Bergkampesque Live Blog: Arsenal-Chelsea Line-ups, Thoughts, etc.

We’ll have the line-ups as soon as they’re announced.  Will Alexis finally get his chance?  Does Giroud lead the line or maybe Theo?  How does Arsenal finally turn the table on the new money from West London?

Is Coquelin available? What about Elneny? Is the new man ready to start a match?

How does Hiddink set up his group? Will Chelsea be fully motivated and see this as a chance to jump-start their floundering campaign?  Does Eden Hazard start the match?  Will Diego Costa be man-marking Mark Clattenburg?

So many questions, but they all point to one conclusion.  This is a big match and one which Arsenal must win.  No matter what Chelsea are able to conjure up out of the dregs of their season of misery, we must match it and go one better.  Can we? Will we?…

Please join us in the comments where I will post all the latest updates.  Please add your thoughts there.

Cheers and Go. On. You. Gunnners!!!!

Confirmed Line-ups:

Arsenal: Cech; Bellerín, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Flamini, Ramsey; Campbell, Özil, Walcott; Giroud. Subs: Ospina, Chambers, Gibbs, Gabriel, Elneny, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sánchez.

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta; Mikel, Matic; Willian, Fàbregas, Oscar; Costa. Subs: Begovic, Cahill, Baba Rahman, Loftus-Cheek, Traore, Hazard, Rémy.

 

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135 Responses to Bergkampesque Live Blog: Arsenal-Chelsea Line-ups, Thoughts, etc.

  1. 17highburyterrace says:

    I’m hoping for a bit of company here today… We’re still 20 minutes to the line-ups (I’m guessing) but at least the Everton-Swansea match is on my television. What about you guys? Sunday matches are always available? Please chime in with your comments, if you can… I’m (still) a little under the weather…

  2. 17highburyterrace says:

    Confirmed Line-ups:

    Arsenal: Cech; Bellerín, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Flamini, Ramsey; Campbell, Özil, Walcott; Giroud. Subs: Ospina, Chambers, Gibbs, Gabriel, Elneny, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sánchez.

    Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta; Mikel, Matic; Willian, Fàbregas, Oscar; Costa. Subs: Begovic, Cahill, Baba Rahman, Loftus-Cheek, Traore, Hazard, Rémy.

  3. 17highburyterrace says:

    So, Wenger goes with the guys who’ve carried us through the darkest days… 11 of 11 for me (from the match preview…) but only 17 of the full 18 as Arteta is left off the subs bench in favor of Chambers…Le Coq maybe gets a run out next weekend vs Burnley…

    Hiddink opts to use Hazard as his scoring threat from the bench… Obviously, balls over the top from Cesc to Costa are the big weapon but Willian and Oscar are very skilled players too… Matic and Mikel together, however, indicates quite the defensive shield…

    Anybody else with any additional thoughts?…

  4. allezkev says:

    Hi 17, seems to me that Hiddinck has picked a team not to lose.

  5. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hi ak… Where are you watching this one?

    Agreed about Hiddink’s line-up… Pedro also misses due to illness…

    Wenger mentions that Giroud has an ankle issue…Sounds like he needs to produce or face an early exit (for Alexis, I imagine)…

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    After a big walk, wife and dog are asleep and daughter is playing in her own room, so,,,, TV plus IPad are both for the boss. Cazorla shirt on, let the game begin! 🙂

    CoYG UTA!

  7. 17highburyterrace says:

    The pace in our team looks impressive relative to Chavs… Azpilicueta and Willian can move and Costa, at one time, wasn’t bad… Still, relative to the likes of Theo and Bellerin…Ozil is quicker than people think, too…

    On the other hand, guys like Flams, the BFG and Giroud won’t be winning any races…

    Getting close…

  8. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA, it gives me extreme pleasure that you’re wearing the number 19 today…

    I’m trying to get my wife into the #6 kit but I might have to make her another coffee…

  9. 17highburyterrace says:

    Line-up too stale for you?… Both first 11s look very conservative… First goal, of course, opens up everything…

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha, tell her she is allowed to wear it Koz she is worth it! 🙂

  11. allezkev says:

    I’m watching it on TV, 17…

    Wonder if we’ll see Elneny today, maybe if we’re defending a narrow lead?
    Its not often that I wish this, but I’d really like to see Costa see red.
    Karma and all that.
    Here we go…

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Shame Joel miscued, half decant chance

  13. 17highburyterrace says:

    We have kick off… Gotta show Cesc that he Blue-it…badly… Wife doesn’t like the thickness of his neck beard and the quantity of product at the front of the quiff…

    Speaking of hair… Camera goes to Clattenburg… Wow…

    Oooh Campbell whiffs on Theo’s very nice pull-back…

    Cech forced into giving a corner after bad play out of the back…

  14. 17highburyterrace says:

    Easily claimed by Cech…

  15. 17highburyterrace says:

    Geez…Flambo well forward but very late on Azpilicueta…

    That was quite a chance fashioned by Theo and missed by Campbell…

  16. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chelsea looking very dangerous but we clear on Bellerin’s pace…

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Shame El Capitan gets booed. William such a strong player.

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Good tempo by Arsenal, I like it

  19. 17highburyterrace says:

    After those early minutes it looks like there are some nervous lads out there…

    Finally, Ozil gets the ball but his pass to Theo is cut out…

  20. 17highburyterrace says:

    Giroud dropping deeper tries to switch the pitch to JC… Way over him, however…

    Both teams can move the ball smartly on the perfect pitch…

  21. 17highburyterrace says:

    Space in MF for Rambo but his pass is behind Theo and out of play…

  22. allezkev says:

    Chelsea look more composed and controlled.

    We seem nervous and edgy…

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Flamini hahahaha his brain is much faster than his legs 😳

  24. 17highburyterrace says:

    Looks like your Ipad corrected Willian to William, TA…

    Really nice from Giroud to break through the lines and play a 1-2 with Campbell….Flamini (!?!) from 8 yards, whiffs the chance….

  25. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oscar gets a yellow for a late on Joel… Ozil FK doesn’t get past the first man…

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes iPads have a tendency to do that 😦

  27. allezkev says:

    Early marker by Clattenburg on Oscar…

    No rotational fouling this time it seems?

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Both are nerves but we are more keen, Kev, and that is good!

  29. 17highburyterrace says:

    Giroud is dropping deep on the left…Maybe so Theo can be sprung down that same side…

    Flams and Rams both look to have the green light to get forward…

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Rambo needs to calm down a bit though

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Body pinball in the box almost leads to a Chav goal, luckily Cech saves

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    14th minute… Chelsea push up through Cesc with Costa absurdly offside… Our counter dies at Ramsey’s heavy touch…

    Willian has two chances but Cech gobbles the one which was on target…

  33. allezkev says:

    Giroud seems to be dropping deep…

    Our full backs are staying back…

    Very tactical…

  34. 17highburyterrace says:

    Theo on the counter has little support… Eventually he drops it off to Giroud whose absurd attempt from 35 yards at least reaches the terraces…

  35. 17highburyterrace says:

    Red card for BFG… Oh shit…

  36. 17highburyterrace says:

    That’s a bad call for me, but Per never should have gone to ground… Really poor all around…

  37. allezkev says:

    Hope so Total, you need to keep calm in these types of games.

    And there we have it..

    10 men again

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    Now it’s a mountain… It was a dive and Kos was in the play too… That’s a career ending move by Mertesacker, I fear…

  39. allezkev says:

    BFG out for three games…

    Theo through the middle?

  40. 17highburyterrace says:

    Giroud sacrificed for Gabriel…

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Ollie off, makes sense to me. Sit deeper and use Theo’s running to get a goal

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    So now we’ll see if Campbell can do some hold up work…

  43. 17highburyterrace says:

    1-nil Chavs…

  44. 17highburyterrace says:

    This is a disaster, folks…

    Sorry, for me, leaving Campbell on (rather than Ollie) seems absolute madness…

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Not three games, Kev

    Fuck, they score. Poor defending

  46. 17highburyterrace says:

    On the plus side, now we need goals so, if we can get one, there might be belief we can get more…

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ramsey does well to stop Willian driving the ball from deep…

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    Well we need to show character now. Big game for Theo!

  49. 17highburyterrace says:

    Big game for everybody… but Theo showing some very poor first touches… Still shocked by the substitution… Did Wenger forget about Campbell or does he truly believe we need his defense? To me, Ollie at set pieces alone, justifies keeping him on the pitch…

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    They say Giroud was a fitness doubt, so that may explain. For me it is clear we are playing 4-4-1 and Ollie had to be sacrificed.

  51. 17highburyterrace says:

    In other words… if BFG is past it, perhaps AW is too… 😀 😦

    On the other hand…get the first goal and others could follow… Alexis warming up and should get in the match (if he’s actually fit…) but then who sits?…

    Cesc wants a handball as Gabriel smothers his shot…

  52. 17highburyterrace says:

    You gotta explain that one, TA… If there’s a one…Ollie should be it, IMO… Ankle thing, however, makes sense…

    Nacho wins a corner…

  53. allezkev says:

    Straight red Total, 3 games isn’t it?

    Hope I’m wrong of course…

    Chelsea bossing the midfield…

    We need Alexis

  54. 17highburyterrace says:

    Theo offside and his shot is wide…

    We can do this…

  55. 17highburyterrace says:

    A-kev, it’s a “professional” foul not dangerous play… Only banned for Burnley…

    Of course it was the exact opposite of professional but Clattenburg should be ashamed of buying Costa’s dive…Yellow would have been the correct compromise call even if not correct by the letter of the law…

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Kev, just one if it is not an assault sort of foul?

  57. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gabriel fouls Costa… No card, another stupid foul, however…

  58. Admir says:

    I just hope I will never ever see Flamini and Mertesacker on the pitch at the same time.

    Congratulations to Manchester Oilers for winning the league.

  59. 17highburyterrace says:

    Rambo almost puts Theo through… just a little heavy…and Theo can’t quite latch on…

    There’s a measure of promise here…

  60. TotalArsenal says:

    Decision was made before the Chavs scored, 17HT, so assumption was that we had to sit deep and play on the counter…Theo suits this better than Ollie

  61. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hi Admir…Lovely to see all the positivity… 😦

  62. TotalArsenal says:

    Admir, are you pissed?

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    As we just saw an example of 🙂

  64. Admir says:

    I’m not pissed. I just wanted to crash my monitor. When the team-sheet was out, my compatriots-Arsenal fans were shaking heads after seeing Flame and Mert in the team. I actually congratulated Arsene for being such a gentleman and offering Chelsea a lifeline when they are close to the relegation zone.

    Fortunately, my cat – still nameless – is in the other room so she doesn’t hear me. I think I’ll call her Arsene.

  65. 17highburyterrace says:

    Must be the ankle, TA… but I get the logic of your argument… I just think the set piece element (esp. with the other tall fellow gone) justifies what I’m saying…

    Speaking of… Kos gets yellow and now Cesc will loft one in…

    Over everybody…

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    Why do the chances fall to Flamini? We are still in this!

  67. 17highburyterrace says:

    Geezus, Admir… I thought calling our own lazy parts wasn’t done around here… Your reference was awfully clever, I will say…

    Oooh speaking of Flamini… Yeah, maybe Alexis does better with that chance…

  68. allezkev says:

    Flamini gets in there, but lacks the quality to finish…

    He could have got two and Campbell could have scored.

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    Admir, didn’t both play against Citeh too?

  70. Admir says:

    “That being said, I expect an unpleasant surprise against Chavs. They have a good manager now and we are talking about the guy who has managed to win European Champions’ Cup without winning a single game from the quarterfinals to the very end. The refs will help them again, just like they have been helping them in this fixture in the last…million occasions? Ramires’ stamp on Coquelin before Mata’s goal in 2012-13, neither a penalty given for Willian’s tackle on Walcott nor a red card issued to Mikel for a dangerous tackle on our Mikel in 2013-14, no red card for Cahill last season, no penalty for Fabregas’ handball at the Emirates, not to mention Dean’s crime against football in the reverse fixture…”

    This is what I wrote under the previous post.

    Absolutely awful 45 minutes. We were second best even before Per was sent off.

  71. ArsenalNorth says:

    The decision making defensively was very poor in the build up to the red card. You can’t be playing such a high line during a counter attack when willian has all hat time and space. Mert and Kos should be backing off and making sure that ball doesn’t get in behind them. Sadly this is not the first time I’ve seen them make that mistake which is surprising considering how experienced they are.

  72. 17highburyterrace says:

    I agree TA… Throwing in the towel seems something the team will.not.do even if the support is already there… I didn’t use the quotation marks but they probably belong…

    Admir, I’m all about low expectations but I believe you’re taking it too far… You gotta believe, after all…

    That said, I think that move from the BFG will be a tough one from which to recover…

    Of course you’re right, TA… Before Flamini, Admir and all his compatriots were blaming “everything” (i.e., the tragedy which is our team…) on Santi…

    Why not just Wenger out, wenger out, wenger out?… Seems the easiest solution, after all…

  73. retsub1 says:

    It’s the same old story with Chelsea every time we cop a sucker punch..there is only one way to get a result out of this and that is to rough them up. It’s risky but everyone who goes near Costa should accidently ram three fingers up his nostrils, same with Oscar. If we can get one of the bar stewards sent off we might have a chance.

    If we try to out play them we will get caught. On the break and lose two or three nil. Sorry not pretty, but I think it’s the only way

  74. 17highburyterrace says:

    Does it feel good being right? It must…

  75. TotalArsenal says:

    Admir, we have 45 minutes to play and the fat lady is still singing. So start supporting!

  76. 17highburyterrace says:

    Experience–just about the single quality the BFG brings, should have kept him from going to ground against the cheatingest cheater in our league…

    He’ll take responsibility…Now we just need the 10 to do likewise and get something from the 2nd half…

  77. 17highburyterrace says:

    Too late, TA… Admir is one (of the many) happier to be “right”… He WANTS Chavs to win this…

    Or so it seems from his comments…

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed ArsenalNorth, we know that we are vulnerable to this and BFG made the wrong decision, even though there was a minimum of contact.

  79. 17highburyterrace says:

    retsub… Gabby got away with one foul on Costa… Time for the leg breaker?

    Sorry, I’d rather lose trying to play football…

  80. 17highburyterrace says:

    I think Kos had a chance to put Costa off–another reason it should have only been a yellow–for BFG and for Costa for simulation…

  81. ArsenalNorth says:

    No need to give up just yet though, there are signs we can still get something from this game. 45 mins to go.

  82. 17highburyterrace says:

    2nd half on…

    Correction from the announcers…Kos yellow rescinded, Flams gets it for dissent… Time to get him off?

    Chavs get a corner…and us will all midgets…

  83. TotalArsenal says:

    Disagreed 17, if the BFG touched him, it is a foul and a red card.

  84. 17highburyterrace says:

    Easily cut out… Gotta get something going forward… No Alexis to start the half, to me, indicates that he’s probably not fit to play…

  85. retsub1 says:

    17 not suggesting we break legs am just suggesting we play them at their own game. They cheated us out of it at Stamford Bridge and will do it again. I am all for the beautiful game, but am afraid it horses for courses. If we want a result we have to box clever

  86. 17highburyterrace says:

    Letter of the law, maybe… And BFG definitely should have not gone to ground… Still, refs often make “compromise” calls and that one begged for it… The contact was the slightest of nicks and not nearly enough to bring Costa down…That was his choice…and a good one…

  87. 17highburyterrace says:

    retsub, I just disagree, sorry… BFG doesn’t need to beat on Costa… He needs to not go to ground when he knows that Costa will dangle a toe looking for the foul…

  88. 17highburyterrace says:

    Series of corners for Chavs…

  89. TotalArsenal says:

    Costa made the most of it of course, the vile fucker, but come on let’s focus on getting a goal back

  90. TotalArsenal says:

    Alexis Sanchez baby 😜

  91. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cesc dive not rewarded, but not sanctioned either… Whatever happened to yellows for diving?…

    Ooh..Replay shows it’s quite a shove and probably is a good shout for a pen…

  92. retsub1 says:

    17 you are missing my point. I am suggesting we rough them up because we are down to 10. Nothing to do with the BFG. Unless we change our game plan it’s goodnight Vienna

  93. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alexis on for Campbell… Still believe Giroud shouldn’t have been the first sub, but that’s just me…

  94. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, gotcha retsub… I still disagree, but we’ve gotten away with a couple–including the shove on Cesc in the box, so maybe AW and the lads agree with you…

    Yellow for Matic as he body checks Alexis who looks sharp enough there…

  95. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not so good with the FK, however…

  96. 17highburyterrace says:

    One hour gone…Giroud and BFG already with their suits and ties on…

  97. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ramsey wins a FK from Cesc…

  98. 17highburyterrace says:

    Big scramble but we can’t poke it in… Arghhhh!!!

  99. 17highburyterrace says:

    Costa is vile in the extreme…Now faking injury…earlier replay showed a cheeky stamp on Ramsey which our guy didn’t rise to…

  100. 17highburyterrace says:

    Really nice play from Flamini to keep possession and get the ball to Bellerin…who wins a corner…

  101. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cortois gathers but then throws it out of play with Costa continuing with the time wasting…

  102. 17highburyterrace says:

    68th minute… Remy to replace him…

    69th minute… Sub finally happens…

  103. 17highburyterrace says:

    Flamini, still playing hard hits a pass too heavy for Ozil…

  104. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cech saves from Cech…

    Now past 70 mins…Chelsea trying to hold the ball for a bit… Killing us softly, and all that…

    Mikel fist into Alexis gets a yellow…

  105. 17highburyterrace says:

    74th min…

    Better but still out for Cortois to waste some time with a goal kick…

  106. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ox on for Theo…

    Still not quite getting the subs today, Ozil goes to CF?…

  107. 17highburyterrace says:

    77th min: Hazard coming on for Oscar…

  108. Admir says:

    “17highburyterrace says:
    January 24, 2016 at 16:58
    Too late, TA… Admir is one (of the many) happier to be “right”… He WANTS Chavs to win this…
    Or so it seems from his comments…”

    Sneaky accusation.

    So, when one says before the game (or, indeed, before the season starts) about Arsenal’s flaws that will turn out to be costly, he wants the opponents to win.

    When one says after the game, then there is a usual “hindsight is always 20/20”-speech.

    A bit hypocritical.

    Theo finally off, Ox on.

  109. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ox wins a corner on a nice long ball from Alexis… Taken short but Kos cannot get on the cross…comes away limping…

  110. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ramsey doing some Henry the dog poop dances at least maintains possession…

    Nacho and Alexis get out of the cul de sac on the left but Alexis hits Zouma with the shot-cross…

    We keep it for a bit, but that’s the extent of things…

  111. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bad throw by Ivanovic…

    81st min… We’re trying but Chavs look increasingly comfortable defending and we could be exposed on the break…

    82nd: Cesc draws the foul… That should get us to the 83rd…

  112. 17highburyterrace says:

    84th: Ozil wins a corner… Targets come up and Zouma wins it…

  113. ArsenalNorth says:

    why does every chance in this game drop to flamini

  114. 17highburyterrace says:

    85th… Ozil FK lost by Cortois but again we can’t get a toe to it in the scramble…

    86th: Alexis somehow keeps a ball in play but we still give it away…

    87th: Possession and we get a cross in from Bells…Ox whiffs on the good chance, Flamini back flick doesn’t happen…

    Oooh…Defenders almost make a chance…Kos into the box might’ve dived for a pen but stays up…Nacho won’t use his right foot and out of play…

  115. 17highburyterrace says:

    89th: trying to build from the back but it’s out of play near Bellerin…

  116. 17highburyterrace says:

    90th minute: Should be plenty of extra time…

    Rambo limping around after a weird fall…

    Our ball after Remy is flagged…

    Nacho gets a pull-back and Ox has a high angled look. Ozil knocked off the ball in the box…

    One of five extra have been played…

  117. 17highburyterrace says:

    Still some time here… Two of the five played…

    Amazing that Hazard and Remy cannot fashion a chance on the break…

    Remy shows why we never bought him…drags one wide…

    3 of the 5 have been played…

  118. 17highburyterrace says:

    Late Corner…Cech coming up…

  119. 17highburyterrace says:

    Poor delivery…

    Chavs at our end, running down the clock…

    Full time… Chavs with 11 are just about as good as Arsenal with 10… Supporters at least standing up for the effort of our boys…

    Most of them at least…

    Over to the Doomers for the blame game, etc… Arsenal now must come from behind in the league…

  120. allezkev says:

    I worry his damaging that result might prove psychologically…
    Long way still to go, but I cannot escape that dreadful feeling of Groundhog Day.
    Thankfully FACup next weekend…
    Great work 17/Total…

  121. ArsenalNorth says:

    Disappointing result obviously but no need for complete doom and gloom in my opinion. We’re still in the title race just have to bounce back. It’s not like we were totally outplayed. Lost this game because of a few errors in key moments. At least alexis is back with coquelin and rosicky not far behind.

  122. 17highburyterrace says:

    Admir, just saw your earlier comment on my arguments… Have at it, if you like, but told you sos ring awfully hollow for me…

    Costa wins 6 points (12 if you want to call these derbies, 6 pointers)…but I still wouldn’t want him on our team…

    Of course the guys in my avatar have some limitations (same as Flamini as our DM)… Does that mean we should take every possible opportunity to place OUR frustrations on them?…

    Like I say, enjoy it if that’s your thing…

    😦

    Imo, despite the disappointment, I see some positives out there… TA, looking forward to your summation….

  123. Admir says:

    It’s over.

    Unlucky at the end. Strictly from the point of performing, we deserved at least a point. Chavs were nothing special despite playing 11 against 10. Alexis’ return is a huge positive point as well as our attitude once we were man down.

    Everything else…well, you all know what.

    Arsene’s hesitation to sign a defensive midfielder (the one that actually plays instead of posting on Twitter, Facebook and sitting on the bench) to replace Coquelin has bitten (and beaten) us again. It’s 2013-14 all over again. There is still time to turn it into 2003-04 by signing Krzychowiak from Sevilla. Wenger wants to win the game with a joystick that misses one button. I’ve been writing warnings and warnings about the January schedule but I guess it’s my fault that Arsenal couldn’t manage more than a scrappy one-nil victory over Newcastle.

  124. Admir says:

    @17 – let’s talk about facts for a second.

    If Arsenal don’t sign a defensive midfielder even if everyone had known that Flamini and Arteta were accidents waiting to happen (Arteta happened against West Brom, Flamini happened today on both ends of the pitch), it’s down to the man who makes the calls. I was warning about it in August. I was warning about it in November. I’m still warning about it.

    Unfortunately, what we get, is a hollow (good attribute, just misplaced) story from the man who forgot how to win the league and will never ever win the league again because he is too afraid to make a bold move. So what if Coquelin and Schneiderlin would fight over one place in the team? Was that a problem when Özil arrived at the place of Cazorla/Rosicky/Wilshere? Or, to go 12 years ago, when Reyes was signed from Sevilla?

    Mertesacker’s slowness was always an issue. The danger of him making a crappy thing doubles when we have Flamini or Arteta in the middle of the pitch not making a decent pressure on their playmaker (today it was Willian). That’s why having both Mert and Flamini is playing with matches at the gas station. It’s no wonder we have been able to beat only Villa on our last six league trips – it coincides with Coquelin’s injury on the first of it.

  125. 17highburyterrace says:

    Admir, you make wonderful points that boast of a great internal logic, so kudos there…And supporters have every right to believe in their hypotheses… I only wish they were balanced by some positives, you know, from things we actually get to see… (And, in fact, you are able to salute that our 10 were equal to their 11…)

    What I’m saying is that if you choose to live in the land of, “what ifs,” that’s fine… When you ask “What if we had bought Scneiderlin (who can’t make the first 11 at ManU, btw…) why not say what if we had bought Pogba or Xabi Alonso or a dozen other players who want more money and prefer playing in easier leagues on teams who are already dominant. You’ve already written off Elneny, also fine, but, then again not awfully supportive…

    This is what I object to… And, in fact, the what ifs aren’t wistful they’re harsh and more like absolutes, closer to definitive “we should haves” as if you actually know better than the manager. You actually call them “facts” and “warnings” but you must be having a laugh…) This is why I argue that it’s simpler just saying Wenger Out and everything will be better when he’s gone. It goes fuzzy, however, because it just might be better when that day comes BECAUSE of what Wenger has done, which is NOT listening to every fan when they scream buy, buy, buy or that player (and that one and that one and that one) sucks…

    This is what supporters (no quotations again, but I’m tempted…) do in these moments of frustration and your comment box has the exact same “post comment” thing at the bottom as mine, so why not?… You and I aren’t that far apart and I criticize the manager too…see comments about not understanding the Giroud sacrifice, for example, today, or my longer comments from the prediction thread. Obviously there are frailties in the squad but it burns (speaking only for myself…) when that seems the main motivator for coming around and posting…

    On that note, trying to manage my disappointment as I like to do…the big positive (for me) was the majority of the home support saluting the effort of the men who gave their all to the final whistle… BFG and Giroud in their suits (quick getaways planned, perhaps…) but at least they were there behind their mates…

  126. Admir says:

    “What I’m saying is that if you choose to live in the land of, “what ifs,” that’s fine… When you ask “What if we had bought Scneiderlin (who can’t make the first 11 at ManU, btw…) why not say what if we had bought Pogba or Xabi Alonso or a dozen other players who want more money and prefer playing in easier leagues on teams who are already dominant. You’ve already written off Elneny, also fine, but, then again not awfully supportive…”

    Actually, my first reaction on Elneny’s signing was a positive one except I had expected him to be in action already. I’ve checked his Twitter profile, everything about him and was pretty excited with a guy who covers so much ground and looks like a typical Arsenal player both character-wise and football-wise.

    The thing about Schneiderlin… I don’t know if you have watched United games this season but most of their crappy performances came when he wasn’t selected. In fact, my Manure friends (not the friendliest choice of words 😀 ) claim they would have had more points with him in the team. I still reckon he is every bit an Arsenal player – a classy defensive midfielder with pace, intelligence and passing range. And, he was a realistic target unlike either Pogba (a Barcelona-bound superstar with both a fee and wage out of our reach) or Xabi Alonso (a 35-year-old).

    You don’t see me screaming out for Suarez, Pogba, Lewandowski… First of all, I know that none of those players are available. Of course, if that changes (like during summer when the whole story about Benzema was alive), I’m raising both my hands for that transfer. After all, the spine of The Invincibles were players who had been deemed as surplus/flops at Inter Milan (Bergkamp), AC Milan (Vieira) and Juventus (Henry) respectively.

    I give my best to make a constructive criticism. If it’s obvious that our offside traps don’t work when there is no pressure on the ball, then don’t use a high back-line, especially when someone of Mertesacker’s pace is part of it. Remember Bayern away?

    This campaign has 2010-11 written all over it – big victories at home (Manchester United, City, Bayern), league title that is there for taking but we will bottle it because of a poor January transfer window. Hell, we’ll even welcome back “Van Persies” who are about to replace “Chamakhs” again as we’ll get better players back from injuries than the ones that have been playing so far.

    Oh, one more thing:

    why the hell was such a big thing as a captain armband was given to Theo?! To celebrate his ten years at Arsenal? Who on Earth came out with that idea?

  127. 17highburyterrace says:

    I appreciate the explanation, Admir. Like I say, I wish you’d come around and post more…

    Look, I’m extremely frustrated at the way this one went and my biggest take-away is that if the BFG cannot use his experience and know-how to avoid getting baited into a sending off by Costa, why not play Gabriel in that spot? Now, both can learn from such an experience. Frankly, I hope whoever ends up managing Chavs gets rid of him (Costa). Any club with self-respect shouldn’t support a player whose go-to move is cheating…

    Same for the league and the call… Sure, we’d want a red card if it were the other direction but refs should use some discretion for the sake of the spectacle. Costa’s touch might’ve split Cech and Kos but he had exactly zero intent to actually try and beat them to it…

    In the end, BFG was suckered, so we suffer…

    Flamini indeed is older and slower and never a world beater. That said, I thought he was good today, one of our best, IMO, although it could have gone either way… If he scores one of those chances he’s a hero…If Cesc gets that penalty shout–against Kos, but Flams had let him go–it’s game over… At least he was getting into those positions and doing what he could…Ox had a great chance on that late Bellerin cross but only got a millimeter of the ball and then it fell for Flams, but his off leg flick is what’s remembered… When will Ox do something good?…Or AW get rewarded for his ongoing faith in him… Nacho also played well but wouldn’t pull the trigger with his right foot. Alexis looked bright and seemed to get through without hurting himself…

    Don’t know about the Theo and arm-band issue. I will say that our group, no matter what happens this season, has some “generational changes” to be made this summer and perhaps this result might help spur a late value-for-money signing this month. Is it wrong to hope (for a silver lining)…? Our captain doesn’t even make the bench and the sub captain was the goat today… Also, we have not had a player in either the #9 nor #10 shirt kick a ball in anger this season… And we’re still just 3 points out of the league lead…Wow… 😀 😦

    No, no hope, not for transfers, not with this manager… (that’s sarcasm)… And surely, like with Elneny, he’s damned either which way…

    Finally, I can see why you and your ManU pal are friends: even though you support different clubs you have in common the belief that you would be superior to the managers actually in charge… 😀

  128. Admir says:

    @17 – there is a sentence from Ivo Andrić that says: “It’s strange how little we need to be happy and it’s also strange that little is what we are missing.” (I tried to translate it pretty literally so don’t blame the writer. 😀 )

    I think that stats prove my point of view – for instance, Schneiderlin didn’t play against us but he did feature in rare free-scoring United victory at Everton (3:0).

    I agree with your remarks regarding Ox, Nacho et al. Theo was totally off today – poor touch and timing, always offside. Ox did his usual stuff of milking the cow down the right flank before spilling the milk by running into a defender with his head down.

  129. 17highburyterrace says:

    I like that quote, Admir, but I thought you were headed in a very different direction…

    So, what is your point of view?…that if we had bought Schneiderlin it would be blue skies forever in our part of North London? 😀

    It seems to me that your point is that you are right and the manager is wrong… If not about this issue, then, eventually, about something… Stats, I’m afraid, can be used to “prove” just about anything…btw, those aren’t stats, they’re coincidences or, at best, correllations…

    Thank dennis, however, that we didn’t replace AW with LvG… Then we’d have Schneiderlin and not be playing him… Argghh… It almost makes you sad for those United supporters…

    We just come from fundamentally different spots on the spectrum when it comes to having a moan about the manager. (And, like I keep saying, you could always balance things by noting some of the positive choices he’s made…) To me he’s done wonders for the club and is constrained by a long term vision that really isn’t so awful… To others he should be more short sighted (and perhaps self-serving)… Do I agree with all his decisions? Absolutely not. Do I think we should give up on him (and the season and the club with him at the helm), again, no… Finally, if I really had the chance to put my ideas into action (which I–along with you and everybody else–do not…) would I trust myself?… Hell no, and I know more about this stuff than just about everybody (at least from what I read on the internet…)

    😀

  130. Admir says:

    Coincidences? Hardly. 🙂 If we face two times more shots without Coquelin than without him, than it seems that his replacements are not good enough, no? Schneiderlin’s performances at Southampton were top stuff and same thing has happened in Manchester. It’s not their defending that is a problem after all.

    Speaking of the gaffer, I’ve credited him where its due. I’m glad he didn’t spend money just for sake of spending it but I’m sad/mad he didn’t spend it to fill the gaps we have had last year as well (remember, Coquelin’s return inspired our return from out-of-CL position to a remote possibility of screwing the party for Chavs). He did a spectacular job against Bayern at home and Olympiacos away in Champions League, did excellent job against City at home without Coq, Caz and Alexis and completely brushed aside United (even if Mertesacker did offer a lifeline to United that was denied by Čech). Oh, and he signed Čech which is the best signing ever on that position.

    This is a season in which Arsenal should have won the league: City are defensively shaky with 70 million pounds worth defenders that can’t keep a clean sheet against anyone, United are still learning their life under a manager who doesn’t have Mike Riley’s number on a speed dial and Chavs are usually hilarious act to watch.

    The main problem is, watching Arsene is like watching my cat Arsene trying to enter bedroom of ours (mine and my wife’s, that is). No matter how many times I have warned him against doing it, I know I will have to yell: “Arsene, OUT!” at some point. 😀

  131. Jnyc says:

    Finding ways to NOT win the league. No excuses. I don’t blame Arsene. Even with huge injuries we should have gotten more from these last 3.

    I am disappointed with walcott on lw. I’ve seen enough of him there. I wanted him tried on that side in the past. Never again, for me. He’s a striker or 2nd or 3rd backup on the right.

    Id protect Alexis from fa cup for near term.

    Someone needed to step up today.

  132. TotalArsenal says:

    Admir, we will win the league but you cannot expect it to be an easy ride, buddy. 🙂

    New Post 🙂

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