Bergkampesque Live-blog: Line-ups are Out! Gabriel, Chambers, Ox, Gibbs Come in vs Bournemouth

Let’s get that response vs Bournemouth that we need!

Here’s the team news:

Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Chambers, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud

Subs: Ospina, Iwobi, Monreal, Debuchy, Koscielny, Campbell, The Jeff

Bournemouth: Boruc, Daniels, Cook, Francis, Smith, Gosling, Arter, Surman, Ritchie, Pugh, King.

Subs: Federici, Distin, O’Kane, Stanislas, Tomlin, Rantie, Murray

 

So, what do you think?

I’ll be trying to provide some narrative commentary.  Please join me in the comments.  Cheers!

by 17 highburyterrace

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110 Responses to Bergkampesque Live-blog: Line-ups are Out! Gabriel, Chambers, Ox, Gibbs Come in vs Bournemouth

  1. allezkev says:

    Flamini drops right out of the 18…

    Age/slight injury?

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow, four changes! Freddie will be wetting his pants 😜

  3. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hi AK… Hard to say about Flamini…definitely on the older side, of course… 😀

    Where are you watching this one?…

  4. allezkev says:

    Gabriel and Gibbs in on the left of our defence…

  5. FMJ14 says:

    I hope walcott is ok today just coming back into it and being asked to play two games in two days.. as for bfg I do worry.. he can’t handle any kind of pace and yeh I see Gabriel is a more natural replacement for koscielny so he shoukd cover bfg successfully providing he is not rusty… In the long run we shouldn’t have players with such marked weaknesses. Bfg lack of pace becomes a real liability at times.. I think gabby and kos need games together to form a partnership. They are good enough to do that. anyhow hey ho.. lets go for it.. lets get an early goal!!

  6. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hi TA…

  7. allezkev says:

    Hi 17, I did have a ticket mate, but I’ve been Tom&Dick over Christmas, so it’s keep in the warm and listen to the radio buddy… 😕

  8. FMJ14 says:

    Will be great if we can get Elneny .. looks really good. Typical Wenger signing and not the kallstrom sort..

  9. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hi FMJ…

    The changes seem almost as I thought they might but I am surprised that Kos isn’t playing… Let’s go get a couple of early goals, I say…

    Debuchy is back on the bench, hmm…

    Feel better, AK…

  10. allezkev says:

    3 points to the Gunners, would be just the medicine 17’Ho 😃

  11. 17highburyterrace says:

    FMJ, I haven’t clicked on the highlight reels for the Egyptian nor have I seen any Basel matches (recently, at least) what have you seen/heard?

    Moment of appreciation for Don Howe…

  12. 17highburyterrace says:

    We have kickoff…

  13. 17highburyterrace says:

    First corner goes to B-mouth…Played short but Theo gets on it and runs it forward…

    Back with Bournemouth now…

  14. allezkev says:

    Unfortunately for me, it’s ManUtd can Chelsea on the radio…

    COYRRG

  15. 17highburyterrace says:

    3rd min: Some Arsenal possession… But Ox runs into Ozil near the corner of their box and passes it into touch… Ugly…

  16. 17highburyterrace says:

    More strangeness in MF between Ox and Rambo, results in a giveaway to B-mouth… Shot is floated and grabbed by Cech…

  17. allezkev says:

    17, I know it’s difficult when viewing via TV, but what’s the atmosphere like at the ground?

  18. 17highburyterrace says:

    Early on we’re struggling to string our passes together…. King rounds the BFG but put the ball behind for a Cech goal-kick…

    Chambers wins a clash of heads and the Bournemouth guy needs treatment…

  19. FMJ14 says:

    HT I have seen him on Scoutnation YouTube channel and read a few reviews of his style of play and career progress. He looks strong and alert, I think he can do a good job in DM. A good passer and is rangey with good link up play so can play box to box CM in our system too. He has a very powerful long shot which is always handy..

  20. 17highburyterrace says:

    It sounds like decent noise in the ground to me, AK…

    Seems like the fast pitch is making life a struggle for both teams…

    Theo loses it in the most recent turnover…

  21. 17highburyterrace says:

    Rambo makes a fine tackle ans starts a break…Gibbs cross is ballooned and easily cleared. Bournemouth send in one equally high and light and Cech claims it…

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    First Arsenal corner easily by Boruc…

  23. allezkev says:

    How has the defence settled 17…?

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Good friend of mine and season ticket holder says Wenger is gambling with the team selection. Not happy. Whatever Wenger does will only be justified by the end result..

  25. 17highburyterrace says:

    caught by Boruc, I meant…

    Bournemouth attack looks good but the cross in is stopped by several red shirts… A dangerous moment, however…and the teams look more evenly matched than I would’ve hoped…

  26. 17highburyterrace says:

    So true, TA…

    B-mouth are picking off our passes all over the pitch…One by Bellerin leads to a dangerous moment but the volleyed shot is blocked at the point…

    Ozil throughball doesn’t get to Giroud…

    Hate to say it but we look 2nd best thus far…

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for updates, 17ht. No media coverage here, so v much appreciated.

  28. 17highburyterrace says:

    Some stoking the ball around but nothing looks very fluent nor secure… Rambo lofts one right to a Bournemouth defender…

  29. allezkev says:

    Total, if Wenger played the same XI and we lost.
    He’d be criticised for not rotating…

    He makes changes, and, if we don’t win…
    He’ll be criticised for rotating…

    As you say, if we win, he’s a genius, if we don’t, he’s abused…
    C’est la vie…

  30. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nice control in MF from Chambers…almost Santi-esque…

    Bournemouth are backing off us we are really struggling to keep possession… Bellerin foul gives them a FK from 40 yards which they take short and then play beyond the goal line harmlessly…

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Sounds like we are going to score from a break soon, or is that me wishful thinking? 😎

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chambers, well forward in the right channel overhits his cross by about double…

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    Since we’ve got no basic passing it would have to be on the break, TA… Bournemouth aren’t putting too many guys forward, however…

  34. 17highburyterrace says:

    Better there as Ozil finds Theo while Giroud blocked off defenders with his body… Unfortnately Theo whiffs as the perfectly lofted ball bounced at his feet…

  35. Ab says:

    Good to get the updates HT. Not getting it from anywhere else. Sounds like we are struggling to find familiarity here. If we can avoid conceding, then we should feel confident that some form will come. Glad to see the changes made – necessary rotation in my book rather than dangerous fiddling. Fingers crossed for the result – as people have said, Wenger is on a hiding to nothing with many.

  36. So you get hammered 4-0 by a team who could not score goals for money.
    And what is the response?
    A little kick about at the Emirates – no passion, no fight – nothing.
    If we finish third or fourth (which we will) then I expect Wenger to LEAVE.
    If he cannot motivate his players when there has never been (or never will be) a better chance of winning the Premiership then he has NO business at Arsenal anymore, regardless of his history at the club.
    Its the same sh*te EVERY season..

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    Now we’re keeping the game a bit more at their end but a couple of moves down our left break down…

    Ox does well to turn and run on the right…wins a corner…

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Not sounding great until now, 17.

  39. 17highburyterrace says:

    GABBY!!!!

  40. allezkev says:

    Gabriel, 😃

  41. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wrestling with his marker Gabby got free and the perfect corner by Ozil was thumped home from 5 yards…Great corner, great header… Just what the doctor ordered…

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    That will hurt Bournemouth… Their attacks had lost some impetus leading up to the corner kick goal…Now they will have to commit more boys forward…

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    There you go, Leon., hahahaha, your dum negativity has brought us luck. 😳

  44. allezkev says:

    Mancs/Chavs 0-0

  45. allezkev says:

    If Bournmouth now have to come out more, then that should suit Theo.

    How is Chambers playing?

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    Could Mesut out-assist the eventual PL top goal scorer this season?

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    Rambo got a yellow a couple of minutes back, I should mention, for hauling down Gosling after losing control of the ball…

    The goal has changed the match and now we can put more guys around B-mouth players as they struggle to find something in attack…

    Ozil uses his body to start some play deep out of our end…And from the continued possesion Ozil finds Theo at the near post…First touch is poor but we win a corner…From which we nearly again..
    Gabby’s header is blocked onto the post and the rebound hits the BFG on the face and out of play.

  48. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow… More Arsenal attack. Theo angled shot wins a corner but wide open Giroud gets under the header and loops it out of play…

    Now another corner coming…

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    Sounding all so much better! 🙂

  50. 17highburyterrace says:

    We look very good on these corners…and just miss as Ozil’s ball eludes the defenders too…

    We’re creating great pressure on B-mouth now and a backpass goes behind for another corner…

  51. allezkev says:

    WHam/Soton 0-1

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Let’s hope we can get the second before half time.

  53. 17highburyterrace says:

    The goal changed the game and we’re knocking on the door for a 2nd with superior physicality and whipped crosses scaring the pants off them…

    Bellerin gives them a let off with one which floats out instead of curling…

  54. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nearing the break now… and more strong play down our right gives Bellerin some additional chances… His cross finds only a defender as does one from Rambo…

    Another Ozil corner is headed across by Gabby, bounces around but doesn’t go it… Seems a play they cannot stop, however…

  55. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ox and Theo have switched flanks and the former is working hard but not finding final balls back to the center… Wins a FK but B-mouth defend it… I min added time…

  56. allezkev says:

    Job 50% done….

  57. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil lofts one up towards Giroud who uses his body well to try and bring it down…In the end he looked well grabbed by the defender but no foul is forthcoming…

    HT…and the big difference seems dominance from the corners…

  58. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil’s deliveries are rather remarkably excellent and could’ve led to some further assists… Otherwise, our play along the floor leaves a lot to be desired… Gabby with the goal and other corners is proving too much for his markers and Chambers is putting himself about well… Ox, Rambo and Bellerin look very bright but have struggled with final balls…

    Overall, it took a while to settle but we’re well on top since the goal changed the game…

  59. retsub1 says:

    Allezkev

    You can get the Arsenal commentary on Arsenal player. It was a long time ago that I signed up but I Don’t remember paying anything.

  60. 17highburyterrace says:

    2nd half on…

  61. 17highburyterrace says:

    Rambo whistled, needs to reign it in… Junior Stanislaus on for B-mouth…

  62. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bournemouth will need to up their work on the ball if they want to get back into this…Or they could try to lure us forward and hope for something on the break… We need to keep our shape/discipline and not get carried away pushing up for a 2nd…

    Oh my… Stanislaus beats the offside trap but his first touch takes him wider than necessary and we are able to block the cross and recover…

  63. 17highburyterrace says:

    51st minute and some B-mouth possession is stopped by Theo defending deep… Bellerin breaks well on the right but cross is defended…

  64. Ab says:

    Don’t need a Rambo red card here. He needs to take care

  65. 17highburyterrace says:

    54th minute: It appears we’re trying to press a bit from the front but happy to let them have some of the ball and keep plenty of men back.. Gibbs is having a struggle with headed clearances going back to B-mouth players…

  66. 17highburyterrace says:

    B-mouth get a corner and they take it short but then get a decent cross in, we clear the danger, however…

    AB, it’s not too combative in MF so I think Ramsey should be OK…

    Gabriel did very well early in the half when Stanislaus beat the trap…10 minutes in and we finally were shown a replay…

  67. 17highburyterrace says:

    Giveaway by Chambers in our half but then he blocks Gosling’s long shot at the point… They’re getting into our box but Gibbs got a toe in to prevent a shot…

  68. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bournemouth are warming to this pattern of play so a 2nd goal would go down a real tonic…

    A promising bit of possession breaks down as Chambers clatters a Bournemouth guy and gets a yellow for missing the ball and taking out the player…

  69. 17highburyterrace says:

    OZIL!!!! WOW…

  70. Ab says:

    Is Chambers looking like a DM at all HT? Apart from throwing his weight around that is…

  71. 17highburyterrace says:

    It was a 1-2 with Giroud but well dictated by the class of the goal-scorer… Such a calm finish too…

    Long way back now for Bournemouth…

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    Fab news Seventeenho. Let’s go for a third rather than invite 30 minutes of pressure.

  73. allezkev says:

    Thanks Retsub…

  74. 17highburyterrace says:

    I think Chambers is doing OK today… He’s not as lacking in mobility as some claim and his ball skills (both feet) are good too…

    Corner for us… Ozil to Gabby at the front post but the header is harmless this time…

  75. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ooooohhh very close from Theo from a tough angle on the break…

    Arsenal are looking dominant now and getting more of the ball…

  76. 17highburyterrace says:

    Guys like Bellerin, Gibbs and the Ox are looking pacy and moving the ball forward really well… Oooh another chance there with Rambo finding Giroud but instead of shooting he tries to pass it back…

    Creating a lot of pressure until Ox passes it into touch…

  77. TotalArsenal says:

    All sounding great, 17. 🙂

  78. 17highburyterrace says:

    Geezus… Giroud’s long shot is bobbled by Boruc but then Theo screws it wide of the post…He was offside anyhow which (maybe) spares his blushes…

  79. allezkev says:

    How ironic, if after all the angst and hype following St Mary’s, that 24 hours later, we find that Arsenal are top of the EPL…

    It’s a funny old game…

  80. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bournemouth are just about done here but a goal would give them life… A long shot is easy for Cech…

  81. Ab says:

    Top of the league – yes, same old shite Leon?

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    It is all about bouncebackability, Akev.. 🙂

  83. 17highburyterrace says:

    They’re trying but cannot find a way through our massed defenders… Long shots only, the latest blocked at the point…

    We look to be very happy to let them pass it around…

    Falls harmless to Cech…

  84. 17highburyterrace says:

    Giroud passes behind Theo as we try to break… Ball’s back with B-mouth but BFG breaks up an attempted 1-2…

    Josh King limping around, Glenn Murray to come on…

    Giroud leading the break finds Ozil but cannot convert the return pass with his right foot…sloppy from the big fellow, who is getting taken out for Campbell…

  85. 17highburyterrace says:

    Best chance for Bournemouth all day with Arsenal defenders very static… Booted well over, however… Now Nacho in for Gibbs…

  86. allezkev says:

    Total, I thought it was all about cohesion? 😀

  87. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ox did very nice work but takes a finger to the eye and steps off the ptich… Back on now he leads the break with a fine pass to Campbell. Eventually he gets it back from Theo but his shot deflects off the post and out for a corner… Taken short it ends with Theo trying to loop one but it goes out harmlessly…

  88. 17highburyterrace says:

    Little chance there fro B-mouth but Junior Stanislaus cannot bend it from a very tough angle…

  89. allezkev says:

    WHam/Soton 2-1

  90. 17highburyterrace says:

    I shouldn’t speak too soon, but this one is done… Campbell tries to get on the end of a cross but can’t get there…He then chases the ball all over the pitch as Bournemouth seek to attack…

    They don’t have much here and Chambers eventually takes it away allowing a long but pointless run forward with the ball…

    Oooh, Bells almost lifts one to onside Theo at the near post…

  91. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ramsey still trying with the running and the flicks…Bournemouth win a late corner… Iwobi about to come on… Corner is poor but then we seemed to switch off and Cech was forced into a really good save…Ozil finds Theo with a great cross but Boruc blocks the finish well…

  92. allezkev says:

    Job done….

    Mancs/Chavs 0-0

    Nice work 17…

  93. 17highburyterrace says:

    There’s the whistle…

    Not very fluent but Bournemouth offered very little even in periods when we struggled… We dominated at the corners there in the first period and looked comfortable defending and playing on the break. Still, it took the class of Ozil to get us the 2nd…

  94. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cheers A-Kev…

  95. 17highburyterrace says:

    When the matches are on the extra channels here the halves are followed by highlight packages with no commentary…Pretty fun and we had plenty of good moments during the match. Final balls and good finishes, however, were distinctly absent, except on the two scoring plays and a couple where Boruc closed the angle well on Theo for the saves. We’ll have to up our MF play A LOT as we get back to tougher matches in the new year…

  96. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, gotta say goodbye to the guests… Looking forward to impressions of the match from others…

  97. Ab says:

    Many thanks for the updates HT. Sounded comfortable overall, and a qualified success in terms of the rotations. No injuries. Ozil and Rambo are due a rest soon. As are Giroud and Theo for that matter. Will be interesting to see how that is handled. I can’t really comment on the game until I’ve seen at least a few highlights. It didn’t sound like a flawless performance by any means, but a controlled response and 3 safe points. Same again in the next and I’m ok with this spell in terms of points. We need players back from injury though, soon.

  98. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey guys, had an evening out after the game and just saw the highlights. Will write something tomorrow.

  99. njk84sg says:

    Good rebound after the disappointing defeat. At least we are top ahead of City vs Citeh tonight. Hope Citeh wins, to keep our lead and knock Spuds off third place.

    Cheers,
    JK

  100. TotalArsenal says:

    Definitely not a City win, 84! 😡

  101. njk84sg says:

    TA,
    I do not wish our bitter rivals stay in 3rd place.. we will then see ourselves top of the league going into 2016, Citeh in second, Leicester in third, and Spuds in 4th.

    It will suit us truly well.

  102. TotalArsenal says:

    Positions now are academic, 84, but a four point gab with Man City is important with hard away games to come in January. Now be a good boy and wish for a Foxes’ win or at least a draw. 😛

  103. Ab says:

    84. If we don’t win the league this year I can’t see it being won by anyone other that city – to wish them points now would be barking. Mathematically, the draw is always the best result (for us) between opposing high placed teams. A Leicester win might be no bad thing either as I do expect them to tire over the season – and its far from a given that they will hang on to their best players in January either. When city strike another seam of form – and they will – they will take max points for an extended period. We will need all the headroom we can get as we still have our vulnerabilities.

    Our team is now like a pretty well set up racing car – nicely balanced. We don’t have as much power as some others, don’t have the same top levels of speed, and we rely on a few bits of rather dated technology; but the sum of the whole works very sweetly together. What that means is we are going to lose some more games over the season – because we are not the best in every department; but Wenger hopes we can win the race through greater consistency. What fortune we have on the injury front will be pretty central to whether that strategy succeeds or not.

    A good day to wake up as a gooner though – top of the league! Cant complain about that, though Im sure some will find a way!

  104. njk84sg says:

    You are right Ab and TA.

    Ok then. I will just see the results when i wake up tomorrow morning.

    Rumour mills are at Elneny again. Ok, he is of a decent height, 6 foot tall and a DM.

    Are you referring to him previously 17ht?

    JK

  105. FLO8 says:

    Great work 17!

    Some elective and structured squad rotation, an energetic performance and (finally) some game time for our British players! A great victory versus a plucky Bournemouth!

    Some notable stats from the match:

    Defensively:
    – Gabriel almost replicated Koscielny’s excellent 6 interception, 3 tackle performance versus Southampton, with 2 tackles and 6 interceptions versus Bournemouth. That’s all the more impressive given the Brazilian hasn’t been given much game time so far this season.

    – Ox recorded a game high 4 tackles during the match.

    – Ramsey recorded 3 interceptions and 3 tackles in the game, which stats comparable with Coquelin at his best. That’s a marked improvement for Ramsey who in his past two matches recorded 1-2 tackle and interceptions.

    – Chambers recorded 1 tackle and 2 interceptions. Not a performance comparable with the Premier League’s leading CDM in Leicester’s Kante (who averages 4 tackles and 4 interceptions per game) but the fact that Chambers was playing out of position in the CDM role needs to be taken into consideration. That said he did block a game high 4 shots which was impressive. I was just happy to see the young Englishman get game time to be honest as he had only played one Premier League match prior to the game versus Bournemouth.

    Offensively:
    – Ozil recorded an outstanding 9 key passes in the match as well as a game high 4 accurate through passes. To put those stats into perspective that 5 more key passes in a game than the leading key passer per game in Europe (who is also Ozil at 4 per game) and 3 more though balls in a game than the leader in that passing category – Messi (who averages approximately 1 per game).

    – Walcott was industrious upfront with a game high 3 shot, 2 of which were on target.

    – Ox recorded an impressive 4 successive dribbles in the match. To put that in perspective only Messi (6), Neymar (4.7) record on average more successful dribbles per match in Europe.

    – I though Giroud had lethargic performance and recorded a game high 5 bad touches but what a flick to put Ozil through for his goal! That is Giroud at his best!

    All in all very impressive from Arsenal and the added bonus is Kosicelny, Monreal, Flamini and Campbell all got a rest to recuperate after their recent exertions and Gabriel, Gibbs, Chambers and Ox get some more game time under their belt and a boost to their confidence. The rotations might of come a match too late and four rotations in one hit is a lot but hopefully it makes Wenger more confident and willing to regularly rotate his squad in a structured and systematic way going forward to optimise the health and confidence of the entire squad without compromising the on field performance level.

  106. 17highburyterrace says:

    Morning fellas… Early to bed, early to rise for me…Thanks TA and AB for explaining to JK the, er, nature, of the title race this year. IMO one MUST support the Foxes as they are a great story (vs the hard–and often ugly–money of the Abu Dhabi team) and they have a legitimate shot at a top 4 spot, which would be incredible. If they could finish top of the table at the half-way mark of the season (and then hold on for European football), it would show that something good was happening with the English game. AB’s right, they will be destabilized through January with Mahrez (and perhaps Kante and Vardy) transfer talk. If they are still top by Feb 1, then we should worry about them… They come to our place on Feb 13. That one I wrote, a few weeks back, before the Chavs/Foxes match, of course, was tongue in cheek…

    (I fear this comment might get a bit long but this is as good a spot as any to answer AB’s question from a couple of days ago about my skiing…I’m not a professional skier, but, since I live in famous ski mountains, when the snow is in, I almost treat it like a job, trying to get my share of the powder before it goes bad–due to warming temps, usually. Typically, that means 3-5 hour outings–to the lift-served skiing on the first day, then climbing, aka, skinning, 500 or 1000 vertical meters–or more if multiple laps are attempted–for untracked backcountry snow on ensuing days…The holidays with resort black outs for passholders plus additional tourist traffic, complicates things…)

    Back to the footy… Regarding our match and the ongoing debate about rotation, I feel I’ve had a bit of an aha moment reading FL08’s piece above… He’s a stats man(!)… There’s nothing wrong (of course) with stats and they will play a growing role in the game as time goes by. Still, IMO, because they don’t specify the level of competition under which they were garnered, they (vastly) underplay the role of individual and collective confidence which is so critical in our sport. Arsenal–led by its manager with the very similar name–has recruited players who do the right thing–work hard–as individuals and as a collective–to try and achieve the best results for the team. That will show up in good stats–esp. when playing a team which is of lesser quality and is playing much of a game already beaten. Do we want to send players with teetering confidence out into tougher matches where they might take a battering? Your mileage may vary (and FL08’s most certainly does) but I don’t think so. First team stalwarts can lick their wounds and regroup, the fringe players cannot (so easily) and, in fact, if the fans turn on them, we might never see them again (Eboue, Denilson, Dos Santos, Ryo, etc., etc., etc., where have you gone?)… Besides, it will make their stats look a lot worse… 😀

    In other words, although the group we put out (yesterday) was very out-of-sorts early on, we made our way (slowly) back into the match, finally won a corner (not bad work from the Ox, though he might have done even better) and took the lead by way of a great delivery and even better isolation play and execution by one of the big men up to try and get on the end of it… Soon after we almost did it again (a couple of times…) Am I glad I chose Gabriel’s (homely) mug up as the photo for the live-blog post?… Why, yes I am… 😀

    At that point Bournemouth was beaten. Now, had we nicked the first goal at Southampton (where our early play was equally poor…), would that team have rolled over? I don’t think so. Say what you want about Shane Long (cheater, only modestly talented, etc.), he’s not a quitter and he and a few of his mates would have kept at the niggling and tried to rescue the result that their team so desperately needed in a way that Bournemouth didn’t. Junior Stanislaus, the Cherries best player, but rested for the first 45 minutes, blew his chance to level just after the break (another excellent play from Gabby, btw, after not the very best 1st touch from the Stanislaus) and shoulders slumped.

    The fact that we could “only” score two, again IMO, shows just how stretched and fragile the squad is at the moment. Giroud looks very tired but again put in a big shift, as did Ramsey. Bellerin is starting to blow my mind with his running. It’s the heart of his game and he looks eager to go and go and go. Same with Theo. The execution at both end for Bells (and the offensive end for Theo) wasn’t so great–another sign of fatigue. The Ox got into the running and desperately needs a goal (his disappointment when he hit post was palpable) but the decision making and execution with final balls still seems lacking. (Btw, the game is much easier if you run with the ball less and just pass it forward, alas, with Santi out, a lot of that is gone….) Gibbs (just my opinion again) looked distinctly 2nd choice as a LB esp. after getting replaced for the 1st choice guy (Nacho). Chambers, I thought, did really well, all things considered, and successful outings at DM will bolster his confidence–as a CB. DM is not his natural position, however, at the level to which we aspire, at least. He’s a quality player, and still very young, however and should get some games alongside Gabby in the FA cup, I think.

    January starts up the real opportunity to rotate in that tournament but there has to be a worry that we might lose some players at the back to the TW, notably Ospina and Debuchy, who both want first team football to keep their international careers afloat. Ospina is such a different keeper from the guy who now has the clean sheet record. If we put him between the sticks with a completely different back 4 AND the own-goal specialist from our CL group (the Ox) we shouldn’t be too worried about dropping out of that competition or at least having some replays. Is that OK with Gooners?

    Probably not. Still, it’s what’s likely to happen, esp. if we rest Ozil (and Giroud), the guy(s) who has (have) really carried us through this Alexis (and Santi and Coq) free period. Who gets his spot? Ramsey, maybe (Campbell for Giroud)? Elneny? It’s a killer that we won’t have Jack (nor Sicky, nor Arteta). FL08, if you tell me Crowley or Kamara or JRA or Iwobi I’ll hope to believe you, but I won’t (until I see them do it with my own eyes)… (Where’s Gerry to tell me about the horror decision to send Zelalem up to Glasgow Rangers on loan?… 😀 …)

    That’s OK, because I don’t mind bowing out of that tournament and staying focused on the league and giving 100% effort against Barca and whatever teams we draw after we beat them… Ask any Wenger hater and they will tell you there are only two “real’ trophies, after all… If we (somehow) lose to Barca but are still in the FA cup–and get a couple of the long term injured back, we can maybe field stronger teams in the domestic cup.

    So, for now, 1) Leicester-ManCity is out of our hands but we hope the home team can get something. 2) We need to regroup here and try and get full points vs (much improved) Toonies to start the 2nd half of the season, possibly using some of the guys who rotated in yesterday. 3) Vs Sunderland in the cup we can go even deeper, but we probably need some firepower on the bench to avoid a replay. Alexis and Elneny will need some sort of outing in that one. 4) improved Pool and (much improved) Stoke (away) and Chavs (home) is the critical stretch. 4-6 points is probably a very good take, anything more would be a major statement. 0-3 points is definitely possible esp. if we (dennis forbid) take on any further injuries to our key players. (I’m talking real injuries, not Wenger-(l)ies so that players can rest…)

    We play them one at a time, of course, but with a keen eye to the way the fixtures come at us. To continue in the mix near the top is the goal…You cannot win these things in January, but you sure can lose them, I think, is what they say… Not to be negative, of course, just keeping things real…

    Sorry for the long post, looking forward to TA burying it with his impressions from yesterday, etc.

  107. Admir says:

    Hello, people! 🙂

    It was a really good game last night. An expected nervy start, Gabby’s excellent finish and Ozil’s Bergkampesque performance.

    We should have won by the bigger margin, a goal difference is a half of point worth itself, but I’ll take 2:0 any day of the week.

    I agree with 17 regarding January. With 7 points in those three matches we could think of a title.

    Speaking of Leicester, their last game is away to Chavs. 😀 Imagine if Chelsea need points to avoid relegation and to help us to pip Leicester for the title. 😀

  108. TotalArsenal says:

    Great comments guys 🙂

    New post 🙂

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