North London Derby–First Blood Against the Ancient Enemy or Heavy Rotation and Let the Cards

Fall Where They May?  Is it ‘Just the League Cup’ or is it Another Round in the Fight for Who Reigns Supreme in North London?

What Will Wenger Do?  What would you do?

The answers to these questions, most likely, lie in the eye of the beholder.  Arsene Wenger is the guy who will answer them, so what does he see?

First off, there are some exigencies which must be acknowledged.  We’ve lost two in a row and losing a 3rd–to Tottenham–even if there is another opportunity to get back to winning form in just a few short days, would lead to a very uncomfortable Thursday and Friday, sort of the exact opposite of that Thanksgiving Day holiday we have over here in the States every November.  On the other hand, if we can take a bite out of the bird–that silly blue cock standing on a ball–we’d have a lovely respite from these troubled times.

Moreover, between our actions in the transfer window, injuries, and now due to red cards handed out by Mike Dean, a referee said to have ‘danced’ when Tottenham scored a goal against us (he didn’t, I don’t think), Wenger doesn’t actually have too many choices.  I believe we can rest and rotate, but maybe only just a bit.

‘Actions in the transfer window???’ a certain segment of Gooners must be asking.  Don’t you mean ‘inaction?!?’

Well, yes, there was inaction in terms of buying outfield players for the first team, but I’m also talking about loans.  Promising young guns who might have played in the Capital One Cup matches are off on loan.  Chuba Akpom, Isaac Hayden, Gedion Zelalem, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Serge Gnabry, Wellington Silva, Jon Toral, Dan Crowley, Emiliano Martinez…the list goes on and on.   Have I forgotten anybody?  Of course I have: Wojciech Szczesny, Carl Jenkinson and Yaya Sanogo are all still Arsenal players even if they’re playing their football elsewhere these days.

Then there are the injured.  Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck are all recovering from surgery, while Francis Coquelin was subbed at halftime at Stamford Bridge after hyper-extending his knee earlier in the match.  His knee appears swollen, according to the manager, but there is no evidence he will be a long term absentee.

Finally, Santi Cazorla will have to sit the Derby out due to the two yellow cards flashed at him by Dean at Stamford Bridge.  On the other hand, a measure of justice has come our way with Gabriel Paulista’s red card having been overturned by the Football association on appeal.

Can Wenger cobble together a solid 11 and some subs who might make an impact?  Let’s also remember that this match is the 4th of 7 in just 22 days!  Some players might benefit from a night off.  We travel (again) to play Leicester City, currently sitting above us in the Premier League table–and getting an extra day of rest as their CapOne Cup match (also at their home stadium) was on Tuesday night–a mere 65 hours (or less) after this one concludes.  At least they had to go to extra time to beat West Ham.

Despite all the boys out on loan we do still have a reserve team and some of them might get a chance to run with the first team.  Unfortunately the player from that group who impressed the most in pre-season, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, is out with a long-term injury.  That means the most likely youngsters who might feature are Alex Iwobi (who scored a very nice goal in the Emirates Cup) and Glen Kamara.   Yassin Fortune, who came from Lens with JRA, might be another shout.  Anybody else?  I don’t follow the reserve teams closely.  Are there any other young guns who might be ready to make the step up?

Of course, Arsenal have a slew of veteran players who could also use some game time.  Mathieu Debuchy and Kieran Gibbs featured at fullback in the loss at Dinamo Zagreb a week ago as did goalkeeper David Ospina and deep-lying midfielder and team Captain, Mikel Arteta.  Mathieu Flamini, who was not allowed a move to Galatasaray of Istanbul, has yet to play a minute of first team football.  Per Mertesacker, who has been sidelined with a chest virus, hasn’t played in over a month.  Could the BFG finally be ready to come back  in?  Calum Chambers did reasonably well as a half-time sub at Chelsea.  Might he get a run?

Further forward, Joel Campbell, another who looked close to leaving the club in the transfer window, could get a call.  Still, some of our regulars will have to play.  Who will it be?  With Santi serving a ban, Aaron Ramsey might move into a central midfield spot.  Who will round out the attack?  Surely at least a couple of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud have to feature.  Perhaps Wenger will go all out for the victory and start ALL of them.

That seems unlikely.  Here’s my best guess at the group I think will start:

Bench: Macey, Monreal, Gabriel, Flamini, Iwobi, Campbell, Walcott

That line-up would be 8 changes from that which played at Chelsea, which seems a bit much, even if some of them are enforced.  What say you, fellow Gooners?  How would you play it, and thus, who would you have play it?  To me, this match–drawing our hated rival at their ground in the midst of this run of tough matches and even tougher results–is exactly what the Doctor–if he were a responsible physician–would NOT have ordered.  So it goes, however, and play we must.

Since it must be played, why shouldn’t we win it?  As we all know–by sheer dint of us being Arsenal and them being Spurs–no matter who we play we’ll have the advantage in quality. So, let’s go for it and get the victory.  Anybody remember the last time we drew them at this stage of this competition?  That was back in 2010 and we won 4-1 on goals from Henri Lansbury, Samir Nasri (two) and Andrey Arshavin.  A similar scoreline or otherwise netting a few goals would be a nice tonic given how tough they’ve been to come by thus far this season.

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

58 thoughts on “North London Derby–First Blood Against the Ancient Enemy or Heavy Rotation and Let the Cards

  • “Wenger – My selection process for Spurs”

    “It will affect it because at the moment the youth-team players, many of whom are ready to play for us, are away on loan.”

    “The next players who have the talent are not completely ready to play at that level. With the difficulty of the opponent as well, you do not want to throw them into a game where they look out of place.“

    “There are no fringe players [here], there is only a first-team squad. It is an opportunity for Arsenal to win an important game and for the players who play for the club to defend our club and qualify.

    “Apart from that, we played with the team in Zagreb and we didn’t win, so we want to come back now and win our cup games because that’s vital for us.”


    My starting team:
    Ospina; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta(c), Ramsey, The Ox, Ozil; Alexis, Giroud

    Macey, Chambers, Monreal, Flamini/Kamara, Walcott, Campbell, Iwobi


    Match referee: Andre Marriner (PL referee)

    Fourth official: Andy Woolmer (mainly handles championship and lower leagues matches)

  • Excuse me HT, I want say three things before I read your post.
    1, I am surprised at the outcome of the FA review panel. Mostly because it looks like the have left Dean to hang out and dry for his actions. Not for not sending Costa off for the Kos assault. If they did not see it, then the follow up procedure has invoked a fully deserved ban.
    However, the Kos red card being lifted is strange. It was a straight red, not a second yellow. As I said yesterday, it looked to me that while Dean was being pestered by several Chelsea players he was taking in the view of the assistant. If he saw the kick himself he could have given his decision there and then. It took a while for the TV crew to find the right camera angle, so I doubt it was the 4th official. So to knock that down from violent conduct certainly seems like a Costa-like slap in the face for Mike Dean?
    2, I just want to report how lucky I was while searching for something to watch between 8 and 9 pm last night …. and I settled for the second half of the Bayern Munich v Wolfsburg game.
    You will know from the headlines that are being circulated what a treat it was. Lewandowski’s sensational introduction was one of those ‘live’ moments that you just have to treasure. The fifth goal in particular was one of the all time greats. Spend 9 minutes of your time and watch the replays … you will see all 5, with the 5th being an absolute gem.
    3, Never let it be said that managing Arsenal has not cost Arsene Wenger dearly. His announced separation from his second wife is sad news for him personally. Luckily for us, his first marriage to Arsenal Football Club continues. May both survive and prosper
    It must have been hard on Mrs Wenger too, so I wish well in the future.

  • Another very much on the button preview HT, and I think your line up may well be 100% correct.

    The key points, as you have rightly said, is this balance of not wanting to lose 3 in a row, and go into the weekend game with a bigger hangover, and whether to rotate massively, use youngsters, and keep our a team ready for Saturday. It is a big dilemma for the manager.

    JM’s post selecting quotes from the man himself, are equally baffling. Those suggest it will be an unchanged side, except for keeper and enforced absences. Yet other quotes talk up the two youngsters, particularly Iwobi …’who will play some part in the game’. Make of that what you will?

    I tend to think you put it in a way that means youngsters = losing, not so much this time I grant, but ‘dickless’ does come to mind as far as Iwobi is concerned … only jesting!

    My view is always that bit more positive, optimistic may be? I think the energy that Iwobi could supply down the left side is different to that of the misfiring Alexis, but nevertheless very potent for providing a target wide runner. But unless Alexis is playing the CF role, then I agree, it is the bench for young Alex.

    The other player from the youth ranks is Glen Kamara, a Finnish international no less. I think his place on the bench will rest on the prognosis of Coquelin’s knee problem. If it looks like going beyond the Leicester game, then I think Kamara will get either 5 or 20 minutes at the end, just to see how he handles himself. I have said before,imo, he is nearest comparable player to Coquelin in style, but without being tested at first team level. This is an ideal opportunity in so far as, if he fails it does not cost us points. Putting aside the losing streak for the moment. The upside is that he could be just what we need, an emerging DM star. By rights this should have been Isaac Hayden’s time, but that may come later? The here and now says to me, start him alongside Arteta, and he will do fine. Save Ramsey for the weekend.

    AW has again talked up Ox’s (problem) chances, so unless he is switching to the left (Alexis resting), then Campbell will miss out. Personally, I think not giving Ox a specific role to do is confusing him, and the more he moves around is adding to it? He was looking really good on the right, before the shoehorning of Ramsey into the side occurred. Without Bellerin he could be told to run the line? After all that is much what Campbell would do?

    The other big thing is, will Gabriel be reinstated to the squad? We are not hearing much about how well Per is, so it is highly likely he would give the away fans something to cheer about? I don’t think Spurs have a player that would try the Costa tricks of winding him up, so it could be a good move, even alongside Mertersacker?

    So my line up, squad permitting, would be:
    Debuchy…….Per…………………Gabs…… Gibbs
    Campbell….Arteta…….Ozil…. Kamara……Iwobi

    More a 4-2-1-2-1 in attack though.
    Solid back 6, speedy front 4, what more do you want?
    Yeah! Let the kids rule. 😀

  • 17ht, your message comes through very clearly. Caught between a very tight scheduling of important matches versus the least important cup competition but against an ancient enemy. I wonder how the line up will show up approaching it backwards from 29th Sept v Gala at home to 26th Sept v Leic away to 23Sept v the ancient enemy away.

    Gala: delicate match, can’t afford a second C.L. loss. Therefore our best available 11. Czech–Bel– Per–Kos–Mon–Coq?–Carz–Ram–Ozil–Alexi–Theo. This is a match we hope to dominate possession wise, so our back 6 (possibly less the full backs) hopefully wouldn’t have much to do, therefore available backwards in time 3 days earlier v Leic.

    Leic: epl match, always important. From above the back 6 less the full backs are available. Bel is included (young chap, 3 days rest is sufficient). Remember that time is flowing backwards. Gibbs replaces not fully rested Mon, and to also compete the pacy Mahrez. Coq not fit so Art fills in. OG for Theo. Premiership game too important so we gamble same 4 MF. Line up v Leic; Cech—Bel–Per–Kos–Gibbs–Art –Carz—Ram–Ozil–Alexi–OG.

    Ancient enemy: least important cup but against ancient enemy. 1st rule; all the players starting above 2 matches rested ( time backwards) except for Per who is a yogin (knows how to conserve energy while playing). Art also out (can’t do 2 matches in 3 days). Therefore the line up today ends up as:

    Deb——–Per ——Gab—–Gibbs
    ——————-OG —————-

    Live now and pay later? Or pay now and live later? Caught between the devil and the deep sea.

  • Nice one, 17HT. Well pitched and getting us all in the mood! We are lucky to have you do this on a regular basis and you keep surprising us with a different angle. I really hope we will rest a lot of first eleven players tonight. There are good players still available to put up a fight and they need a game like this to proof that they can still make it into the first team. The League Cup is one competition too many for the first team, so I am really hoping we don’t risk anybody unnecessarily…

    COYGs!!! (though) 🙂

  • Interesting. I agree with TA, and almost on the same page as PE.

    Olympiacos is a lesser threat than Galatasaray, and one that Campbell should feature positively in, and all the more reason for giving him a start in this one?

    I am not too disturbed by AW’s comments about not throwing in youngsters if they are going to look out of place. Mainly because if the get selected it is a big boost to their confidence if they are selected. So I would read that Iwobi starts, and Kamara on the bench if the outlook for Coquelin is not a simple rest day?

    PE, I would not risk Chambers in the DM spot because it is not a simple position to take up without some experience. Which is why I am more than happy to start Kamara, if it is a choice between the two. He has been a regular in the Under 21’s in that position, and has the physique to carry it off.
    I agree that Arteta might be stretching it to do more than two of the next four games, But I would think that will fall to Ramsey to do the Leicester, United games? He might benefit from having Flamini bawling in his ears?
    The other though I have about your line is Ox to be the ‘creative’ mid? I think he has enough on his plate without that responsibility. I think AW may lean towards Ox over Campbell, and rest Ozil against Leicester. It is not a game that will suit Ozil, imo, because they organise their defence very quickly. Whereas tonight I think it will be and open attacking game and our roller coaster ride will hit a season’s high, but I worry more about the Leicester game.

    But given both teams have to survive midweek games in tact it is best to worry about that when the time comes?

  • Sorry, error in my earlier comment! Insert Olympiacos for Gala. Gerry as you rightly pointed out, we are nearly on the same page. I had to choose Calum for Dm because Art can’t cope with 2 matches in 3 days. I am assuming Coq not avail for today and Sat. Ramsey had a grueling match against Chl so shouldn’t be used as we need him for Sat and thereafter for Tue against Olym. It is established that players become more prone to muscular injuries playing matches without sufficient rest in between.

  • OK, 2nd installment of my match preview…Sorry… It’s early Morning here and I’m starting to get excited about today’s match (it’s at noon for me)–or maybe I’m just dreading the other stuff I need to do (parsing some contract legalese)… Thank Dennis that–unlike with the CL group matches a week ago–the sizable money we spend on satellite TV is working for me today and I will get to see the match. It could be an interesting one.

    As poor as the start to our season may feel to Gooners, the way things have gone for Spurs has perhaps been worse. On the other hand, they got the goal in a very (very) tight match on Sunday to beat Crystal Palace, much as they did the week before up at Sunderland. Believe it or not so at least they’re (finally) winning matches, Spurs–like Arsenal–have scored only 5 goals in the 6 league matches which have been played. Unlike our record (W3, L2, D1 = 10 points) they had yet to win a match before those two recent victories. So, they’ve got better momentum heading into this one but similar struggles with scoring goals and Harry Kane has no Copa America hangover to blame. Moreover, if we didn’t splash the cash for our own version of Martial or a much older version (Cavani?…), Spurs were rebuffed by West Brom over a less exotic player, Saido Berahino, and now have to watch him on Match of the Day deflecting in winners for West Brom. They did pick up that Korean guy (Son) who scored the winner vs Palace and looks a lively player.

    So, both teams could use a win in this match but both need to prioritize the upcoming league matches. We travel to Leicester, a team which is flying high this early season, but Spurs host Man City who will be eager to get back on track after they were taken down by the other surprise of the season, West Ham, the group which comes to your home stadium and beats you–no matter how much money you’ve spent (or not spent). Funny enough, Leicester squeaked past WHU last night in this competition in extra time, maybe because their breakout star, Riyahd Mahrez played only the last 30 minutes, whereas West Ham’s main man, Dimitri Payet, came in at the hour mark but couldn’t get his team a winner in regular time. Notably, it was WHU’s 2nd 2-1 loss to the Foxes in two early season matches. Do we then have the tougher match this weekend? Vito Mannone, beaten for four goals by ManCity in the first half last night would probably say “No.” 😀

    PE does an interesting thing working backwards even if there’s some confusion about who we’re playing in the CL… (winkyface, eh…) He’s right to worry a little about muscle issues, esp. with guys who haven’t been playing very much, but, I think, however, that our best players can handle matches every three days (or at least an hour together tonight) and maybe actually need the time together to figure out how to work together best. That’s why I’ve stumped for a relatively strong front group.

    What’s funny is that–compared to a year ago–Before the emergence of Bellerin and Le Coq and the January purchase of Gabriel–we’re soooo much deeper at the back. Let’s not forget just how strong Ospina was last season, nor the fact that, right or wrong, Debuchy was picked ahead of Bacary Sagna to play RB for France in the Brazil World Cup matches. Gibbs looked heir-apparent to Leyton Baines as England’s LB–at least until he lost his club spot to our much improved Nacho Man…

    Anyhow, I think we can rotate in this one and foster some competition for places in a lot of spots. I’m not sure how AW will do this but I’m not too worried about a loss of quality anywhere on the pitch and we have to use the emotion inherent in the NLD to say that any player not in our first 11 has a real opportunity tonight to become a man to remember if he does something good against our hated rival. Still, for our better players, those who might be familiar with such cauldrons, it’s a (further) opportunity to rise above it all and let their technical superiority shine. As such, if the likes of Ozil, Alexis and Ramsey can get on their horses (put the ‘spurs’ to them?…) or put in some guys who haven’t been making the first 11 lately (Giroud, Ox, Gibbs, etc.) it could be a great night.

    I believe AW thinks in these sorts of optimistic ways, so why shouldn’t we? The alternative and more opportunity for Piers Morgan (and his ilk) to hold court really doesn’t bear consideration… IMO, of course…

  • TA, Cheers for the compliment on the match previews. Do you get to see this one? Will we be getting a match report? I seem to be up for some Arsenal writing about every other day (at the moment, at least) but it gets tougher when the results aren’t going our way… In other words, I hope you can drop something upon us no matter what goes down tonight…

    Which leads me to the no less than stunning FA reversal of Mike Dean’s performance in the Chelsea match. End of the line for that guy? I can’t see him getting any (bigger) Arsenal matches, at the very least. The points are gone, however, so it’s rather cold comfort, I fear…

    It could be the height of irony if Gabby gets a small *i.e., meaningless) fine, as it would suggest that the FA WANTS players coming in and standing up for their teammates, which is all Gabby really did, after all. Maybe the FA is with all those who believe it’s important to “front up” against injustices missed by the refs?… I dunno, I’m happy because my players have been vindicated, but I wonder about the message here. Correcting Dean’s call (to a 2nd yellow) would’ve seemed about right–if we could replay the 2nd half of the match at 10 men apiece…

    😀 😦

  • HT – According to reports, the reason why the red card was expunged was because Arsenal got a video shot that showed Gabriel made no contact with Moo’s MOTM. It was just the cheating git trying to make out that he did something more than a light flick with his heel. (Well that is the Arsenal view).Faced with that, and the Kos incident, which in most people’s recollection, GP5 did nothing more than try and move Costa away. Actually, I am more incline to blame the assistants, as I don’t think Dean saw anything, apart from the chest slapping in front of him?

    As for ‘our Martial’. Look no further than Saturday’s game. The rested Mahrez shows where Leicester’s priorities lie? I’ll be disappointed if you are not impressed

    Tonight it will be a case of missed chances, good saves, and a bit of brilliance to see one side home, and the other ruing their misfortune? Who that will be?

    The line up will be most revealing …

  • I wonder who goes in the hole OX or ramsey?
    I like the team, very good give Ozil and Santi a break
    I really like that Campbell plays i would love for him to bang a couple in. He is an unknown they won’t know what to expect from him or how to stop him, Alexis is rested to with i dont mind i like our line up.

  • Sky are saying we line up like this.

    Debuchy… BFG.. Chambers..Gibbs

  • We need Chambers to put in a confident performance. I think we will get it, as i think his best partner is the BIG f****** German, he will talk to him and keep him calm
    When ever they played together at the start of his Arsenal career he always did well , strong positive vibes for our rising star.

  • Well… I got 17 out of 18 correct but AW is going with the stronger bench, so only 9 of 11…

    What a beautiful dream it might be if that group could stake us to a result in 90mins…

    Go on…

  • I can understand Gabriel not playing. Must be destabized by all the rumpus. I like the line up.

  • Ox left, Jo-el right… Things look open but both squads look like they haven’t worked together much…Stadium sounds quiet for a derby night… Not a lot going forward as of yet (10 mins)…

  • indeed 17ino
    We are on top though noise has picked up Ramsey yet to make his mark.
    I have a little scorecast Ramsey scores first we win 3-1

  • The Vetren shows the young lads how to score get in the box for the rebounds of the saves 😉

  • Well, good luck, PG….Danny Rose right foot lets him down… Should have at least put it on target… Game’s getting a bit more competitive…with Ospina mopping up smartly with Debuchy beaten by Rose again…

  • Spurs pushing harder at the end of the half but Kane couldn’t quite bring the ball down to his shooting foot and Eriksen can’t thread the ball through the sea of red…

    Decent work down at our end from Ox but Rambo give-away gets them going on the break…Game’s a bit too open given that we have the lead…

    HT… 1-nil

  • Shockingly bad final ball after all kinds of great work from the Ox… Very fortunate the assistant ref was unafraid to raise the flag on Mr. Kane, offside on the rebound… I wouldn’t mind a little Bellerin in for the final half hour as most of their attack seems to come from our right side…

    Ah Crap…OG from Chambers… Chadli with the shot… 1-1

  • I think we’re gonna need some subs…Gotta try to win this in 90…

    PG, sure, I’d love to see Campbell score, do I think I ever will?… Hmmm…

    First sub might’ve been Bellerin for Campbell, now probably Walcott or Alexis…

  • Was not even a shot it was crossed across the 6 yard line and Cambers clearance went straight in bottom right corner unstopable

  • We need to control the game better , Campbell could score, he is not seeing enough of the ball at the moment.
    Your subs are great shouts, but i still think we can beat them with what is playing, i think will beat them

  • WOW bicycle kick saved off the line by Gibbs…Wow…Gotta get some subs as it’s all Spurs…

    Whoa…Ox doesn’t fancy a 50-50?

    OK, Alexis for Jo-el… Son on for Townsend? Time to get back into this one…

    Nice work in MF from Ramsey but shot is too far, too wide…

  • We look a bit better now…very tame finish from Alexis though…

    No worries on the bicycle kick…ball was a solid 3-4 inches from being over the line the replay shows…

    Nice counter but Giroud shot blocked…

  • Nice from Debuchy but Theo wide gives them one last chance… Straight to Ospina and waiting on the whistle…

    FT… nice… Look for me in the stands at the next round… 😀

  • As North London Derbys go, I’ve seen a lot more hotly contested examples than yesterday evenings…
    But it’s always good to beat them…

    Flamini, what a couple of quality finishes.
    Shows that he still has a lot to offer.

    Chambers, despite his own goal, had a steady game.
    No doubt benefitting from having BFG alongside him.

    Campbell did ok, he certainly has something to offer the team.
    I hope he gets more game time.

  • Guys,

    The game lets me have these points to note:
    1. The defense without Kos is creaky.. Per looks like he is lost in the first game back. However Chambers looks solid before and after his own goal.

    On a notable note, Gibbs played well and his goal line clearance sums up his day.

    2. The first 20 mins looks good for Campbell. The attacking as a whole looks good, but dropped due to him being moved into the central area, with Ox moving to the right. Not sure why, but the right side with Campbell in front of debuchy helps debuchy. Look how Debuchy got overrun without Campbell helping him.

    3. Flams taught the strikers a lesson on scoring. The rest got shots on target or just off target but took more shots on goal. Against our opponents this Saturday we need to be taking shots from anywhere, whether we have space or not.

    4. We have faced an opposition that is good but not good enough. We should perform better for the next game.


  • I enjoyed reading the ‘in game’ comments HT & PG. Entertaining stuff, thanks.

    I don’t want to say too much in case review appears on the horizon. My first thought on the similarity of the line ups was that they did have some ‘tacit’ agreement on not playing a full strength sides? I think it also affected the use of subs in a way. We were leading at half time, so Spurs were allowed to bring on the first of the ‘heavy guns’. We then responded. Had that not been the case, I was screaming for Bells to come on, although I would have said ’round spherical things’ to keeping his confidence up … and taken Giroud off, and put Campbell in the middle. But then again it looked like we might need to ‘manage’ the three on yellow cards…

    It did make for an open game, and not quite as full blooded as they normally are, which may not be a bad thing regards injuries?

    On the players, I thought the two big weaknesses were Debuchy, who once again came on strong at the end, which may have been due to Ox and then Walcott keeping Rose occupied? The other was Chambers. Not that he did not have an okay game, but because he was on the right of Mertersacker. A rusty player alongside an inexperienced player … natural place to attack?
    Gibbs on the other hand, kept his side pretty clear despite being involved in plenty of our attacks.

    Another thing that got me was the TV commentator saying how Ramsey was at the heart of every attacking move after he played that slide rule pass to Alexis. Whereas my thought was, ‘Yeah, where were you in the first half?’ He was not alone in making sloppy passes, typified by that one in the second half where he had time to see, yet sent an aimless ball behind all our players along the edge their box. But what really stood out was the only good passes he made were the obvious ones. He lacks that creative instinct to find players on the move ….. until that Alexis one?
    Am I being too harsh if I say I don’t want to see him in that number 10 role again???
    Perhaps, it was a B team after all.

    What can you say about Flamini? I was prepared to ditch him for Kamara ha!ha! The latter not making the squad makes me think Coquelin will be back soon. Not too sure If Leicester would be ideal though. That will be a tough 90 minutes, when I fear, our ‘roller coaster’ will dip again. He would have to be spot on to take the battering in that game, whereas, a run out against Olympiacos would set him up nicely for the Man Utd game? I would hate for him to be crocked for that one? That CL game will be perfect for Campbell to strut his stuff too, may be put Flamini alongside him in attack 😀

    All in all, a very satisfying result. Away to Sheff Utd in the next round should be okay, as long as they don’t underestimate them? All we need now is the 8 positive from TA, and we are going gleefully towards our weekend encounter …. Don’t be fooled, that will be a very tough game!

  • Ooops, Sorry its Wednesday on Wednesday …. I was too busy replaying McLaren with the brolly in my head to take too much notice of the opposition.

  • Flemini put in a captains performance.
    His will desire and heart but mainly his will to win saw us through.
    I liked the way when Kane went in hard and tried to rile him when he slide in to put the ball out for a throw. Instead of getting angry he calmly thought about it and clapped knowing he was on a yellow already. Truely a Flemini master class and 1 of his best games for us ever.

  • It is always easy to forget that he is our only player that we have from the invinceable days, though he was not a starter then he was there with the true legends and masters.
    Good to see Robert Pires in the training photos with us lately and i wonder if this help spur him on

    I am starting to miss Danny Welbeck and i think we should start deploying 4-4-2, as we dont have enough players in the box these days and we used to play it so well

  • ………………………Giroud………………Walcott
    Alexis……………..Le Coq……………Cazorla………Ozil

    Cazorla or Ramsey.? That gives Ozil chances to cross or slide in Alexis, Giroud or Theo while keeping us strong in defence. I think Theo and OG can create a great partnership and takes away the Theo or OG debate. What do you guys think?

  • Great comments over the last few days, fellow BKers. Sorry too busy to participate but I do read the comments (but scan the longer ones from our well know champions of verbosity! 🙂 😉 )

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