Bellerin scares Alba, Elneny loosens our midfield, Iwobi impresses: 12 positives from game

We all knew that Arsenal lost this CL battle back home in February, so expectations were not very high for last night’s match. We lost but the boys played with their heart on the shirt and pride for the club. The gap between the two teams seems big, but it cannot be denied that bad defending and finishing have cost us, and if we can work on those two we should be able to make progress in Europe. The big positive is that we did  create a significant number of chances and half-chances and did not get bullied into our own half for 90 minutes. Furthermore, there are positives to be taken from individual performances and Pony Eye has summed these up below very nicely!

What were your positives from the game?


Twelve positives from the Camp Nou:

OOOOOSPINA : Great lad. All who vilified him earlier because of one error should hide ther faces in shame. This was the guy who turned our last season round with superb goal-keeping after replacing Zesny. Prejudice is a stone wall. Another brilliant outing.

BELLERIN : Is he a lad? Alba had the fright of his life when Bel raced past him down the right flank. The Barca reputed attacking wing back grew conservative by his standards thereafter. Neymer’s critical dribbling asset of pace was nullified. Don’t tell me Bel is a lad.

GABRIEL : An indefatigable fighter, a leader by action. He is all muscles and fight. Love him.

KOS: Excellent tackler, but whenever he moves upfield with the ball he suffers a brain fart, and leaves the team under pressure, sometimes fatally. But his timing in tackles……….ask Messi and Suarez.

NACHO : Had the unenviable task of marking Messi. A very cerebral player, he acquitted himself decently. What a professional!

FLAM : Complimented Eln very well. The two of them were everywhere yet they never let our defense expoused. Great dynamics.

COQ : Positional intelligence when the opponents have the ball is his greatest asset. He is so acutely aware of his job of protecting the back line. Needs to work more on his pass and move as the days of the pure destroyer are gone. Imagine where he will be a year and half from now…..the best, the very best.

ELNENY : My conclusion on him requires only that dot called full stop. Congratulations Wenger. You’ve unearthed another great player. He is our quickest one/two touch passers. When he makes a third touch it is clear it was necessary. Whenever he plays, our central midfield ceases to look too structured, too readable and that’s Wengerism. And what a paragon of a goal, full of promises that many more are on the way. Am salivating.

IWOBI : That lad is growing. Ozil you better watch your ass. A 19 year kid being so influential playing against Messi, Neymer, Suarez! It’s frightening.

OZIL : Genius who needs his field well watered. Barca with their one thousand and one runners must covet you most dearly. We ain’t gonna let you go.

WELBZ : Pace, power and skill. That equals Walcot, Giroud and plus-plus. You only need to educate your self that in the box time is measured in micro-seconds, not in seconds. No doubting it, you’ve given our attack a refreshing quality.

SANCHEZ : Playing wide right seems to have given you back your indomitable spirit. Your chest heaved, like you were ready to face the might of Barca all alone. And did I relish it? Alexis is back and bigger.

What a victory in defeat. We just want to see you guys in same colour against Everton and the remaining 8 matches (leaving those few tiny kos-like baggages behind). You are such a pretty sight resplendent in such a flaming colour. This way even if we don’t end up champions, we will sleep easy, knowing that it is the gods that said nay nay.

By Pony Eye

30 thoughts on “Bellerin scares Alba, Elneny loosens our midfield, Iwobi impresses: 12 positives from game

  • Well done PE for spotting and describing the positives. Another CL exit is painful, but when you play against such a strikeforce and we have been underachieving for so long, it is no real shame we went out. Depending how the season will finish, Wenger will need to use games like these to inform his recruitment AND player development plans for the summer and beyond. For me, the ones to stay put and form our core are: Cech, Bellerin, Koz, Nacho, Coq, Elneny, Santi, Mesut, Ollie, Alexis, Danny, Jack, Rambo and the likes of Gibbs, Ospina, Gabriel, Campbell etc all have a place in the squad. It is clear that we need to add some super quality at the back and in attack if we want to make it a real fight against the Barcelonas of this world.

    Next up is Everton and AB and me are going, so happy days! 🙂

  • I am afraid you haven’t the slightest idea of football and you don’t know what you are talking about. Wenger and Kroenke have turned Arsenal into a small club all these years, incapable of competing against top UK and even more European clubs (we are hundreds of years behind those clubs in quality). There is no other way out but the expulsion of both of them.

  • The only effective way to let them know that they should leave, is for the fans to boycott all the remaining home games. An empty stadium will make them realize what they haven’t for so many years.

  • Andreas, you are a hundred years behind the only reality which is now. The seats are never going to be empty. The Arsenal fan base is growing world wide. You need to learn how to manage your disappointments more rationally.

  • PE you seem not to realize how tragic the situation is. I am 56 years old and i have an Arsenal pride since i was 7 years old. These 2 gentlemen have managed in the last years since the Invincibles to completely crush this pride and this believe me was not easy, it took a lot of effort on behalf of them.

  • Re my last on previous post …. Move on, but not before praising the team for their efforts.

    You have done that to a tee Pony Eye. Brilliant! and well worthy of being transformed into a post.
    Pat on the back for TA 😀

    I made a throwaway remark after the Watford game,saying ‘… that perhaps Iwobi is the missing link?’ I think this game confirms that view, with regards to the pass and move style of play. Iwobi adds something extra to Elneny’s game … it is called ‘options’. Either by making himself available, or by his constant movement creating space for others.
    Think back on that Watford game, Elneny was relatively poor compared to his previous game(when paired with Iwobi). Add to that fact, so was Alexis until Iwobi came on?

    Cheltenham calls …

  • Andreas, if you bring a picture too close to your eyes it blurs. Step back to see the larger picture and the lines sharpen, the colours brighten, and the prints begin to tell their beautiful stories. What is the point looking at your love from a perspective that offers you only torture?

  • Gerry, I salute your courage putting so much faith on a 19 yr old. That is being fully vindicated. Iwobi has so much self belief that I am getting myself round to disregarding his age.

    It appears to me that Elneny is the one that makes every other player better. Did you get the stats that he outran all at Camp Nou by over 2 km!

  • Pony Eye,

    I was struggling a bit to think of any positives from last night – and from the last half dozen games or so, but your clever Post made me give some thought to it – and I agree with much of what you have said. 🙂

    OK, we all know that the lads were on a hiding to nothing, but despite that they put up a good effort for the first half hour, and if only — now that’s a phrase we have heard all too often lately – if only we had brought our shooting boots with us we might have given Barça something else to think about. It would not have changed the result, of course, but would have made our efforts a bit better from a morale viewpoint.

  • I understand the feelings of people like Andreas, but it is pointless to be rude to someone who is, no doubt, equally disappointed, but chooses to see some positives in our performance, however gloomy the current situation might be.

  • Congratulations RA, for the positive shift in perception. The shift occurs when one is able to look at the boys with human eyes; Eln making 12.85 km of targeted running, Gabby straining to the limit every sinews his got, Welbz bursting lungs, Alexis twisting, turning, seeking to create, Nacho determined over the ninety minutes to frustrate the wizardry of Messi, all of them for the team. And there we stand not as the 12th man which their fragility craves for, but as a merciless overlord who has been denied his pleasure.

    Come to think of it, we are not bottom of the epl table, in fact we are 3rd and the battle is not over yet. The same team reached the CL round of 16, and exitted the FA cup at the quarter final stage trying to win the cup a successive three times. Isn’t that 12th man faithless? Our mercilessness ought to be turned on the fickle 12th man.

  • Well written Pony Eye it’s difficult to lift yourself after crashing out of the Champions league, but you have made a brave effort. If we are going to turn things around at Goodison on Saturday we need an injection of new ideas. I the side. I can se this coming from Iwobi , Elneny and Gabriel who all put in good displays last night and offered alternatives. Hope all three start on Saturday. Particularly Gabriel, really like his spirit, he could so easily have crumbled after recent games. .

    On a lighter note, bad mark for Ekneny for scoring a great goal and upsetting Barca. It was something akin to hitting a big lion with a small stick and it woke them up big time

  • Come on guys this is a very pathetic attitude, this is the way of thinking of a small team’s fans.

  • How dare you post a positive entry, all the media whores and bandwagon jumpers will be apoplectic!! Don’t you realize 3rd in the league, last 8 of the FA cup and last 16 of the CL is the new abject failure, we did after all, suffer an unlucky defeat last week by Watford(Two Shots) and our players managers and owner can all go and find themselves a new one.
    I’m waiting to see who’s top of the league in May and off to support them (until they lose a game).

  • Andreas you are a fair weather plastic fanboy if I’ve ever heard one! You should pray that Wenger and the Board continue their management of the Arsenal for years to come.

  • A good uplifting (and fair) report there PE. We were playing against what is probably the world’s best and we played with effort, spirit and emerged with some credit. There is no point whatsoever slating the team in such circumstance – though there are games where their performance has been more questionable. None of that justifies the hysteria of Andreas – Andreas if you really have been following the Arsenal you will remember times in the 70ies and 80ies where we were a hell of a lot worse than this – and in every sense, whilst not a small club, far less of a big club; we were one of a large packed lived in the mid-table very often. Your reaction is that of someone spoiled by being king of the sweet shop for a few days – we need to accept that the Invincibles are not our baseline for acceptability but an exceptional team whose like we will only see occasionally. But through the work of Wenger very largely, but supported by a stable Board, we have become a globally recognised ‘big’ team, with the cachet and funding available to make another team of the pure quality of the Invincibles something that is a realistic aspiration rather than a pipedream that is way beyond the realisation of most PL clubs. Get a grip fella

  • Guys,

    Good to see everyone protecting the spirit of the blog here.

    Its good to see the whole squad put in a performance worthy of beating the best, but we made little mistakes that they took their chances so well.

    Its those kind of mistakes, not something that Wenger or the board can do about.

    Its humans, not machines, that is able to learn from mistakes and become better. Its a squad thing, not a single person that is able to change our fate.

    Having said that, we have only 8 games to save our season. We have to grab all 3 points for 8 games without dropping any.

    So, we must learn to make full use of our chances. Our conversion rate is one of the lowest.


  • Ab @ 22:03

    Spot on. Perceptions get distorted, and altho as fans everyone wants their team/club to be rated among the best we were very average for many years between 1970/71 and the George Graham era.

    But times change, and now even more average teams like Man City and Chelsea, have been transformed by humongous wealth being poured into them, and ‘magically’ they have been transformed into the ‘top’ echelon of the EPL, despite having any number of managers in a few years – so it was not the managers – it must have been ……….. oh, yes, ……. money!!

    Just thank Wenger, not bemoan him.

  • Ab,

    I saw you are going to the Everton game with TA — so hopefully we will have an accurate and interesting Post from one of you!! 😀 Hope you both enjoy it.

  • Hi Redders

    Yes can’t wait to go and see the boys again. Goodison oozes football in an old-fashioned kind of way. It is also were I saw my first English game ever…. A dire draw between Everton and Villa with lots of racist abuse around me. Luckily things have changed a lot since then. 😄

    Are you still based in Manchester?

  • Hi TA, 🙂

    I have been quite ill since last summer, and have stayed with friends in London and Cornwall as well as in Manchester. They all want to ‘mother’ me – whereas I try not to be in their way too much.

    There are some great people – and disappointingly there are some I thought of as friends …… who are not in reality.

    Footie and blogging help to take my mind off things. 😀

  • Sorry to hear that Redders, both re your health and being let down by some. Arsenal doing pooh does not help either, I guess.

    Have you read any interesting fiction recently? I am really enjoying books by you fellow countryman Anthony Doerr at the moment.

  • TA,

    I read a lot, and have eclectic tastes, but I have moved recently to easy to read fantasy novels at the moment – and as I am a fast reader the bigger the book the better.

    My recent list includes Brandon Sanderson, (The Way of Kings), Alistair Reynolds, (Many science fiction novels and quite wonderful as he is a scientist himself and everything is in the future, but also realistic, C.J. Sansom’s historical novels regarding the Elizabethan era have caught my attention, and another favourite is Philip Kerr with his Pre World War 2 detective and spying novels set in the Nazi and Stalin regimes/era.

    I could go on – but I will spare you! 😀

  • I forgot to say, TA, that I read one of Anthony Doerr’s first books, The Shell Collection, white a long time ago, which was a collection of short stories, as I recall.

    As I said, I read so quickly that novels of around 1,000 pages are important, which is an odd thing to say, I know – but there it is. 🙂

    I have promised myself I will read his Pulitzer prize winning book, All the Light we Cannot See, but haven’t got around to it yet. Have you read it?

  • Redders 🙂

    I read All the Light we cannot See and About Grace. They are both quite different but very good books. Re the former, so many books have been written about World War Two – one of the biggest themes in Dutch literature for example – but Doerr’s approach of writing through the eyes of two teenagers – a blind French girl and a talented, maverick German boy – is really fascinating. I loved it.

    I will have a look at The Shell Collection, although I am less keen on short stories.

  • Hi fellas… and I don’t mean to interrupt the back and forth between TA and RA, the two key guys at the heart of getting Bergkampesque up and running, a place, maybe, where we try to keep an eye out for balance (positive and negative), maybe eschew the simple (but silly) solutions and actually talk a little football. RA, good luck with your health issues…

    Churning through the books seems like it’s helping… I also like the back and forth about what’s being read. I could use a new (and rewarding) vein myself…Too much non-fiction, including the Arsenal stuff, has been getting to me…

    I took the day off yesterday (and I’m currently working on the Everton preview) but I think TA did a very good thing by elevating PE’s comment into a post. (Not trashing comments by the new fella, IMO, was also a great exercise in restraint…) I hope you get your reward on your travels tomorrow to Liverpool. I’m sure-no matter what happens in the match–getting to meet AB will be just that and positivity–something you both bring in big quantities–is its own reward. Have a great time!. Consider me jealous…

    I must, however, say a word (or three…) about Andreas… who has it (baby-butt, i.e., ASS) backwards…in my humble opinion. This idea that if you attempt to analyze (diagnose) situations (looking for both positives and negatives) you lack ambition is just about the MOST idiotic thing I’ve heard. Amputation is one form of medicine, and not always the smartest…You say we need to start with the manager and the board… I know where I’d begin…

    In any task, taking the situation AS IT IS and then working–in increments and to improve things–i.e., having some ambition (for more & better) is an essential element for seeing such improvement. But it’s simply hogwash to say that it’s ALL you need.

    I understand the urge to throw it all away and start from scratch–among other overly simple solutions. It’s human nature but it’s also dumb-ass stupid. The manager (and the players) are under contract. If we fire them, as they did at Chelsea, for example, the club (the ticket buying public…) still pay those salaries. Andreas and his ilk are saying “let’s pay Wenger (and Ozil, Alexis, Theo, Giroud, etc., etc.–the underacheivers) to sit on the beach and instead we’ll have Steve Bould (and a pack of kids, I’m guessing) do the job… Then we’ll get someone with REAL ambition (Mourinho is available, still making his Abramovich money week upon week upon week as he sells his easy answers to potential “fans” like you at ALL the underperforming clubs…) and he’ll enrich himself–and other clubs by way of transfer fees–to get us a pack of players who really go after what they want (The newest and ugliest versions of John Terry and Diego Costa, plus mercenaries like Cesc or maybe RvP if he’s done in Istanbul)… Yeah, that’s what we need… Fire and spend, fire and spend… Can we also find some guys with some real snarl if not actual priors with the biting, please…

    Those are the types who SHOW that they must “want” it more and that’s what we (must) need–as fans, players and in the manager’s spot. Bravo to you, Andreas for showing that you want it, too. Like a baby you’re crying so you’ve proven you want something or even that you (must) need something. Pick the baby up, check his nappy (ooh, it’s a smelly one…) change it and get him his bottle… They’re crying at Manchester United, at Chelsea, and at Villa Park, too… New nappies and bottles for those folks too, I say… Instead of using your thumbs to write (text) such idiocy, you should suck on them, Get out of here and take your bathwater with you, I say…

    😦 😀

    But maybe I’m being too harsh?… Welcome to Bergkampesque, I look forward to your well-reasoned counterpoint and all you can teach me… Let’s start with you telling me (exactly) what is wrong in identifying things (positives) upon which we can build?…Cheers in advance…

    Which leads me to PE and the list… I agree with most of the positives and they echo some of mine from during and immediately following the match (see previous post). Highlighting the contributions of Elneny, Gabriel and Iwobi seems especially spot on. Others too. Unfortunately, in the end, it was all a bit of a training ground run-out. We played some good bits–in all parts of the pitch as your list demonstrates–but when push came to shove, or when things really had to happen with the slimmest of margins, again we were 2nd best. Everton isn’t as strong an opponent but they will be well rested and keen to build upon their strong win vs the remnants of what Mourinho wrought at Chelsea. My point: Carrying over the good bits to Everton–especially when so many Gooners have already thrown in the towel–is a very tricky business, indeed…

  • Hey RA… I’ll take it from the smiley that you approve… Overall, I fear, most are getting pretty tired of my “hard line” views… Of course, I’m just about done with folks who stick around (due to the obvious progress happening at the club) but then spout their simple and nihilist solutions… If you don’t like it, find entertainment with a guaranteed happy ending (Barca, Rom-coms, etc.)…

    Let’s Make Arsenal Great Again… All you need is… to blame somebody…

    Love Trumps Hate, I say, but not for much of the “support” at our club…

    Anyhow, you’d have to be as blind as (our friend) Andreas to not see the comparison (to our sad but all too real world, over here in the States)… Like I said, too much non-fiction for me…

    Would love to hear your thoughts on the football, and I’m plenty critical myself…but that might have to happen in the…


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