8 Positives from Arsenal v Man City: Our Victory Is No Fluke

Eight positives from Arsenal v Man City – and why it is no fluke that we beat them!

 

Laurent Koscielny celebrates his goal against Crystal Palace but he is an injury doubt for Tuesday's

Koz was my man of the match – for players ratings see previous post!

In a way, this game can be summarised in a few lines: there were thirty minutes of probing by each team and showing too much respect to each other; then Man City had a very decent chance to take the lead but they didn’t; this miss woke Arsenal up and within no time we were one up; as so often, Arsenal kept pushing for a second and before half time we got it; in the second half, Man City pressed forward more, making it easy for us to play on the counter; we had very good chances to score a third and put the game to bed… but we didn’t; City scored a late goal and it all got a bit hairy..but we held on.

However, there was of course more to this game and why we won it, and I will summarise these in eight positives:

  1. Ramsey beat Yaya Toure, with a bit of help by Wenger. They are similar players and Yaya is one of those players who could fit in any team, whereas Aaron is on his way to become a great player. But on the night he was more disciplined defensively, whereas Yaya lacked this throughout the game, and this made all the difference. Ozil had tonnes of space and was able to control the ball in front of the opponent’s ‘D area’, mainly because Yaya did not give enough protection to their defence and leaving his partner to cover too much ground. Mesut always finds space but he did not have to look hard for it yesterday. Ramsey, on the other hand, held back and formed a strong defensive midfield line with Flamini, therefore not allowing the creative midfielders of City to get near our ‘D’. He did this most effectively in the first half, and in the second half he was able to get more forward as well, which left us more exposed but also gave us great opportunities to score a decisive third goal.
  2. Theo and Ollie each took their first proper chance, whereas De Bruyne missed his. In top games, scoring the first goal is very important and for that we need confident, quality players who rise to the occasion. Theo took his chance brilliantly and it was a big sucker punch to City: after that we never looked back, except for the last ten minutes or so.
  3. Ozil is in the form of his life, whereas Da Silva only just returned from injury. Furthermore, as per ‘Positive’ one, Ozil was given freedom to roam whereas Da Silva was tightly marked by Flamini. Ozil’s second assist was a great example of how quickly he sees a scoring opportunity and is able to execute it. Giroud deserves credit as well for his anticipation of Mesut’s ball: it was all done in a flash and the game was more or less decided after that.
  4. Giroud is a more complete striker than Aguero. The Argentinian is the more lethal finisher, but Giroud offers more in terms of hold up play, defensive duties, aerial threat and getting other players involved in the attack. I have written many posts about Giroud’s importance for this Arsene/Arsenal team and last night you could see once more why our manager values him so much.
  5. Cech is better than Hart. Petr puts doubt in attackers’ minds; Joe gets bullets fired at him. Enough said.
  6. Koz and BFG is a settled pair of CBs whereas Otamendi and Mangala are not (yet) gelling, and enough has been said about the importance of Kompany in City’s team. The BFG might have a few weaknesses but his strengths are very important to Arsenal; and Bellerin, Koz and Monreal compensate these very well. Together they are a unit with the Koz-BFG core offering a great combination of defensive disciplines and skills. Of course it also helps Per when we play deep and compact, as we did yesterday for a large part of the game.
  7. Monreal and Bellerin outperformed Sagna and Kolarov all night. In our system, the full backs, or wing backs, are very, very important. They provide the extra width and penetration from the sides but also need to be fast and robust enough to recover quickly when out of position. Most importantly, they need to read the game well and make sound decisions on whether to support the attack or not, time and again. Our Spanish full backs where once again awesome.
  8. Togetherness, hunger to win, collective joy… call it what you want, but we wanted it more yesterday. Just watch the way we kicked off the first half and then how City kicked off the second. Our players had a spring in their step from the moment the ball was allowed to roll. They sensed the occasion, the opportunity to make a statement, and this was not just represented in one or two players, but the entire team. I thought City did well in the last twenty minutes and there is definitely enough team spirit to rival us on this front, but we still ‘out-togethered’ them yesterday, which is arguably the biggest ‘positive’ of them all.

So plenty of positives in our team, and many of these are of a structural nature. And let’s build on these when we play the Saints on Boxing Day. UTA, COYRRG, OGAAT and all that..!

Merry Christmas fine fellow Bergkampesquers! 🙂

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By TotalArsenal.  

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46 Responses to 8 Positives from Arsenal v Man City: Our Victory Is No Fluke

  1. Ab says:

    Great stuff TA. What I loved from this game was the sense that we were really in control for most of it, regardless of the possession stats – they posed little threat with the ball they had. Whilst we could easily have had a couple more goals. We faded at the end when we took off our attacking outlets and the key man Ozil (who knew he had been ill?), and then we had to simply absorb – all credit to the players though because that’s what they did. Were our squad fitter (i.e. fewer injuries) i think we might well have been able to hit them again late on with our counters as they pressed for goals.

    I thought Toure’s goal was simply outstanding, the effortless technique shown, and the nonchalant manner in which he acted after the goal just made me gasp – what a player he could have been if he had the same level of drive to go with his talent!

    I remain worried over Flamini and his ability to stay fit – the next 10 days will be very testing for him; will we see Chambers given a start? With Ramsey being more disciplined as you describe the risk is marginally reduced. But I don’t fancy facing Barca with no proper DM, as I’m not convinced Coq will be back and fit in time – nor I suspect Santi, though he isn’t really a DM.

    Seeing Ramsey getting back into form shows us all that this is where he belongs. It will be interesting to see what evolves at the end of the season if we find all our midfielders fit. Ramsey must be there for the future however – he reminds me of Bryan Robson, and could be as big a player for us if we build around him in the spine.

  2. Very nice breakdown of the match and a fine list of positives,TA. Well Done. Also, I think it’s interesting that you were able to pick out a lot of the positions where we were superior on the day. For me it all comes down to that final positive (the team working so well as a unit). Even though we got the tactics right and got the first goal (which made them even more right…) I just felt we had the spirit to fight hard no matter what adversity might have come. I’ve got nothing really to back that up,

    We’re pretty stretched right now, and, because we couldn’t get that 3rd goal, it allowed their greater bench strength a glimmer of hope, esp. after Yaya hit that line-drive to the top corner. We deserved the full points and we got them, but maybe having it so tense at the end will remind everybody just how tough the challenge really will be. Southampton away on Boxing day will be difficult as will playing another game with just a day off in between (Bournemouth at home). We just need to stay focused and keep the bodies we’ve got intact. It sure would be nice if we could get just one or two more back into the mix, sooner than later. Also, I think we need to buoy the main group with reinforcements when the TW opens… For now, however, I think the confidence the result offers is very important for keeping them (the good results) coming.

  3. Funminiyi says:

    Nice post TA, most of your positives were spot on, and i believe the whole league will be in for a rude shock by the time our missing players returned. One thing that you missed was Joel Campbell’s industry and how far this lad has come to stake a claim in the first team ahead of AOC, i believe with the level of confidence this guy played with, he’ll be unstoppable if given eztended run in the first team. The moment he left the field we were more susceptible to attack down the bellerin flank. Those two have developed one good understanding about them.
    And finally, its good to be back. Who’s missed me on this shores? were dem HTH, 007 and the kasabian Admir?

  4. Jnyc says:

    Always great observations from you post match T.

    I made a quick prediction here, i think, that theo would be the man in this game vs city. Also wanted to point out that theo was responsible for both goals last week. Causing a penalty by great work, and the KEY pass on the 2nd goal.

    When we were looking our most dangerous early season,it was with walcott up front, olivier coming on later.. of course also with le coq, santi, and rambo as the overload player. We were so hard to break down…Thats still my favorite setup. Thats why i wouldnt have let theo near the capital one cup. He is key.

    Im saying now that theo will have a breakout 2nd half whether he plays cf or next to giroud. Only depending on his fitness. I also think, that if Ramsey continues to perform in midfield, wilshere will take over on the right wing to do exactly the job Ramsey was doing. Helping in mf, but also dangerously cutting in with his rocket left foot.. an added threat over Aaron.

  5. njk84sg says:

    Its getting Chrismassy here with a few of the members back..

    Well done TA, as always, a knack for detail and the skill to break apart things that we can’t see.

    Yes, Sagna hasn’t found his Arsenal form with his new team, but I found that its the guy in front of you that clicks with you that is important. Citeh’s wings are clipped due to our fantastic full backs, so their full backs can’t do much.

    However, knowing what Sagna and Kolarov can do, apparently they created a bit of havoc in the end. But we managed to prevent them from scoring a second goal.

    Cheers,
    JK

  6. geoffchase says:

    Ok

    So, I’ve watched… Not any real,argument for your positives… I’d argue more for these add-ons:

    A. City came with a similar malaise our Defense and cohesiveness enhanced. Specifically, no ideas against a packed Defense.,even with the ball in half two, there were few ideas. Thus, the thugs life approach with surprisingly MANY fouls from a city team that’s normally, like us, more refined. And lots of yellow to go with it. Surprising that they had no ideas…

    B. Ozil gets little credit for goal 1, BUT, I’d add it was “created” less by his assisting pass, than his 5m run after it. He passed to Theo. Then ran forward into the box. TWO defenders coming out sag in, wary maybe if the 1-2. This removes Sagnas inside support and let’s Theo cut in. Without at run, there’s no cut in and shot of any quality…. The pass was a 1M£ pass, but the run was worth the other 41M, imo…

    C. Second goal wasn’t the greatest pass out but really not much there, before Ozil did his thing. Raises the real question if he needs rest over the holiday. So, big two questions. Versus who? And … Who replaces him? I’ll go with Newcastle or better the between game of Borunemouth. Both have given up 32, so we should miss him less there. Who to replace. I’d bring in Arteta if available or switch formation to add Callum chambers in front of Koz and Merts with Flamini and let AR move freely… A third option is Theo up front with OG and AR, Joel, Flamini and Gibbs/Chambers as a middle four. Your call…

    D. Some say City deserved a point. Well, de Bruyne’s chance was good but not as good as ARs in the second half, both sides passed about two very good opps. We took two further ones, the first of which was not wildly great. They got a wonder goal, and so about fair enough… Lots of pressure didn’t translate to more good opportunities than we had…

    E. Ozil has 15 assists and a few goals in 16 games. Point a game. Cech is saving us likely 0.3 goals a game (guesstimate maybe that we’ve kept out about 4-5 from last year) and we’ve the top Defense in goals,against. That’s a swing of almost 1 full goal per game from last year. Maybe all we needed was that keeper to an extent. (????)

    F..we played pragmatically and won well. Better or similar to the score line. Again, all my opinion…

    Just my 2p.. Merry Christmas and Holiday Season to all — jgc

  7. geoffchase says:

    One more bit

    FWIW, in first 14 mins of second half. Arsenal had three very good opps. AR, Joel, AR… City had 1-2 in half one and 2 more maybe in half 2 of similar or near quality. We also got two goals in half one. So….. Just to add to my thoughts above as I watched half two again..

    Imo, City weren’t as dominant in half two as stats show, until last 15 mins or so anyway… God cohesion and discipline makes it look easier perhaps. Long may such last! 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  8. geoffchase says:

    Hi

    My rethought, Ozi gets a rest lineup..

    Cech
    Bellerin Koz Merts Monreal
    Joel AR Flamini Ox
    Theo OG

    Vs Bournemouth or Newcastle or both it should work(?)

    Cheers — jgc

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Guys 🙂

    It is really good to wake up this morning and read so many in depth football comments, which has not been much the case recently. There is plenty food for thought and each comment has me thinking, or should I say chewing. Am busy this morning but will attempt to keep responding.

    Oh and welcome back to Funminiyi 🙂

  10. njk84sg says:

    Prof,

    More likely a 4-5-1.
    Let me change the mid positions a little:

    AR-Flams
    Theo-Joel-Ox

    Apparently our switch to 4-5-1 formation is more compact defensively than 4-4-2, so I would not risk switching back to 4-4-2.

    Cheers,
    JK

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Fab observations AB

    Agreed on us controlling the game for a large part. I also thought that we were less compact and in control once our real leader, Mesut, left the pitch. He was a key outlet in the middle that we missed straightaway.

    Yaya is a great player and he works hard throughout the game, but… He prefers to attack, and I didn’t think city could have afforded to play 4-1-2-3 against us. They did though and paid a heavy price for it. 🙂

  12. geoffchase says:

    JK and TA

    JK: Yeah, I could live with that! I was being speculative to be honest… 🙂

    TA, if you’re up must be bedtime.. Seeya! 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Good night Geoff 🙂

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    17HT, all agreed on the importance of spirit, but that alone will not do. Luckily, we also had some team resources advantages compared to Man City on the night. All agreed on the last sentence: confidence is a good fuel for spirit.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    FunM, good call on Campbell and he is probably the reason behind Alexis’ extended lay off. He worked his socks off and his chasing of the ball had a part in city losing the ball, which led to the second goal. And the thing with Joel is, we know he can do somethings special any minute when on the pitch. Work rate, good reading of the game and decision making add to his package. Ox on loan next…one day you will agree with me. 🙂

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Johnnie, thanks buddy.

    The Theo, Giroud or both together debate will continue for a while, and I agree with your assessment of Theo. The question is all about fluidity versus anchor points, or ‘hubs’. Cech, BFG, Coq/Flam and Giroud are the hubs as well as the spine, and they are very important to the rest of the team.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    84, yes Sagna seems to have lost something but he didn’t have a bad game. Still a shame he went up north though.

  18. Pony Eye says:

    TA,

    You obviously watched the match with pure tactical eyes. I doff my hat. Me? I had my heart in my mouth 90 mins. Now that it has gone back to its 60 beats per minute, I can see that you saw right, that we were on top of them tactically and commitment wise all of the 90 mins. The marvel is that you were able to articulate those elusive points so well. Maybe it was a good thing we weren’t as clinical with our chances in the second half as we were in the first half, otherwise we might have started feeling the cup is already ours.

    Strange how massive injuries to the team has opened some doors for us. It brought into being the thrilling and effective CoCa destroyer/creator combo. Are we now witnessing a mobility/power combo in the persons of Walcott/Giroud playing together? Ask defenders, and they will tell you they hate power, worse if it comes with mobility. I particularly like Theo left where he poses a greater goal threat. Sanchez, yes, that’s our luxury.

    It’s beginning to look to me like we got a good chance, more so with reinforcements from the treatment table not a long way off.

  19. njk84sg says:

    Well written PE..

    i have always stressed that Theo and Ollie can play together.

    And see how they break defenses.

    So it looks like the Adams and Vieira era that won us titles and cups. And we can only get better with the fantastic team spirit, not worse.

    Cheers,
    JK

  20. JK, I thought you wanted Bendtner back at the club…Certainly one of Theo or Giroud will have to sit out to make room for Nicky, no? 😀

    Just kidding…Of course… But I do have something to say on the subject…

    With left-footers Giroud & Ozil as our de facto #s 9 and 10, the big beneficiary will always be the right footed attacker playing on the left doing the inverted winger thing and curling them home from the top corner of the box. My observation is that Giroud’s play with his back to goal is very left-side oriented so runs into that channel will yield good chances… If defenders play the run Ollie can always turn and shoot… Unfortunately, he rarely is able to find similar runs or (even) possession passes out to the right…

    Back to the post. Campbell deserves credit for playing with so much energy and desire and being unafraid to put himself in spots where he might (and did) fail. That said, I don’t think we should get carried away and believe he can carry the team or step into Ozil’s shoes. (Sorry again, JK.) Our best chances to put the match to bed happened when Campbell was well placed in the center. He should have converted Nacho’s ball in but put it over from 5 yards. The other one, where he tried to repeat his assist from the Olympiakos match (but this time for Ramsey) would have been a (nearly…) sure goal if only he’d dummied it and let it run onto Giroud who was placed behind him. I’m angry as that would’ve been another 10 points for my fantasy team (Ozil assist= 3 x 2 as my captain, Giroud goal =4 more)… More kidding, eh… In the end, I agree with Pony Eye that the more stressful conclusion to the match may work to make us more ready for further stresses–which are sure to come…

    On that account, TA, I realize that spirit alone is no answer, esp. over the longer haul. On the night, I think we benefited from the tightness of the squad–a reliable back 5, touch wood, is a huge blessing–and all the attackers putting in tremendous shifts. If Yaya had been on his horse the entire match he could’ve made additional chances (see a ball from De Bruyne in the 64th, for example)…A few just back from injury made their attack just that hair less decisive, IMO… Depth–and tinkering–can be a double-edged sword, after all, just ask Wilf Bony who is angry he didn’t get to start… Overall we match up well in quality with them, even with our very depleted squad… (Finally, why do you call David Silva, “Da Silva” which is a very common name in Brazil, but never in Spain/Spanish speaking countries?…)

    On that note, consider me concerned about how we get through these next few matches,. So’ton are really struggling so they’ll be desperate to get something from our match. Bournemouth, like a good team up from the Championship will play without any fear–and why not after beating both Chelsea and ManU (and winning an ugly battle up at West Brom). Somehow the manager will have to get a few extra players into some longer (starting) roles… Newcastle, who we play in our first match of the new year, are also playing much better and took full points up the 7 Sisters recently…

    AW has more information than we do so I’ll trust him (and the physio staff) to watch the muscle strains and the viruses… The big match is behind us but the points are just as big in these next three…

    Finally, Merry X-mas to one and all and (like TA says) it’s very nice to see a few old posters and hear their solid football thoughts…

  21. Shrillex says:

    Fantastic result and one that I may say we owe to Cech. He was rarely called into action, but look back at the chance De Bruyne had. Per was isolated 2v1 and he went to cover Silva and trusted Cech to stop De Bruyne. He missed in the end but that shows how much trust the team has in Cech. The turning point of the game for me, barring the goals. Loved the team spirit BTW.

    Merry Christmas guys!

  22. Le Coq Monster says:

    Been a while BKers, but life has been hell and anyone who has had a loved one leave them too early in life will know how I feel !…………………………..I miss Mmmmmourinho so much !…..I`m on tranquillizer`s and have the Samaritans on speed dial !.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.
    Obvious you all want some Doom !………..mmm……..reading blogs, it seems there is too much of a Leicester love in, like idiots wanting them to beat The Chavs the other week !…..when a loss or draw would have made us top !…….simple rule in football, hate all the other teams and especially the ones who are above you !.
    Great result on Monday night, but lets not get too carried away, Mansour City should have been one goal up before we scored, football and life is about grabbing the opportunities when they arise…..we grabbed ours and they didn’t, but we all know this can be the other way around in any EPL game we play in so OGAAT !
    Their goal was a beauty, but the first thing I noticed was how easy Ramsey just let Toure waltz around him in a simple one two, had Ramsey gone with the runner Toure then I doubt they would have scored !……..watch it and you will agree !
    Southampton away is another MWG ( they all are now, unless we can get some distance between us and who ever is behind us and to do that we have to win !……hence MWG`s ), so COYRRG`s.
    I honestly believe this is our best chance of the EPL since we last won it, but I also believe that the way Chav`s and Manshafter are stuttering that it is an opportunity that wont happen as easy again, we cant expect them two teams to be so poor again next season and beyond…..do not win it this season and we might not get an easier chance again for not only do we have to contend with the mega riches of the usual suspects but we will in a few years time have more competitors when The Chavs, Spuds have new grounds to match ours, but West Ham, also in a fantastic stadium where they will pay only a peppercorn rent and not be responsible for policing, ground staff, stewards, goal posts, maintenance and a host of other perk benefits etc` and not forgetting the Bindippers with a fully refurbished stadium.
    Everyone will have a decent stadium to print money even without the mega TV deal, so it`s this year or possibly a long way off !.
    Grasp it Arsene and if you have to pay over the odds in January then don’t be shy as £200+M in the bank is only gaining low interest !….spend it all and win the EPL and gain more money in what that brings directly and indirectly !.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

    Love you Jose XXXX hahaha

  23. Jnyc says:

    Geoffchase,
    Great point about ozils movement on theos goal. These are the little things that people dont give credit for usually. . And are more important than the obvious parts of the game.

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers PE 🙂

    Just imagine us playing Sanchez, Giroud and Walcott all at the same time up front. Speed, power, movement, tenacity, aggression, penetration. City were luckily Alexis was not available to join in on Monday, as we would have spanked them so hard the screams would have been heard all the way back in manky Manchester 😉

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    17, because I am too lazy to to print his first name in full… 😁

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Shrill, why single out Cech? Surely it was a team achievement?

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Cockie 😎

    Thanks for the doom and the down to earthness. Sorry for your loss. Now that Mourinho has been found out you have to find another love of your life hahaha. I am sure fat Sam is still available 😝

    Wenger may buy but he will not listen to you much. It is about keeping the balance right and adding cleverly. A mid-winger maybe and a loan spell for an experienced DM?

  28. Le Coq Monster says:

    Fat Sam as my new Special One !……….how dare you Totes !……what kind of old slapper do you think I am ? . hahaha

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    An a-ward winning one, for sure 😀

    How is Mrs cocky doing?

  30. Oh shite… Bergkampesque has reported that Wenger is gonna buy Cleverly…

    To me, Cleverly, (Tom Cleverly) is sort of a poor man’s Jordan’s Henderson… 😀

    Always good for Cocky to come round from the back of the sofa… It must be rough having to watch all the matches these days… 😀 Cheers as always for the reality check… In the end, we’re all doomed so we might as well go down (so to speak…) with some style…

    I think Shrill has a good point about Cech’s presence and calm and the way he plays very predictably and forces the lowest possible percentage shot. Knowing that he’d cover the near post on the De Bruyne 1 v 1 allowed the BFG not to race across trying to cover it himself. As the horror was unfolding I found myself watching Bellerin’s (awesome) sprint back which actually forced Da(vid) Silva to hold up his run and let his fellow Spaniard fly by (which covered the wide side of the shot-cross). Like Cocky said, he still could’ve scored which would have made things a lot more difficult, but the keeper and his two defenders made it as tough as possible and he didn’t… Small margins indeed…

    Watching Cech it seems like his defenders feel very confident that he’ll cover most of the 6 yard box but not much more than that. Ospina will come a LOT further but (obviously) suffers on high ball in close due to his size. Szcz was the least predictable but maybe could learn as understudy (and cup keeper) to Cech…

    Speaking of… Is there any (single) place I can find info on all the loan deals, i.e., who can be recalled and when and if there are purchase options, etc., etc… Cheers in advance…

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Haha Seventeenho, very Cleverly. 🙂

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Great comments Geoff, and all agreed. 🙂

  33. Jnyc says:

    17 great description of the de bruyne shot.. i was going to say his miss,, but the non panic and hustle of our defenders, along with Petrs positioning, actually put all the pressure on the attacker to pull off a perfect shot.., that pressure makes the perfect shot less likely… i really appreciated the play.

    I think It also shows de bruyne is not such a world class player for that ridiculous price…btw, i also feel the same about sterling, though they both are good players and will have their moments..

    In that same situation, Alexis would have found a way to score, as would 3 players on barca, for example. Our own jacky boy could do it, and Alex oxlade chamberlain has the talent, but probably would have found a way to screw it up in the end.., lol.

  34. Cheers New York… I thought De Bruyne played pretty well… If you’ve got the match on tape check out his ball for Yaya is the 64th min… Easier than the one he converted–if he was more of a willing runner… 😀

    There’s a lot of inchoate panic along the lines of Cockie’s argument above… We HAVE to win the title this season because the silly spending clubs (Chavs and the Mancs) will always outspend us and the others are coming up due to stadium improvements, etc., etc. I just don’t buy it… You have to spend wisely and build a squad where quality players get the chance to show what they can do. Spending can also backfire if the player just isn’t worth the money–even if the resources seem unlimited. There are only 990 minutes of playing time (11 x 90) plus stoppage time so if you give it to the wrong guys, it is wasted….

    That said, our squad is too thin at the moment but we’ve also got a good balance between the various generations of players with everybody relying on one another. Hopefully those just on the fringe will keep working hard, knowing that chances will come their way and good things can happen if they do well with them…

    City bought a lot of young talent (as well as a lot of old talent…) but still are heavily reliant on those few players at the heart of their squad–El Kun, Silva and Yaya. I also rate Kompany and Kolarov. We were fortunate to play them with most of that group not fully fit… They need the younger guys to step up and buoy the older ones now–and then shoulder the load when their time comes. Guys like Adam Johnson, Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair didn’t work out very well. Sterling and De Bruyne seem better to me, but it’s interesting that Chavs (Mourinho) let him go… Delph didn’t impress too much in his 45 minutes…

    Chavs older squad has been exposed but, IMO, are better positioned with so many players out on loan. (I don’t know *what* the plan is at ManU…) I think we will be buying here in January but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s someone (or two) who are value for money–and off the radar so the other clubs don’t just come in with a double sized offer… At our level it’s a 3, 4 or 5 year contract which is the real money, not just the fee… If the player gets to play–and plays well–he can always renegotiate a higher salary. Better than ending up on the bench or the shadow squad and back at Villa or Sunderland when your contract is up… IMO, again…

    So, I think we should appreciate where we are AND what we’re trying to build… But maybe I’m just catching the holiday spirit… 😀

  35. Admir says:

    Hello, people! 🙂

    I was delighted with our team-work the other night. It was actually a blue-print of most of our big victories in the last two-and-half years: defending as unit, conceding possession and grabbing our chances up front. Giroud’s role in all those big victories (Bayern in Munich, Borussia in Dortmund, City at Etihad, Bayern and City in London) was huge. Arsene’s was the biggest one. Özil is Bergkamp in disguise. 🙂

    I will make a brave prediction: if we win 60 more points, we will end up above Manchester City! 😀

    However, if our penultimate match of the season – the one at Etihad – turns out to be the decisive one, I think I will have a heart-attack.

    Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate these days! 🙂

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    All agreed 17.

    Admir, hear hear re Giroud, il est Notre Hub! 🙂

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    De Bruyne is a great talent and still only 24 years old. We had a great camera angle of his chance and you could see how Per and Petr limited De Bruyne’s space to shoot to less than a diagonal meter. His shot, whilst running at high speed had to be very sharp as a result this. On top of this, Cech has a big aura that can put the best attackers off.

  38. njk84sg says:

    Hm 17ht,

    Regarding the Lord Bendtner comment i was actually blindly throwing names in here..

    And good work in pointing out the small points that Alexis or Theo have provided us with as a right footed player on the left side of the field.

    Also, yes, Campbell is no Mesut, but if he works on his awareness of the players around him he will be as good. And he is younger too, so he will be a good player.

    That was why Le Prof refused to sell him even after hearing the comments about him last season. See what he did this season. Though he is still raw and is a Work in Progress, i see him as someone who can work the midfield like Jack and Ozil.

    Cheers,
    JK

  39. Gonna have to agree to disagree about Campbell as a #10,JK… He actually can do some decent hold up work as an emergency #9, even if he’s the physical opposite of Giroud, IMO… He helped get Costa Rica a lot further than anybody would’ve guessed in the most recent World Cup doing just that…

    Throwing out names isn’t really my thing nor is it what the team should be thinking, IMO (see above about the idea that we are making big investments, i.e., calculated guesses, on players)… Bendtner isn’t the worst player in the world but the return on Arsenal’s (long, relatively quite expensive) investment surely doesn’t suggest we should go for round two…

    In my opinion, at least…

  40. Jnyc says:

    17…. i want you to know that i spoke that exact sentiment to an annoying chav friend 2 days ago.. the subject being.., you guys need to win it this year because its the best chance you will ever have, blab, blah, blah…
    My response: i dont buy it.., ive heard it already in past seasons.. and things rarely turn out as predicted at the beginning.. Chelsea was predicted to be too strong just a few months ago.

    We play as a team. Strong defense, well trained and taught by Arsene, this group will be in it every year for the next few, , now that we have some money to compete..

  41. Jnyc says:

    I also hate it, by the way, because its used to put us down, as if, we can only win the league by default, if other teams dont perform well enough… Already laying groundwork to downplay our achievements. . Like 2 fa cups, after years without a trophy.

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    So true Johnnie,

    Except for BFG, Flamini and Arteta, all our players will even get better over the next few years, and we have money to add players Tom-Cleverley 🙂

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    Just tell them this is only the beginning of an era of Gunners dominance 😉

  44. njk84sg says:

    Guys, Its a short few days rest this week and next week.
    So, should we do the preview soon for both Saturday’s and Monday’s games?

    Cheers,
    JK

  45. FMJ14 says:

    Awesome positives TA. The whole team were and have been fantastic to get us into such a great position so your last positive tops it for me. I still feel there is potential for a shocking performance in there, which can happen with over confidence – so I am glad Arsene is playing down our position at the moment. I also appreciate his reflections on 2015 and the consistency of performances and results that we have put together putting us 10 points ahead of the rest in the calendar year.. Continue like this and we can iron out those wobbly moments and fulfill the great potential still to come out of this team. It is more mature and there is a lot more to come I reckon.. Merry Xmas to all and may this be a Red and White 2016 😀

  46. 17highburyterrace says:

    JK, there IS a Santa Claus… or at least a match preview… 😀

    We’re hosting guests (and there’s new snow…) but my hope is to stay on top of the Arsenal stuff with one for the Bournemouth match too… We’ll see about the live-blogging, but I think I can work them in as well…

    Merry Christmas to all… And fingers crossed for a happy Boxing Day and a Happy New Year!

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