koscielny at the Slum I suppose…?

    I wonder if Wenger will give Bielik a game against the Spuds?

  56. Gerry says:

    Seeing as HT got his apology in quick, I will do mine. Apologies to all to whom I have not responded to, but I am under a self-imposed ban of not making follow up comments … and that includes all of the above. Sorry, I am not being rude, so please do not take offence.

    I have an image of Arsene Wenger that is not always the paternal figure portrayed by some people. I see the side of him that makes him dismiss those who (by AW standards) ‘betray’ him. I am trying very hard to see why the Per Mertersacker who was training hard with the squad prior to the Croatia trip was not even fit to make the bench yesterday? Yes, he may have suffered a set back and therefore was not risked. But I also have that memory of AW commenting on the rumour when Per was first taken ill, that he was refusing antibiotics? Wenger’s response was ‘ I don’t know what medication he is taking’, and said with a noticeable anger in his voice.
    Do I think AW could so driven to that he would risk hurting the team to make his point? Yes I do.

    Clearly Mertersacker must have come down with something close to pneumonia, unless they are hiding something more serious? Watch that get the rumours flying??? But My guess he will play on Wednesday. But I should give a positive mention to CC21, I thought he did really well in the circumstances.
    As I said, prior to game yesterday, I think the ‘roller- coaster’ season we can expect will be an upswing, but whilst forecasting its trajectory to next weekend, I do not expect any joy from Leicester. I watched their full game the week before, where they came back from 2- nil down to win 3-2. Not only are they a ‘team’ in the very good sense of the word, but they do have two players capable of causing any team real damage. Anybody can see what the big fuss is all about whe they talk of Mahrez, but Vardy is lightning quick too. Oh, don’t get your hopes up on the former heading our way anytime soon. I saw a headline this morning that Barca are to make a bid ‘for Arseanal star’, and I thought if that is Walcott, why would they when they can get the real deal in Mahrez? I think he has got the missing ingredient that clubs pay big, BIG money for. That is that innate ability to read the game in an instant. What I saw in Mahrez is a developing player who has the best bits of Henry, Ozil and Walcott rolled into one. Not perfected yet, but he sees a pass he can make before he receives the ball, and execute it. He also knows where the next pass to him will be played, before its played. Top that off with pace to make a bad pass look good, and you get the picture?
    How much of that is confined to the current players he is with, only time will tell. But come January, I expect Barca to pay more than £40m to get him. Do you think AW would? No, I thought not.

    Sorry Admir, my digression means you may be disappointed.

    Talking of disappointments, I understand ‘The Jeff’ got injured in an Under 21’s game, so he may miss the Spurs game too. It was notable that in the early part of yesterday’s game, Ramsey was staying back, and Coquelin was going forward quite often, so I guess the Ramteta DM will return?
    I also thought we played with a lot more movement than was the case midweek, but we will miss Santi for this one. Zelalem anybody? I cannot see beyond Iwobi who might step up from the youth ranks, so I guess Ox will do the Santi stuff, and Iwobi out wide? Possibly with one or other of Alexis or Walcott ‘rested’.

    You will note from this post that I have moved on from the Chelsea game.
    Cheers

  57. NjkSG says:

    17ht,

    I just caught the highlights. The ref was blatantly Chav-sided. Refereeing in the EPL is no more the neutral referees.

    Isn’t (Ain’t) the PL going to do anything? Even after the media mentioned it widespread?

    The first game when Gabby played he was on the verge of being sent off. That was when I mentioned that he needs a cool head on his shoulders.
    However this time, after watching the highlights, I felt that he did it in defense of his partner, Kos. It wasnt just one slap. It was multiple slaps. PL must step in in the next few days. If not they are just another corrupt organisation that thrives on the big boys with money (note the keyword).

    Wenger does not have a plan when it comes to a man down. However, seeing that Cech pulled off a string of good saves, it comes down to the team being one man short and devoid of the “passing man”.

    And I wouldn’t even want to start the conversation about the strikers…

    Cheers,
    JK

  58. njk84sg says:

    On the apology, point taken 🙂 But other clubs? No way. Gooner forever.
    That was me talking when disappointed.

    On Chambers, I felt that he needs more game time to knock the rust off him. Just needed to point that out since i didn’t have the time to point that out then.

    Should we make it a norm that if second stringers are confirmed not playing in the BPL game that week to have a run out for the reserves team? Or is there any rules that prevent that from happening? It will help a lot moving forward as rusty legs does not mean fresh legs.

    Cheers,
    JK

  59. njk84sg says:

    OK. Looking at a different perspective.

    Even though the ref has bad days and biased days, I felt that we should have done better against a team with a reserve keeper. The referee should never had been the person that defeats us. We should be the one doing better as a team.

    For me, its not the formation nor the players that should be changed, but the whole package, from the defense to attack, the transition should be seamless. That we have done it. But we have been lacking horribly in the final third. Omg.. there goes myself again for the strikers. Or the lack thereof.

    The lads should have the mentality to score, and score freely. Looking at the situation the lads are into, I feel sad about it. Not that we can’t do anything. We can say all we want regarding the formations and so on, however, we should just tell Wenger to think hard about having different plans. His current plans are being exposed by the opponents and are too predictable.

    Cheers,
    JK

  60. njk84sg says:

    Ah yes, and no I wouldn’t swap Wenger for anyone but I will prefer the Hamsters’ Manager to be his number 2.

    Cheers,
    JK

  61. proudgooner says:

    Hey Guys,
    Sorry for late replies and leaving it so long.
    17 Great post, shame how the match panned out. It was a disaster 1 Plane and simple.
    Of the top of my memory Mike Dean has never given us a fair run at a match. He is often the ref for big games we have and i can only remember him causing us problems, mainly from games v United.
    That said all the actions that Santi and Gabbi took deserved yellows ,but of course Costa should not have been there to whind Gabbi up. It was a real shame and totally ruined the match.
    I hate Costa, he is the new Suarez but not as good a player, just a dirty spiteful shit.
    The golf went quite well , we did not win though, my knee is hurting prtty badly to now and i will have to see a doctor again tomw me thinks.
    The game v Spurs is a big one now, we have to go full strength v them i think.
    With Cazorla banned , or is he for a COC game? if so it will be interesting to see Ozil playing the playmaker on his own.
    Gabbi is a great player and will miss him, but the good thing is he held his own and showed he is not 1 to be walked over imo that is a positive.
    Let the OX start.
    I would really consider playing Chambers as a DM , i would like to get a look at Belieke as well.
    Chin up Gooners at least we can blame it on red cards plus we held our own with just 9 players 2-0 to them with just 9 is really not to bad.
    Even though saying that it was a horrible game to watch.

  62. proudgooner says:

    Come on Southampton!
    you can do it a draw would do, would love them to beat them.
    Martiel looks like a player 😦

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post! 🙂

    Pony Eye analysis the game and muses over improvements. A very good read! 🙂

    TA

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