Solid Defence and Fab Flamini | Teflon Theo Will Bounce Back | Cool Joel: Afterthoughts

Stoke 0 – 0 Arsenal

Two points dropped or one gained?

It is over; it is done. We have been to Stoke, got a point, nobody got injured and we have provided the local Neanderthals with their annual pantomime. What a low form of our species lives in that proverbial hole. I have been to Stoke once, and, if I can help it, will never go again, for football or for work. What they did and keep doing to Rambo should not be forgotten, ever. Let’s leave it at that.

We were a team of three yesterday: a solid defence, relatively well protected by the Flame; a willing/enthusiastic midfield, and; a hard working but toothless attack.

Cech was fabulous, our CBs were robust and mostly in control of the game and our FBs did their work with focus and energy. We dropped two points against Pool in extra time and we won one during the same period yesterday afternoon, with great saves by PC and never say die defending by the likes of Rambo. Flamini sat in front of the back four and did a solid job for most of the game – more we could not have asked of him. He scurries, he sweats, he throws himself in front of bullets, he puts his foot in when it matters and he never looks at the clock. You have got to love him.

Playing Flamini deep and young ones Rambo and Ox in front of him – like a 4-1-2-3 – meant that the Orcs did not get into their attacking gameΒ for almost the entire game. Add to that Theo’s speed and running and Stoke had to play deeper than they probably wanted to. As a result, we made them look ordinary at home which is the second biggest outcome of the game. (First one being the away point.)

Life without Ozil (or Alexis, Jack, Cazorla, Rosicky) is a bit bleak though. It just shows how big an influence he has on our game currently as we looked equally as ordinary as the vile Orcs on the day. Giroud worked his socks off but the referee was part of the Orcs annual open air pantomime and was not going to protect him against the continuous, cynical fouls by the home team. Theo worked hard too but was very ineffective and his lack of football skills were cruelly exposed: more than I can remember ever seeing this before. Theo has speed to burn, and when played into space, he is an awesome weapon; he is also deadly in the box with his no-nonsense shoot-to-kill approach to attacking football. But when it comes to linking up with others, holding on to the ball or creating something by himself, our smooth-talking England international has severe limitations. The good thing about Theo is that he is made of Teflon: lack of form or criticism does not affect him for long, if at all: I expect him to score the winner against the Chavs next weekend.

The one thing I really enjoyed about the game, other than our stout and proud defending, was another fine performance by Joel.Β  He was easily our best attacker on the day with a lot of composure and time on the ball when others were rushing and misplacing their passes. He helped out Bellerin and other defenders a lot with some good positioning and timely interceptions; he brought the ball forward well and made clever and effective decisions when making his next move; he produced a beautifully weighted, surgical through-ball from which Giroud could have scored (if he had kept his attempt low rather than at the knee-height of the impressive goalie); and he worked his socks off without losing his style or composure. Top man.

A good point and the end of a difficult, compact period with simply too many injuries in midfield. We now have only seven away games butΒ nine home games left, and key players are returning. It feels to me like the end of the middle section of a three-section book and we did well in picking up many points and only get beaten once (Southampton) in a mad period of PL games. Let’s give the Chavs a hiding on Sunday and show the rest of the PL who is boss. COYG!!

By TotalArsenal.

 

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34 Responses to Solid Defence and Fab Flamini | Teflon Theo Will Bounce Back | Cool Joel: Afterthoughts

  1. Naz says:

    Uplifting piece.

  2. Keston says:

    Good post TA. I just feel it a little for OX at the moment, he’s such a talented player, but nothing is going in his favour presently. He’s getting his chances but his confidence like it’s just not there. Strong defensive display. Cech was awesome. I’m contented with the result.

  3. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good post, TA… Some of my thoughts, esp. re: Theo and Campbell are at the bottom of the previous thread… I did some very minor editing…On my spell check, defence gets a red underline, however… πŸ˜€

    If Ozil and Alexis are available and Elneny has a full week to train with the team now that he’s seen what English football is all about, AW will have some selection headaches… We’ll have to hear the tone of things as the week progresses… and I’ll save my final thoughts for the match preview. For me, if all are fit and ready they all should start… As you say, Theo should too (or does he score the winner off the bench). If so, that’s tough on Ox, Flams and JC, the three guys I see being sat down…

    Speaking of tough matches and Elneny, I remember reading somewhere that there’s no derby in all of football fiercer than the Cairo derby… Here’s the link, http://www.theguardian.com/football/2008/jul/18/alahly.zamalek

    As such, the scenes at Stoke maybe shouldn’t faze him… Arsenal supporters will be very keen to create a very difficult atmosphere for the group assembled there in Kensington. They’ve yet to lose since Moo was put to pasture and they’ll revert to type, surely, dreaming of another nil-nil like the one yesterday…

    Is Elneny ready or will Flamini go again? Huge question and one which cannot be proved using youtube compilations, I fear…

    Surely the Ox drops to the bench… Agreed about potential and skills and all that but how many chances can he get?

    Final question… I know nobody was impressed by Theo but I agree that Giroud had worked extremely hard. Could Wenger have put in Elneny for Ollie late on and pushed Theo to CF? It would have appeared as a defensive sub, but it might have been trickier than that, esp. if it allowed Rambo and/or the Ox to push up a bit too… I know it’s unanswerable since it didn’t happen. If it did and we lost, it’s (very) bad, if we win it’s brilliant… Taking the point as we did probably suffices…

  4. allezkev says:

    17, that’s an interesting point, how would Stone Age man or Shawcross as he is sometimes known, have coped with Theo running at him…?
    Mind you, knowing Shawcross, Theo may well be in Intensive Care right now, so Wenger probably did him a favour taking him off…

    Really nice, balanced post Total, for myself, I felt we dropped two points at Anfield but gained one at The Brittania…
    Having been to the Brittania I can honestly say that the only good thing about that dump are the chicken balti pies…

  5. FMJ14 says:

    Cheers TA. That returning midfield including the one and only Alexis will certainly add to our belief and hopefully be converted into results asap and also in time for the other difficult period in late feb march. I would like to see Elneny introduced at some stage in the game for Flamini as he tires.

    17 that 5/10 I gave Theo may have been a little harsh and maybe earned a 6 but as an attacker with added wing responsibilities he didn’t do enough to get a solid definite 6 but it is in the eye of the beholder of course. I only saw about 20mins of the actual game in the second half and the highlights haha so I am not the best judge! On the in match commentary I always like some or many thoughtful views on particular moments in the game while it is playing but it doesn’t need to be a per minute run down in my view as I can look at other sites for that whether I have the game on or not. I don’t like the thought of you working so hard to detail every moment when you could be enjoying more of the game. Good shout on Theo moving to the centre later in the game against Stoke I think he would have run round or through the legs of Shawcross with ease, only problem is there would have been no Ozil to spot his runs..

    Regarding Chelsea our attack. I think Theo starts on the wing again with Ozil spotting his runs rather than Theo having to always focus on link up play.. or will it be Alexis? I am sure he will be on that left side at some stage in the game. Perhaps moving Theo in the centre if we get no joy with Giroud in the holding cf role..

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers guys, been a long day; catch you tomorrow 😜

  7. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    We all know Stoke.. They became more brutal against us.. Hahaha..
    As Wenger said Stoke fans hate us more than Spurs.. Just looked at their silly chant..
    And that’s why he kepth Ozil, Sanchez and Elneny away.

    Although I’m a big fan of Walcott.. But I agree that he need a rest.. With Sanchez return and Campbell keep growing.. He must more patience to wait for his time to shine again..

    Elneny.. I hope he play against Chelsea..
    Maybe Flamini know Chelsea more.. But new face.. New energy.. Usually get new great result.. We need that to win.. Chelsea is one big wall we must crushed for winning the league..

  8. Pony Eye says:

    Good post, TA. With all the injuries, I agree with you that it was a professional performance by our team and a point gained.

    I really do feel sorry for Walcott as he struggles to play his part at defending. He is just not cut out for it, and he knows it. That must be why he is so keen for the striker role. The striker role suits him better but he has to have top class providers like Ozil, Carzola and to a smaller extent Campbell playing, before his skill sets are maximized. High time we give up trying to get him to acquire defensive skills. That destabilizes him and hurts the team’s performance.

    With Sanchez back, and Campbell in form, imo, Walcott has to go back to competing with Giroud for the striker position.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Keston, Cech was phenomenal – a very big clean sheet for him and his fellow defenders. Ox needs to learn to connect his brain to his legs and vice versa, but not at Arsenal.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    17HT, defence can only be spelled with a ‘c’ – a ‘s’ makes it look far too soft, bah! 😝

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    I expect Wenger to play Theo again as that is what he does with underperforming players, but I would definitely bench him in favour of Alexis and the far better currently, Cool Joel. Let him come on after 65 minutes and destroy the knackered Chavs I’d say.

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Re subbing Ollie, we needed him in the box for defending set pieces, but yes, it could have worked.

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Kev, I never expected more than three points from both games and I can live with two hard fought for draws. The team spirit and cohesion is high and if we have this during two tough away matches in deepest, darkest January then we should be very pleased. CoYG

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    FMJ, Theo as CF against the Chavs is quite a possibility, especially if Alexis and Mesut are also available.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Let’s crunch that Chavs’ wall, heheheheHenry. How is Yoona da Goona?!

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Spot on PE, especially your last sentence

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    FMJ, I thought you were being kind with a five for Theo and the vast majority would have given him less than that. I have never seen him as ineffective and helpless as on Sunday on a personal level. But because of his threat of speed he held the Orcs back which helped us in keeping their attacking play under control.

  18. Pony Eye says:

    TA, clearly you have lost your patience with Ox. Ps, just hang on while I let you into this secret …… the Ox’s skills and playing temperament is perfectly suited for the striker position. Hard to digest? Well, we are programmed to reject all alien bodies ( perfect heart, or lungs or kidneys or ideas). Ox only needs to learn off the ball movement, and he is nearly as great as Aguero in the striker role.

  19. Pony Eye says:

    The Ox biggest obstacle is his playing temperament. Not in the area of his confidence. As a matter of fact, I believe he suffers from overconfidence, the rush of blood to his head always telling him that he can do it singlehandedly. Poor trait everywhere else but the striker role.

  20. Eddie says:

    The Ox. The Pandora Box more like it! I had high hopes for the lad, perhaps I paid too much attention to his dad, bigging Alex.
    I don’t think he is overconfident, perhaps we had too much confidence in him? He is not world class and he never will be. I think he could be a star in a smaller club where he could play in number 9 role, through the middle

  21. henrychan says:

    Hi TA.. Yoona will be 3 yo by April 18th..
    Hope we still on the top at that time..
    Yogie his brother already 10 yo last Nov.. And he is a Gunners.. We used to hang out together to watch the games.. We call it NOBAR (Nonton Bareng).. Mean watching together.. Usually in a cafe.. Were both sides fan were there.. And watch the same game.. He like it most cause he can eat french fries and ice cream.. Hahahaha..

    Chelsea is our biggest Wall.. With or without Mourinho.. So let’s shoot them with our GUN.. If we win this game.. Than we will win the whole games.. Hehehe..

  22. njk84sg says:

    Ko Henry,

    Di sana gak ada sepak bola di nonton di rumah?

    For the benefit of the rest,
    It means at home no football match on tv?

    Cheers,
    JK

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Welcome back Eddie and you is spot on! πŸ™‚

    The Ox should have cut his teeth at a smaller club by now… But it is not yet too late for him to go on loan and establish himself, to give a rebirth to himself hahaha πŸ˜€

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Sorry PE, but I already considered that secret, and his stats will tell you he is a runner with the ball. If running with the ball past obsticles was an Olympic discipline the Ox would win the gold medal, but football is a lot more complicated than that, and his legs and brains are not (yet?) compatible.

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Henry, time flies when you are growing children – Yoona almost three already… Wow!

    Well done for bribing Yogie into a Gooner – very sweet! 😜

  26. Eddie says:

    yes TA, a long loan which could become permanent πŸ™‚ I don’t mean to be mean to the lad, but there is little room for ‘feelings’ in modern football. Or perhaps in football ever. Not good enough – good bye.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Never underestimate the power of feelings, Eddie πŸ˜€

  28. Jnyc says:

    Even though so many good teams have lost at stoke, still feels like dropped points after the deflating draw to Liverpool. .. lets get well vs Chelsea !

  29. Eddie says:

    ta – I am not underestimating feelings, it is Wenger who overestimates them πŸ™‚

    He has been accused of playing men because of his faith in them. I am sure it has more to do with what he witnesses during training, but if a player is consistently poor during games, he should not be played. Having said all that, Wenger knows a tad more than I ever will. On the subject of football of course πŸ™‚

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Exactly, you would beat him hands down when it comes to pugs hahaha πŸ™‚

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Johnnie, just think about those three full points we gained against Newcastle. Sometimes you get to the end and sometimes you don’t. C’est la vie baby.

  32. henrychan says:

    Hi JK.. Sure we have..
    Indonesia is a paradise for free live TV.. Hahahaha.. But off course paid TV is also available.. We called it Cable TV.. Bein 1,2,3 and others channel are there..
    But NOBAR is so special.. You can chant.. Jumping.. Screaming.. And so on with other Gunners..

    TA.. Yes, time goes by so quick.. It’s been three seasons we share our passion together here.. With so much smart and skillful Gunners all around the world.. Thanks to you for made it happened..

  33. henrychan says:

    So many I mean

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post πŸ™‚

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