Disappointing Result, but Sexy Alexis, Full-Backs and Team Spirit Provide Hope for Title

Every game deserves a few words and so we must speak about today’s little disaster against the Chavs in our very own home of football. I don’t really want to do it, but it has to be done. I had a feeling it could go this way so I am not very surprised. The Chavs had nothing to lose really and we had something to prove, and that against a team that we have struggled against in the last few years. It was not going to be easy.

I had hoped we would start with a few changes to the first eleven we used against Stoke but it was not to be. It was a big game for Elneny to make his debut and I understand why Wenger will have opted to only have him on the bench. Wenger did not want to risk Alexis either it seems, so he also started on the bench. An Alexis start would have given us all a boost, no doubt about that. Was Wenger too cautious? Well, hindsight is a beautiful thing and who knows whether it would have made any difference today.

I don’t think we need to feel too bad about this loss. I said yesterday it is not a six-pointer but just three points, and I also felt that this game would really suit the Chavs rather than us. What did they have to lose? Nobody had high expectations and then it is a lot easier playing against a team like Arsenal; and that there is plenty of quality in that team should not come as a surprise to anybody (and all their first teamers were fit…). Man City dropped two precious points against the Hammers and that means today’s loss will not hurt us too much. Anybody who believes we should become the all dominating champions this season is deluded. It will be a hard fight right till the end and if there is anything to take from this game, it is the fighting spirit we showed when the going was tough.

The reality is that the Mertesacker sending off and the subsequent Chavs’ goal killed the game. We were not able to turn it round even though we – especially Flamini of all people – came close a few times to equalizing for us. I reckon Per made a bad call but he was also left horribly exposed: the one thing we should never do to the BFG. The referee was entitled to give red to the German but a better one would not have done this at that stage of the game and in such an important ‘top-teams’ encounter. Before we could reorganise our defence and adjust our tactics, we conceded a simple, poor goal and things were looking badly for us.

I wanted our players to stand up and be counted, and I have to say that some did very well at this. The full backs, Koz, Cech, Ozil, Flamini and Rambo never gave up. The Welshman lacked finesse and composure at times but at least he fought for the shirt till the end. With OG rightly taken off to play the counter-football game in a 4-4-1, Theo, who had badly under-performed in Pool and Stoke, was given a big opportunity to shine for us. Sadly, it was another underwhelming performance by the one who wears a magic number on the back of his shirt.

The introduction of Alexis made a big difference and with a bit more luck we could have taken a point from the game. He drove us on and connected our midfield with our attackers for the first time in the game. He was clearly not fully match fit but that did not stop him from fearlessly taken on the Chavs time and again. Ozil and Rambo also started to play a lot better once Alexis had entered the stage and this bodes well for the next few games.

It is very disappointing to lose once again against the Chavs but we have bigger fish to fry. We are not going to win this Premier League easily but we still have a great chance to do it. Our main competitor is Man City and they now still have to play Pool and the Chavs (both away?) whilst we both have the same number of points. With a number of big guns returning, we can get back to a winning run of games and there is all to play for.

Given the fighting spirit today, I reckon there is every reason to stay behind the team and keep believing this is our year. Many non-Gooner football supporters and pundits believe that is the case, so let us not spoil it by letting our self-doubt take us off our mission.

Victory Through Harmony!

By TotalArsenal.

 

 

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49 Responses to Disappointing Result, but Sexy Alexis, Full-Backs and Team Spirit Provide Hope for Title

  1. The Cabbie says:

    To many players in this team not good enough to win title
    Flamini, Chamberlyn ,Walcott,Ramsey,Mertsaker ,

  2. retsub1 says:

    Well written T A. The thing that troubles me the most is how well Spurs are playing.. Have always been confident they will get a nose bleed, but I am not so sure this time.

    What dissapointed me today was I felt we could have attacked them all day and not scored. I think Mertesacker probably did , nick the most hated man in football and it therefore warranted a sending off. However they should have suspended play and searched the crowd until they found the sniper that shot Costa.

    Late in the game Kos burst into their box and may have been clipped. If that sniper had taken out Kos we may have got a sympathy vote from Clattenburg?

    Big positive for me were
    1 hopefully Le Coq is back now
    2. Alexis looked pretty sharp
    3. Chelsea will take points off the other challengers

  3. proudgooner says:

    Worn out and disappointed
    We were robbed of a game on an equal level
    The fans were amazing
    It’s a real shame
    It just did not go for us today sadly

  4. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nic on cabbie… er, Nice One, I meant… 😀

    Good report, TA, under difficult circumstances… Personally, I’m gutted but I also won’t give in to the doomer narratives, i.e., losing hope/belief just as you conclude… The next few league games: So’ton (H), Bournemouth (A), Leicester (H) are all equally as important as this one was, but I still hate losing to Chelsea and their big money cheaters… Full points in those and we’ll be feeling better… Burnley in the FA Cup is a great chance to get some new bodies into the scheme as well…

  5. richhudsonsmith says:

    No mention of Leicester or the Spuds?

    They are arguably just as likely to win the title as us & Shitty

  6. 17highburyterrace says:

    retsub, excellent point on the Kos clipping… He was trying to play football…and thus penalized (or at least not rewarded) for not forcing the spotlight on the ref… Kos rather clobbered Cesc earlier, however, in our box, so maybe that was the make-up call…

    Even to be discussing such thoughts suggests that refs have a lot of discretion with how they apply the (few) tools at their disposal… Plugs should’ve done better, IMO, but maybe like the Russian World Cup (coming soon…) there are other factors in play…

    PG, thanks for the report from the stadium, very encouraging… Sorry that the outcome wasn’t better..

  7. 17highburyterrace says:

    Other new poster…richhudsonsmith makes a decent point… Spurs are looking strong… That goal yesterday was one of the best and LC are keeping at it… Relative to both, I like the depth of our squad with players coming back…

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Retsubster, good points. I reckon playing with ten makes attacking harder and we missed Giroud to break them open. It was also shame that it was Flams who had the chances, as he is not a natural finisher.

  9. Keston says:

    Good post TA. I’m a bit disappointed by the refree but I am proud of the team. They ran their hearts out. I still believe we can win the league. 100% Arsenal.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    PG, sorry to hear you had a shitty experience. Next time better:)

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Exactly Seventeenho, all good games, not easy but something to put our teeth into.

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Respect for Leicester, but Spuds are usually doing well in the dark months, only to fade away when light returns. Man City are the team to worry about and despite the point losses we are keeping up.

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Keston, it’s a setback but we can get back to form and start the final run towards glory 🙂

  14. Swedish professor says:

    Let’s channel all our frustrations to ignite the longest run of this season, playing with 11 players including Alexis and Giroud being assisted by Özil, while Coquelin coming back to protect the back four and Cech!

  15. njk84sg says:

    Elneny should have played this one. No point buying him and putting him on the bench and wait for easier opponents.

    Not a good game for us, and not a good day for me either.

    Oh well….

    JK

  16. allezkev says:

    The Liveepool, Stoke and Chelsea games always stood out to me as the litmus test…
    To me, those 3 games would always give a clear view of where we stood and our potential as champions.
    I was hoping for at least 5 points, and to only take 1 point is very disappointing.
    Bad luck, poor defending, lack of discipline at crucial times, failure to take the chances on offer or a combination of all these things, I don’t know?
    But the confidence of the team will not be in a good place atm.

    Of course all is not lost and in a way an FACup tie will be a welcome break from the intensity of those last three EPL games.

    Burnley will be no pushover, but the opportunity to bring in Elneny, Rosicky and Arteta to freshen things up are welcome…

    Walcott through the middle might be an idea, try to get Theo firing again…

  17. allezkev says:

    Btw, excellent post Total…

  18. Pony Eye says:

    We fought gallantly with 10 men. Inexplicable though that we never seem able to play with same intensity with 11 men.

  19. Pony Eye says:

    For certain, l am more defense minded than Wenger. That’s me. One man down early in the game, I would think 0-0, and hope 1-0 (sneak it). I will invest more on hard workers and less on specialists. I will bring in Elneny, not because of the romance of his new name, but because every account says he can run all day.

    The tougher decision is who goes. Walcott, Giroud or Ozil. Walcott as the front man would discourage our opponents from playing a high line and pinning us back. But come to think of it, the team with more men enjoys greater advantage if the game is stretched. In other words, we set up not to discourage them from contracting the field.

    Ozil’s defensive contribution will come mainly from ball circulation and retention, Giroud’s from his areal set piece competence. These apart from their offensive qualities. Walcott therefore becomes the one to go, as his contribution will negate what we want, the contracting of the field.

    20 mins to full time, I will set free the optimist in me, the gambler, and bring on Sanchez and Ox for their directness, and take off Flam and Giroud. That’s me, different from Wenger. It’s possible I may just have given you a recipe for disaster!

  20. njk84sg says:

    PE, i will only trade Giroud and Theo for Elneny and Alexis.

    We will need attavking power, but with Ox in a form that most of his passes gets haywire, i would rather we do not play him, like yesterday.

    JK

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Kev, we got two points not one but I get what you are saying. Are these games a litmus test? I reckon they came after a hard run of games so I am more lenient. A draw away at Pool and the vile dump is okay, a loss at home against Chavs is not. There was a season we beat MU home and away and they still became champions… It is all about getting up again and go on a run. Can we do that? You know my answer. 🚀

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    Hope you will have a better day today, 84. 🙂

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    That’s it in a nutshell, Swedish P. 🙂

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    PE, tactically it was the right decision but we conceded so soon after the sending off that it was always going to be hard. We could have sat back and absorb pressure and then start counters with Ozil, Rambo, Theo and the full backs. A good and logical strategy to me.

  25. Pony Eye says:

    JK,
    We agree on El for Theo, later (not to overload Alexis yet) Alexis for Giroud, and for me as my last card, Ox as front man in place of Flam with 20 mins to go.

    I would have thought attacking power, only when it was 20 mins left, and by that time Ox was our best option on the bench.

    Ox has a solo style, which is detrimental to overall team play, but which has its best yield in a striker role where they are often expected to be selfish.

  26. Pony Eye says:

    I cannot get myself to give up on the Ox. Instead am seeking to find a role that would get the best yield from his exceptional skill sets. Center up front, appears to me to be his future.

  27. njk84sg says:

    TA,

    Its the same day still 🙂 but getting better as the day goes by and with good game comments from everyone.

    We have been getting bad referees who are supposed to prefer the home team. Somehow it hasn’t worked for us yet.

    PE,

    Agreed re Ox, but i still prefer Theo rather than him as he is the one that is supposed to thrive in deeper positions.

    He plays half selfish, so unless he gets a change of footwear i think he will be eventually squeezed out.

    JK

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Diego Costa cost us once more, says Arsene Wenger
    By Phil McNulty
    Chief football writer at the Emirates Stadium
    From the sectionFootball
    Share this page
    Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker tackles Chelsea’s Diego Costa

    Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea: Red card was very harsh – Arsene Wenger
    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said they had again fallen victim to Chelsea’s Diego Costa after Per Mertesacker’s “harsh” red card in Sunday’s defeat.

    Mertesacker was sent off in the 18th minute after tripping Costa – who scored the only goal in Chelsea’s win.

    “Costa has got two of our players sent off in the last two games against Chelsea,” said Wenger.

    “Is the decision right or wrong? I don’t know. That is a fact, without accusing him of anything.”

    Costa was also involved in the clash that saw Arsenal’s Gabriel sent off in Chelsea’s 2-0 home win in September.

    Mythbusting – is Diego Costa a dirty player?

    Arsenal see red against Chelsea

    Per Mertesacker looks on after fouling Diego Costa
    All three of Arsenal’s Premier League red cards this season have been against Chelsea
    Mertesacker’s 18th-minute dismissal changed the complexion of Sunday’s game at the Emirates, with Arsenal’s defeat leaving them three points behind Premier League leaders Leicester.

    It is the seventh red card the Gunners have been shown in games against Chelsea – their most against any one team – and the third they have suffered this season against the Blues, with Santi Cazorla also sent off at Stamford Bridge.

    Costa was given a retrospective three-game ban after that game for a clash with Laurent Koscielny.

    Wenger added: “I don’t know whether Costa was offside or not or whether Per Mertesacker touched him or not. It was a decision we had to take on the chin and I thought we did that.

    “The referee was very quick to take the red card out. We coped with the decision well and should have had a draw at least. We had the chances. Mentally we were focused. Sometimes when you lose you can still say ‘well done’ to the players.”

    Asked whether Costa had made the most of the situation, Wenger said: “Yes. That is the game of the striker. Diego Costa is good at that.”

    Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink, predictably, disagreed and said: “There was no doubt. It was a great ball through and Diego could run straight at Petr Cech but he was tripped. That is obvious.”

    Wenger defends substitution

    Arsenal record against Chelsea
    Wenger’s response to Mertesacker’s red card was to sacrifice main striker and 18-goal top scorer Olivier Giroud, replacing him with defender Gabriel.

    This left Theo Walcott and Joel Campbell as the Gunners’ chief attacking threats, both of whom were later withdrawn and replaced by Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

    Wenger said: “Do you want to make a poll on every decision? I thought it was quite a normal decision.

    “We knew we had to go deeper and then use pace. The fact is we needed to get strength on the counter attack and needed pace – that’s why I made that decision”

  29. oz gunner says:

    Good morning all.

    Nice positive wrap-up TA.

    It was a very frustrating game. I can see why the red card was given, but knowing a dive could cost us the title (obviously not the sole reason but frustrating nonetheless) doesn’t sit too well with me.

    If Flam was playing spurs yesterday he would have scored a hat-trick.

    The silver lining for me is alexis coming back. Not to mention the imminent return of Le Coq! We could finish the season strong with the arrivals of Wilshere, santi, welbeck, and rosicky. Campbell has worked hard and valiantly while we’ve had outs, so it’d be good for him to get a rest.

    As for theo…he shits me.

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Bloody hell OzG, good to hear from you, buddy. How is life treating you?

  31. njk84sg says:

    Oz Gunner,

    Theo was good until the latest injury, and somehow the mojo and the understanding with the rest of the team seem to disappear. His shots are still good, but he needs more space than before.

    I hope that the next game will see Le Prof starting Elneny, and we hope to bring back the spark that ignited our 2015 form. Something somehow went wrong and the spark faded. Le Coq and Santi, maybe?

    We have now gone 2 games without scoring, and against Burnley, who can make us sweat buckets if they park the bus and resort to long balls like the rugby team, we must score more.

    Well, i will leave more for the actual match preview.

    JK

  32. Swedish professor says:

    I think that one “favor” that Chelsea did us in this most frustrating way is that Burnley will suffer the consequences of our players’, trainers’, and fans’ “fury” over how we lost our chance at keeping the PL lead. I would actually been more nervous over the Burnley game if we had won the Chelsea game.

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed SP, and the Saints will get it as well. 🙂

  34. oz gunner says:

    All is well TA, thanks for asking. Good on all fronts. How are you?

    @compilation of numbers and letters

    It is frustrating. He was efficient before his injury, but now he’s gone backwards. Him getting the captains armband made me laugh. Should have gone to flamini. I’d be worried if I was theo. With alexis coming back he could be sitting on the pine. If he sooks again I say it’s time to cash in.

  35. allezkev says:

    Just re-read my comments Total…
    Of course it was 2 pts mate, guess I was tired and fed up…

    Yeah, agree with your view about the intensity of the period we’ve just negotiated.
    But that’s what champions have to overcome.

    All the same, keep right on with the positivity, it always gives me a lift, and when we rediscover some defensive discipline (Coq) we’ll be alright…

  36. oz gunner says:

    @compilation of #’s and letters

    The injuries have definitely set us back (don’t they always?! I feel like I’ve been saying that since 2006). Coq and santi had a very good thing going. Once they went down we had to make do with Flamini and ramsey. I love ramsey but he’s not the most reliable cover…which can be both a blessing and a curse. After ozil and Cech I think COQ is our most important player. I am surprised we haven’t seen elneny yet. Arsene has a habit of throwing players in the deep end in big games…for the reason I was shocked to see him on the bench yet again.

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to hear it, OzG. How are getting on with your dissertation, teaching etc? And how is your dog doing?

    All good with me, family and Henry the dog, thanks for asking.

    I saw you left Alexis out of your top three Arsenal players…. but yes, it would be hard to leave any of those three out for Sanchez…

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    kev, it is more a case of hanging in there at times and then find another good run of games. Are we capable of this again? I reckon yes, but we are not at a stage in which we can dominate the league from beginning till end, and we may not get there any time soon. There is simply too much competition for us in the PL (and CL)…

  39. oz gunner says:

    We have two dogs and unfortunately we had to put one down. He was only 1, but the breeder still had his dad on the farm and she was nice enough to offer him up free of charge. While it’s not the same he does have a lot of similar mannerisms so it made the transition easier. It was more for our other dog who missed having a friend to play with.

    Still trying to strike the perfect balance. I love money so I tend to take on more teaching than I should.

    Glad all is well. Still travelling a lot?

    Alexis is a great player and only just misses out. The other three are the spine of the team.

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    Two dogs wow! Who looks after them when you are working? Just make lots of money for a while and then take a long break! 😜

    I am working a lot from home at the moment and whenever we can we are off to the Highlands, where your DNA might originate from. 😊

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Any plans yet to come to Europe, OzG?

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    Seems like I’m not the only one who needed a little break after Sunday… 😀

    Always good to see the OzGunner around, and good to hear things are going well… Let me 2nd TA’s recommendation for a visit to Scotland… 😀

    TA, what are the plans for the week here? I’ve got one I could publish but it’s rather self-indulgent, and references the back and forth with Admir from the other day… It has to do with my feelings about trying to write and support the team more than about our current situation…

    Better than nothing, maybe?… It’s still just in word processing… I could put it up if you “trust” me, but I could also send it to you or just leave it for you to publish as a draft… You might prefer something a little more about the current issues at the Arsenal … I dunno, lemme know… What’s up these days? Working quite a bit, I’m guessing…

    Anyhow, it sounds like more folks are coming back into the team (Danny Welbeck is the latest) so maybe some chances to really mix and match vs Burnley… We still need the result but maybe risking it (or a draw and another run out for some boys) isn’t the worst idea either…

    Anybody?…

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    Seventeenho, I am publishing a post in the next 30 minutes or so, but really good to know you have done one as well. Are you okay if yours goes out tomorrow?

  44. 17highburyterrace says:

    Like I say, TA, it’s a rather self-indulgent piece… so perhaps not appropriate for the site… I’ll be able to get a read on your mood (which might help lift mine…) when you publish yours…

  45. allezkev says:

    Rumour doing the rounds that Carl Jenkinson is out injured for the rest of the season.

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    If you prefer it, I will have a read first, Seventeenho. Please email it to me. 🙂

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    Kevski, that is a shame for the lanky Finglander. I reckon we will promote somebody or use Chambers there if need be… Maybe Debuchy will be forced to stay now…

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

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